Rugby X kicked off this weekend at the O2 Arena but it left a dissatisfying taste in many of the viewers who watched on. Robert Rees columns his thoughts on the newly formed sport within rugby.
Rugby X struggles to be a spectacle without meaning
Without a purpose in a rugby structure or without a wider meaning Rugby X struggles to captivate its audience.
It’s a playground game where players chuck the ball around, make too many errors and you can’t kick the ball because it may go over the fence. Except in this case, there is no fence there’s just 10 minutes of madness.
No structure to the game means the error count is massive and with so much happening so quickly there is never any time for it to build tension and drama.
Many fans on social media aired their views but what sums up the concept is the PA announcer at the O2 needing to get the crowd to cheer and get excited.
Fans love a wild, open game, but this is pure carnage and disappointing carnage at that. The errors and want to just launch the ball to the nearest man leave fans with a disappointment of being left hungry and wanting more.
Game set to pander to new ‘Americanised’ audience
The whole spectacle, bright lights and smoke is very much a Superbowl half time show. But this show has no flair surrounding it and no meaning either.
It’s error-strewn games and lack of systems forces the hardcore rugby purists away from it and the attraction of new fans is less than Sevens has managed.
They have aimed for a sped up game, with more action, but in reality it has led to a scrappy, unaesthetically pleasing game. The scrums are still slow and the constant changeover of active subs leaves it hard on the eye.
Injuries seem part of the game
Eagle eyed viewers may have spotted some players wearing full skin-tight training leggings or those who don’t have lots of bandaging and plasters around their knees.
Due to the indoor artificial pitch, this is likely to be an issue of being burned in previous games and just trying to patch up to help the injury out.
An issue which has started to blight the XV’s game is not something a newly established game needs within itself.
Rugby X needs to think hard about where it’s going and what it delivers but as long as thousands of people buy tickets to sit and drink beer then the game will continue.
“Main photo credit”