Is it only me, or have other folk always struggled with what to do with yourself when attending a wedding and you hit that dead patch between the end of the ceremony and the start of the reception? Usually after the last flourish of Aunty Flo on the organ there is that 2hrs of ‘dead air’ while the ‘happy couple’ has their happy-snaps and the rest of us shuffle dirt with our freshly polished RM’s and stand about fidgeting and commenting on the weather or wool prices.
If the shindig was non-denominational and is at a winery or something similarly hipster, you just wander up to the bar and get cracking on a ‘tasting’ (usually avoiding the disapproving eye of the missus). But if it’s a bit more formal, or dare I use the yung’uns phraseology and say ‘old school’ (or should that be “ol’ skool”?) and there was an actual church involved, then there is always that bit of dead time between the “I do” and the “Let’s get on it” as the reception kicks off.
But I generally don’t really know what I should be doing in that time. The missus is usually too worried about the hair and makeup etc for any ‘isolated distractions’, there are only so many times I can admire another churches Stations of the Cross (assuming it is one of my mob), the architecture of other mobs churches aren’t usually that interesting to make me want to hang around in them either, and it’s generally frowned on to find the nearest pub.
So I’ve always called that time ‘The Phoney War’. For the non-nerds, the real Phoney War was at the start of WW2 after the Krauts took Poland in September 1939 and then everyone around Europe stood around, postured, wrote telegrams and shuffled their feet while picking dust off lapels until about May 1940 when the French show kicked off. I reckon that’s the most apt term for that dead space between wedding and reception. And I reckon that is what we’ve entered now in rugby terms as well; The Phoney War before the Big Show kicks off on September 9th in earnest.
Sure we have some ‘warm up’ games still going on. But as the weekends games attest, they are largely bound to be insipid affairs at best. No one wants to ‘show their hand’ in attack too much. While at the same time they try to bash each other off the park without getting carded. But even that feels weird as no one wants to get hurt this close to the Big Show.
By example, anyone who wasted two hours of their life watching the English and Welsh at Twickenham over the weekend can attest to what a thoroughly terrible game of rugby that was. Frankly it was diabolical and an anti-advertisement for the World Cup itself. How the English can even allow themselves to be so ill-disciplined as to have 3 guys off on cards at one time is simply breathtaking for a so-called professional outfit. And in response, how the Jones’ Test team managed to NOT exploit playing against 12 men and NOT run in 3 tries in the period was equally as inept. And while the French and Scots put on a better show in terms of spectacle, it wasn’t really a match for the ages either beyond a tight scoreline.
About the only thing of true interest that came out of last weekends matches was the suspension that Owen Andrew O’Loughlin Farrell must surely be about to cop for his shot on Taine Basham when he fronts his citing hearing on Tuesday night (UK time). And that should be friggin’ hefty given his prior record which includes a 3wk spell only given earlier this season for a reckless tackle. And given he has been to tackle school twice, that’s not an option for him to ‘soften a tally’ either. My tip is that if he is given more than 2 Tests (which he really should be), then Bortho will leave him out altogether for Ford and Marcus Smith.
So welcome to the Phoney War.
I’ll keep my opinions tight:
- Congratulations Will Skelton. As others have noted, the guy is a winner. And he’s a breath of fresh air. And he won’t be any sort of challenge to Eddie’s authority. There will be no Matt Giteau or Raylene Castle style showdowns on this jamboree. So that makes him a prudent and judicious appointment.
- For the life of me I don’t understand how Pete Samu is left out of the squad on multiple fronts. Seriously that guy must have shot someones cat in a previous life.
- The injury selections are confusing: we will take broken rib Tupou and broken hand Kev Kerevi but we won’t take broken scapula Sticky Ikitau? If there is any doubt over Tupou then why Ollie Hoskins has not even been mentioned is as baffling as how Flook has not been mentioned for either Kerevi or Ikitau.
- The lack of a recognised kicker is likewise baffling. God forbid a 2nd 10 who kicks 3ptrs like Lolesio (in-keeping with the ‘new look youth’ approach) or JOC or QC (for the experienced-head factor) is concerning.
- I would love to have a beer with whomever is coordinating the Wobblies promotional calendar at the moment. A logical reason as to why the squad was in Darwin late last week would be good, especially as now they are all back in Sydney and at Drummoyne Oval on Wednesday. Don’t get me wrong, I love that they are getting west of Anzac Parade a bit. But it just feels pretty random.
- But all up, I think EJ’s squad selection illustrates that the idea of a ‘set in stone’ World Cup squad is a fallacy. There will be a host of guys who will be ‘one phone-call away’ should they be needed. And if I know EJ, he will not hesitate to cut out and/or call in anyone should he feels he needs to. So I think we need to accept that the squad is fluid (and to that end Eddie, I play 1,2&3, plus I throw, my passport is current and my GF will be Sept 2nd, so I will have sobered up and will be ready mate. Just sayin’).
Chat around the campfires:
Some NSW Country Rugby Finals chat:
- Down in Southern Inland (largely the old Riverina zone), one of my old clubs Wagga Waratah’s defeated the across-town rivals Wagga City 26-10 in the 1st grade grand final. In Reserve grade, Wagga City knocked over the Tumut Bulls 29-24. In 3rd grade the Hay Cutters also did over Wagga City 27-26, while in the Women’s the Waratahs defeated a gallant Griffith by 31-29 in extra time. So I reckon Romano’s Hotel would have been fairly heaving on Saturday night. But in all that, fair play to City in making all 3 men’s GF’s and winning the Club Championship.
- In the ACT Monaro 2nd Division I know Crookwell Dogs beat Hall Bushrangers 48-13 and Jindabyne Bushpigs beat ADFA 47-34 so it will be a Grand Final of Jindabyne Bushpigs versus Crookwell Dogs in Jindabyne this coming weekend. The Lake Jindy Hotel had best stock up.
- In the old NSW Country South West zone it will be Blayney Rams taking on Young Yabbies for all the choccies in the Big Show at Cranfield Oval in the thriving metropolis of Young at 3.15pm on Saturday coming. While at the same ground we will also see the South West Cup decided as Temora Tuskers take on the West Wyalong Redbacks at 2pm.
- And in some other news from the central NSW competitions, Parkes Boars have taken down the Dubbo Rhinos over the weekend to set up a Grand Final showdown with the Mudgee Wombats at The Burrow in Mudgee this coming weekend. It’s a rematch of last weekend’s drawn Major Semi-Final, but those familiar will also recall it’s a rematch of last year’s Grand Final as well (which the Boars won). Even better, it’s a proper ‘my town versus your town’ double, because the Boars and Wombats women will face-off in their Grand Final as well. Bloody hell, look out as it will be a big day in Mudgee next Saturday 19th August come what may.
Anyway, there are my musings for another week Cobbers. Have at it (or me) below…