First things first, while this is written for Chewsday, it is written on Monday. And given this Monday is 25th April, I’ll share the same prayer here that I offer every year over my fire-pit. A beer for those who serve. A rum for those who fought. A whisky for those who paid the price. And a port for those who bear the scars.
Welcome to Episode 6 of the Chewsday Chew. The purpose herein is not to write something overly sagacious, complicated or mesmerising, but rather to pose a simple observation, question or proposition and let the good readers of this esteemed site share their opinions thereafter. Call it the lazy man’s attempt to fill a void by poking our collective bear of rugby knowledge to share their reflections and lift the average beyond the humdrum.
The weekend just gone saw a feast, a veritable orgy of Super Rugby, smeared across the days and seared into the brains of the rugby faithful as tele-casted out of the decidedly non-traditional rugby territory of Melbourne. Surely the city openly referred to as the Sporting Capital of Australia did indeed give us such Wobbly greats as Colonel Ernest ‘Weary’ Dunlop and Ewen McKenzie, yet it is hardly a beacon of shining light on the Australian rugby landscape. That said, not many places are such a beacon right now, except of course for our gleaming nation’s capital, showing the way for the other pretenders to the Australian rugby throne, of how to take the hell-spawn of Morder and Sauron and send them back from whence they came.
Yet despite the Canberrans win, any observer would have noted the three clear try-scoring opportunities the Donkeys summarily wasted in the opening 15min against the Highlanders. How the Donkeys still won is somewhat bewildering. In normal time and space, waste one chance against a Kiwi side and you may still get lucky, yet waste two and you may as well rack your cue. But waste three and the scoreboard will resemble an abattoir. And so, despite the win, I would still rather not be on the end of some of the scathing assessments to be vocalised in Donkey-land review meetings this week.
And therein did I find my topic for this week. My inspiration was delivered unto the disbelieving I, in mana-from-heavenesque manner, by none other than Tom Wright. Honestly, it’s not often that wingers provide me with inspiration about anything. I mean, I’m sure wingers do contribute something. But, as with vegans and head lice, I just don’t know what that contribution is. That failing is mine I’m sure. But nonetheless, Tom did deliver something special. Tom did something so mind-blowing as to make even a crusty old cynic like me snort with a baffled laugh. Just to say it out loud, Tom Wright fluffed a try by dropping the ball over an open try line. Now I could wax lyrical about this and start throwing aspersions around using words like ego, lackadaisical, ineptitude, laziness etcetera. And I have to say, it ain’t the first time for Tom. He has form. However I won’t. I will just say that actions like that make a mockery of the effort of the other blokes who bust themselves to generate that chance.
But it got me thinking of the other times I have seen such embarrassments. I am not talking about players who fumble a ball under pressure. I am talking about those who had a clean run to the line and ALL they had to do was just PUT THE BLOODY BALL DOWN YA NONCE… but they didn’t.
While Reiko Ioane must surely be a classic example to recall (see featured pic), when he blew a ‘sitter’ that then resulted in an epic 16-all draw from October 2020 in Wellington. But I must say my all-time favourite is Will Carling’s ego-interrupting performance for Harlequins at the Middlesex Sevens in 1987…
But now I ask you Dear Reader, check your drawers and rummage about in your attic. Go find that pic and/or a clip and let us know what is your Banger of a Clanger of a murdered try that sticks forever in your brain?
As ever, extra points for age and obscurity…