The 6 Nations kicks-off tomorrow and if you are not aware of it you’re either reading this in Sri Lanka (and surprisingly someone is – honestly) or you’re incommunicado in the Big Brother House (in which case you’re a t**t)
We have been deluged with media coverage spouting predictions, bravado, fantasy rugby, punditry, alleged grudges to be settled and ads on the faces of the last surviving badgers (alright the last one isn’t true – at least I’m pretty sure it isn’t).
This is no great surprise (except if the badger bit isn’t made up after all) – the 6 Nations is a fantastic tournament and one that even the Southern Hemisphere envy. They don’t admit this, of course and claim that the new Quattro Nations (or whatever they call it now) has a far higher standard of rugby. That may well be true but the distances involved mean that at best there are only pockets of travelling fans – boosted marginally by a few ex-pats. By contrast the 6 Nations weekends are riots of colour, banter and with stadiums full of ‘away’ supporters – they themselves full of the local beer and wine.
The stadiums are full whereas some of the games in the Rugby Championship are played to half full houses. No wonder they all get excited down South when the Lions turn up once every 12 years with 25,000 fans!
At 5.58 am this morning Mick Cleary (Telegraph) tweeted that he was on the Eurostar heading for Paris and a crate of champagne had just been lugged past him by four blokes! Now that’s what 6 Nations rugby is all about!
As with all rugby there is rarely, if ever, any trouble between supporters despite them frequently sitting next to each other – I have often found myself sharing drinks with blokes who are fervent in support of whoever we (England) are up against. It’s what makes rugby such a great game (and it’s good fun taking the piss out of each other – preferably when you’re winning obviously)
Mind you, FIFA are fully on top of dealing with trouble at football – they have decided to have their World Cup in places where no one wants to go – and where the few who do manage to turn up are likely to suffer from dehydration and heat exhaustion and be too shagged out to punch anyone. Bit of a shame for the players though (and the poor sods trying to build the stadiums).
Anyway back to the 6 Nations media hype. The BBC have knocked out some ads (sorry moving visual promotional material – the BBC don’t do advertising) for the launch this weekend and have been broadcasting these for the last fortnight.
The ads (or whatever) are pretty good – they use real footage of real players and action from past games. So far so good – this contrasts with some of the sponsor ads for rugby programmes on TV which often feature coiffured actors pretending to be tough and who mince about in kit that still has the labels on. I have no idea why any brand would actually want to be presented like this – maybe it’s the Ad Agency taking the piss (don’t laugh – it has been known).
The current Land Rover ads for rugby on BT Sport are very good – demonstrating a sense of humour – much like the presenters and the game itself.
What lets the BBC ads down is having a voice over of someone trying desperately to underline the rivalry by sounding dramatic and inspiring. In reality it just sounds soft – it would actually have been improved if they’d used Graham Norton with a helium balloon – at least it would be funny!
It wouldn’t stir a cup of tea much less a bunch of hairy-arsed rugby fans (apologies to the many lady fans – although if the Dutch cap fits and all that!)
They could actually have taken a leaf from their own promotion for Italia 90 – Italian images, real football action, no voice over but to the soundtrack of Puccini’s ‘Nessun Dorma’.
You don’t need a supposedly macho voice telling you to get worked up – if you don’t believe me – just watch this –
I realise that they couldn’t have used music from any of the 6 Nation teams (which would at least save us from bleeding ‘Swing Low’) but what about ‘Ride of the Valkyries’? I know Germany aren’t much into rugby but I seem to remember reading somewhere that they are usually up for a bit of a scrap (especially if you throw in a few sets of ironed kit and a couple of marching songs).
It would also be good to see some action shots of big hits (including Erica’s) from past games in the ads – like Mickey Skinner munching Marc Cecillon (I know it was a World Cup – but it was some tackle and worth seeing again!).
There are plenty more recent ‘hits’ too that would raise the temperature for the 6 Nations if they were shown in the ads!
Anyway it all kicks-off tomorrow (in every sense with a bit of luck) and I’m off to Aldi (with the rest of the pensioners) to pick up some pasties, pork pies and Heineken (I know some blokes there and am hoping for a bit of sponsorship – or at least a few free cans.)
Enjoy the Tournament guys!