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Dublin: 13°C Friday 23 April 2021

Rugby clichés we'd love to kick to touch

Ahead of the start of the Six Nations, we’ve put together a list of excuses and statements you hear at almost every game.

AS THE NORTHERN hemisphere gets ready for the start of another Six Nations Saturday, team couldn’t help but notice the usual platitudes being uttered by players and coaches in the run up to this weekend’s action.

That got us thinking about the worst clichés in the sport and what players really mean when they tell us “we didn’t play for 80 minutes”.

So, in no particular order:

1. “The Welsh fans are the best in the world.”

(C) David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images

While it’s true the Welsh will arrive in Cardiff on Saturday in their tens of thousands the same fans don’t come out in force for their Pro12 or Heineken Cup games. Indeed, such are the struggles of Welsh clubs to keep players and fans interested, the Welsh Rugby Union is considering reducing the number of teams from four to three.

2. “That ball came down with snow on it.”

(C) Joe Giddens/EMPICS Sport

As one colleague pointed out, “I’ve never seen a ball come down with snow on it, even when it’s snowing”. Indeed. This is probably because the nimbostratus clouds that produce snow generally start at about 1,500 feet and go all the way up to 10,000. If you know a player who can send a Garyowen that high, please let us know.

3. “He backed himself.”

(C) Rob Griffith/AP/Press Association Images

What the commentator really means when they say this, generally only about forwards who score from distance, is “I thought he was too slow/fat to score that try, but he surprised me”. However, doesn’t every player who scores a try back himself? If he didn’t, surely he wouldn’t have attempted to score in the first place?

4. “It depends which French team turns up.”

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(C) KIPA KIPA PRESS/KIPA/Press Association Images

You’ll notice this confusion only ever happens with the French, as if pundits and players alike expect the French World Cup winning football squad from 1998 to show up with Bixente Lizarazu lining out at tighthead and Lilian Thuram at fullback. What we assume people mean when they say this is that French rugby teams are capable of both good and bad performances, as are all teams across all sports. Indeed, our own French rugby analyst believes Ireland are the “erratic” team.

5. “Picked it up off his laces.”

(C) RICK RYCROFT/AP/Press Association Images

This is a classic. What the commentator wants you to think he means is that the player receiving the pass has shown great dexterity and athletic ability in making the best of a bad situation. What they actually mean is that the player passing the ball – usually a marquee player who they don’t like to admit is capable of making a mistake – has delivered a really poor pass but they don’t want to highlight that in case he unfollows them on Twitter.

6. “It’s the wrong side of the field for a left/right footed kicker”

(C) David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The statistics, which we won’t go into here because there are quite a lot of numbers, show that there is a slight advantage (about 5%) for a kicker taking a penalty from what is considered a favourable side of the field. However, is it asking too much for a professional place kicker to be good at doing his job from anywhere on the field. After all, isn’t that why Racing offered Jonny the big bucks?

7. “We didn’t play for 80 minutes.”

(C) David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images

When the final whistle goes, and Wales lose to Ireland on Saturday, it’s likely we’ll hear the Welsh lads talk about how, if they’d only played for the full 80 minutes, they’ve have won the game. However, as one colleague pointed out, they will have played for 80 minutes, they just didn’t play as well as the other team. It’s that simple.

So, what have we missed? What other rugby clichés drive you mad? Let us know in the comments below.

Open thread: how do you think Ireland will get on against Wales in the 6 Nations today?

About the author:

TheScore Team

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