Once upon a time there was the ‘game of two halves’, ‘going back to the drawing board’ and being ‘beaten by a better team on the day’. Now, in this Rugby World Cup year of propaganda, the average rugby follower has been subject to a string of new rugby clichés that has slipped into the consciousness like CCTV crept up on us before we could protest that the west was under siege of big brother.
At present, you don’t get beaten by a better team because you probably sent your third team or ‘second string’ (a stroke of PR genius for any coach and team on the losing side). Instead of someone being injured or dropped from the squad – they are just ‘rotated’ to add ‘strength in depth’ - another overused term if ever there was one. Players are ‘reconditioned’ instead of just going to the gym and ‘wrapped in cotton wool’ if they miss a game or two. A rugby team now plays with the ‘full 22’ and coming ‘off the bench’ will inject a new pace into the game, ‘wearing down tired legs in the final 20’.
If ever there was a team to inspire clichés from the world wide media, then surely the All Blacks would win the prize. If they’re not ‘choking’ or ‘cheating at the breakdown’, they’re ‘peaking too soon’. While we’re onto team clichés (and some of these are old), who can resist the Wallabies with the most intelligent backline in the world, the English - when defeated always courageous or heroic; and of course the flair of the French (although who knows which French team will turn up on the day). Anyone's guess really.
The best clichés almost always come from the TV commentary box. It wouldn’t be a rugby game if there hadn’t been a ‘prodigious punt’, a crowd ‘baying for blood’, or the ‘crowd going wild’ somewhere during the ‘full 80’.
As long as rugby remains the winner, then I'm not too bothered at the end of the day.