Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rugby ELVs & Lansdowne 10-year Tickets

What impact will Rugby Union’s Experimental Law Variations (ELVs) have on the success, or otherwise, on Ireland’s international team?
Thirteen changes in the existing rules will be effective for the 2009 6-Nations competition. Several of these ELVs result in the awarding of a free kick, rather than a penalty.
In the past several years, Ireland has been particularly dependent on the penalty-kicking ability of Ronan O’Gara to keep the scoreboard ticking over, but also to advance our forwards up the touchline. If, as now proposed, many of the infringements will only result in a free-kick, this source of points or territorial advance will be severely curtailed.
This comes at a time when our backline seems to have lost it’s cutting edge, it’s ability to breakthrough the opposition defence. Denis Hickey and David Humphries have retired, Ronan O’Gara couldn’t break out of a paper bag, Brian O’Driscoll has turned into a very good back-row forward and Gordon Darcy has completely lost his form for the past couple of years.
How will Ireland fare in this new rules environment? Where will the points come from?
Will the new Lansdowne Road become the venue for routine away victories for the Italians?
Will those who paid €15,000 for 10-year tickets wonder how they could have been so dazzled by the sun shining out of the backside of the Celtic Tiger?

And speaking of those expensive 10-year tickets, here’s the awful scenario that awaits the holders of those €15,000 duds:
Either Ireland are crap, routinely vying for the wooden spoon, and play to sub-capacity crowds in Lansdowne Road, where getting a ticket is no longer a problem, thus rendering the expense of the 10-year jobs a needless extravagance OR
Ireland play well, attracting more demand than the 50,000-seater Lansdowne can accommodate and the bigger rugby fixtures are routinely transferred to Croke park, to avail of the 83,000 capacity there.
I have no doubt that the GAA will be quite amenable to the extra revenue, having gotten over the moral issue of garrison games on sacred turf some time ago.
Either way I sleep soundly in my bed, thankful that I missed the opportunity to fork out €15,000.

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