Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Why didn't I think of volunteering to play?

How silly of me. Why didn't I have enough imagination to think of sending an email to John Connolly suggesting that he might hire me temporarily as an nth-grade replacement player in the Wallabies team for next Saturday's match against Canada in Bordeaux? He's wrapping so many major Wallabies players in cotton wool—so that they'll be able to take a rightly-deserved rest before the tough action, and avoid the risk of getting injured—that I'm convinced he would have appreciated the services of volunteers such as me, on the spot here in France, to make up the numbers... even if this meant that I would have been obliged to do a crash course in modern rugby rules, which no longer have much to do with the way in which we once thrashed around at school in Grafton [where we played 13-man League, not 15-man Union].

Once upon a time, when a player was about to kick a penalty or attempt a transformation after a try, they hadn't yet invented those plastic support gadgets. So, a team-mate had to lie on the ground alongside the ball and hold the top of it in place with an outstretched index finger. Now, that's the kind of service that I would be perfectly capable of rendering if only I had thought of asking Connolly to hire me in the match against Canada. What's more, I'm sure that some of those Canadian guys speak French. In close encounters, in scrums and rucks, I could have muttered all kinds of dirty insults at them in French, and this would have surely upset the Canadian team. In any case, those bloody Canadians would have been completely destabilized to find an Aussie opponent wearing glasses. I tell you, if ever it's a close match next Saturday, Connolly will certainly regret that I didn't think of asking him to invite me to play.

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