The arts graduates at The Guardian don’t get sport either

From Comment is Free:

Harry Wilson’s grandfather won £125,000 when the rugby player went on for Wales – and he’s not the only one placing a punt on his progeny

From The Guardian’s actual report on the issue:

The jubilant grandfather of young football star Harry Wilson is set to bank £125,000 after betting the teenager would play for Wales – back when Harry was a toddler.

The 16-year-old Liverpool academy star made his international debut last night – scoring a big win for his grandfather the moment he came on as a substitute.

Yes, yes, we know, rugby football and association football. But the subeditors are supposed to be the all knowing experts who understand the differences between such things. Not, as here, the people ignorant of the difference who then screw it up.

And seriously people, there’s no way that a 16 year old is going to be allowed into an international rugby match*. Just not got the heft for it to be safe for them to do so.


*There are colts teams and all that but you know what I mean.

23 thoughts on “The arts graduates at The Guardian don’t get sport either”

  1. You’re probably right re 16-year-olds and Tests, Tim, though it’s not inconceivable – George Ford played for Leicester at 16, and kids are bulking up earlier these days.

    The Guardian is written by idiots, why should the subs be any different?

  2. It seems that certain journos and readers don’t know the similarities between sports either. An article yesterday about Australian rugby players in a Machester nightclub was met with a torrent of, er, corrections from readers explaining that they were Rugby LEAGUE players; not Rugby players.

    Thirteen Englishmen are about to line up opposite those Australians and find out whether or not they’re truly rugby players; I think I already know the answer.

  3. I suspect the Kangaroos will win, but it’s not a foregone conclusion.

    Aussie sport is disintegrating before our eyes, sadly.

    Basically, since everyone else started throwing money at sport (whcih was their secret – taking it seriously).

    They’ll always have AFL, though.

  4. Aussie sport may be disintergrating; Aussie Rugby League isn’t. The money now sloshing around the NRL is, by rugby standards, astonishing. The irony is, the UK players bought by NRL clubs for that money give England a chance.

    Which leads us on to the fascinating story of Sony Bill Williams: RL as a teenager, RU World Cup winner with the All Blacks, signs again for RL in Sydney to win the Grand Final and play in the RL World Cup, back to Union in 2015 in time for the Union Wrold Cup and the Rio Olympics. Oh and he’ll picl up his boxing career again when he’s done with Rugby. Smart guy; even smarter agent.

  5. He is a bit of a freak, but given that he won’t actually achieve anything in heavyweight boxing he’s essentially just a very good player of both rugby codes.

    It’s not a foregone conclusion that he’ll make it into the AB’s squad for 2015, though I wouldn’t put a lot of money on him failing.

    But there have been others who have done what he’s doing – John Bentley, for instance, started in union, went to league, came back to union when it went pro (and played, of course on the 97 Lions tour), and then went back to league.

    Jiffy Davies went RU – RL – RU.

    The main difference now is professional union, so that the clubs or the national unions can usually afford to hang on to players (and which is why there’s been more RL – RU movement, where in the days before professionalism it was almost all the other way for obvious reasons).

    Israel Folau (RL, AFL, RU) is the only three-code man I can call to mind?

  6. Being Heavyweight Champion of NZ isn’15:00:44 much to shout about, that’s true.
    I think the point here is we will see players siging 2-3 year contracts and jumping around to pick the big events. RL’s world cup is the. Event that gets it at least back in the game; certainly not winning it in the Northern Hemisphere.

    P.S. The thought of an arts graduate at the Guardian running around brings out the bigoted sports-jock in me.

  7. There’s quite a few AFL players who’ve gone on to be kickers in the American pro gridiron leagues, not sure if any of them played another code as well. Plus there’s Jeff Wilson, who managed to be an automatic pick in both cricket and rugby.

  8. The real freak was/is Brad Thorn: played league for the Brisbane Broncos and Australia, won everything there was to win, switched to union but declined the All Black jersey on the grounds that he wasn’t 100% committed to the code! went back to league for a couple of years then returns to union and asked “Hey, that All Black jersey still going?” Yup, it is, and please win 60 caps and a World Cup.

    The difference between him and Sonny Bill is that he is genuinely world class in both codes. Sonny Bill is barely an international centre, and sometimes didn’t even start for his provincial side. Given who else the Kiwis have, I doubt he’ll pull on an All Black jersey in a serious match again, unless somebody is being pressured to play him for marketing reasons. Sonny Bill did almost nothing in the World Cup that he won, Thorn was instrumental.

  9. Tim Newman, Israel Folau (current Wallaby fullback) has done the AFL, league and union thing.

    As a Sydneysider I lived in Melbourne in the early 90s for a couple of years. In those days, ignorance about anything rugby was a badge of honour for Melburnians as an anti-Sydney thing. Getting confused between league and union was compulsory. Even the newspapers would get them muddled. Liking either of them was treason.

  10. Adrian

    I sat in the “Public Stand” at the Gabba for an Ashes test once – oh what fun for a Pom . The Queenslanders around me were quite insistant on referring to Aussie Rules as “Kick & Giggle”.

    So it’s not just us class conscious Poms who are ignorant.

    On NZ cross coders: Jeff Wilson, had to choose between Rugby and Cricket; chose Rugby, Martin Crowe, had to choose between Rugby and Cricket; chose Cricket and his cousin Russell Crowe, needs to choose between being a film star, owning a Sydney RL club and bonking the mum of our RL internationals. Leave our women alone!

  11. Tim Newman – good shout with Brad Thorn, and also Brian Carney.

    Dual code wise, you’d have to include Jason Robinson as being in Thorn’s class ie world class in both codes; he didn’t go back to league, but he could have done.

    Sonny Bill, though – quick, massive, soft hands, great step. What’s not to like.

    I said he’s not a shoe-in, but assuming Nonu doesn’t make it he offers them bulk off the bench, and (assuming and people either stay in or come back to NZ) picking two from Conrad Smith, Ben Smith, Saili, Kahui and SBW isn’t too shoddy, with people like Ellison and Ranger on the fringes.

  12. Nah guys. Finest code international ever; Craig Gower. Not for anything he did on the pitch (though to be fair, he really can play) but for the most outstanding Wikipedia entry I am ever likely to read. Truly the Ted Bundy of international sport.

  13. @ Ironman
    “Being Heavyweight Champion of NZ isn’15:00:44 much to shout about, that’s true.”
    Presumably you would be happy to take him,on over 15 rounds?
    Admittedly winning a championship in a small country *may* be less taxing than in a big one – it all depends on the opposition. You could say that Yohan Blake is only second to Usain Bolt among Jamaican 100 metres runners. One of my friends won the Kenya heavyweight ABA Championship a year after boxing *light-heavyweight* for Oxford – but I was not allowed into the ring with him. although we can assume that Chris would have done his best not to hurt me and I *was* allowed to spar with the local ABA heavyweight champion and the Oxford heavyweight, who had already won a national ABA heavyweight championship as an undergraduate,

  14. Just realised I left off a word in my earlier comment. Jeff Wilson was an international class basketball player as well as rugby and cricket.

  15. Sonny Bill, though – quick, massive, soft hands, great step. What’s not to like.

    Quite. I do like him, he was partly what got me following Canterbury. He is a shit boxer, though. The farce against Botha showed him up for what he was in the ring.

    And yes, Jason Robinson was world class in both codes, although I put Thorn’s achievements ahead on the grounds that the lock position is so basal different in each code. A winger’s job is much the same in both.

  16. Good spot on Gower, never rated him as a hooker and always thought that with Kieron Cunningham (or even Terry Newton) this was a position where we had the edge over the Kangaroos. Funniest thing about Gower for me was when the Kangaroos were looking for any excuse to pull out of playing in the UK post 9/11, Gower cited landmarks which might be subject to terrorist attacks as a reason to worry about playing there – in particular the Eiffel Tower!

  17. John77

    I once read that the way to beat Mike Tyson in the ring was to stay away from him in the early rounds. I immediately thought “that makes me the ideal candidate to take him on, because I could stay away from him forever”.

    So Sonny Bill, let me at him.

  18. So Much For Subtlety

    And seriously people, there’s no way that a 16 year old is going to be allowed into an international rugby match*. Just not got the heft for it to be safe for them to do so.

    David Campese played his first international Test when he was 19. But he had been playing First Division Rugby for three years prior to that in Queensland. Now, that is not international rugby, but it isn’t nothing either. He would be safer playing in some international matches I would think.

    And what is odd about this, for anyone who can remember Australia’s Golden Age, is that he was not a bruiser. He was fast and quick on his feet, not muscled up. In fact in his very first test he uttered the famous “Stu who?” comment and so the All Black (yep – first Test was against the All Blacks) pack was determined to introduce him to some Kiwi hospitality, but they couldn’t catch him. He was that quick.

    He also chose rugby over another sport – golf.

    Sportsmen should have everything they need to play another sport. The fitness for instance and, I would think, the discipline. They already know what it takes and are willing to do it. But so few of them actually manage to cross over. Perhaps they do need 10,000 hours of practice. Or perhaps genes play a role in the type of sport you do well at. It is hard to think of many people who have successfully crossed over except to the limited extent of Union to League (or these days the other way and back again). Take Michael Jordan who tried to take up baseball. You would think he would have been a natural – I mean, have you seen what fat slobs most baseball players are?

  19. Dennis Compton and others played football and cricket. Gary and Phil Neville could have played cricket, at least for Lancs (it is said).

    Compton did and Neville didn’t because of professionalism – better opponents, more pressure, more fixtures now than then.

    Michael Jordan’s skills were athleticism and handling/passing a ball. This is nothing like baseball – doesn’t prove he couldn’t have succeeded but it’s as likely he’d have been good at golf. He’d probably have made a decent RU lock! Imagine him in the line out – no need for jumpers, two more guys in the line.

    The reason rugby players can cross and others struggle is simple – professionalism is greater in all sports and you just cannot compete against people who’ve been playing pro anything for 10 years just because you have talent. RL and RU are far more tranferrable – as TN tightly points out especially in the backs.

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