So, Richie McCaw’s reign as IRB Player of the Year is in its first week – let’s hope the award has the same disastrous affect on his form that it had on Shane Williams and Bryan Habana’s.
Not that I have anything against McCaw as a person, I’m sure he loves his mother, is nice to small animals and respectful to his elders.
And as a player it is impossible to argue against the effectiveness of the 28-year-old whose disruptive displays are as much a feature of All Black rugby as the haka.
But, and this is where the abusive emails start, I can’t help feeling world rugby would be a happier place without McCaw’s seek and destroy style that suffocates opposition play.
There must always be a place in the game for the classic nose-over-the-ball openside that slows down possession and wins his team time to organise their defence, but to my mind there is too much emphasis on turnover ball in the modern game.
I have previously described it as a false god and maintain my belief that there is nothing wrong with structured phase play.
I understand the legislators want to see attacks running at disorganised defences but in empowering the tackler and his team-mate as they have, all they have done is created a problem that was not there.
Yes they have spawned a ruck situation where it is undoubtedly easier to turn over possession. But what then?
Once teams have the ball, the same laws mean they are finding it as difficult to use as the team they have just taken it off.
Hence they either kick it away or get penalised for holding on and the entire rhythm of the game is disrupted.
Such a lack of attacking fluency is one of the reasons why Scotland are deemed to have made such advances this month because it’s far easier to destroy than it is to create.
Which is why the tries have dried up. McCaw’s New Zealand finished second in a Tri Nations competition that manufactured just three per match – down from nearly five in 2008.
England scored once in the autumn internationals, Scotland have not crossed the line for two matches and exciting as it was the Ireland-South Africa match produced just one.
That should have been a clash all about the two form sides in the world with Habana, Brian O’Driscoll and Rob Kearney lighting up Croke Park.
Instead Habana was anonymous and Kearney’s main area of influence was kick returning.
I don’t blame McCaw for the downturn, he’s the only player to have won the award twice, but the law makers have played into the hands of back rowers like him by turning the breakdown – and the game – into a total farce.
So what do they do? Come out yesterday and proclaim there will be no law changes before the 2011 World Cup.
By that time there won’t be anyone interested in watching, far less travelling all the way to the other side of the planet to watch neutered teams play aerial ping pong.
*?Finally, just a message to the supporters, officials and coaches of Coventry.
It is difficult to pronounce on the situation at this stage because it is clearly going to evolve on a daily/hourly basis.
But what will not change is the fact that most of rugby hopes something can be done to save one of the sport’s great names.
It is impossible to imagine there being no Coventry RFC and I am sure there are men of means who feel the same way. I just hope they act swiftly enough for the club to honour its fixtures.