JP14 wrote: ↑
Sun Nov 29, 2020 3:12 pm
Tiglon wrote: ↑
Sun Nov 29, 2020 1:23 pm
jgriffin wrote: ↑
Sun Nov 29, 2020 1:17 pm
It's in the SH psyche to whinge, not just Wales. Gatland carried them onward even as rugby in Wales faltered. It's dying now, and the decades of complacent neglect by the WRU are coming home to roost. Truly heartbreaking - look at all the great clubs on the brink or gone.
Complacency, or the fact that Wales has a population of 3 million compared to England's 56 million? That they can compete at the same level at all is frankly an astonishing achievement.
I personally think that comparison is very flawed, especially considering that since rugby union is the national sport, a very high percentage of the Welsh youth plays rugby compared with England. Yes there is a big financial disparity which probably does heavily favour us, but that's a symptom of Wales' economy as a whole, and would change little even if the WRU was the best administration in World Rugby.
Once upon a time there was rugby in every corner of South Wales. Skills were learnt in school and honed in junior competition and the ones who rose to the top were the point on a substantial pyramid, unlike England where RU was a toffs-led game and although there was a huge reservoir of talent, if you didn't go to the right school etc etc you didn't get a smell. Your Possibles could murder the Probables, up 37-0 at half time, but be rotated out of the trial and never get picked while the Probables from the local independent schools went on to get hammered at regional level (true story BTW). That was the English disease, further complicated by the focus on grunt over talent in coaching, from Rowell and Cooke onwards, and then by professionalisation.
The Welsh were run by a few powerful men, the WRU, who favoured certain clubs (e.g not Neath for many years), selected by 'the Big Three' (I worked with Wyn Williams, one of the anonymous three, in the early 90s), and linked to the movers and shakers of S Wales (the Tafia). And then came deindustrialisation, the growth of football, and a period of decline that ended with clubs failing, the regions, and an even smaller player base. While all this went on, the WRU focused on the national team and papered over the chasms. Wales still produced near-genius players, but rugby had changed (not necessarily to the good), and the money to nurture talent didn't trickle down (unlike in Ireland). Now rugby has shrunk to a small rump of its former glory and the WRU still bask in former glories. Far more kids look to play for Swansea Jacks than Swansea RFC or Ospreys.
Wales do very well from the ruins indeed, but they are ruins. England do barely well from their spurned riches.