September 12, 2004

In league against us

If you want a chip on your shoulder, get into rugby league. Rugby union and the London-based media will do the rest for you. If it's not the way that club rugby union is always reported more extensively than league, and always comes first on theTV sports roundups - although league, at club level, is actually the better supported of the codes - it's the assumption, over and covert, that union is rugby and can therefore simply be called "rugby", as in Rugby World Cup, as if league didn't exist. There's a particularly grim example running as a Times advert at the moment, where Jonny Wilkinson and Gaby Roslin are debating the status of their different games and Roslin asks Wilkinson whether rugby isn't viewed as not being a game for the workers. It bloody well is in Bradford and St Helens, Gaby.

But I'm not sure "you don't exist" isn't preferable to "can't be bothered". I was watching a roundup on the BBC news this morning where last night's vital Widnes-Castleford game was mentioned. Castleford, the Tigers, were referred to as the Wildcats. The Wildcats are Wakefield. It was claimed that next weekend "only a win against Wakefield will be enough to keep them up" (in fact, it also requires Hull to beat Widnes - and a sufficient combined margin to wipe out Widnes' small advantage in points difference). Finally, when the newsreader asked the reporter, "the Jungle, then - where's that?" she guessed, correctly as it happens, "it's their ground?" before pricelessly admitting:

I don't know. I'm from the South!

I have bought myself a T-shirt saying Rugby League - Too Tough For Jonny. XL, so that it fits my shoulders.


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