Setting a Rattue Trap

I had hoped to move on from the disappointment of Dublin by now, however I find myself dragged back into the carnage that was England’s efforts on Saturday by the dissemination of the garbage from Rattue in the Irish media and websites.

In addition there was another highly defamatory and inflammatory article from a bloke called Spiro Zavos (no really!) who is stuck in Sydney (the place not a bloke).

Spiro’s headline is ‘Thuggish England get expunged from Test win record’.

Blimey – so England don’t even get to share the record of unbeaten wins now eh Spiro?

Because that’s what expunge means old son – ‘to obliterate or remove completely (something unwanted or unpleasant).’

I think you might find that the record books will disagree with you just a tad – the clue is in the title – record – ‘constituting a piece of evidence about the past, especially an account kept in writing or some other permanent form’

To be honest I’m a bit bored with having to conduct an online English lesson for blokes who get paid to write tripe – yesterday I had to define ‘respect’ for Rattue!

Zavos and Rattue may not like it, but it’s a fact – New Zealand have to share the record with England.

As for thuggish – yes Johnny Sexton was targeted by the back row – as was Wilkinson, Barry John and every other fly half of note – today’s number 10’s are no different.. Even Keith Wood on TV last night agreed that the tackles were hard but mostly legal.

Spiro decreed –

England played in their traditionally thuggish, arrogant, brain-dead, nasty manner. This bully boy approach to all things rugby, unfortunately, has been England’s legacy on and off the field for decades.

Thuggery has mostly been eradicated from the game by the advent of the TMO – but let’s not forget some of the worst instances were not from blokes in white shirts.

Decades by England eh Spiro? – ever see what the All Blacks did to Sandy Carmichael or the spear tackle – off the ball by two players in the first test in 2005?

You want to see thuggery mate – watch the 1971 and 1974 Lions tour videos. And Ronan O’ Gara getting punched repeatedly – again off the ball, in 2001.

You’ve obviously not been on the end of a good shoeing have you? I have and I didn’t whinge – it’s a game of physical contact – you get on with it mate. Although I do admit that I stayed away from the rough stuff whenever possible – sadly I wasn’t very successful (see Getting Hurt’)

Both Rattue and Zavos are serial writers of articles which denigrate England rugby, so the stuff following the Ireland win was only to be expected.

But let’s get a little perspective, commentators in the English media – including Stuart Barnes, Clive Woodward, Lawrence Dallaglio and Stephen Jones have all acknowledged the excellence of Ireland’s win and all agree that England are some distance away from the All Blacks. Barnes says that England would be ‘cut to pieces by the ABs’. Even Eddie Jones agrees we are not close and, for what it’s worth so do I.

Let’s examine Rattue’s claim that England aren’t the number 2 side in the world.

He, quite rightly, asserts that England have only beaten NZ once in the last 15 tests. In fact the All Blacks have dominated England with 32 wins out of 40, overall losing just 7 and drawing once.

Ireland have won once in 111 years – the epic game last year in Chicago. Out of 30 matches, they have lost 28 and drawn one. To equal the England record, Ireland would have to win the next 6 out of 10 matches v the ABs.

Frankly these are stupid comparisons, but then it was Rattue’s basis for his claim that Ireland are the number 2 team on the planet. That and the fact that they have just beaten England and therefore deserve to leapfrog them in the rankings.

Using this flawed logic he should have made Ireland number one when they brilliantly knocked over New Zealand on the 5th November last year (see ‘Remember Remember’)

Rattue says, supposedly ingenuously, that he means ‘no disrespect’ to England, when in fact as everyone knows, when you say that you mean exactly the opposite.

His elevation of Ireland ignores their 6 Nations losses to Wales and Scotland – who just came 4th and 5th (out of 6).


I think I may have  worked out Rattue’s criteria for ranking teams –

  1. It is essential to have an inherent hatred of England
  2. Teams coached by New Zealanders are to have precedent
  3. Teams coached by Australians are to be relegated – and depicted as clowns
  4. See number 1


World Rugby should immediately appoint Rattue as the sole arbiter of the rankings system whilst shouting  “Welease Wattue thenturian!”

Ireland are a very good side who took us to the cleaners on Saturday – the 13-9 score line flattered England to be honest – we were never that close.

They will no doubt supply a large number of players to the Lions squad – quite possibly the largest contingent (as my articulate, albeit pissed mate Harro suggested after Dublin).


Ireland have beaten all 3 SH giants in the last 6 months and may well overtake Australia and England in the next year. When (and if) they do, they will deservedly become 2nd – but that will be on the basis of achievement not because of bollox written by hacks with  super- sized chips on their shoulders and an axe to grind.

I readily concede that I mostly put up a load of bollox here – but I don’t get paid to write it!

The title of this post should really have been ‘Rattue Clap Trap’ or simply ‘Trappy Bastards’

In the interest of balance the NZ Herald did also print this view of the 6 nations yesterday –




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