The press always know best...

So we saw the inaugural  Champions Cup this weekend, and according to the British press (excluding the BBC who shamefully ignored both the European finals this week) Steffon Armitage just pipped Nick Abendanon in the battle of the players who should be playing for England.

This blog/rant is inspire by something I noticed on Twitter when I saw a 'reporter' I follow on Twitter comment in the first half after Abendanon made an error "That's why he won't play for England, there are too many holes in his game".

Some time later, after the former Bath man got a great try same reporter, "Abendanon has to go to the world cup, he offers something no-one else does in the 15 shirt"

erm....

That made me think back to the night before, listening to the radio and following the European Challenge cup on Twitter.....

There was also a guy - He writes for Rugby World, I believe, that during the ECC final with Gloucester v Edinburgh that tweeted about Jonny May 'tripping himself up' to cost Glaws a try after a stunning 70 meter break, and basically stated that's why he had been discarded by England.... failing to notice the insanely good ankle tap that bought May down, and also never mentioned that May got Man of the match at any point.

I'll also pick on a phrase I read by an amateur reporter - I'll paraphrase, because I can't be arsed to trawl my timeline to find it. Feel free to look yourselves though...

"Twelvetrees throws a pass straight in to touch, don't forget, this guy is still in the England squad!"

My response was simply "Yawn"

As said Tweeter answered with " Sorry, but it annoys me he keeps guys like Eliot Daly out of the England squad!" (Well, he doesn't. Daly hasn't to my knowledge ever played at 12, so he's covering an entirely different position!)

By the time I responded to that, Billy had scored a cracking try for Gloucester, which capped a great performance by him as he led his team by example, in what were testing circumstances, to win the European challenge cup, they were also unbeaten in Europe this season, by the way. But he did throw one pass dead whilst trying to set his winger through a gap, so clearly he's shite and Lancaster (and Gatland, for the Lions) are clueless to select him.

On the subject of Billy T....

Last week on ITV's Premiership roundup show....

David Flatman (one of my favourite pundits, usually) discussed how Kyle Eastmond is an amazing talent, covering the fact that he threw a few bad passes, but it was only because he was trying to unlock his backs.

Fast forward to the Gloucester v Newcastle highlights, which saw a brilliant comeback by my beloved Cherry and Whites to pip Newcastle, Billy bagged 2 superb tries, but was the only player from either side singled out for being poor, in a winning effort, and he was pulled up for..... throwing a few bad passes.

So.... Eastmond does it, it's because he's trying too hard, but credit to him for trying to make things happen, Twelvetree's does it, he's crap (despite the 2 tries and the win!)

 

So why do the press focus on the negatives of certain players, but not on others?

I've blogged about this before. It really annoys me. Focussing on the negatives accentuates them to everyone watching/listening/reading and forces false opinions on people. Back to the original mentions, Steffon Armitage HAS improved in France, Abendanon IS on insane form and I understand fully that the press love them (or love stirring the pot) but the options in the positions are already endless, just look at the back row options....Matt Kvesic, Tom Croft, Tom Wood, James Haskell, Callum Clark, Maro Itoje, Chris Robshaw, Ben Morgan, Billy Vunipola, Dave Ewers, Thomas Waldrom, Nick Easter, Sam Burgess..... I could continue....

Steffon and Nick KNEW that moving abroad, with the luxury lifestyle and fat bag of cash they get in France, would effectively end, or postpone if they were to move back, their international ambitions, form isn't the 'exceptional circumstances'  that would allow their introduction to the squad, and if form did qualify you to breach the in-house rule on selection, what's to stop all the guys mentioned above leaving the Premiership for the Top 14? Who would you rather pay your money to watch in the premiership? The likes of Itoje, Ewers, Kvesic (who are likely to all get caps over the next season or 2!) the cream of young English talent, or some of the fringe players or cheap foreign imports? Why should we open the doors to losing our best youngsters from Premiership to the top 14? We (England) don't need Armitage or Abendanon. There are players of the same or similar calibre waiting for their chance in the Premiership. Both already have England caps, and neither have left memorable impressions with the red rose.

There are also players who have turned down moves abroad to keep themselves in the international picture, guys like Hartley, Cipriani, Lawes.....

The press have their own agenda, and that's to sell papers, or subscribers, or draw readers in for advertising revenue - a wise man once said Controversy Creates Cash.

I just wish so many people would make their own conclusions, rather than follow what the press say.