Saturday, September 15, 2012

Treviso-18 Leinster-19

When I write these match reports I feel it's not just important to explain how things went on the rugby pitch, who scored what try and when, who had an off-day and who played out of their skins.

Over time I'm hoping this blog will serve as an archive to give people a sense of how we felt as Leinster & Ireland supporters after a given weekend.

Clearly, we can't even begin to know what the past couple of days have been like for the Spence family. But what we definitely can do is show a sense of unity as a wider rugby community at such a difficult time.

No doubt there will be a minute's silence before Leinster's Pro12 match against Edinburgh next weekend, and I have heard from a few different sources that afterwards some fans plan to begin a chorus of the Ravenhill anthem “Stand Up For The Ulstermen” around the ground (similar is to be done in Thomond and the Sportsground). I for one feel this is an excellent idea and hope everyone participates.

Of course it is but a small token gesture and our biggest responsibility is to ensure the great game that is rugby union carries on in their honour. It is at times like this when we must show that sport is so much more than just a mere pastime, and that it's supporters share a common bond that unites them regardless of team allegiance or other words, they are themselves a family.


It seems trivial to write about what happened with TG4's coverage of the Treviso v Leinster game on Saturday. Of course events elsewhere would have given those put out by the shambles a major dose of perspective.

However I do feel the need to spell out how I feel about what happened, as reading the numerous comments it seems many have different interpretations.

Since TG4 entered the Irish rugby scene with their coverage of both the Pro12 and the Heineken Cup, there have been complaints from several quarters. Some object to having to listen to commentary in Irish, not because they dislike the language itself, but because they feel that it isn't the time to be promoting culture in such a way, they just want to watch some rugby along with expert analysis they can follow.

Personally I don't think this argument has any relevance to what happened on Saturday evening. If anything, given the way things transpired, we would have been more than happy to watch with commentary in Swahili if that was all that was on offer.

The occasion needs to be highlighted here because it was a monumental PR fail by TG4. I totally understand that they were always going to give preference to the All-Ireland Under-21 hurling final, no matter how the actual public interest compared between the two occasions.

It's just that I'd never have thought that a TV network could manage to find a worse option than not showing a game at all, yet TG4 managed to do it.

But it wasn't the chronic underestimation of the volume of hits their online player would receive that was the problem. It was rather their inability to publicly acknowledge the mistake on the spot, thus giving the impression that nothing was being done about it, that proved to be the biggest annoyance, for me anyway.

It takes a matter of seconds to compose a tweet, and given the coverage was online, this would have been the most obvious medium to use to explain what was going on, yet the apology did not come until well after full time. In fact, it could be said that when it did come it was terse and dismissive.

Once again we must thank the Official Leinster Supporters Club who were on hand in the Stadio di Monigo (more than likely without Wifi coverage) to give us up-to-the-minute reports on the game.

These shortcomings should be highlighted not so that we can drag out our prejudices against this particular station, but that they shouldn't happen again. No business should be able to get away with attracting customers to an event that fails so badly, especially one that receives revenue from both taxpayers (a group which of course includes the rugby fans) and advertisers.

Making amends, at least in some part, would appear simple to me. Just change the schedule and show the match in its entirety at another time. Sunday would have been ideal, yet it seems that did not happen.

Sorry to devote so many words to a TV channel, but since the post is meant to cover events from a rugby match I was only able to watch via a shaky-at-best online stream, they left me no choice. I am in the process of obtaining a copy of the game myself to watch back, and I will amend this post later in the week once I have seen it.

All I can say on this Monday morning is that it was an exquisite line run by Brian O'Driscoll for his try, and this together with a gutsy execution of the game-winning drop-goal by Jonathan Sexton snatched victory from the unlucky Italians. And of course the nature of the restart which led to possession being secured for that drop-goal opportunity to come about cannot go unmentioned either. We also anxiously await today's squad update given the nature of Richardt Strauss' blow to the head though it seems he was able to join his team-mates on the bench before full-time so hopefully the news will be good.

Now I just need to get through the week before heading to the RDS on Saturday evening to both enjoy the game I love and mourn the tragic events of Hillsborough, Co Down with my fellow rugby family-members. JLP

Edit – a further Facebook post & tweet were published by TG4 on Monday morning at 10:15am.

Also this weekend
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