Do we need to draw up some little behavioural codes for those who watch schoolboy rugby? I came across one which I shall repeat at the end. A morning watching at a junior school prompted some thoughts on the matter.
The Under-10 teams are playing. One one side of the field is a tall man with a cap. He is about seven metres on the field and he is shouting instructions at the little boys playing a game of rugby.
An elderly lady, obviously a player's grandmother, says to the man: "You should not be shouting at the boys like that, and you're on the field."
A much younger lady near the tall man rounds on the elderly lady and tells her to be quiet as her husband is the coach. (That is a translation of what the young lady said because there was a liberal use of foul language in her loud screech which took no notice of others standing around.)
On the other side of the field a father shouts: "Tackle him. Don't kiss him. Kissing's for afterwards."
I walk home, carefully around the field as I was taught at school and going around the back of the dead-ball line, see two eager coaches standing in in-goal. They greet me and clearly think I am funny-mad when I say: "I thought the field was sacred to the players."
Of course, much worse things go on as people shout abuse and even come to blows on the edge of a field where schoolboys play and behave.
I thought that perhaps we could have a campaign to encourage better manners and behaviour.
I watched the World Cup and saw a player reach down and help an opponent up. I also heard crowds repeatedly booing a player - in match of match in ugly monotones.
I watched teams get together after matches at Craven Week and give three cheers for the referee, which for years and years was a custom at all matches in the Western Cape. I heard non-players hurl abuse at referees at the World Cup, reaching near hysteria in South Africa when the Springboks were knocked out.
The ill manners at rugby is mostly a nasty waste of time. It changes nothing - not even that tall coach's shouting at his players achieved much except to make the small boys nervous and take from them a chance to enjoy the rough-and-tumble of rugby.
We have lots of people who write comments on our site. Some of them, like booers in dark stands, use anonymity to be nasty to others. Perhaps we could use this forum this time to make suggestions of what to include in a document encouraging good manners for those on touchlines at schools matches.
As a basis here is one I picked up at a Western Province school.
Playing rugby is part of the boys' educational process and we ask that all our spectators help to make this a happy morning's rugby for players, referees and spectators by enjoying the games in a positive spirit.
In order to ensure an enjoyable day of rugby for everyone we ask that ...
* All spectators stand outside the playing area
i.e. beyond the touchline or behind the deadball line.
* Coaches and reserves not to stand in the in-goal area
* Coaches ensure that they, their reserves and other supporters do not encroach on the playing area.
* Referees do not allow play to continue while spectators are within the playing ares
* Spectators are positive in comments directed at players and do not shout at referees.
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.