Monday, October 24, 2011

RWC (8)

Well, the Rugby World Cup is over. Most of the world does not care, but the people of New Zealand are happy, because their team beat France to win the final last night.

Everyone now claims that the tournament was a huge success. I call this feel-good economics. If it feels good, it must have been an economic success. The dodgy cost-benefit exercises are now forgotten. The millions of dollars of taxpayer’s money that the government poured into the organisation of the event are now forgotten. The extra millions that had to be spent at the last minute to solve unexpected transport and event centre problems does not matter. The fact that the government is running a budget deficit and had to borrow the money to pay for hosting the cup is irrelevant. We all feel good, so the event was an economic success.

This is like the person who mortgaged his house and spent a month on the best luxury cruise that money can buy. He felt great while he was cruising the Mediterranean, but when he got home he still had a huge debt that he could not afford to repay, and interest payments to make each month. This is feel-good economics at its best.

Another example of people seeing what they want to see was the game last night. The French team was mediocre. They played with passion, but they lacked attacking force. Yet, the New Zealand team really struggled to beat them and at the end of the game, there was only one point between the two teams. If the French kicker had not been injured, his team might have won the game.

This morning the news media are telling a different story. The was a superb win over a magnificent opposition. The coaches are the best ever. The players were all brilliant. New Zealand played courageously and deserved to win.

I don’t know what game the reporters who write these things were watching. In the game that I saw, the New Zealand team played was an embarrassment. They fumbled the ball, threw aimless passes, kicked aimless high kicks, missed important tackles and missed kicks at goal. These mistakes constantly let their French back into the game. The New Zealand tactics seemed to be wrong, with the backs constantly charging at gaps that were not there, then losing the ball. Early in the second half, the coaches panicked and substituted some key players. This seemed to destroy the team’s cohesion, and the lineout and scrum became even more fragile. Up until the last two minutes, the French could easily have turned the score around. The New Zealand players were hugely relieved when they finally won by one point.

Actually, I do know what game the reporters were watching. They were watching the game that New Zealanders wanted to see, and they reported on that game. The people of New Zealander believed that they had the best team at the tournament and would easily win the final. We were robbed at the last few tournaments, so we deserved to win this one. Unfortunately, a bumbling performance did not fit with this narrative, so the news media gave New Zealand the story they want to hear, and now everyone is happy.


Charlotte said...

This is the only sensible article re: the final that Ive read online. The voice of truth cutting across all that absolute (and frankly disturbing)claptrap that seems to fool so many. You seem to definitely have watched the same game as I did! Brilliant piece Ron, thankyou.

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