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May 21, 2013

Armitage, the wave and the s*** book

on 05/21/2013

Delon Armitage dives over for Toulon's try in the Heineken Cup final © Getty Images

Delon Armitage has shown himself to be an impulsive clown on many occasions, most recently by waving at an opponent in the Heineken Cup final. Unfortunately for him, Armitage has enemies with keyboards just waiting to pounce.

Brian Moore, one-time master of winding up opponents, advocated violence as his response of choice. Which is obviously far more acceptable than a cheeky little wave.

Armitage's wave was unnecessary and very easy to spot as he approached the try line. Moore, who condemns the hypocrisy of others countless times in the 's*** book' at which Armitage later had a rather feeble pop, had the luxury of close-quarter encounters to bait his opponents, unseen by the cameras.

Moore's playing career is littered with tales of violent conflict, sometimes without obvious cause. Just read the 's*** book' for examples, the 1989 Lions tour and the 1992 France v England match to name a couple. Whiter than white, Brian? Probably not.

As a player, Moore loved to get under the skin of his opponents. Now, almost 20 years after retirement, he's still at it, provoking Armitage to a furious reaction.

One of the enduring mysteries of rugby union is the thugs/gentlemen relationship. The violence frequently dished out during Moore's time, and to a lesser degree now, was often pre-meditated, dangerous and yet considered an acceptable part of a contact sport. A mildly disrespectful raising of one hand, however, is seriously bad.

The 's*** book' is actually a damned good read, but the carping about others' hypocrisy looks a bit thin now.

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Comments

Posted Andy Jensen on 05/26/2013

Yes, of course BM is a boorish hypocrite and DA is a crass thug. Who didn't know these things already?

However, the waving 'incident' (are we really talking about this?) was nothing more than showmanship on a grand stage. As a grassroots player, ref, fan and player parent I've seen it and more for decades at many levels of the game. It's not new or malevalent or the influence of soccer. This instance of it has just been blown out of proportion by the media's spotlight.

Posted Brian Knadd on 05/22/2013

Brian Moore, what looks thin is your sense of reason. Empirical evidence suggests that you commentate and criticise based upon the experiences of "your day". Now, all off a sudden you want to live in the present and play by today's rules. Make your mind up, you cannot imply that the game of Rugby has traditions of decency and etiquette that should not be transgressed and then go on to comment that "There is no point in pointing to my day" in your statement, where is the sense?

In "your day", hearts and minds were won on the turf by violence, something you have demonstrated still lives deep within your makeup. Today, the mental battle is won in different ways, a wave to the try line maybe? But then you know all this, so why all the rubbish?

What is it with you and the ability to write? Something deep rooted there, maybe I'll buy that s**** book after all!

Posted Paul on 05/21/2013

I suppose if you feel the need to analyse things to the Nth degree, sooner or later you'll miss the point completely. Waving at opponents and tarty swan dives when scoring a try isn't about intimidating your opponent to gain a mental advantage, it's about showing off and being arrogant. So I fail to see where Brian is being a hypocrite in criticising the wannabe soccer-player.

As a fan I don't want to see it - and as a Sarries fan in particular, that goes for Chris Ashton's poncy moves too. Rugby is a team sport and if you're the player lucky enough to score a try, chances are you've managed that because of the efforts of at least half your team. So dancing around in the goal area like a cross between Billy Eliot and Graham Norton is not only un-rugby-like, it's also disrespectful to your team mates who absorbed bone crunching tackles to set you up.

Now I'm off to buy a book...

Posted Sonny on 05/21/2013

Brian Moore.... Lost it!

Posted Pete on 05/21/2013

I agree with Brian, the "taunt" was disgraceful and is not in the spirit of the game, rugby is already becoming more and more like football and we (the fans) don't want that. Saying that however, Brian should be aware that criticising players for a "wave" and then expecting others not to point out how he played is just not going to happen. That's what happens in all walks of life (look at politics! - Tories are still being blamed for the "Thatcher" years)....fair enough criticise and speak your mind but don't expect others not to "point out" comparisons.

Posted Brian Moore on 05/21/2013

What looks thin is your power of analysis over this and a gradually increasing disrespect for officials and fellow players at the top end of the game. Apart from failing to mention the act was condemned by other former internationals and players you fail to see that the emergence of taunts, pats on the head, ludicrous try celebrations is a path with only one end; see where football has gone.

There is no point in pointing to my day; we are not in my day and we didn’t get well paid and sign contracts with disrepute clauses.

If you say my career precludes me from commenting on today then any retiree without an entirely blameless career, which is virtually nobody, cannot comment thereafter.

I still have contact with every level of the game, from Lions to junior rugby and Minis and I can tell you that the day after Armitage did his mocking wave it was copied in school games and at rugby festivals, causing trouble and stern warnings.

By the way the last sentence is wrong. Read it.

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Writer Bio

Richard SeecktsRichard Seeckts’ rugby career consisted of one school match where he froze on the wing and despite no substitutes being available he was withdrawn from the game at half-time for mocking the opposition’s line-out calls. Thereafter Richard and the sport agreed active participation was not the way ahead, but that has not prevented him from avidly writing about and watching the game. He now contributes his random observations to the Crooked Feed blog on ESPNscrum.com

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