Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
10 May 2017
One of the first things people say to any rugby commentator is - 'Just how DO you pronounce all those names from all the different countries?'
The answer of course is to research local trends in pronunciation and then simply, 'practice, practice and do yet more practice!' You must say each player's name in any team equally and fairly.
Take the 2017 Fiji test squad for instance - you MUST remember at all times to instantly pronounce the 'c's' in a player's name as a 'th' sound, the 'd's' as an 'In-dee' sound, the 'b's' as an 'Im-bee' sound and the 'g's' as an 'ing' sound.
Well, it's something like that - it's hard to write down on paper. I have only given you the simplest of versions of what I believe is the correct way.
There are other pitfalls and disciplines too.... But hey! Try yourself out with what has been released in recent days. It's fun to try and the Fijian populace will like you more for trying!
So, here you go - Just take a deep breath and swallow through! Pretend you're at a live radio or TV telecast at Suva's National Stadium (remembering at all times that when its 'live on the air' you can't get any of your words back for a second chance) and read these names as quickly and fluently as you can - as if the Fiji team's big squad was on one of their glorious team runs to score! Get it right with no stumbles - and you could be on the way to a new career.
"Campese Ma’afu, Peni Ravai, Joeli Veitayaki, Manasa Saulo, Leeroy Atalifo, Kalivati Tawake, Sunia Koto, Jale Sassen, Tuapati Talemaitoga, Leone Nakarawa, Tevita Cavubati, Api Ratuniyarawa, Sikeli Nabou, Naulia Dawai, Viliame Mata, Nemani Nagusa, Akapusi Qera, Mosese Voka, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Peceli Yato, Nikola Matawalu, Serupepeli Vularika, Henry Seniloli, Ben Volavola, Levani Botia, Jale Vatubua, Eroni Vasiteri, Albert Vulivuli, Vereniki Goneva, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Josua Tuisova, Nemani Nadolo, Patrick Osborne, Timoci Nagusa, Metuisela Talebula, and the try is scored by Kini Murimurivalu!"
So bravo for trying so hard - and doing so well!
[Mind you, if you are of European stock (or of a Celtic background), and you think they'd be an easier commentary problem try 'identifying and broadcasting' at your highest speed the 2017 Welsh team as they rush to score on their upcoming Pacific tour. The Welsh, as you'll see, offer a completely different set of problems;
"It's Aled Davies to Gareth Davies to Sam Davies and Seb Davies; then to Rob Evans and Steff Evans! And finally it's Owen Williams who gives it to Rhun Williams then Scott Williams and Tomos Williams touches down!"
See! No problems at all!' (Perhaps because there's only one Morgan and one Jones also in the touring squad of 32!)]
Arguably he was the slowest back on the field but nothing could stop the flying Mortlock; his try that greatly assisted the Aussies in their 22-10 sensational dispatch of the All Blacks.
Leicester, Harlequins and England
31 internationals for England 1920–27
William Wavell Wakefield was a highly successful player, thinker, innovator and captain. He became one of the world game’s best administrators, becoming an England committeeman before rising to be president of the Rugby Football Union in 1950. He served as a delegate on the International Rugby Board for the seven years up until 1961 and wrote extensively about the game, in his later years becoming a symbol of wise counsel for amateur rugby and its future.
The young Wavell Wakefield was a supremely fit rugby player, winning his 31 international caps as a flanker, lock or No. 8. He first played for England in 1920, when a strong Welsh side thrashed him and 10 other new caps. The selectors persevered with many of the new players, and out of their rising confidence came one of England’s best eras.
The England team, with Wakefield, the brilliant halfbacks ‘Dave’ Davies and Cyril Kershaw, Cyril Lowe the wing, and forwards Tom Voyce and Ronald Cove-Smith, combined to win the Five Nations crown three times in the first four years of the 1920s.
Wakefield played his first 21 internationals consecutively, winning 17 times with one draw. By 1927, when he was hampered by injuries, the highly popular and respected ‘Wakers’ had reached 31 caps – an England record for any position and one that stood until 1969, when it was passed by D.P. ‘Budge’ Rogers.
Wakefield is often remembered as one of England’s best captains and tactical planners. As captain of Cambridge University and England, he insisted on each member of the forward pack undertaking set roles, rather than plodding together from set piece to set piece, as had been the style.
Under his leadership, England’s back row combinations became the first in the world to work together as a ‘team’, which is commonplace in modern times. Certainly he was highly successful. In his seven seasons in the England team he took part in three championship wins, three Triple Crowns and three Grand Slams. It is a tribute to him that those years came to be known in English rugby as the ‘Wakefield Era’.
After his active rugby days he was a Member of Parliament and then became the first Baron Wakefield of Kendal. He died in 1983.
Two of Ireland's most famous players were known as Jackie Kyle and Willie-John McBride; what were the two 'proper' Christian names each man had?