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!)]
Graham Mourie's touring team was beaten 12-0 by Munster in Limerick; the first win by any Irish team over the All Blacks. And poems, songs, books, films and reunions followed over the years.
Newport and Wales
1 international for Wales 1967
A player who is an example from rugby that because of one mistake made in one game a stigma can be attached to a name throughout a playing career.
John Jeffrey was a 22-year-old student who, in 1967, was selected for the first time to play for Wales in an important game against New Zealand.Sadly for Jeffrey he made a mistake. Early in the second half of a tension-filled game the All Blacks took a shot at goal into a howling Cardiff wind. As the kick came down short of the posts, young Jeffrey kept his appointment with destiny. He caught the ball then flung an erratic pass over his head as the All Black tacklers stormed down on him. The ball flew to open ground and a New Zealander, Bill Davis, following up quickly, dived on it to score.
Wales lost the game 6–13 and the Welsh selectors knew who to make their scapegoat. They dropped Jeffrey from their team and he was never asked to play for Wales in an international again.
Years later there were claims that Jeffrey’s play as a No. 8 was never realistically assessed; many lesser players were given better chances to prove themselves in the international arena. But it is not widely remembered that Jeffrey toured Argentina with the Welsh team in 1968. He also played for the Barbarians on tour in South Africa in 1969 and for them against South Africa at Cardiff in January 1970.
Jeffrey’s inclusion here in this listing is, perhaps, a reminder that the vagaries of selectorial whim and hasty judgments both on and off the field can make or break a rugby player, no matter how good he might be.
How many test matches for Australia did the three famous Ella brothers play, on the field at the same time?