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!)]
Wales 13 NZ 8 in Cardiff; Their first win over the All Blacks for 50 years. But as of 2014 they had never beaten NZ again in over 50 more years!
For many years the record for the largest crowd to watch a rugby international was the 95,000 that packed into the old Ellis Park ground in Johannesburg in 1955 to watch the ﬁrst test between South Africa and the British Isles. There were also 95,000 present in Bucharest in May 1957 to see France play Romania, although it should be mentioned that the game was actually played as a curtain raiser to a major soccer match!
A record was thought to have been set at Murrayﬁeld in Edinburgh in 1975, when it was reported that a crowd of 104,000 watched the Wales v Scotland international. However, in the end the ofﬁcial attendance was listed as 80,000.
The biggest total of people to watch a test match in New Zealand is the 61,240 who attended Eden Park in Auckland for the fourth test between New Zealand and South Africa in 1956.
For decades the record attendance for a test match in Australia was the 48,898 who came to see New Zealand play Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the third test of 1980. That total was impressive enough considering the lesser place rugby held in the hearts of the Australian sporting public at the time. However being twice world champions in the 1990s helped the upsurge in popularity of rugby union. Coinciding with the rise in rugby’s significance came the building of much larger sports arenas, most notably for the 2000 Summer Olympic Games.
The latest record total for crowds at a rugby test in Australia therefore also became the world’s best. At Stadium Australia in Sydney on July 15, 2000 with the Bledisloe Cup at stake the All Blacks and the Wallabies played in front of 109,878 fans. A year before on the same ground 107,042 had watched the same two teams in action.
At the other end of the scale, there have been many times when ofﬁcials have been disappointed with the size of crowds that have turned out to see major rugby matches.
Easily the tiniest crowd to watch a signiﬁcant rugby match would have been the few dozen people who stood about on the sidelines of Owl Creek Polo Ground in Glenville, in upstate New York, for the match between USA and South Africa in 1981.
To avoid anti-apartheid protesters and prying news media, the two teams traveled in secret to a destination which only a few ofﬁcials knew about. They also had quietly scheduled the match to begin 24 hours ahead of its planned playing time, and goal-posts were only erected (by the players of both teams) ﬁve minutes before kick-off. When the teams ran on to the sloping, muddy and manure-smelling ﬁeld, 60 state police leapt from unmarked cars to guard the event, but they cannot be claimed as boosters to the total attendance ﬁgure of 25!
Had there been a scoreboard at the ground it would have shown a ﬁnal score of South Africa 38, USA 7. Perhaps this was the only international where there were more points scored than people attending.
One of the South African players in the game, Thys Burger, claims some sort of world record. He says he helped put up the posts; when the game started he acted as touch judge for a time, then he came on to play as a substitute and finished his day by scoring a try between them!
What was unique about the Hastings brothers, Gavin and Scott, when they made their debuts for Scotland?