An Exclusive! (And A Defence)

30 01 2011

We have an exclusive.

Albeit not much of an exclusive.

We have just seen Lawrence Dallaglio walk past us in the Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi where, in our day job, we are attending an investment conference… It has certainly enlivened what up until now had been a fairly soporific affair and has given us a purpose – that of achieving conversation with the great man – or if not him perhaps simply another professional rugby player.

The reason Dallaglio is out in the Middle East of course is because of this evenings LV= Cup fixture between Wasps and Harlequins which is to be staged in the grounds of the aforementioned Emirates Palace hotel. In the UK and in the media generally, this decision to move the fixture was received with real derision and the inevitable ‘it’s all about the money’ being bandied freely.

The reason given by Wasps, for whom it is a nominal home game, was that they are committed to raising the profile of the sport around the world and this is a platform on which they can do this. Obviously these are merely platitudes at best as they would not have considered it were it not financially lucrative, yet still reasonable enough arguments for a rugby club that needs to stay in profit.

It was the reasons why not given by some of the rugby writers in the UK – notably the Daily Telegraph’s blogger, Eric Janssen – that really irritated though. According to the Janssen, a South African rugby writer, the UAE is home to rugby philistines meaning that there is little point in staging it there. This (as you can possibly tell!) did make the blood boil somewhat as this is far from the case.

Living in Dubai we have to deal with some fairly extreme views and assumptions of what life is like in this part of the world – not least the idea that any expat living in Dubai is a mercenary out to make money and has no real knowledge of anything cultural or sporting. Clearly this is rubbish and we can vouch for the fact there is a very strong and active rugby scene here so, on that level at least, this game will not be wasted.

We sympathise with the supporters angered by the decision to move the game as that at least is a genuine reason yet at the same time are very grateful for the opportunity to watch some high quality and, importantly, competitive rugby. We agree with the consensus that too much of this sort of thing would be a bad idea but the odd game like this surely wouldn’t do too much harm.

We are attending the game and will let you know how it went… Come on Wasps!

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3 responses

30 01 2011
Si

You do realise that if you speak to the great man I will have to strip you of your Best Man title… Only joking, would be a great exclusive for the blog, come on the Wasps indeed – we need to salvage somekind of pride from a very average season so far…

30 01 2011
Bradders

haha. I’ll see if I can get you a picture Si…

30 01 2011
Jonathan

I will be in the crowd, but shouting for Quins!

It makes a nice change to get some competitive rugby. The 7s is great but nice to see a game where us mercenary folk can see the club lads in person.

Time for some posh beach rugby, bring it on!

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