We have to be careful about rugby 'overkill'
RUGBY needs to be very careful.
There is, at this time of the year, wall-to-wall televised games and you probably can get too much of a good thing.
Of course the people who pay the piper want full value with plenty of advertising revenue – and you can't blame them for that.
But teams from far away used to be a special event, something to look forward to.
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Now we can see them all the time, it may be that our diet is so rich the simple menu is scoffed at and 'new' supporters will want only the best.
Sadly, the more you see of a product, the more likely it is to lose its attraction.
The All Blacks used to be the biggest attraction of all but their scarcity made them bigger than they really were.
They are still outstandingly good, but we might be getting a bit too much of all of the southern hemisphere brand.
England got a bit of a scare when Fiji dominated the first quarter of the game.
That was not at all bad for a side that had hardly practiced together while England seem to have been bonded forever in various team hotels and camps.
Gloucester came out of that game with some credit.
Sharples is clearly a try-scorer and emphasised that with a very good performance.
He has gifts that can be applauded and encouraged, but you will never coach scoring tries.
It is an instinct and a gift, very much like the footballer who just happens to pop up as the ball is begging to be put in the goal.
Anybody who coaches youngsters needs to be ever vigilant in case one of these is around.
If one emerges, use him.
The worst thing you can do is allow him to fester on the wing until the ball comes to him – convince him that he is a winger who tracks the ball wherever it goes.
He might be a tad tired by the end, but he will also have popped up to score many points for your team.
The other plus went to Akapusi Qera, who is improving with every game.
His Gloucester performances have been mightily impressive.
But there will have been a fair few England players who would have felt like they had been in a high-speed, head-on collision; and they were not far wrong!
Fijians are said to be either fishermen or hunters.
The only way I can imagine Qera going for the fishing bit would be to swim five or six miles, find the deadliest man-eating shark, tackle it into oblivion, swim back and fry it with a few chips.
In their absence, Gloucester nearly won at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night.
The Ospreys just about deserved the victory for no better reason than they stuck at it till the final whistle.
Gloucester faded in concentration and the odd high ball that was dropped cost the team dear.
The second string also put up a more than creditable performance when beating Fiji.
They managed to avoid the occasional Exocet rocket that was (perhaps) intended as a tackle and suggested that there is some depth, albeit young-ish, in the squad.