I have a confession to make, and Iím not ashamed by what I have to reveal.
Some people may mock, question my sanity and question why I would own up to this, however I am going to say it, I am partial to a bit of Rugby Union.
I can hear the veins popping across the SouthStander.com readership and some of you scratching your heads going "Did I read that right, Mr X likes Rugby Union?". Well I do and here's the reasons why.
To me we are currently witnessing the largest rift between the codes. The Rugby Union boys seem to be aiming at tapping into the Football type market with League & European games being played in Wembley stadium, but the whole package of the sport for me has leaped forward in the last few years with the top flight using our play off system to decide the champions and the European Cup winners.
I have heard a lot of League friends who say Union is 'boring' and 'kick and clap' but to me Union is all about the technical side of the game (winning the mauls, using technical kicks etc) which to me make it exciting. An uncle of mine used to play the 15-a-side code and he would say that League was for the enjoyment of the fans while Union was for the enjoyment of the players, and I can appreciate this point of view.
When Union turned professional in the middle of the 90s the sport learned a lot from League, and 15 years on from the sport changing, I find myself asking if Union could learn much more from League. I suspect probably not. Yes the training, and back room aspects, are probably very useful to top flight teams however in terms of marketing I cant think of a great deal.
In terms of players I would like to see playing the our code, there is one I would have loved to see play our fine sport and that is Shane Williams. A fantastic player for Wales whose pace is something to witness, a great player who had a fantastic attitude over the years (I do have a soft spot for Welsh Rugby Union, they do have a passion for their sport and the National team always seems to be entertaining. As for England, no thanks!).
I'm not trying to convert the masses to follow Union, oh no! But my argument is that it is worth watching our distant cousins to see how their game works, take off the blinkers is my advice and dont worry, Rugby League still is my sport! ... Mr X