Sunday 19 Aug 2018 | 06:27 | SYDNEY
Sunday 19 Aug 2018 | 06:27 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Rugby diplomacy

11 October 2011 17:18

Anton Kuruc writes:

There have been a few posts about sport as a metaphor for diplomacy and international relations. Whilst your commentators have focused on the Rugby World Cup, they seem to have missed the International Defence Rugby Competition, where rugby is the diplomacy. A fascinating mix of countries have attended this brainchild of CDF General Hurley and organised by some former members of the Rugby-Infantry fraternity including Glen Crosland and Bob Weir.

On Sunday, Canberra turned on a spectacular day for what I imagine was the inaugural ADF Services Rugby Union (ASRU) match versus the People's Liberation Army of China 1st XV. It was a physical spectacular watched by an enthusiastic crowd which included General Hurley, former Wallaby great Stephen Larkham and a vocal Chinese support section – many of whom were no doubt watching their first ever game of rugby.

The Chinese fans willed on a very large and powerful Chinese team that relished the physical contact even if they lacked some of the finer skills and seemed to be playing to some rules which have been recently changed. In the end the skill and robust attitude of the ASRU team let them convincingly beat a gallant China.

If there is one thing that we can take away from this bit of Defence rugby diplomacy it is that the US made a mistake in not sending a team to a tournament well represented by rugby-mad Pacific Islands teams like NZ, Tonga and Samoa. We can probably look forward to some more Chinese Defence rugby diplomacy in the Pacific in the near future. The US had better make good on its promise to support the IDRC 2015, which will be played concurrently with the next Rugby World Cup. The Chinese have clearly trumped the US by participating in the inaugural IDRC.

And to all of The Interpreter's Kiwi readers – go the Wallabies.

Photo courtesy of the International Defence Rugby Competition.