Changing work hours for World Cup

A campaign including a petition has been started to change work hours to better suit the Rugby World Cup.

NZ Herald is promoting this – Push for Rugby World Cup-friendly working hours.

A petition advocating a later start to the standard work day during the Rugby World Cup has kicked off – will you Push Back For Black?

The Push Back For Black petition calls for employers to change their standard working hours to 10am-6pm from 9am-5pm to allow employees to catch early morning Cup matches before heading to work.

NZME radio brands Hauraki, Radio Sport and ZM together with the Herald were among the first to support the petition.

Why is a petition needed? Any business can choose to retain or change their work hours as they see fit.

But I’m not sure whether the Herald is going to change it’s printing or delivery schedule. Delivering newspapers a few hours later may annoy quite a few of their customers.

Herald managing editor Shayne Currie urged other employers to follow suit. “To allow New Zealanders the opportunity to stay up during the night to watch the All Blacks play – or enjoy a full game at home from 7am or 8am – seems the patriotic thing to do.”

Good grief.

Mr Currie may not be aware but with modern media it’s possible to watch games of rugby via recordings, streaming and replays at a wide variety of times.

Then bizarrely:

The campaign comes as an Oxford University researcher claimed that forcing staff to start work before 10am was tantamount to torture and was making employees ill, exhausted and stressed.

Dr Paul Kelley said there was a need for a huge societal change to move work and school starting times to fit with the natural body clock of humans. Before the age of 55, the circadian rhythms of adults were completely out of sync with normal nine-to-five working hours, posing a “serious threat” to performance, mood and mental health.

“Staff are usually sleep deprived. We’ve got a sleep-deprived society,” Dr Kelly said.

“It is hugely damaging on the body’s systems because you are affecting physical, emotional and performance systems in the body.Your liver and your heart have different patterns and you’re asking them to shift two or three hours. This is an international issue. Everybody is suffering and they don’t have to.”

Sleep deprivation has been shown to have significant effects on health. A week with less than six hours’ sleep a night led to 711 changes in how genes function, one study discovered.

Does that mean Kelley and the Herald would recommend that New Zealanders shouldn’t allow themselves to become sleep deprived during the World Cup? That would mean not watching games live but watching replays after 10 am. So then they would have to delay their work until noon.

The Herald and NZME can change work hours for their staff however they like – I’m not sure how that will work with Radio Hauraki – but this campaign seems to be poorly thought through.

It almost seems like a September Fools joke of some sort.

But there really does seem to be a petition –

Work starts when play ends.

Sign-up to our petition to push back the start of the working day to 10am for the duration of the cup.

The battle for rugby’s greatest prize is nearly upon us. But the time difference with England means that majority of games will be shown early in the morning back here in NZ.

Many of us will be preparing for our working day or will already be at work at the very moment our team need our support.

We say this cannot happen. Let the nation gather in their homes and public spaces to cheer on our boys.

Good grief. Someone must be taking the piss. But this part seems to be true – Sleep expert Dr Paul Kelley wants the business and school day to begin at 10am.

All Black selections

The All Black Rugby World Cup squad is announced tonight at 6.30 pm.

Media are hyping it up as a big event. 3 News is having a half hour special on it.

Most of the squad is already picked. There might be a small number of minor surprises – for the players involved it’s a big deal but in the whole scheme of things it’s fairly trivial.

With three weeks to go until the World Cup starts the hype will continue to exceed the newsworthiness.

All Blacks versus Australia

A great win for the All Blacks last night in the Rugby World Cup semi final.

Very well planned.

Very well executed.

Very well done All Blacks – players, coaches and support staff.

And good on the Wallabies, they did well to get as far as the semi and kept trying gallantly but this was one game and one RWC they just weren’t good enough.

A tribute to Wales

Overall this has been a cracker of a world cup despite disappointing tournaments from England and South Africa – and France despite them reaching the final, and Ireland, Scotland and Argentina being not quite good enough.

We’ll find out tonight which of New Zealand and Australia crash, they will probably mostly judged on this result.

I’ve enjoyed watching the second tier teams in most of the games they have played.

But I’d like to pay tribute to one of the shining stars of the tournament – Wales. They weren’t rated highly coming into the tournament, but they showed on the field that they had the preparation and attitude to make a mark, and they did.

Wales earned much rugby respect in New Zealand, deservedly. Many in the team contributed to this, notably up and coming flanker and captain Sam Warburton, and the team as a whole. Warren Gatland and his coaching team also deserve much credit.

I would have liked to see Wales playing in the final, against the All Blacks of course (through hope rather than expectation), but it’s not to be. A heavy pre-game shower of rain, a momentary tackle mistake, some off target kicking, and the French not quite playing badly enough to lose meant a very creditable but one week early exit for Wales.

Apart from the All Blacks the Welsh team is the only team in the 2011 Rugby World Cup that has not been outplayed in a game (just beaten by a narrow points margin a couiple of times).

I don’t usually feel empathy for the country of origin of my mother’s family, but I almost feel some pride in the boyos. Whatever – I salute some great sportmen and a nearly great team. I think this team’s time will come as long as they learn and grow from this experience.

Why do Kiwis support “anyone but England”?

Last night’s rugby world cup match between England and Scotland demonstrated strong support for “anyone but England”, in this case Scotland. This is partly support for the underdog, and it partly demonstartes a strong Scottish cultural influence in New Zealand. But there is also a strong English cultural influence in the old colony.

Both Scotland and Ireland get strong support from Kiwis. There are many Kiwis with Scottish and Irish ancestry, but that’s only part of the reason – there is a lot of English ancestry here too. There’s even a few Kiwis who still support maintaining links with the Queen of England.

Why do many Kiwis have little or no support for old mother England?

I really don’t know. And I’m an example of this phenomenon.

On my father’s side of the family my grandmother came from Chelsea, a great grandfather emigrated from Liverpool, and a great grandmother was part of the very English emigration to the Canterbury settlement. But I don’t feel like I have any connection with England apart from a historical curiosity. I don’t feel any empathy with England.

I don’t have any known Scottish or Irish heritage (but my granddaughter has a cool Scottish dad!) – but I would normally side with them over England. I don’t know why.

My mother’s parents came from Wales, arriving in New Zealand a couple of years before she was born. However my Welsh empathy only  amounts to a little more historical curiousity  than my Englishness.

My mild natural support for Wales over England is on about the same scale as my natural wish for Ireland or Scotland to beat England.

What has England done to deserve this? A Kiwi disdain of the English arrogance and self appointed superiority? Many UK immigrants to New Zealand wanted to get away from the English class system, maybe it’s a residual of that feeling. Kiwis are more likely to have a favourite “working class” football team than they are a more toffee rugby club (not me though).

England, we don’t hate you, maybe we just like to feel our independence as Kiwis and “anyone but England” is one way of doing this.

Scotland the brave, England the slightly better

England have confirmed a place in the Rugby World Cup quarter finals after beating Scotland last night in their final pool match. It was not a pretty game, as expected it was a dour arm wrestle.

Scotland put up a brave performnce. They won the first half with a brave committed performance, missing less shots at goal than England. They held on grimly through most of the second half but just couldn’t finish off, lacking penetration and not getting enough shots at goal.

England had another poor start, making basic errors at the breakdown and missing a number of shots at goal – Wilkinson is not as reliable as he used to be. But whatever they were told or whatever was in what they drank at half time worked, just. They gradually gained a small amount of dominance in the second half, managed to kick a few points and claw back on the scoreboard, and scored the game’s only try near the end which was the clincher.

A couple of morals:

  • brave is hard to sustain for eighty minutes without enough penetration
  • even in dour, close fought matches tries can still be the difference between winning and going home early

So Scotland leave the tournament, and England move on to the quarters to try and grind their way forward.

England is noticeably different depending on which first five (fly half) they use. Wilkinson means a kicking game, even though his radar has been wobbly all tournament – he can’t blame last night on the indoor Otago Stadium. He is also a staunch defender, being prominent in cover. Flood is goal kicking better but the England backline also looks far more likely to excite – and score – when he’s in the pivot position.

Englands knockout tactics will be obvious by their first five selection.

Bad luck Scotland, you had many Kiwi hearts and hopes on your side.

Good on you England, you did just enough.

“Is NZ a nation of poor sports?”

No. Don’t diss all Kiwis because of a few lager lubricated loudmouths!

There have been a few news reports on TV and in newspapers about unsporting incidents during the Rugby World Cup. INCIDENTS. Blown up by media. Like the run of “poor Quade is being picked on” stories.

Not widespread behaviour.

The Otago Daily Times adds to the generalisations:

Racist taunts, abuse, spitting: is NZ a nation of poor sports?

Anxiety over the performance of the All Blacks is behind some New Zealanders’ poor treatment of opposition fans, a University of Otago academic says.

Dr Mark Falcous, of the Dunedin-based School of Physical Education, was responding to comments posted on concerning the behaviour of New Zealanders towards English rugby supporters.

Those comments came after a reader-generated story entitled “New Zealanders hatred of the English”, and earlier this week the New Zealand Herald reported Australian fans had been spat at and were subject to vitriolic abuse by their New Zealand counterparts.

Is the ODT a paper of poor news reports? Or is it just a minority?
Maybe there are few affected by “anxiety” but they seem to find something to be anxious about every game. There are loudmouths at just about any game of rugby, abusing the referee and abusing the visiting team of the day whether it be Canterbury, Auckland, Australia or England.

The article lists a few unsporting incidents but if you look hard enough you will see the key statement:

The majority of fans were well-behaved and supportive, but the vocal minority –
including four middle-aged men at Sunday’s game – spent their
time abusing players…

I sat beside an English couple at the Argentina-England game and had friendly conversations throughout the game. There was one loudmouth along the row a bit, otherwise the English, Kiwi and Argentinian supporters in the vicinity were very good sports.

I don’t think poor behaviour is due to All Black anxiety, especially at games not involving the local team. There’s a few boofheads in any crowd.

One person in a hundred can give us all a bad name the way things get over reported. Maybe it’s up to the good sports amongst us to speak up and tell the abusers they don’t just reflect badly on themselves.

Which seems to be happening…

Are we abusing Australian Rugby World Cup fans?

Australian and New Zealand readers, both here and abroad have responded strongly to a report in yesterday’s Herald and about the verbal abuse an Australian couple received from Kiwi rugby fans at last Saturday’s Ireland versus Australia match.