Something strange has happened to me since I got my new job earlier this year. With the new found freedom of my own office and the internet I’ve had the time to explore the World Wide Web. This has made me do something I’m not particularly proud of… It’s a dark, disgusting secret that I feel I must come out of the closet over… It’s a bizarre phenomenon which actually does make me feel dirty… I, Teh Mite, have begun to look at the BBC 606 rugby pages. Now, for many years I have been surfing rugby-related websites and forums in my spare time and I’d like to think I know a thing or two about them. There are the sublime (TRF), the interesting (Sports Network), the pathetic (northamptonsaints.co.uk/forum) and the Ridiculous (Planet Rugby). These sites are only what they are because of the people who use them. All have their ratios of good members:idiots, the likes of TRF and the SN not being so bad while T’Offys and Planet Rugby attract more magpies then even a Chavs’ sovereign encrusted Bling-Paw. But all of these, even in their darkest hours, cannot compare to some of the bile and drivel that’s brought up on the 606. This got me to thinking; Are all so-called fans of rugby complete idiots? “That’s quite a statement to make “ you may be thinking, but stick with me and you may just get my point. 606 wasn’t always like that. It started life as a nice little website run by BBC Wales with its own sub forums for Welsh, English, Scottish, Irish and International rugby known as Scrum V (as in 5m Scrum, not “Scrum-Vee”). There was a place for everything and everything was in its place. New fans to the sport had an opportunity to learn from some members who’s quite literally seen it all (including some of the 5,000,000 Munster-men that so far have claimed to see the region beat the All Blacks in 1978) while the older heads had somewhere to discuss the finer points of the Quinnell family scrimmaging techniques. Everybody found what they wanted, more or less, and kept to themselves. It was all very friendly and civilized, all be it dull, just like most things from Auntie. Then something terrible happened… The BBC streamlined everything into their Football 606 format. All of a sudden, the Welsh and the English mingled, the idiots outnumbered the wise, and then finally the Guinness Premiership and the Celtic League suddenly developed this mythical rivalry in the hearts and minds of the hangers on. As everybody in the country is fully aware, the BBC are very one eyed when it comes to their sports coverage; England are the best at all sports and only the club who were crowned Champions last season deserve any coverage. Oh, and Jonny Wilkinson is “da bestest evarrrrrr111!!1!!!1!”… Sorry, I had a 606 moment. Anyway, as the Beeb force feed the opinions that only Wasps, Wilkinson, the Six Nations and the Autumn internationals exist to the casual observer, a strange phenomenon has begun to come to life… The rugby fan who claims to feverishly support England but thinks the word “Premiership” is all about Man Utd or Chelsea and that “Gods own number 10” actually plays every game, every week for Wasps. In other words, they are obsessed with the national team in a sport which they simply don’t understand. Even today, I can quickly find the comments “Harry Ellis is the best SH in the world”, “Lewis Moody is better then McCaw”, “James Haskell is the best Number 8 in the Northern Hemisphere”, “Andrew Sheridan can Prop”, “Wasps are deserved Champions”, “Jonny Wilkinson is still the worlds best 10”, “Lee Mears – most talented Hooker in the country”, “England still need Ben Kay”, “Josh Lewsey is the only valid option for fullback” and “Paul Sackey is a no-brainer selection”. Quite. That’s the problem with those who believe that Country > Club… None of them watch the sport week in, week out and therefore only base their opinions on what the RFUs latest propaganda machine tell them in between the weeks they sit on their hands at Stamford Bridge. The Welsh have a different scenario. They have always been a passionate nation for their rugby, loyal to their local clubs. However now the clubs have all gone regional and former rivals are now supporting the same players, the mentality of “I’ll support any Welsh Region, but Wales comes first” is now common. Because of this great common cause and this mass agreement amongst one-another, all they know how to do is bitch and moan about the Premiership because that’s the only thing anyone has left to say. But even then, they can’t get an argument back because all the England (and England only) fans on 606, using only the information provided via the BBC columnists themselves, know sod all about domestic rugby (as all the dedicated fans stick to the Sport Network or TRF) so only respond with stupid answers further fueling this non-existent rivalry between the two leagues. Then, there will be the Football WUMs and the RL WUMs in the mix, all wanting to throw their two penneth in about “gay” or “slow” rugby is. And, like all good little victims, the 606 boys will respond in equal measure about how “gay” or “slow” Footy and RL are. Oroboris. Ask an American to research rugby and that will be the pap he comes up with. Fresh from the 606 boards. On 606 there are literally 1000’s of active members, many-many-MANY more then TRF, the Sport Network and Planet Rugby combined can boast which does beg the question… Do they represent the majority of us? Do they really show us, the rugby fans, off for our true colours? On the terraces, I’ll often think to myself “why did you say that” about the doughnut behind me screaming about “offside” when the game is in open play, as I’m sure anyone who’s just themselves nodded after reading that also has, and this will be more then just a few times a season, this’ll be every week. When most of the people don’t even know the Laws to the game, how can they comment on the tactics or who’s good at what? And this is on the terrace during a club game, not at Twickenham surrounded those chomping their Cucumber Sandwiches. What it all boils down to, as far as I wish to care, is that the sport is being dumbed down to appeal to the masses. But what’s really probably happening is I, like every other rugby fan, have my own head wedged so far up my own arse that I think I’m smarter then everyone else. So, just like them, I have some really dumb opinions. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to go post a blog on 606 why Wilkinson should be the 1st choice 10 for England in the 2023 World Cup. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.