Welcome to the new world
February 13, 2013
Welcome to ESPNscrum's improved Australian and NZ edition%]
After 30 years writing and commenting on rugby you get accustomed to having to adapt, expect the unexpected, plus know how to bob and weave to avoid exploding bombs - usually hurled at you from officials, players and coaches whom you have successfully agitated.
Being used and abused is all part of the territory of a chief rugby correspondent from a metropolitan daily. Your aim is to entertain, inform, provide insights from being so close to the game's main participants, and prick a few over-inflated egos along the way.
But you also have to move with the times. This has involved progressing from using carrier pigeons from isolated international rugby spots to get your copy through, knowing how to charm copytakers as you babble to them on a crackly telephone line from the other side of the world, discovering how to best hurl an uncooperative laptop across a room, the quickest procedure to wreck a one-star hotel room as you try to manipulate the telephone plug so that it will work in harmony with your modem, as well as discovering the most diplomatic way to tell editors exactly where to go when they demand 1000 words in the next 60 seconds. The impact of certain four-letter words is universal.
Now it all revolves around websites; the dotcom phenomena, and instant information.
Once you had a bit of time on your side. You could successfully disappear, as some well-known scribes have done on long overseas rugby tours, ending up in even more exotic locations in search of nirvana. But now in this whirlwind internet age, everything is immediate, sudden. The landscape has changed for the better, and it is so reassuring that I am now with a true master, a trendsetter of the new art - ESPNscrum.
Adding to the excitement is today's launch of the regionalised ESPNscrum website which is focused directly at our many Australian and New Zealand followers. Our aim is to be the No. 1 dedicated rugby site in this region, and with the international muscle of one of the world's most powerful sports brands and networks, we will be coming at you from every angle. Basically rugby fans now have a new heaven on earth: ESPNscrum.
There will be comment, analysis, the latest news, plus a lot of fun and derring-do. All major domestic and international rugby will be covered on the site. Former All Blacks star Jeff Wilson and myself will be regularly providing columns where we will discuss the latest issues.
Also readers of my long-running Ruck'n Maul column will be relieved - while countless officials and players will be decidedly edgy - to discover that it will return on a weekly basis on ESPN scrum.com from Friday, February 15.
And I can guarantee you that in the fine traditions of this cheeky column the first Ruck'n Maul of the year will involve plenty of spice. We have already started a weekly Ruck'n Maul video segment, which also includes Russell Barwick, that can be accessed on the site.
The site will include the famous and authoritative Statsguru database, which for years has saved countless rugby journalists around the world; even at times making them sound authoritative. For a few sentences at least.
There will be head-to-head coverage between our Australian and United Kingdom-based editorial teams for the eagerly awaited British and Irish Lions series. So if you want to know exactly what is going on during this three-Test series, this is the site for you.
On top of that, we have live and exclusive television and digital rights to the Six Nations tournament, as well as video news highlights from all Super Rugby matches and Tests involving the Wallabies and All Blacks.
Stick with us. I can guarantee you will enjoy the ride. Even this fossil has happily strapped himself in.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures
"Our scrums and lineouts are sometimes not that good but our men are very brave." Ken Borland finds that rugby is on the rise in Senegal
Laurie Fisher talks about the Brumbies and Gloucester, and provides revealing thoughts on the player involvement during the glory days in Canberra