When you’re in a hole….

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The cancellation of the rugby match between Ireland and France at the weekend was a fine example of poor crisis communication, and like all crises the signs of an impending problem were there for all to see well in advance.

As the Daily Telegraph article today about this says, many people had questioned the wisdom of an evening kick off in February at a ground without under pitch heating, but the French Rugby authorities refused to change their plans.

Inevitably the problem came to a head just before kick off when the game was called off with just 10 minutes to go leaving fans feeling cheated and mislead.

But there was worse to follow. Having failed to plan ahead and assess the risks properly (the root of many a crisis), the French Rugby authorities then kept the world’s media waiting for a statement (with deadlines looming) before finally saying they would make no comment.

I wonder what the French for  “When you’re in a hole… stop digging” is?

The RFU’s handling of off field stories at the Rugby World Cup

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There’s a long tradition of  salacious stories being generated around any touring side daring to take on the All Blacks in New Zealand and the RFU should have been prepared.

 The New Zealand media are always keen to do their bit to undermine touring sides, and know that by finding and feeding in stories of off field antics they can create instability in a side.

So why weren’t the RFU ready for it? Preparation should certainly have included briefing the players – it’s all very well having a code of conduct – but were they told why, did the PR advisers explain that the Kiwi media would be looking for stories to distract them from the task in hand and would only require the slightest of leads to get the ball rolling with a UK media also enthralled by tittle tattle and scandle.

I suspect not, and why? The answer I am guessing is in too big a gap between players and PR advisers who if they are followers of the game ought to have seen this coming before they even got on the plane.

England winger Mark Cueto hints at this in this BBC interview;


So now they are in firefighting mode, and the headlines are about drunken antics and lewd comments to hotel staff rather than the rugby.

On the other hand – the way they are playing perhaps that was the plan all along!