x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Movie personas could liven up bland post-match interviews

If you watch only one thing on YouTube this week, make it the post-match interview of the rugby union coach Brendan Venter from last Saturday.

If you watch only one thing on YouTube this week, make it the post-match interview of the rugby union coach Brendan Venter from last Saturday.

Previously fined for speaking his mind in post-match interviews, Venter decided to make his comments as bland as possible after his team, Saracens, lost to Racing Metro. He answered every question by simply agreeing with it and repeating it. He later admitted taking inspiration from the movie Mike Bassett: England Manager, in which the assistant coach, Dave Dodds, pulls the same trick.

The movie scene is funny but in real life this was a boorish trick, and I felt sympathy for the hapless reporter.

On the other hand, was not Venter only doing what most media-trained managers and players do, albeit doing it in an exaggerated form?

Namely, offering up the contractually obliged 90 seconds of bland cliches and innocuous babble which reveals precisely nothing.

My solution would be to abolish post-match interviews altogether and fill the time with old Bugs Bunny cartoons. It would be far more entertaining. However, the sponsors would not let that happen, so a good compromise would be for all managers to adopt the personas of various movie characters in all future interviews.

Maybe Venter should just watch Jerry Maguire before the next match, and start sobbing "You had me at 'Hello!'" in response to the first question.

And who would not like to see Sir Alex Ferguson as Colonel Nathan R Jessep, from A Few Good Men? "Yous want tha truth about why we just lost to Stoke? Ya cannae handle tha truth!"

In fact, if Sir Alex is doing Jack Nicholson, what better way for him to break his BBC embargo than by crashing through the sponsors' logo backdrop with a large axe, poke his head through the hole and scream: "Here's Fergie!"

That would be better than cartoons.