News from the Far Side's chief editor and spiritual leader – the Scarlet Badger – is back to answer calls of distress from around the globe.
News from the Far Side's chief editor and spiritual leader – the Scarlet Badger – is back to answer calls of distress from all four corners of the rugby globe.
It's a well-guarded secret in rugby's inner circles that the NFS guru is also an Agony Aunt to many of the world's top players.
Despite continued threats of legal action and physical violence, the Badger has been working furiously from the safety of a bunker below the NFS Headquarters, replying to letters from his flock.
Do you have a rugby-related dilemma? Send your Uncle Badger an e-mail.
Dear Mr Badger
Please help. How do I convince my coach to give me some game time? We've played two big games this year and EVERYONE got a chance, except me. All the pundits reckon I've got loads of skills, especially on attack, but all I'm good for is keeping the bench warm while this Sideshow Bob look-a-like starts. I think it's because I'm too exciting. We're supposed to be bucks (that's what our team is called) but all this coach cares about is buffalos. The other day I did a side step in training and he shouted: “Hey, what's that blerrie flash stuff? Run straight, boet. Either smash the oke, or kick it. Actually, never mind. Just kick it.” I'm starting to get the feeling I'm like a fish out of water in this team. Like a big fish, maybe even a Shark. When will the sacrificial lamb be given a chance?
P.L, Durban via Mendoza
The Badger says…: Wow, that sounds tough. But you shouldn't be surprised, son. I think the first mistake you made was pitching up at the first day of training in that black and white tracksuit. I know coaches are supposed to be colourblind, but have you considered wearing a blue shirt every now and then? Dreadlocks are back in fashion too, but only if you want to play full-back. If you want to play to play fly-half do not, I repeat, do NOT, attack the gain-line with ball in hand, that'll just upset him even more. When in doubt, just hoof it as high as you can, then it becomes someone else's problem. If all else fails, maybe try buying him a gift. I hear you can get Steve Hofmeyer CDs for a steal these days. Just remember, “'n blou bul tjank nie by die pale nie.”
I've got this new kid in our squad who rates himself as quite a star. I didn't really want him, but my boss said we'd sell lots of jerseys if we signed him. All the journos love banging on about him “eyeing a place in the England squad” but I just want him to focus on making our team first, but you never know if the message is getting through. I'm quite hip, so I gave him a choice, like in the Matrix, you know, with the red pill and the blue pill? I said to him, 'listen son, it's either the red path or the blue path, but you can't strut around here like a rebel, I don't care how many famous girlfriends you've had.' I left him on the bench for the first week, but I'm afraid it's just going to push him into causing trouble. I was forced to bring him on, and he was pants. How do I handle this?
The Badger says…: Hmmm. Even, I'm confused now. So that red path you were talking about…is that the former cherry and white path? I wouldn't want anyone to follow that path, it leads to early exits from contracts in dubious circumstances and stuff like that. Anyway, back to this prima donna. A bit of a fly-boy is he? My mate Steve says we can't all be diamonds, even if you did find that kid in the rough. Or even in Melbourne. By the sounds of it I wouldn't expect him to make too many tackles but he probably won't be around long anyway. It's just a matter of time before he hits the booze, hits the dancefloor, hits the headlines, and you'll be able to axe him. In the meantime, you'll probably have increased the ratio of teenage girls in the fan base by 50 percent. Lovely.
How do I get out of a contract, man? I signed this mega deal in Japan because my mates said it would be awesome. They were like “oh, dude, you're gonna eat so much amazing sushi and play Nintendo all day and score a million tries and all the chicks dress in the skimpy school uniform outfits.” But no one told me this sushi stuff was made of raw fish. Raw fish, man. RAW! Yuk! Plus they actually want me to train. It turns out there are loads of former internationals floating about that have NOT forgotten how to tackle. I gotta get outta here!
Billy Sunshine, Tokyo.
The Badger says…: Mate, you're asking me? You're an expert contract manipulator! Don't you remember how you got out of Oz the first time? But that's besides the point, I say you should hang around for a while. Maybe organise a boxing match, or one of those cross-code bouts… You could fight a sumo wrestler or something. Or even better, you could cross codes yourselves and start karate. I hear your mate Quade is keen to cross codes too. Maybe you could fight each other? How about oil-wrestling? We could get some of those Japanese girls in the school uniforms to strut around between rounds. Awesome!
I've got the worst luck. I was just about to make my fifth comeback for this new club (I really like the colour of their jersey) when some tool comes along and breaks my face – literally – in pre-season game. It's a shocker. I mean, I could probably start playing again quite soon, but I'm not going to be able to pose for any photos for a while. There must be some way I can get back on TV/the front page/back page/ the internet/a magazine cover. What do I do?
The Badger says…: Good thing you like that shade of red because I suspect it's as close to a real Wales jersey as you're going to get. Plus, London is probably a better for fit for your …er…profile than say, I dunno, Cardiff. An exile's life suits you. I hear another returned exile has teamed up with one of your mates further north. They're both quite good at getting into the news too. I suggest the three of you get together, nick a bottle of vodka (each), drink it on a flight somewhere (preferably while slagging off a team-mate) then drive a something inappropriate (maybe a go-kart?) down the busy road. Your profile will go through the roof. Next thing you know, they'll invite to you to dance on TV…