Tony McKeever

The air wars: Richie McCaw, the bagpipes, vuvuzela and pukaea

So now that we know Richie McCaw plays the bagpipes, and has Scottish heritage, the Rugby World Cup organisers are being put under pressure from all quarters to lift the ban on bagpipes.

The Scottish media, traditionalists and rugby aficionados want their instrument in the stadiums. This involves Scottish MPs, a Facebook plea, letters to the NZ prime minister, even the Scottish parliament has waded in. Scottish parliamentarian Jim Eadie has said “we need our bagpipes belting out Scottish music to have a fighting chance”.

So there is more than a hint of hypocrisy at play by the organisers here.

If the New Zealanders can play and toot the pukaea, the predecessor of the vuvuzela, before every Rugby World Cup match, why can’t the Scots play their instrument? And why can’t the South African supporters toot the vuvuzela?

You see, a RWC rule bans the South African vuvuzela as nothing longer than 80cm may be allowed into the stadiums! I don’t want to go on about the impressive South African length, of the vuvuzela, but this ban was written to include “umbrellas, vuvuzelas and gang insignia”. The lengths the New Zealanders had to go to limit South African support so they can try and win the Rugby World Cup at home!

It’s quite a bit of a stretch to simply ban the vuvuzela.

So now some enterprising chap needs to get his Chinese factory in Hong Kong to produce a vuvuzela of 60cm.

The 60cm vuvuzela is a good length that won’t embarrass any South African male and he can let off his reservoir of air in the stadiums.

The opening ceremony celebrated and glorified the bagpipes, with an incredibly stirring rendition, as well as the hooting of the traditional pukaea. Before each match and before every single kick-off in the Rugby World Cup matches they sound the French air horn to rally the spectators.

Give the fans what they want. Let them blow to their hearts’ content the traditional instrument of their choice. Let’s get on with the RWC and may the best two teams from each of the four pools advance to the quarter-finals.