What Rugby Can Learn from the Lingerie Football League

Just when you thought there could be no more invented 'sports' to sprout forth like a sewerage outfall from the deeper darker recesses of the American mass-marketing mind swamp (basketball springs to mind and its bastard love child slamball - which is basically basketball on trampolines) comes the Lingerie Football League.

Hmmm. Gridiron? Skimpily dressed women? Now there's a natural match.

Now if you thought there'd be nothing that Rugby could learn from the LFL then you'd be almost right. But only almost.

Clearly both Rugby and Gridiron are sports primarily watched by men. All the football codes recognise this and go to great extremes to promote their more watchable (or pretty) players to women primarily with TV adverts, nude calendars, tight shorts and shirts and a strong encouragement of metrosexuality (Matt Giteau's hair, David Beckham's underwear etc). But it's taken Gridiron to throw in the towel and admit what we all know. Men are only interested in two things - other men playing with balls and women doing much the same thing. The LFL combines both of them so kudos to them.

Now this is not to say that a Rugby Lingerie Union should be established or that women who play Rugby currently should do so in their lingerie (though they should be given that option). Simply that the precedent has already been set for women in skimpy outfits to be be combined with Rugby - the Bulls Babes. It is no coincidence that the Bulls are the most successful team in recent Super Rugby history. By ignoring female supporters and concentrating on their core audience - drunk ogling slobbering males - the Bulls are successful, profitable and watchable.

Not one Australian Super 14 team has cheerleaders. It is no coincidence that in recent years they have struggled both on and off the field. Indeed the number of off-field incidences has been on the rise in recent years (Fava, Henjak, Cooper, Dunning, Tuquiri, Fava, Henjak, Cooper, Tuquiri etc) so there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the off-field distractions are trumping the on-field distractions for the simple reason that there aren't any.

Having cheerleaders is more that just an aesthetic choice. They are a welcome distraction to the players, relieving pressure and raising morale. The Bulls have discovered this secret to success and it is high time that the Australian Super 14 teams did likewise.

And for us non-players there is always the Lingerie Football League. So for you with cable on the TV and a basic sports package do yourself a favour and check it out. The novelty lasts for a good 10 minutes.

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