sport news WORLD OF RUGBY: Rugby is crying out for a 'Drive to Survive' project like a ... trends now

sport news WORLD OF RUGBY: Rugby is crying out for a 'Drive to Survive' project like a ... trends now
sport news WORLD OF RUGBY: Rugby is crying out for a 'Drive to Survive' project like a ... trends now

sport news WORLD OF RUGBY: Rugby is crying out for a 'Drive to Survive' project like a ... trends now

Northampton are showing the way for a sport which needs to abandon secrecy and bare its soul to create more box-office appeal.

The Saints have released another short, behind-the-scenes film — the third the club have produced — which allows viewers to see Phil Dowson’s squad undertake the gruelling pre-season ‘Blakiston Challenge’, named after former captain and war hero Sir Arthur Blakiston. It follows two previous films which focused on Northampton’s quest to reach the 2022 Premiership final.

These impressive productions by the Saints provide the sort of insight which is too often lacking in a game so used to keeping its true nature hidden. They should be seized upon as an example of what can be done to raise interest levels outside of the traditional, ageing supporter demographic.

Phil Dowson's Northampton team were part of a short film showing the squad in a new light

Phil Dowson's Northampton team were part of a short film showing the squad in a new light 

Rugby has all the ingredients for the sort of documentary series which have become such a familiar staple on the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. The uninitiated could become hooked if they were given a glimpse of the raw human emotion on which the game is founded.

Take people through the door and into those inner sanctums where it is fiery and unvarnished; into changing rooms before kick-off and after games, to witness the tough talking, nerves and tension, elation and dejection, the physical toll and the collective spirit. Rugby’s confrontational intensity would create no end of compelling content.

Think of all the bitter rivalries, the training-ground fights and all the other warts-and-all elements which are kept out of sight, but could allow the wider public to understand what makes the leading protagonists tick.

Look at Lewis Ludlam’s fired-up speeches to his fellow Saints in the club’s films for an example of the passionate commitment which would resonate.

The films included some fired-up speeches from Saints Lewis Ludlam that made great viewing

The films included some fired-up speeches from Saints Lewis Ludlam that made great viewing

Dan Biggar is another prominent voice and the Wales captain is cut from the same cloth, as someone who inspires with his words, as well as his deeds. There’s plenty of swearing — bleeped out — but that’s the reality of rugby changing rooms.

The famous Living With Lions documentary from the 1997 tour of South Africa provided the blueprint for this genre, but subsequent versions became too commercialised and sanitised.

At least Andy Farrell’s iconic ‘Hurt Arena’ address to the British and Irish squad in 2013 cut through all the branding and polish. Viewers won’t be drawn to content which isn’t raw and real.

Formula One has been transformed by the Drive to Survive series and rugby needs a similar boost.

It is a mystery

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