Compassionate players and officials from New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Australia are looking for ways to send aid to their beleaguered northern brethren.
After the opening weekend of the 2016 Six Nations saw standards of play so far below the heights reached by the likes of the All Blacks, Wallabies and Argentina in the World Cup, there is concern for the plight of the home unions, France and Italy.
“Did you see those matches?” said Keith Waters of the New Zealand Rugby Union. “It was so tough to watch. As a rugby man and a human being, how can you stand by and see Scotland trying so hard to score a try and not feel your heart torn asunder?
“Something needs to be done to help those guys. The rugby world can’t stand by and let people play like that.”
Concern was first raised in Auckland at half-time of the France - Italy match, where neither side were able to put together much coordinated, constructed play of any note.
Within 25 minutes of the Calcutta Cup match between Scotland and England, the unions of Australia and New Zealand had put in an emergency call between each other to discuss what action and aid could be considered to help their northern cousins.
“We had to check our television signal twice to make sure we weren’t getting a broadcast of a match from 1987,” said Waters. “Then, when we realised it was a live broadcast of an actual game from 2016, we checked to see if the pictures were being broadcast at the correct speed or being slowed down because they were coming all the way from space or something.”
It is believed Argentina and South Africa were unsure whether the situation was serious enough to intervene but changed their mind during the Ireland v Wales stalemate on Sunday.
“Once we saw the level of skill in a match between was the two-times defending champions against the tournament favourites we had to get involved,” said CJ Botha of the South African Rugby Union. “The Six Nations teams are harrowingly trapped in a previous decade of dull, slow and brainless rugby and I wouldn’t feel a true member of the rugby community if I didn’t help out somehow. It’s the poor fans I feel most for.”
It’s not yet clear how the southern nations will help the Six Nations to rebuild themselves and salvage some dignity, but ideas include a Crowded House fund raising concert to pay for millions of pamphlets explaining in basic English what an offload is (complete with diagrams).
Argentina are believed to be keen on sending calendars reminding the European teams that it is actually 2016.
Waters added: “I can’t stand on the sideline and see Scottish threequarters puffing their little heart out and trying so hard but getting nowhere. It brings tears of despair to our eyes. We just want our friends in the north to know help is coming. We are there for you.”