Gone are the days when Super Rugby captured interest for its own sake
For my sins, I like to scan websites for rugby stories several times a day.
The Super Rugby Pacific season has well-and-truly started, after all, not that you’d really know from what’s getting written.
It’s all aspiring All Blacks player this, would-be All Blacks coach that. Who’s in the frame for the Rugby World Cup? Whose injury potentially puts them in doubt?
Heck, we’ve even had an all-time ranking of All Blacks coaches.
I wrote about Ardie Savea last week. Most of the time I’m waffling on about New Zealand Rugby (NZR) or who ought to be All Blacks coach.
And there’s a sad reality to why I do that, just as what’s on websites at the moment tells its own story.
Readers aren’t interested in Super Rugby Pacific. The media world is ruled by clicks and reader engagement and if there was a demand for match analysis and thorough previews, then that kind of copy would proliferate.
Instead we debate anything but the games.
It’s easy to say that it’s summer and that test cricket is still taking centre stage. Or that it’s Rugby World Cup year and there’s a natural interest in the bigger picture.
But I genuinely don’t think it matters what month or what year it is. I just believe that Super Rugby Pacific isn’t the competition that the host broadcaster – and NZR – would like it to be.
I watched the Blues beat the Hurricanes, with a group of mates the other night.
Normally I won’t watch games live, in large part so I can fast-forward past the lengthy periods when the ball’s not in play. It’s been years since I watched with the sound on, either.
A couple of statements during Saturday’s commentary from Sky Stadium reminded me of why I’m just a bit over Super Rugby.
The first came when Hoskins Sotutu made a good defensive play at the breakdown and the bloke behind the microphone bellowed that this was why Sotutu was one of world rugby’s best No.8s.
Now, I’m happy to include Sotutu in the top handful of No.8s in New Zealand, but come on. The world? Give me strength.
The other was when the match was described as extraordinary.
I’ll grant you it was close, but the only extraordinary aspect was the futility of the football played by the Hurricanes in the final minutes.
I’ll commend their effort, but surely the Hurricanes – and every half-decent rugby team for that matter – can do better than just launching one-off runners at the defensive line?
Where was the subtlety or the vision or the use of the ball to beat the man?
All we got was blokes hammering away in the hope the Blues would miss a one-on-one tackle.
I’m told rugby league is one-dimensional and predictable, but no more so than what the Hurricanes dished up on Saturday.
The point is that telling me something is amazing or wonderful or extraordinary – when I can plainly see that it’s not – turns me off.
I might be alone there, but I suspect – judging by some of the crowds and the stuff that’s written and said about rugby these days – that I’m not.
Things that insult people’s intelligence do not encourage them to keep watching.
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What a great read. Players mature at different stages and words that may inspire some are far too cutting for others. Good coaches are so important to the career of young players. The ability to get into a player's head is a gift. But in the wrong hands this can be a disaster. There is so much emotional stuff going on with young players that it takes a really good coach to bring the best from them and inspire them to be the best they can be playing rugby and importantly the best person they can be as a person.Go to comments
Interesting read Nick, thanks. Is it a reality check for incomings and outgoings for the English clubs over money? a market correction? This is always a strange thing when it comes to what is still fundamentally recreation, a leisure pursuit. You could have the two divisions but the 2nd division will lose interest for the top flight of players. Maybe a random draw to create two pools that would lead to a play-off system? Have not thought it through but throwing it out there.Go to comments