The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

and now for a sporting interlude

Regular readers will know that I don't generally delve into the arena of sport on this blog. But there was a time in my past when I was rugger-mad.

I remember my pride in 1987 (I was going to marry David Kirk don't you know) and my heart break when Goldie dropped the ball right on the try line (I still can't stand the sight of that Gregan fellow). But sometime in the late 1990s I ran out of time to keep up with all this oval ball palaver and I've stopped even being much of a spectator these days - except for the occasional yell of "HAAAARRRRRBBBBBOUUUUURRR" at odd moments - you can take the girl out of the Shore, etc.

But I feel compelled to post about the expansion of the Super 12 into a More Super 14 without the inclusion of a Pacific team.

If the RFUs are serious about building the game throughout the broader Pacific then they need to pay attention to the little fellas, as well as the bigger unions (bet you never thought you'd see "union" in that context on this blog).

Let us not forget the same arguments against a Pacific team were wheeled out when NZ wanted a league team in the NRL and in fact the Warriors have served to build league greatly, both in NZ and Australia, without detriment to the Aussie teams. There are enough rugger players to go around, and a Pacific team would help to cook a bigger pie rather than make the slices smaller.

And can you imagine the electric atmosphere of watching a Super 14 (or whatever) game in Suva? Everyone on the island would come, it would be like Carrisbrook except not cold!


Joe Hendren said...

rugger-mad? I have never have imagined it :)

While I have never been a huge rugby fan, I was certainly more interested in rugby when I was growing up than I am now. 'Ranfurdy' Shild matches were worth watching, especially when Canterbury were playing Auckland - even when Auckland kept jolly winning [insert generic cantab rant here!] :)

I think I lost any interest in rugby I had around the time it turned professional. To me the Super 12 draft system, that allows players from all over the country to play for diffent teams, meant it was no longer a canterbury team in the same sense, no longer local. Now it just seems like one corporate franchise playing another!

Jeremy Greenbrook-Held said...

Ahhh, a fellow Harbour supporter. It's a shame they're crap, ah?

Scott said...

Why just one team though? If you took all the PI players who currently play for clubs in Australasia, the UK and Europe, but would prefer to play for their country, then you could easily manage Samoan, Tongan, and Fijian teams.

From the schools to the ABs, the rugby system in NZ relies on pinching players from PI countries, using money and scholarships. It's the same sort of farce that sees football clubs in the UK full of Russian and Nigerian players who can't afford to play in their own countries. The end result of all this is boring competitions between synthetic teams owned by billionaires, teams and owners with no real connection with the fans. (The only football club I'd support is Bilbao - they only pick Basque players!)

Even players like Anton Oliver are now saying how boring they find the Super 12/14. All of the magic of the old Ranfurly Shield days, when teams actually had a connection to the people they were playing for, has gone at the higher levels, though of course it lives on in the Second and Third Divisons and at club level (I went to a golden oldies game last night at the Eden Football Club - crazy amounts of enthusiasm from 50 and 60 year olds!)

I don't think the Warriors are a positive example for a potential PI team, when they're looking at dumping Stacey Jones, who's been playing ten years for them, so that they can buy some Aussie player with no connection with the club. Depressing stuff...

span said...

yep it's a big shame they are crap - bring back Matt Cardy I say! that boy could have been the next Jeff Wilson if he hadn't skivved off to Wales and broken his leg, sigh.

Will be interesting to see if Jonah is able to do much more than lift the gate takings (although that is much needed - every season I get thoroughly pissed off by the selfishness of the Auckland section of the Blues franchise, when they give Harbour stadium one lousy game despite the fact that Harbour needs the money much more than they do - those Auckland bastards!).

Scott - certainly doesn't have to be just one PI team at all! the more the merrier :-)

On the issue of the loss of identity for teams due to drafting, player poaching etc - yep I hear yah. It drives me nuts, how are you supposed to work up your frothing parochialism if the players keep bloody swapping provinces??

Rich said...

It's simple why not - Aussies and (white) South Africans have more money than Pacific Islanders.

Giving teams names (rather than being known by the place they come from) is marketed as a fan identification thing, but it's actually done for a commercial reason - it allows the clubs to get together and decide that more money could be made by relocating the Blues to Los Angeles. Which might happen one day...