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The game I used to love…

Written by Charl du Plessis (Pokkel)

Posted in :Original Content on 7 Aug 2013 at 12:18
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

I have loved the game of rugby all my life. I played it right through school. I have always loved Sharks and Bok rugby and I still do but…

Something has changed in the last couple of years. Why am I no longer that excited about rugby? Why do I only watch a game when I happen to be around a television? Why do I no longer plan my weekends around the rugby schedule? Why my disinterest in the Boks? Why don’t I visit rugby blogs that often any more?

I’ve always been a Natal Sharks fan. One of my first rugby memories was watching Natal play Northern Transvaal at Loftus in the mid 80’s when Natal was still playing in the B-section of the Currie Cup. Natal got hammered that day but the memory remains. As a Natal supporter I will always remember the 1990 Currie Cup Final and the absolute elation when Tony Watson scored that try at Loftus for the historic first Currie Cup for Natal.

The Rugby World Cup of 1995 was amazing. The first game against Australia sitting in front of a small TV at work and going ballistic when Pieter Hendriks ran around Campese. Wow! The 1995 RWC final, what a moment in history! We went around to a local restaurant afterwards and people were singing Shosholoza while standing on the tables. You couldn’t drive because the streets were full of people celebrating. What excitement, what elation!!

But what has changed? Even my wife commented on how I don’t scream at the TV anymore. Where have the excitement and the anticipation gone?

There are a lot of factors for me personally and I’m sure each of you can add something.

I think most of us agree that that there is far too much rugby at the moment. SupeRugby starts in February and ends in August for goodness sake. There are 6 to 7 SupeRugby games every weekend for months on end and since it’s expansion the quality has dropped significantly. This has been debated at length and I think most would agree.

Another factor for me is the laws and/or the refereeing. There are just too many grey areas in the way the games are being officiated. The game needs to be simplified and we need more simplistic laws that are easier to officiate. Add to this some puzzling TMO calls this year and the game just becomes messy.

I would also like to see the old style test series brought back. Wasn’t it exciting to have the All Black tour here every 3-4 years? The anticipation was fantastic and it was a great event when it happened. Just look at how well the B&I Lions games were supported. The mid week games were just as exciting. The second stringers trying to impress the coaches against the provincial sides while the provincial sides were dying to beat an international side. Those were exciting times.

I also think Heyneke Meyer had a big influence in my disinterest in Bok rugby with his conservative team selections and the archaic game plan. I was more excited when Divvy was coach and at least he was entertaining as well. I just can’t get excited about the Boks anymore. Hopefully Heyneke Meyer will prove me wrong because I really want that special feeling back of being a passionate Bok supporter.

It seems that money and television rights are now more important than player health and the needs of the average rugby supporter. I’m losing interest and many of my friends feel the same. Somewhere the rugby powers will have to realise that they are killing the game we love due to the way it’s being administrated. Let’s hope they realise this before it’s too late.

I want the passion back, I need to feel the excitement again. I need rugby good and proper!


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