I have now been living in Kiwiana since 2002. I have embraced the mainland’s favourite sport, spent afternoons cheering the local team and evenings watching the All Blacks. And now there’s the world cup. But honestly:
What’s the frigging point?
We are getting inundated with rugby, on a national and international level: Nationally, there’s the emasculated, almost americanised provincial NPC. This has now been made completely pointless by ensuring that the teams from the previous second and third division can’t get promoted to the top division anymore. For my team, North Otago, this means to be stuck forever with the likes of South Canterbury in the same league, with no prospect of ever playing against the higher ranked teams, giving me no more incentive to cheer my team on. Why should they win, if they can’t get promoted?
Next in the neverending list of rugby is the ‘Super 14” (previously Super 12, previously Super 10, previously Super 6), an ever expanding ‘super league’ of rugby union teams from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, playing 13 round robin games plus semis and finals.
Then of course we have the testmatches of the All-Blacks: tri-nations, six nations, Lions, etc. Watching an All Black game these days is as common (and exciting) as seeing Paris Hilton being arrested for some minor misdemeanor.
And now the world cup is on. 2 weeks of group matches in which the usual six – nations teams beat the poor ‘minnows’ from such rugby countries as Romania, Georgia, USA, Canada (etc) by about 80 points in each game, just in the end to meet again in the quarter finals. By the end either Australia, England or New Zealand (sometimes France) win and male New Zealand asks itself whether it was really necessary to stay up all those nights. In soccer you have at least the chance of some of the lesser known teams causing a favourite to stumble (just look at the French in the last two tournaments), but at the Rugby World Cup? There is no chance in hell that any of the smaller teams will ever win against one of the six-nations teams (apart from Argentina, and they should have been made a part of that echelon a long time ago).
So, what’s the consequence of all this Rugby overkill? Ennui. I am as passionate about this year’s world cup as I am passionate about my choice of socks in the morning: Black, black or black, they look all the same anyway.
Just like Rugby on TV.