Why this Pacific competition is a Super flop
OPINION: 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 players this, would-be All Blacks coach that. Who’s in the frame for the Rugby World Cup? Whose injury potentially puts them in doubt?
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 the 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 a 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.
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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.
By Hamish Bidwell, RugbyPass