Saturday, November 2, 2019

The reality.........

The last time England won the Webb Ellis Cup I was in Whangarei and was struck by the sheer hostility of the mainly male attitude to the win and New Zealand’s loss to Australia.
Long faces, misery and downright hostility bordering on contempt for anyone who mentioned that England, or Australia, were worthy winners. In fact I thought the bloke behind the counter at the hardware shop was going to deck me.

It’s now 2019 and I am so relieved to see attitudes have changed and the realisation that it is only a game and I congratulate NZ ( most of them) for the sportsmanship shown on social media.

It is a quite an achievement for England to get that far considering the popularity of the sport in the UK and some of the statistics on why they should not be there at all are quite staggering for instance England’s second biggest city Birmingham (pop. 2,900,000) has five football stadiums but not one Rugby stadium.....not even a grandstand. The nearest are Worcester (12,000) and Gloucester (16,000) and these are not international standard.

Twickenham is pretty well permanently booked out by clubs and if invited you never ask “who’s playing”......just go and be grateful. The one I was invited to was a low key counties match in 1987......70,000 people attended.

In New Zealand  there are about one million people per international rugby stadium, in England it is about 30 million. Like Argentina, rugby in England is still a class sport where it is mainly shunned by the average working bloke except in hot spots like Gloucester or Leicester and the old story still holds true where every English schoolboy enters his first scrum wanting to be a lawyer/doctor and every New Zealand schoolboy entering his first scrum wants to be an All Black.

However like Japanese the English like to win so when it looks like a world championship win is in the offing even those who have no interest in the game are suddenly fans for five minutes, it was amusing to hear my friends who had absolutely  no idea about tennis suddenly becoming avid flag waving fans when Andy Murray first attempted to win Wimbledon.


Johno said...

Not so hard for expat kiwis to get tickets at Twickenham for All Blacks games though, as there is an allocation made online.

Lord Egbut Nobacon said...

Congrats to St Africa on an impressive display, deserved winners on the day.

The Veteran said...

Egbut ... endorsed. Query ... does that make the ABs world champions as the only team to beat the Boks at the RWC?