Heather du Plessis-Allan: NZ Hasn't Fallen Out Of Love With Rugby

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Mon, 16 Aug 2021, 4:43PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: NZ Hasn't Fallen Out Of Love With Rugby

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Mon, 16 Aug 2021, 4:43PM

In retrospect I think we can all agree anywhere would’ve been better than Eden Park on Saturday night. 

That was a great game wasn’t it? But no one’s talking about that.

No one’s talking about the record drubbing the ABs gave the Wallabies.

No one’s talking about the fact that it might have proved (temporarily at least) that Fozzie actually deserves the job.

Instead, what we’re talking about is whether this is proof New Zealand has fallen out of love with the All Blacks and with rugby.

Of course we haven’t.

It’s just that this is what would happen if you hold identical test matches, played by the same two teams, two weeks apart in the same city.

NZR just made a big mistake here.

They had two alternatives - Dunedin or Wellington – and they’ve should gone for either of them over Eden Park. 

Dunedin has a capacity of 31K, more than the 25K ticket sold in Auckland. 

It was free on Saturday night.  They had club rugby finals that afternoon that wrapped up by 5:30. So they could have had the game.

Wellington has a capacity of 35K. 

It was taken by Beervana Saturday night but it was free Sunday night for an evening game.

And Sunday games are not crazy.  We did them last year through the pandemic and people loved them.

To be fair, they were afternoon games.  But frankly, a Sunday game in Wellington might well have proven more popular than a repeat in Auckland.

I’m guessing the NZR chose Auckland ultimately because of money.

Eden Park has the biggest capacity so if it had sold out it would’ve made them the most money.

And likely they’d end up spending less than flying players around the country.

But that’s not showing much regard for fans in regions who also want to watch a test match. 

Especially if that ends up being one of only two games we get this year.

If it was about money, as we suspect, it’s backfired.

Because the PR damage from this – in terms of angry fans and this growing sense that it’s a sign rugby is dying – is probably far greater than any extra money they might’ve made.