As an All Blacks fan I am so disappointed by what appears to be a recurring attitude among some of those players towards us fans.
In an interview on Sky TV’s show The Breakdown, Sam Cane addressed the criticism his squad has faced since losing to the Pumas.
"You've just got to remind yourself hey, they may like to think they know a lot about the game of rugby, in reality they don't really."
That has not gone down well among fans on social media.
Because while Sam Cane is to totally right that we fans don’t know nearly as much as the practitioners of the game, as a nation, we know a lot about rugby. We’ve grown up playing, watching it, standing on sidelines on cold Saturday mornings.
If this was a comment in isolation, I’d be less disappointed.
But only two weeks ago the Ione brothers also had a dig at fans on Instagram, with Akira referring to some fans critical of Reiko bombing a dive try as ‘haters’.
Are fans ‘haters’ if they criticise sloppy performance?
Isn’t this actually part of the territory if you’re an All Black? You get the praise if you play well, you get the criticism if you don’t.
The All Blacks would do well not to drive away fans right now. Because, arguably they need people in this country to love them more than ever.
The male rugby game is shrinking. Boys are heading off to basketball instead of rugby. Even at the elite level, they are struggling to get people along to the games or tuning to watch them on TV.
Right now, the game needs money quite badly because of years of revenue problems, made worse by the disruption of Covid. And for that they need fans, clearly a lot more than Sam, Reiko and Akira realise.
Giving All Blacks fans another reason not to turn up at the games, or not to tune in, is not a smart idea.