Martin Devlin: Afternoon test match rugby is a magnificent spectacle

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Mon, 19 Oct 2020, 2:42PM

Martin Devlin: Afternoon test match rugby is a magnificent spectacle

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Mon, 19 Oct 2020, 2:42PM

BS and dickheads. Sport, for whatever reasons, deals a lot of the former and attracts way too many of the latter. Eden Park yesterday was simply magnificent. Something about afternoon rugby that adds so much more to the spectacle. Sun shining equals people smiling. Of course the ABs winning always helps and Caleb Clarke was enough on his own to electrify an almost sell-out crowd. An afternoon game is different to a night-time kickoff in every way.

Whether the numbers are broken down & the demographs are similar is irrelevant. Afternoon rugby feels different. It’s undeniable. People just behave differently. The walk-up is more jovial, more eye contact is made, strangers raise an eyebrow to each other, the atmosphere friendly relaxed and ready to have fun. And fun + EP + rugby is never an easy equation.

At night the crowd seems more grizzly, grumpy and always conscious of it being late at night and we want to get out of here and what a hassle that always is. Exiting a game at 6pm means 1000’s of happy people walking along to the local bars & restaurants like they’re on a weekend stroll - which is exactly what it is.

The BS component here is that despite all this, the evidence, the obviousness of it all, we all know that next year it’ll return again to type and the tests will be back at night. And we’ll be told by both union & broadcaster that “blah blah the best time for kickoff is 7.30 because blah blah UK audience blah blah people tell us blah blah another BS blah blah excuse”.

And NO-ONE believes it because we all know it’s just more PR BS. It suits Sky to play the games at night and NZR goes along with it and that’s all we need to know. The reasons given are all just white noise. Play test rugby in the afternoon when the game, players and crowd are all at our best.

As for the Dickheads, it only takes one. Yesterday waiting in another endless EP queue for beers and after 10mins of the line not moving and the 2nd half underway I wandered down the queue to see if I could figure out why. The answer was easy. Some obnoxious DH arguing with the counter staff about why he couldn’t buy more than 4 drinks.

Haranguing the workers and holding up the rest of us when the signs were everywhere. Only 4 per person, you know the rules bloke. Everyone knows the rules so why argue? Why inconvenience everyone else, why be a complete knob when everyone else complies except you?

It’s at that exact moment you wish one of this idiot’s mates would take him aside, slap him once and say “behave you dickhead”.
Life would be so much simpler if we could just tell the truth when it was needed most. Afternoon rugby and obey the rules. It’s really not that hard is it?