The game I used to love…

Written by Charl du Plessis (Pokkel)

Posted in :Original Content on 7 Aug 2013 at 12:18
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

I have loved the game of rugby all my life. I played it right through school. I have always loved Sharks and Bok rugby and I still do but…

Something has changed in the last couple of years. Why am I no longer that excited about rugby? Why do I only watch a game when I happen to be around a television? Why do I no longer plan my weekends around the rugby schedule? Why my disinterest in the Boks? Why don’t I visit rugby blogs that often any more?

I’ve always been a Natal Sharks fan. One of my first rugby memories was watching Natal play Northern Transvaal at Loftus in the mid 80’s when Natal was still playing in the B-section of the Currie Cup. Natal got hammered that day but the memory remains. As a Natal supporter I will always remember the 1990 Currie Cup Final and the absolute elation when Tony Watson scored that try at Loftus for the historic first Currie Cup for Natal.

The Rugby World Cup of 1995 was amazing. The first game against Australia sitting in front of a small TV at work and going ballistic when Pieter Hendriks ran around Campese. Wow! The 1995 RWC final, what a moment in history! We went around to a local restaurant afterwards and people were singing Shosholoza while standing on the tables. You couldn’t drive because the streets were full of people celebrating. What excitement, what elation!!

But what has changed? Even my wife commented on how I don’t scream at the TV anymore. Where have the excitement and the anticipation gone?

There are a lot of factors for me personally and I’m sure each of you can add something.

I think most of us agree that that there is far too much rugby at the moment. SupeRugby starts in February and ends in August for goodness sake. There are 6 to 7 SupeRugby games every weekend for months on end and since it’s expansion the quality has dropped significantly. This has been debated at length and I think most would agree.

Another factor for me is the laws and/or the refereeing. There are just too many grey areas in the way the games are being officiated. The game needs to be simplified and we need more simplistic laws that are easier to officiate. Add to this some puzzling TMO calls this year and the game just becomes messy.

I would also like to see the old style test series brought back. Wasn’t it exciting to have the All Black tour here every 3-4 years? The anticipation was fantastic and it was a great event when it happened. Just look at how well the B&I Lions games were supported. The mid week games were just as exciting. The second stringers trying to impress the coaches against the provincial sides while the provincial sides were dying to beat an international side. Those were exciting times.

I also think Heyneke Meyer had a big influence in my disinterest in Bok rugby with his conservative team selections and the archaic game plan. I was more excited when Divvy was coach and at least he was entertaining as well. I just can’t get excited about the Boks anymore. Hopefully Heyneke Meyer will prove me wrong because I really want that special feeling back of being a passionate Bok supporter.

It seems that money and television rights are now more important than player health and the needs of the average rugby supporter. I’m losing interest and many of my friends feel the same. Somewhere the rugby powers will have to realise that they are killing the game we love due to the way it’s being administrated. Let’s hope they realise this before it’s too late.

I want the passion back, I need to feel the excitement again. I need rugby good and proper!


  • At least Divvy gave awesome (somewhat confusing) interviews.

  • Comment 1, posted at 07.08.13 12:26:58 by The Hobbit Reply
    The Hobbit
  • Well you’e tapped into a bit of the current zeitgeist for me with this one. I think we have pretty much the same memories and the same downward trend in terms of rugby enjoyment.

    I think I watched ONE springbok game last year without wandering off to do something else or planning something else when it was on. And the only reason why was because I got tickets to see the Ellis Park test. So I was a bit of a captive audience for that one.

    Our current Bok plan means that not only do the opposition coaches and players know what the Boks are going to be doing at every set piece and ruck or maul but so do the spectators. You want to know what’s going to happen, watch the last game. It’s predictable and formulaic.

  • Comment 2, posted at 07.08.13 12:32:20 by Butchie34 Reply
  • @Butchie34 (Comment 2) : Showing our age… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 3, posted at 07.08.13 12:35:32 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • A sharks fan who watched rugby pre 1990? 😯 😉 😈

  • Comment 4, posted at 07.08.13 12:38:22 by McLovin Reply

  • Meyer’s game plan is based around not losing in stead of winning. Extremely conservative and boring.

    I hope that Smit and Venter & co can get the sharks playing exiting rugby to energise the fans. We may have a boring national team, but never a boring Sharks team!

  • Comment 5, posted at 07.08.13 12:38:24 by PTAShark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Butchie34 (Comment 2) : We are far too predictable and boring.

    I have to say that I feel exactly the same as Pokkel. After a hard week at work I used to get excited about the rugby on the weekend and be devastated if I missed a game. Now I’m no longer worried about whether or not I watch the Boks play. A string of coaches down the years has gradually sapped me of my passion.

    I long for the 90’s when we played exciting rugby and the Boks were something to behold. Sad to say but I actually find the All Blacks and Wallabies more exciting to watch as their teams use strength, speed and skill and not just “bash it up” tactics!

    Here’s hoping for a return to the good old days!!

  • Comment 6, posted at 07.08.13 12:38:44 by ChrisS Reply
  • EXELLENT article! Pokkel, I think this is how at least 70% of all rugby supporters feel! Well at least I agree 200% with you.
    I REALLY do miss those international tours of days gone by!
    Super Rugby has effectively killed viewer appetite for rugby!
    I rate the CC way more important than the SR!!!!
    The old way SR was intended in the beginning was GREAT! now it has become just kak! Too much rugby too much tv rights just plain TOOO MUCH!!!

  • Comment 7, posted at 07.08.13 12:39:50 by R Hayward Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 3) : Remember the good old days (voice shaking and unfirm)… when rugby used to be…

    …fun! 👿

  • Comment 8, posted at 07.08.13 12:44:43 by Butchie34 Reply
  • @R Hayward (Comment 7) :

    What I do enjoy about the CC is seeing the youngsters play. It’s nice to see our future talent on display.

  • Comment 9, posted at 07.08.13 12:46:52 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @ChrisS (Comment 6) : Far too true…

    … Harry Viljoen was fun right in the beginning of his tenure with his no kicking policy in Argentina. But then the normal we must not lose at any cost seeped in and it got boring.

    The Sharks always seemed to go against that, but started to following that dull trend under Plum

  • Comment 10, posted at 07.08.13 12:46:58 by Butchie34 Reply
  • 😆 I only really started watching rugby in 2003, I was 10 at the time :mrgreen:. I can’t recall any 80s or 90s rugby. I share your views though, in the last 10 years the game has changed drastically, it doesn’t have that special spark it used to have. You’ll find that from March to August, I see very little of the televised stuff. On a Saturday you’ll find me next to a schoolboy field cheering some young lads on, schoolboy rugby is much more appealing to me than the bore we see every week on TV

  • Comment 11, posted at 07.08.13 12:50:26 by Ludz Reply

  • @Butchie34 (Comment 10) : I agree. That game against Argentina was AMAZING!!

    Sharks have started playing Bulls rugby since 2011 and, strangely enough, the Bulls have actually been running the ball more than us and have started playing Sharks rugby. 🙄 😕 ❓

  • Comment 12, posted at 07.08.13 12:50:55 by ChrisS Reply
  • Great article. I agree totally. Our rugby has become too obsessed with size and less concerned with skill, pace and flair.

    I can’t imagine a Giteau, Cruden or O’Connor making the Springbok side if they’d been raised here. They’re ‘too small’.

    Bring back Super 12, International Tours and let the guys have fun.

  • Comment 13, posted at 07.08.13 12:52:41 by StevieS Reply
  • @Ludz (Comment 11) : Makes me feel so old! You missed out on a golden era in Sharks rugby!

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.08.13 12:53:54 by StevieS Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 13) : Remember we had our own Giteau/Cruden/O’Connor in the form of Brent Russell. The poor guy was shunted from pillar to post until he finally left.

  • Comment 15, posted at 07.08.13 12:53:58 by Butchie34 Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 14) :

    Man the 90’s were great especially for Sharks rugby.

  • Comment 16, posted at 07.08.13 12:55:15 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Great piece Charl!

    I cannot agree more..

    I have been disinterested in rugby for a while now, I struggle to get myself to Kings Park to watch a Sharks match.

    Let’s hope your calls for change do not fall on deaf ears.

  • Comment 17, posted at 07.08.13 12:58:15 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • @Pokkel (Comment 16) : I made the comment before on another post, but remember when the ‘Dream Team’ oldies backline came on against Newport for the Teichmann benefit game and destroyed Shane Howarth et al. It was such a special moment for me.

    @Butchie34 (Comment 15) : My point exactly. Brent was superb and we (Sharks, Stormers and Boks) wasted him. Kills me to think he never reached his full potential.

  • Comment 18, posted at 07.08.13 12:58:42 by StevieS Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 4) : Heh. My first live game was when my Dad took me to watch Banana Boys against Despatch. I remember we lost that game but it was still awesome. Can’t remember exactly when but would have been mid 80s.

  • Comment 19, posted at 07.08.13 12:59:34 by gregkaos Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • I heard this was the thread where all the when-we’s gather? :mrgreen:

    Ja boet, they don’t make ’em like they used to!

  • Comment 20, posted at 07.08.13 13:00:29 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 20) :

    Golden Oldies thread. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 21, posted at 07.08.13 13:01:46 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 20) : 😆

  • Comment 22, posted at 07.08.13 13:03:22 by StevieS Reply
  • @vanmartin (Comment 20) : Ah the nostalgia :mrgreen:

  • Comment 23, posted at 07.08.13 13:03:51 by ChrisS Reply
  • @Ludz (Comment 11) : I am with you. While as recent as last year I would complain and perform if I had to miss a game, this year I consciously chose to rather stay on Goldstones. As far ar Bok rugby is concerned since they turned blue or pink and became obsessed with the praying game, I only got excited watching them against Italy and then I am not even sure if it was because I finally met Castrogiovanni and Bergamasco 🙄

  • Comment 24, posted at 07.08.13 13:04:34 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @Pokkel (Comment 21) : ‘Why I remember when…’

    Then something about ‘walk barefoot to school, in the snow, uphill both ways’ 😉

  • Comment 25, posted at 07.08.13 13:04:45 by StevieS Reply
  • Excellent article and I must say that I can relate on almost every point, it seems that many of us are loosing our love for the game.

    The two key aspects that contribute to this that you mention is the laws and the glut of games.

    In terms of the laws how often are fans sitting frustrated and confused by a refs call. The laws are so open to personal intepretation that a ref can look at one aspect of play and based on his view blow it any number of ways. This only brings resentment and frustration for players, coaches and fans alike. They have to simplify the rules for the game going forward.

    The glut of games is also a major concern, look at the confusing and eleborate S15 set up,why cant they just have a system where each team plays each other once, semi-final and final.

    Having said all this, I had an american friend who came to the shark tank and watched a game for the first time, and fell in love with the game, so who knows!

  • Comment 26, posted at 07.08.13 13:05:54 by stevovo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @StevieS (Comment 25) : And you could go watch a movie, buy coke and popcorn and get change from 10 cents. 😈

  • Comment 27, posted at 07.08.13 13:13:59 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 27) : Hahahaha that’s exactly what my folks used to tell me 😆

  • Comment 28, posted at 07.08.13 13:15:19 by StevieS Reply
  • Great piece Pokkel, yes memories of good ‘ol running rugby
    Earliest memories probabably watching Transvaal with all their Springboks 94, there was only 2 time slots for games 3 and 5pm 😆
    Started supporting Natal in 95, no shortage of tries back then with names like James Small, Cabous vs Westhuizen and Andre Joubert

  • Comment 29, posted at 07.08.13 13:22:57 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 27) : Holy shmokes….how old are you!? 😯 😆 :mrgreen:

  • Comment 30, posted at 07.08.13 13:26:14 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 30) : Fortunately not that old. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 31, posted at 07.08.13 13:31:04 by McLovin Reply

  • Ive watched 2.5 games this year so far… all were BIL vs Australia.

    I have zero interest in rugby at the moment.

    I did start to blame all and sundry for my lack of interest, but now I’m starting to wonder if its me. Am I changing and are other things in my life becoming more important?
    Yes, the rugby is uninspiring and there’s way too much of it. But maybe the answer lies within Miyagi-son.

    I cant watch Bok rugby anymore. Its like watching somebody throw up on the Mona Lisa.

    Thankfully Ive started rekindling the relationship I had with cricket – you know, the one that Hansie destroyed all those years ago?

  • Comment 32, posted at 07.08.13 13:31:39 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • 1990 and ’95, no rugby event can ever equal these two great games….well 2007 came damn close 😥

    My whole love affair with rugby started because of the 1990 CC where David defeated Goliath…that Monday at school it sure was fun teasing ALL the kids at school because the might of pre-taw-re-yah had been defeated by the black & white of Natal. (sigh)

  • Comment 33, posted at 07.08.13 13:32:21 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • I remember the Boks playing WeePee in a 1995 warm-up game.

    I especially remember how the crowd booed Louis Luyt to pieces and stood firmly behind Province. Proving, once and for all, that provincialism in SA was not dead. So proud…

    Thinking back to that game – poor Joel Stransky got taken apart by the crowd, who were all firmly behind Vlok Cilliers!

  • Comment 34, posted at 07.08.13 13:33:40 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 32) : “Miyagi-son” 😆

    I only enjoy the five day games, I am so tired of the Proteas choking in every single limited overs competition EVER invented.

    Probably why we’re so good at test cricket, no qtr. and semi finals. 🙄

  • Comment 35, posted at 07.08.13 13:35:39 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • I remember there being only one rugby match on a Saturday at around 4.

  • Comment 36, posted at 07.08.13 13:35:41 by McLovin Reply

  • Sportfokus ’87 or whatever year it was usually had some rofstoei on early on a Sat afternoon just to get everyone in the mood. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 37, posted at 07.08.13 13:40:20 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 36) : Starring Faffa Knoetze and Calla Scholtz ! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 38, posted at 07.08.13 13:49:46 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 38) : The good old days. The 80’s was certainly a great time to be a Province fan.

  • Comment 39, posted at 07.08.13 13:56:47 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 37) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 40, posted at 07.08.13 14:00:59 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • What a great article,guess everyone seems to feel like this….
    My first rugby memory the 1995 WC and Cabous running all over some other team in the Currie Cup,scoring at will,running back over the tryline in play and crossing the white line again to score under the posts!Too many games these days,Super 12/14 was the best,play each other once.This conference thing is killing it aswell…..like Stormers moaning they will play the Saders again…couple of years ago everyone wanted to beat them,now everyone wants to avoid them! 🙄 All the players going on half-arsed contracts to Japan…whats the message? WE DONT VALUE THE CURRIE CUP!!
    Gone are the days where I looked at all the CC stats,wondering who will break the appearance/try scoring records!
    To me,the CC is much more important that this farce they call Rugby Chumpionship,too many Tests that means absolutely nothing!!

  • Comment 41, posted at 07.08.13 14:32:07 by BarendL Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Best games of rugby I’ve watched this year have had no South African involvement. BIL vs Oz was all good and the Crusaders vs the Chriefs was an amazing game!

  • Comment 42, posted at 07.08.13 15:27:46 by ChrisS Reply
  • It is rather weird but this year I am more excited for the Currie Cup than I was for super rugby. Hopefully The Sharks can play with a little magic again.

  • Comment 43, posted at 07.08.13 15:29:54 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @lostfish (Comment 43) : Im with you on that. 😛

  • Comment 44, posted at 07.08.13 15:43:20 by The Hobbit Reply
    The Hobbit
  • @The Hobbit (Comment 44) : I keep having flashes of the 90’s glory days. I hope I haven’t built it up too much, I might be extra disappointed if I don’t get what I want.

  • Comment 45, posted at 07.08.13 15:52:45 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @lostfish (Comment 43) : I couldn’t agree more – IMO our focus on superrugby and the tri nations has undermined what was a great domestic competition. Over exposure has also cheapened the value of test matches against Oz and NZ.

    I’d be all for investing in a bigger domestic season with an expanded Currie Cup – back to eight sides – with targeted development spending in an area like the Eastern Cape and possibly the Lowveld to get those areas competitive at CC level.

    An abbreviated super rugby competition could then determine a southern hemisphere champion between the top few teams from each country in a knockout format competition over a month. Perhaps there could even be a next tier international competition for the teams finishing below run simultaneously.

    We also need some kind of recruiting oversight to ensure that a union like the Bulls doesn’t end up with all of the last three years SA schools centres if it results in half of them not getting on the field and developing to their potential.

  • Comment 46, posted at 07.08.13 16:11:55 by steve Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 27) : I remember that I could buy a little bottle of Coke and a Bar One with R1,00 plus have money left over for a couple of games of Space Invaders on the machine outside the café (second game part funded by the deposit I got back for the empty). I think it was in 1980. 😆

  • Comment 47, posted at 07.08.13 16:15:08 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • @steve (Comment 46) : Take 15 super rugby teams back down to 12. Eliminate all the useless home and away local matches. Abandon the conference system and I think we will have a cracking competition again. The only country the conference system is benefitting is Australia.

  • Comment 48, posted at 07.08.13 16:21:07 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @rhineshark (Comment 47) : When I was in grade 1 I used to get R2,00 for tuck and I could buy a hotdog, coke, chips, caramello bear and quite a few wilsons toffees.

  • Comment 49, posted at 07.08.13 16:30:05 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • Hi all. Just joined but been reading for a while. THIS article has got me (and other mates here in Port St. Johns) going! Great write, had to have my 5bob worth. Grew up in Pmb, watched Butchies Dad Mike (a big solid left-back) play for MFC at Jan Smuts on Sunday afternoons with boerie braais on the banks…then Banana Boys when I stayed at Tech Res in the early 80s. I remember all the stuff mentioned above. I was at the Newport game, that last try will forever be in my memory…and we set the VCR at home so for years after me and my mates would put THAT try on when we had just watched a crap game (to cheer us up!) Jouba gather behind his posts, chip and gather, Thompson, Muir, Jouba, Honiball, Small, Cabous score in the corner!
    Yes definitely to all the above points..my 5 bob here is FLAIR. Its being coached out of players for structure/game plan. And its not just in SA…remember the Brumbies when they were ACT, Gregan, Larkham, Mortlock, wow those guys ran some lines and had moves that left opposition stranded. But that was the beginning of the end. Structure had emerged, and gone was the flair of the Cullens, Wilsons and yep the blond bombshell Russell.
    Case in point now is Pat Lambie. Since the laaitjie has been involved with Bok structure the flair has been coached out of him. But he can kick better, aish
    So if any of you guys have a voice upstairs please pass on that us okes in the bush are also de-moer-in, and are spending far more time away from the TV on Sat afternoons. Please let players make some mistakes without fear of being dropped, and let them create some magic moments that will live with us forever. Cheers.

  • Comment 50, posted at 07.08.13 16:54:32 by fishingrod Reply

  • Great article!

    Someone send it to Morne.

  • Comment 51, posted at 07.08.13 17:02:50 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • going to spread this link around a bit… see if it touches a nerve anywhere.

  • Comment 52, posted at 07.08.13 17:08:58 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @rhineshark (Comment 47) : In the late 70’s you could buy a house in the most expensive road in Durban for under R100k. A Mercedes SL cost about R25k and if you had R10 in your pocket you could drink all night at the Blue Waters disco

  • Comment 53, posted at 07.08.13 17:10:42 by steve Reply

  • Ai ja! snik snik… Pokkel, you really touched us all with this article man! I must start collecting all footage that I can of those golden era CC and bok rugby for my son!

  • Comment 54, posted at 07.08.13 17:19:32 by R Hayward Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 52) : I hope it does. I remember the days of the early S12 some bars would be open at all hours for the overseas games and I would drag my butt out of bed and go to the bar to watch many of the games – not only the Sharks. Super Rugby now is too much and not enough decent matchups. The conference home and away games are also unnecessary. To save super rugby we need to go back to 12 teams.

  • Comment 55, posted at 07.08.13 17:25:53 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @fishingrod (Comment 50) : Thanks and welcome. I hope you and your mates stick around.

  • Comment 56, posted at 07.08.13 17:56:02 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • So ,I cant relate to most of you ,to young and good looking.

    But I agree on the amount of Rugby .It seems no sooner does Super Rugby end that it seems to start again. What is definitely missing is occasion, nothing remotely interesting about this past SR Final; and for that matter what the hell is the point of the EOYT now days? Yawn.Wouldn’t mind that being replaced every second year with a North meets South invitation team clash ,a best of hemispheres if you will. Let world ranking only matter in the year leading up to the world cup!

  • Comment 57, posted at 07.08.13 18:23:22 by Talent Reply
  • Anybody remember that Castle Lager add where the guys got up really early in the morning?
    That was me at one point. What drama and effort to watch a game back in those days!

  • Comment 58, posted at 07.08.13 18:33:37 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 58) : and worth the effort every time! I even remember as a kid my dad waking me up a 4 in the morning to listen o a test match on the radio.

  • Comment 59, posted at 07.08.13 18:45:16 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 58) : my ultimate memory was the early morning back in 94, watching the Bok midweek games in New Zealand before school.

    Yoh, but the couch was cold that early in the morning.

  • Comment 60, posted at 07.08.13 18:53:41 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Well two things here really.

    First and foremost, the game is professional – I cannot put it in more simple terms.

    Players and coaches demand a huge salary which at franchise level make up 70% of their budget easily. That money has to come from somewhere and that is by selling a product to broadcasters and advertisers/sponsors. And the sad fact is, that money is not going to come from us filling a stadium every weekend or buying a jersey every year – that pays the tea-lady.

    I disagree on the quality of rugby being worse – these guys are supreme athletes and I cannot begin to tell you what work coaches put in these days behind the scenes. I don’t think I need to throw stats at you to show you that the ‘game’ has improved in all aspects (ball in play, number of scrums vs line outs vs rucks, etc)

    Second issue.

    We, the audience, are as much to blame for the ‘confusion’ you have in the game.

    The laws have not changed that much over 30 years to be honest, but in the technological age we are in suddenly we have access to live replays, live stats (although shockingly incorrect by broadcasters), replay after replay on specific calls etc.

    Refs have not suddenly become kak, the audience (for the most part) have just become more aware through technology on what exactly is happening.

    Everyone is a statistician and everyone is an expert because we do not have to rely on Quintus van Rooyen in the Rapport every Sunday to give us an opinion on the game – we got blogs like this now. (And its a great thing don’t get me wrong)

    For years I have been saying that supporters/fans need to make up their mind. If we want a professional game, we must become ‘professional’ supporters.

    We cannot linger about the beauty of the game in the 80’s or even 90’s but still expect a ‘product’ in 2013.

    There are certain realities we need to wake up to as supporters – the most important of which is the game is professional.

    As far as Heyneke Meyer goes – I read with interest how the new Wallaby coach is boldly stating that they need to play the ‘Australian way’ and that ‘winning pretty’ is as important as winning.

    Wait till he loses 4 or 5 tests in a row playing ‘pretty’ and see this tune change dramatically.

  • Comment 61, posted at 07.08.13 19:38:03 by Morné Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 60) :

    Living in JHB in 2000 – went to the local Keg (or something) at 4am to catch an AB v Boks game. Special was a breakfeast (2 eggs, bacon, 2 slices of toast and a Castle Draft).

    Went home after the game and it was still dark. Rates as one of my best brekkies ever! 😈

  • Comment 62, posted at 07.08.13 19:56:40 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 61) : Sheez. Do you work for SARU or something??? Oh wait… 😛

  • Comment 63, posted at 07.08.13 20:06:40 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 63) :

    Depends on which part of my comment you are referring to… 😉

  • Comment 64, posted at 07.08.13 20:11:13 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 61) : Yes the players are all supreme athletes who work really hard but are of them necessarily Super Rugby quality? Take the Force and the Rebels – how many people would tune in to watch those games? I know the franchises can’t make their money from filling their stadiums but if no one is watching the games on tv then they are not going to make much on advertising and tv rights either. The Aussies don’t even have enough local players for 5 franchises. South Africa doesn’t either and realistically 1 of NZ’s franchises always struggles as again there isn’t enough quality to spread that thin.

    Yes we long for days gone by but it is more for the great match ups of yesteryear (as well as the style of rugby) A few years ago I would have woken up at 4am to watch the Crusaders or the Stormers playing as well as the Sharks but nowadays I would rather sleep because I can watch just as many games in my own time zone. I loved the even match ups (barring the Lions for the last 12 years) where a lot of the games it could go anyway.

    Super Rugby does still have its surprises but the new format was stale before it even started.

  • Comment 65, posted at 07.08.13 20:26:49 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @lostfish (Comment 65) :

    Viewership figures increase every year. So someone is still watching it.

  • Comment 66, posted at 07.08.13 20:30:10 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 66) : player injuries from over use also increase year on year.

  • Comment 67, posted at 07.08.13 20:33:13 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Morné (Comment 61) : I don’t disagree with what you have said and I appreciate it. That doesn’t change the fact that the experience just isn’t what it used to be. I’m also pretty sure that you for one would love to see traditional tours brought back. Thanks Morne.

  • Comment 68, posted at 07.08.13 20:33:58 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 67) :

    I think everyone accepts player management is 100% hondkak.

    Not just in SA but everywhere which is why we see these press releases of player revolts being threatened globally.

    We also tend to forget, rugby as a professional game is still in its infancy. I read an interesting book a couple of weeks ago about the revolts, strikes and all sorts of kak in baseball in the US when they were in their infancy.

    Rugby can certainly learn from other codes though.

  • Comment 69, posted at 07.08.13 20:38:27 by Morné Reply
  • @Pokkel (Comment 68) :

    Forget my associations – I am a rugby supporter first and that will never change.

    My point about supporters having to ‘become’ professional is something I have maintained for well over 5 years now though.

    By nature I am a traditionalist, but I am also a realist. We just need to figure out a way to marry tradition and professionalism – we get that right, we are well on our way.

  • Comment 70, posted at 07.08.13 20:41:34 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 66) : That may be so because there are still the big games but how many people are going to be watching the bottom feeders games. Through expansion the tournament has lost a lot if its magic.

  • Comment 71, posted at 07.08.13 20:44:42 by lostfish Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 61) : I have no doubt that the current Bok team would walk all over Bok teams of the 90’s. Defences are so much better as well. Bottom line is entertainment value isn’t, in my eyes at least, nearly what it used to be.

  • Comment 72, posted at 07.08.13 20:45:37 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 72) :

    As a parent I look at the kak my 6-year old watches now and just wonder what the hell ever happened to Trompie, Wielie-Walie, Knersis and Die Swart Kat? Now that was some proper shit!

    Then again, I walked into a store on Sunday to buy myself a tablet and walked out with an X-Box for the laaitie… 😆

  • Comment 73, posted at 07.08.13 20:49:10 by Morné Reply
  • @lostfish (Comment 71) :

    Of the three SANZAR partners numbers have increased across the board for everyone.

    That is what they sell to broadcasting partners.

    It is not that I disagree, but that is the reality we are faced with.

  • Comment 74, posted at 07.08.13 20:51:08 by Morné Reply
  • Final thought – the only thing that will change this is not us the supporters – we seem to be watching more rugby which is what is sold to broadcasters.

    It will also not be administrators – they need an income to support the demands of the game as a professional sport – that is the reality.

    It can only be the players.

  • Comment 75, posted at 07.08.13 20:52:53 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 73) : My friend bought his son a PS3 – he is 6 months old 😉

  • Comment 76, posted at 07.08.13 20:53:25 by lostfish Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 75) : I don’t doubt you because SANZAR wouldn’t be able to sell it if it didn’t have viewrship. I just wonder how much better it would be with more strength vs strength rather than a few must see games and the rest you might just check the scores because you are more interested in how you did in superbru than the actual games themselves.

  • Comment 77, posted at 07.08.13 20:55:23 by lostfish Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 76) :

    Wives are so gullible…

  • Comment 78, posted at 07.08.13 20:55:37 by Morné Reply
  • @lostfish (Comment 77) :

    There is no doubt the ‘product’ can improve – but if you think Heyneke is playing it conservative – you must check administrators! 🙂 This comment will self-destruct in 10 minutes btw…

  • Comment 79, posted at 07.08.13 20:57:03 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 78) : Haha, my husband has no luck with that excuse. He has 2 daughters. Just to say your insights are missed now that you have a fancy new job 😉

  • Comment 80, posted at 07.08.13 20:59:07 by lostfish Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 80) :

    I miss this terribly. But I am also not complaining 😉

  • Comment 81, posted at 07.08.13 21:04:48 by Morné Reply
  • @lostfish (Comment 80) : Girls can play PS3 as well. My 12 year old is a big gamer.

  • Comment 82, posted at 07.08.13 22:01:29 by MysticShark Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 73) : not sure about the others 😉 , but I CAN tell you that the actor who played Trompie got called up to the army and became an operator at 5 Reconnaissance Battalion. 🙂

  • Comment 83, posted at 07.08.13 22:57:52 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 83) : The kid who played die swart kat ended up as a pizza delivery boy at a pizza hut in Rivonia…

  • Comment 84, posted at 07.08.13 23:20:08 by lostfish Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 84) : 😳

  • Comment 85, posted at 08.08.13 00:20:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Morné (Comment 74) : 😯 So where are all these new viewers coming from – Its obvious from this article, that many die hard fans (that knew the previous product) are only paying lip service to the current product. Couple that with dwindling stadium attendances and one could be forgiven wondering if those viewer figures are queried.

    BTW Great article Pokkel, thanks.

  • Comment 86, posted at 08.08.13 09:01:59 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 83) : Are you a Phalaborwa old boy?

  • Comment 87, posted at 08.08.13 09:07:29 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 86) :

    Beats the crap out of me.

    What does seem to happen is that the current biggest audience (white, male, 35 to 51 years of age) is decreasing with ages 15 to 35 increasing.

  • Comment 88, posted at 08.08.13 09:48:08 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 88) : I have had similar thoughts. Maybe us oldies, having heard that we are going to live sooo much longer have now decided that mountain climbing, stand up surfing etc are worthy pursuits to try out.

  • Comment 89, posted at 08.08.13 09:58:25 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 86) : I’ll tell you where the figures come from.

    The people who no longer bother going to the stadium are now watching in TV. The TV figures increase at the expense of stadium attendance.

    SARU are stealing from Peter to pay Paul.

  • Comment 90, posted at 08.08.13 10:04:19 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Morné (Comment 88) :

    Very interesting!

    Seems I opened a can of worms here. Good (or bad?) to know I’m not the only one that feels this way.

  • Comment 91, posted at 08.08.13 10:04:24 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 88) : and there is another reason for the increase in viewership.

    The population of RSA grows daily. More people are born than people who pass away. This is not a new trend and has been happening for a lot more than 15 years, so the 15-35 segment will naturally grow.

    In effect if your numbers stay the same you should be worried because none of the people who are “ageing into” the 15-35 demographic are then watching your program.

  • Comment 92, posted at 08.08.13 10:11:42 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 87) : Nope. I was in Jozini. Small base located at the Pongola poort Dam Wall.

  • Comment 93, posted at 08.08.13 10:13:29 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 93) : I know Jozini well – Gateway to 2 of my favourite places, Sodwana and Kosi Bay. Coming from the Pongola side, passing through Jozini, then turning right at the dam wall and descending to the flats….let the weekend / holiday begin.

    What year/s were you there?

  • Comment 94, posted at 08.08.13 10:29:06 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 90) : I ve thought of that, but that would only account for a small (percentage wise) spike in the viewer totals – can those few thousand people be considered significant – they obviously are but should they be. The other thing is that one would go to the game and catch the other games on TV, now it seems as if viewrs only catch the game in which their team is playing.

  • Comment 95, posted at 08.08.13 10:34:37 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 94) : I was there ’87, ’88.

    Yip!! Kosi, Sodwana, Black Rock, Lake Sibaya all favourites of mine.

    I’m going to Rugby tomorrow with a mate of mine who was a Game ranger and lived in Kosi for about 7 years.

  • Comment 96, posted at 08.08.13 10:34:38 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 95) : it would be integrating to compare the drop off in attendance with the increase in viewership

  • Comment 97, posted at 08.08.13 10:35:53 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Did you know a Muirden and Weaver (a real white Zulu).

  • Comment 98, posted at 08.08.13 10:36:50 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • I guess as this is the “golden oldie” thread, I need to make an appearance… 😆

    My lus for rugby has also gone..but I cannot pinpoint it.

    BTW Lostfish and Morne – we have 2 girls too…they get fishing rods (and surprisingly Dad then also gets one) he is planning on getting “the girls” the old fashioned “sky-lectric” and he is forever trying to convinc me that they need Lego toi build machines and cars and stuff…

  • Comment 99, posted at 08.08.13 10:38:11 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 97) : I havent been back for many years but I do have a big, stunning aerial photo of Sodawana Bay in the office. Not a building in sight. 😎

  • Comment 100, posted at 08.08.13 10:39:12 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 99) : I still rue the day I gave my Scalectrix away.

  • Comment 101, posted at 08.08.13 10:41:54 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 99) : My girls have a few pink cars, a train set and a huge box of lego and love playing with their water canons. Whenever they go to play somewhere where there are boys they dive head first into the cars and are sad when they have to leave them. I am not sure they will get into gaming as their dad isn’t big into it and neither am I… He does have an old sega in the garage though.

  • Comment 102, posted at 08.08.13 10:49:57 by lostfish Reply
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  • Xbox schmexsbox. Have you played Atari today? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 103, posted at 08.08.13 12:00:48 by McLovin Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 92) :

    A very important point to consider is that rugby is going through a transition. The 35-55 age group are typically supporters who grew up, or grew to love the game in its amateur days – and it is very hard for them to ‘accept’ the changes the professional game brings (as is evident in this article and comments).

    The 15 to 35 year olds only know the professional game, the amateur stuff are things they hear from their parents. But their reality is the pro-game and its much easier for them to accept the changes and grow with it.

    It will take rugby another 15 years to make the shift to a pro-game completely (imo).

  • Comment 104, posted at 08.08.13 12:20:48 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 104) : But Morné, surely the rules must then adapt if rugby really wants to grow as a professional sport.

    The game is now fully pro, but the same over-reliance on interpretation of the laws has remained. There are too many gray areas and differences in how laws are officiated across the globe.

    All the truly global sports have one thing in common – a very clear rule structure, which allows for a McDonalds-like uniformity. Things are either black or white – easy for newcomers to games like soccer, basketball or gridiron to learn and understand.

    I see it here in Germany. Trying to explain to people the rules while watching a game is extremely frustrating. They just don’t understand why seemingly identical situations have completely different outcomes, such as at rucks where going off feet is sometimes penalised, sometimes not and you often hear “Leave it black” only to see black steal the ball and “Turnover good” with play waived on.

    My worst is trying to explain why you’re allowed to have half your team obstructing in front of you when you maul, but run into ONE of your own players in open play and you get penalised.

  • Comment 105, posted at 08.08.13 13:36:58 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 104) : One problem with relying on the younger lot is that these days they have the attention span of a senile gnat – with a few exceptions – Do they have it in them to become dedicated supporters and thus grow the supporter base.

    Ludz, the future of pro rugby is depending on you, leave the school boy stuff and haul your ass to stadium / tv set near you.

  • Comment 106, posted at 08.08.13 13:53:36 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 106) : jokes aside, it’s got to be worrying that a young man with a huge appetite for rugby, like Ludz, finds the professional game far less interesting than the schoolboy one…

  • Comment 107, posted at 08.08.13 14:00:43 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 104) : I was thinking that but didn’t want to say it out loud because then I would have to admit that I am almost in the first paragraph age group.

  • Comment 108, posted at 08.08.13 14:01:32 by lostfish Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 107) : Absolutely, and especially if you consider Ludz’s passion and knowledge of the game and the players. Its worrying.

  • Comment 109, posted at 08.08.13 14:08:36 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • i agree with most here and for me the biggest problem is with sr the way the confrinces work i think they must change it keep it 15 teams but take away the semi’s and final if u are on top u win finnish and klaar that way you will play to be on top and to win and wont just work for second or last it works for soccer way not rugby then there is a mouth off then currie cup take it back to 8 teams this way it will make SA rugby stronger and more competetive i feel

  • Comment 110, posted at 08.08.13 14:32:58 by sharks4eve2013 Reply

  • @rhineshark (Comment 105) :

    My personal opinion – the game is very far from being professional.

    For most part, even the players – you have individual with amateur values trying to figure how to move the game forward.

    We are getting there, but not there yet.

  • Comment 111, posted at 08.08.13 14:43:24 by Morné Reply
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 98) : nope don’t know them. We had a guy from Matuba tuba called Zulu Coetzer (Henry I think) he was a real nut job, spoke to his thumb, used to measure his two thumbs against each other constantly. He was a real white Zulu. Spoke Zulu fluently.

  • Comment 112, posted at 08.08.13 15:20:39 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Morné (Comment 104) : the problem with that analogy is that there are plenty of 15-35 year olds out there who are also pretty disenchanted with the lengthy season.

  • Comment 113, posted at 08.08.13 15:22:39 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @rhineshark (Comment 105) : I think the laws are a small issue. For me the issue is the constant rugby from February to November with half the ayers constantly unavailable for selection through injury resulting in a watered down comp.

  • Comment 114, posted at 08.08.13 15:25:36 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 113) :

    The season is one of the things that has me believing we are very much amateur still. That will change – first major change will be in 2016, second major change following the RWC in Japan in 2019. I believe then we will be in full pro mode.

  • Comment 115, posted at 08.08.13 15:29:18 by Morné Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 112) : Rob was a medical officer of some sort. He too was a pure farm boy, fluent in Zulu and was always barefoot or wore car tyre shoes. Im sure he and your chap probably spoke Zulu to each other, if they had met.

  • Comment 116, posted at 08.08.13 15:56:17 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 83) : When was that? 5 were mostly pamwe chete in the early 80’s.They even had their standard there.

  • Comment 117, posted at 08.08.13 18:34:21 by steve Reply

  • Not sure. He is just mentioned in their ” biography”

  • Comment 118, posted at 08.08.13 18:44:30 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 114) : I’m with you there. However, if the Sharks actually won a Super Rugby trophy every now and then I’m sure most of us would be half as disenchanted with the current situation as we are. 😉

  • Comment 119, posted at 09.08.13 10:46:07 by rhineshark Reply
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