Monday, 17 August 2009

Lost the game, but won the fight

There was a fight at the rugby over the weekend.  But there’s been “a fight at the rugby” for decades.  It’s nothing new, as former players Steve Watt and Andy Dalton (who will be disciplining the players) would no doubt tell you if they weren’t muzzling their comments for the sake of propriety – and as other players of a former era could tell you, the newly knighted Colin Meads didn’t get to the top of the pile just for his ability to run with the ball in hand.

So how about all those wringing their hands stop mouthing off about how horrible it all is and just get over it, just like the players’ bruises will.  It’s not a sign that society is collapsing into a black hole; rugby has been that way all its life.  Anyone remember the ‘99 call’?

For the record, it sounds like it was Kelston who lost the game, but won the fight.  This time.

NB: Who says “it’s never part of the game.”  These are physical games played at fever pitch, so of course you’re going to get conflict.  And unlike soccer, where there’s not even physicality in the game to keep everyone excited, the fights are on the pitch not off it.  Ever watched Origin?  Or AFL?  Here’s some great scenes from the MCG earlier this year (it gets good about two minutes in).

And here’s Australia and Ireland playing ‘Combination Rules’ – a combination of AFL and Gaelic.  There’s a ball there somewhere, honest.


  1. "..if they weren’t muzzling their comments for the sake of propriety.."

    Doesn't that sum up the 21st Century in a nutshell?

    Unfortunately the 'propriety' is usually wrong.

  2. That is not a game- or a sport!

    That is just a couple of dozen blokes Fighting about who gets to take home the BRAIN for the evening - or should I say the the object with the highest IQ on the field - ie a ball!

  3. Hahaha. Spoken like a soccer guy. :-)

    Ever had a scrap on the terraces, Tomahawk?

  4. It’s an interesting sociology exercise wondering why it is the All Black supporters in the stands are so drab & passionless, you can hardly get them to sing the nations anthem?

    Yet testosterone pumped Kiwi teens think the pride of the school they are zoned-for or parents choose, is worth fighting-for over, in the same game of sport?

    The issue here is the ‘element’ from the crowd that saw fit to join-in the fracas – not the on-field biffo between the players. The fact there are individuals who can get worked-up about kids playing sport, to the point they are willing to assault another person for wearing the wrong scarf.

    Footnote: I've wondered why The Wellington Phoenix fans can have so much fun and get in behind their team when in stark comparison Wellington rugby fans think face-painting is 'o for awesome' and will inspire their team to greater things? My two nephews both play rugby but they would rather go watch the Phoenix for the crowd experience.



  5. paul, is it cos the sport of soccer is so shit boring and not worth watching that the crowd make their own fun, including the fighting? I think the Phnx fans are just an uppity minority. Like all minorities they make a noise because they're scared of being thought extinct?

  6. I had a brawl with a neanderthal (Kevin Fallon) in the centre of the field at a kids soccer match.

    I was coaching the kids team.

    I didnt see the incident, but I turned and saw one of my kids (12 year olds) laying on the ground making a horrible noise (winded as it happens) The referee was Kevin Fallon (the other teams coach) The ball had gone out of play, and I ran on the field to tend the boy (you must appreciate he was in my care at the time) Kevin Fallon came running over to me and waggled his finger in my face to which I returned the gesture telling him not to be so unreasonable. He walked up to me in his devious dodgy pommy way and gave me an uppercut into my stomach. Fortunately his reputation preceeded him and I jumped backwards, absorbing the blow. I then reciprocated the gesture.

    We were both suspended for that. He was livid. He stalked me after the game had finished and everybody had gone home trying to intimidate and bully me. Fortunately for me there were a few kids with me, so I survived being beaten to a pulp by the big gorilla.

    This was the second major incident he was busted for, and he was squirming like a toad to get off.

    Not good behaviour on my behalf, but I am not the type to be intimidated by a gorilla like that - even though he is 3 times my size

  7. Is it cos the sport of soccer is so shit boring and not worth watching that the crowd make their own fun?

    thats a good explanation of why its the most popular AND most skillfull sport in the world - NOT!

    Also does not answer the question of Why Rugby fans are so bloody BORING.
    Whose chants get no more imaginative than Kiwis kiwis or all black all blacks.

    Possibly something to do with the IQ of Rugby players and supporters, where brawn is the order of the day, and the less brains one has the better.

  8. Cripes people get defensive when you start turning the blow-torch on their beloved sport. For the record I love all sports (except netball and golf) I am not English and I have no English relatives and starring 50 in the face, now play football after playing rugby. The Phoenix fans certainly look to be enjoying the game and more importantly supporting their team, which is more than can be said for the majority of passionless All-Blacks supporters who sit there like department-store dummies chanting “Black Black” in the same monotone thinking this ‘mass downs-syndrome impersonation’ is going to inspire their team to greater things. Interestingly The Phoenix got more at their opening game than the same corresponding fixture in the NPC and in shitty weather. Instead of knocking The Phoenix Fans why not try and adopt some of their vim and passion? You may actually have fun at a rugby match. Say take-a-leaf out of the Welsh rugby fans for example. The best live game of sport I’ve been to full-stop was at Cardiff Arms 1984. Even better than the German World-Cup Game I saw between Netherlands and Argentina three years ago & The F.A Cup Semi-Final in 1984. So some rugby fans know how to ‘party’ – sadly not NZ ones and the game is poorer for it.

  9. What the FUCK have you got against Golf?


    "Also does not answer the question of Why Rugby fans are so bloody BORING."

    I have no answer to this...

  10. Re Golf CF to quote John McEnroe (at least I think it was him, anyway the sentiment I share)

    “It’s not a sport unless you sweat”.

    I look at it as a hobby for old-people and those too unfit to play real sport.

    You also have my o.k. to use the generic term ‘mass downs-syndrome impersonation’ next time you are in conversation at a pub with N.Z Rugby supporters concerning their less-that-stellar performances in the stands.

    Rugby supporters always seem to get vocal and criticise their team at the drop of a hat. They should a look at their own dismal performance.

    Cardboard cut-outs dressed in black in the stands at quarter finals of last World-Cup comes immediately to mind.

    See ya.


  11. “It’s not a sport unless you sweat”. Roffle.

    That rules out darts and chess, too. But not poker...

  12. Have you SEEN Darts players? Definitely a sport by that definition. ;)

  13. So, that crowd at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night was quiet and demure, eh?




1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.