It is a shame that the Rugby World Cup tournament will be held in England next year. Why? Because evidenced on the crowd at Twickenham on Saturday (8 November 2014, All Blacks V England*) – the rugby supporting populace in the UK really don’t have the first clue about the game.
The fans, dressed in their unfortunate tight English rugby shirts, looked en masse like a pile of bloated middle aged men on the way to a UKIP rally. They carried on throughout the game by abusing, harassing and booing until their ruddy faces were positively purple. What was meant to be an international test match at the (excuse me while I laugh) ‘home of rugby’, turned into a pantomime farce.
I’m sure many English supporters would say New Zealand crowds are no better, but there is one major difference here. New Zealand crowds who are often criticised and lectured at by the British for being rude and not respecting the kicker etc blah blah blah don’t pretend to be anything different.
Maybe the game on Saturday was particularly bad. It was my first time at an All Black match at Twickenham so maybe every test is like this. It just seemed to me that maybe these hypocritical rugger buggers are a wee bit perturbed and jealous because their rugby team, no matter all the excuses and money poured into their union, is just a bit crap. For me, I don’t care if the English sing an American spiritual during the haka (I don’t care how crowds respond to the haka either, truth be told I’m a sick of the overuse of the haka myself).
The problem is the hypocrisy and holier than thou attitudes, the gladiatorial like grilling and homophobic rants at the referee, and was the final scoreline influenced because of this? The fact that this loud borish crowd seem immune to the rules of the game, as well as the complete lack of good sportsmanship shown towards Richie McCaw when he was awarded Man of the Match after the game had finished.
Maybe it is the whiff of superiority I sensed amongst the more vocal members too. They really are quite annoyed that this little ‘colonial’ nation (their word for us, not mine) has the audacity to be a more confident and skilled team. There is a feeling we need to be taken down a peg or two. I guess if your team on the field can’t do it, you need to resort to desperate measures.
And it's not just me - here is today's Guardian's editorial:
*All Blacks won BTW