Puma Pride: how can we get fans to care about Argentina? - Green and Gold Rugby
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Puma Pride: how can we get fans to care about Argentina?

Puma Pride: how can we get fans to care about Argentina?

The Argie Test got a shithouse crowd on the Gold Coast. So why did it happen and what can we do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

Instead of whinging about it I have decided to sack up and find a solution to the problem.

The quest for narrative

Narrative is one of those wanky words thrown about by flowery sports columnists, and the occasional blogger who thinks he’s smarter than he really is (cough cough).

But sometimes that shit matters, and last weekend’s game on the Gold Coast was a prime example of this. Yeah the crowd was terrible (just over 14,000), but as I will explain I’m not sure we can really blame the locals too much.

The Bledisloe narrative for the last decade...

The Bledisloe narrative for the last decade…

Every home test needs to have some meaning, a back story, a place in the overall narrative of Australian rugby. Look at the matches we have played so far this season: the French tests were the Wallabies first outing for eight months or so, with new players, combinations and fresh hope for the coming season. The Bledisloe is, well, the Bledisloe, and the Boks are the second best team in the World who we have a rich and competitive history against.

Which brings us to the home Argie test, which has been played in this spot for the past few years. Each of these games have been off the back of Bledisloe disappointment, which has put us out of contention for the Rugby Championship and deflated each and every Wallaby supporter around the country.

So what is this game about? We have nothing really to play for, and no history or rivalry with Argentina (how many current Argie players can you, a rugby fan, name? If you get five you are doing well I reckon). It’s a nothing game played for nothing by blokes we don’t recognise. So can you blame the good folk of the Gold Coast for not turning out in big numbers?

Obviously there are other issues around advertising, promotion, weather, transport, NRL and AFL finals etc. that contribute to the small crowds and TV ratings. But the overall issue, in my view, is the fact that this game means nothing in its current form.

Time for a redraw?

The ideal outcome for the home test against Argentina is a complete rescheduling, so it is played before the first Bledisloe Cup match. This would work brilliantly for the Wallabies, as it gives a nice lead-in fixture to get back into the swing of test rugby after the Super finals and it would give this game an instant place in the rugby puzzle- a Bledisloe dress rehearsal against physical (but ultimately lesser) opposition.

But that would mean that the game between NZ and South Africa would be brought forward, and I’m not sure that is a realistic possibility. So I am not holding out hope for a new draw next year.

So the ARU is left with a fixture that is up against the NRL and AFL finals that is a bit of a dog to begin with (unless we start beating the Kiwis and are right in RC contention). They have a few options here in terms of both location and timing.

Is sunshine the best disinfectant?

Is sunshine the best disinfectant?

Afternoon delight

They can try and wring the best crowd possible by taking it to the heartland- either Sydney or Brisbane, and play it on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at a smaller stadium. They could probably get 25-30k to the SFS with good promotion, though issues with ground use and TV timing could be hard to work through.

The second option is to rotate this fixture through the second-tier locations, again maybe looking at an afternoon game to avoid a direct clash with AFL or NRL finals. AAMI Stadium in Melbourne would be well-suited, nib in Perth or Canberra Stadium would be good too.

Ultimately whatever way you swing it this game is never going to amount to much in its current format. You will struggle to get big crowds wherever you go, simply because the game means nothing and the Pumas have no mainstream recognition, and the timing only makes things worse. So if we can’t pull off a reschedule, the ARU has to swallow its pride somewhat and think a little outside the square.

What do you reckon? Is it possible to turn this dog into a princess?

 

  • Dougall

    Don’t play games at the Gold Coast, they don’t have the fanbase. Don’t waste a good game in a place where you aren’t going to get the numbers.

    • Guy

      its mungo country isnt it? did you notice that the half time dressing room was some plastic chairs on the paddock… WTF?

      • Dougall

        Yeah I saw Beale and a few boy picking them up, what was that about? Talk about not being ready for a test match

        • Luke Amasi

          They were having a garden party to keep morale up

        • Guy

          They were doubling the numbers of people in the stadium

      • matty__k

        They did that at Homebush and Perth. It’s something Link has them do.

        • Guy

          ah, i see

    • Stomper

      and why they persist with the 7s on the Gold Coast is beyond me – why not rotate it around the country so it keeps fresh?
      The Argie test should similarly be rotated through the 2nd tier locations.

      • Dougall

        Mate I would love to see what Caxton St can do when Suncorp hosts the 7’s

  • Grub

    42,000 and 43,000 were at the SFS for June internationals against Wales and France respectively. Therefore I think we could easily turn out 40,000 against the Argies for the RC. While we’re at it move the 7s to SFS, every rugby fan I speak would love to rock up

  • Braveheart81

    The fact that the TV audience was equally as poor as the live attendance suggests that this game is going to struggle regardless of venue.

    Next year I would suggest making it an afternoon fixture wherever it is played. The argument that it hurts the TV audience too much surely can’t apply when the audience is tiny regardless.

    • Train Without A Station

      Very good point. For all these people who say it would pack out a country ground, they ignore the fact that these people didn’t seem to watch it on channel 10 for free, so why would they pay to go.

      • Mark

        On Hugh’s point above and the ‘narrative’. A test at the GC has none, however the other options offer narratives in themselves. Afternoon footy at the SFS is a narrative – people love it and turn up no matter who is playing because it harks back to a nostalgic past. Taking a test to the bush is a narrative, it’s something that never happens and that fact itself creates interest.

        Why not take it to Adelaide and cross promote with the SA/Barossa wine industries as a food and rugby festival weekend?

        If there’s not much interest in the game play it somewhere interesting like the SFS, Toowoomba or Adelaide and generate a narrative around the event, not just the game.

        • Hugh Cavill

          Well said Mark. I was trying to say that in the article, but the point got a bit lost.

        • wahoo

          ‘narrative’ in that sense corresponds with public interest. Take leaf out of Jose mourinhos book and feed the journalists with stories. That’s why league’s travails never trouble them and union articles are pretty bare and only revolve around oconner. Have to feed the beast. A test in Adelaide might do that. Or two dads could sleep with ewens wife.

      • Meatray

        because in country areas when you create an “event”, people do go. But another game on TV – well thats when you get the who cares..

  • Billy Bob Vanderwaal

    The ARU should try to ensure there’s a rotation with the schedule, meaning, last year and this, Aus vs NZ/Arg vs SA were the first two fixtures but ideally, next year, the Aus & NZ pair should host the first two matches (vs Arg and SA), and the following year the Aus/NZ pair should travel first. or vice versa – travel 2015 and host 2016. That would accomplish putting the Bledisloe until the end.
    Or the ARU could give away bobble-head dolls. Just kidding.

    • Hugh Cavill

      From an Aussie perspective I don’t think we want the Bledisloe too late, because you then run into NRL and AFL finals. It’s great in its current spot, and I don’t think you want to move it back any more than a week or two.

      • Billy Bob Vanderwaal

        Isn’t the 3rd Bledisloe after the RC anyway? That’s also after the AFL Grand Final, too, right?

    • The problem with that is a long term deal (10 years from 2012) was agreed with ANZ stadium and with SANZAR that ensured the Bledisloe games were back-to-back. (except in WC years)

      Moving it later, as Hugh said, means it runs into the NRL/AFL finals and those fixtures aren’t normally known until the week before.

      Same reason the Perth Test is before the finals, otherwise if Fremantle or West Coast make the finals, Rugby will be last on anyone’s mind over there.

      http://www.rugby.com.au/News/NewsArticle/tabid/1699/ArticleID/2933/ARU-announces-annual-three-test-Bledisloe-Cup-Series.aspx

      • Billy Bob Vanderwaal

        Thanks Steve.
        I think that sucks, there’s never going to be a “warm up” or practice game before taking on the (likely) toughest opponent.
        Getting back to the Pumas…..make that series more competitive, which means the Pumas need to get better. Hopefully, their entry into Super Rugby will help raise their standard of play. Unfortunately, that comes at a cost, someone will have to lose to them, hopefully SA and NZ, though. I’ve watched all their RC tests and their Irish tests and they’re getting closer.

        • 2 weeks after the Super Rugby final is as early as you could start it and obviously we’d want an Aus team in that which allows enough time to recover from that, especially if the final is in SA, then prepare for the Tests.

        • Stomper

          Argies are improving each year – see how long it took France to win the 4N

    • John Tynan

      I agree. And I don’t want two Bledisloe back to back. I want two rounds home and away to build some tension. Then we get pumped in the last round, but at least we can be contenders/pretenders for a while.

  • Dave

    The thing is, the Wallabies would have packed it out in a place where they rarely get major sporting events, such as Darwin, Townsville, Dubbo, Toowoomba, Wagga, even Canberra….

    If the ARU perceives a match to a virtual non-event, where attracting a crowd may be an issue, then move it to a country area! Where the crowds will turn up because they rarely get events of that magnitude! Don’t just put it on & hope!

    • Luke Amasi

      The ABs game against Argentina in Napier was fantastic, it is a smaller area. But the small town turned up. Im absolutely with you on that one, send the game to the parts of Aus that done get any rugby really that would be fantastic!

    • Hugh Cavill

      I think in an ideal world it would be great to take it to a country area. But with the ARU struggling for cash as it is I just can’t see it happening. The potential for good 20k+ crowds in Perth, Melbourne etc would be too hard to ignore.

      • moaning expat

        Arent you contradicting yourself Hugh? Not a huge amount of difference between 14K and 20 odd K. and the beneifts of playing the game in an outlying area are huge for the promotion of the game as opposed to those die hards who’ll turn up to any game in Sydney regardless. One game promoted long and well in Darwin or Tamworth or Townsville etc etc- or wait for it -Singapore/Asia will pack whatever stadium they have and bring in more fans. I guarantee you- youll get 35-45 K minimum in Singapore at the new stadium.
        I for one have no idea the thinking about playing it in the Gold Coast-. what the F for?? Anyone living in the GC is an easy hour drive to Brisvegas and vice versa. Pointless. And no disrespect to those that do find it hard to travel even short distances but come on!
        A well planned and marketed outing to Tamworth etc wouild make more long term sense but as you say i guess – money probelms make using bandaids to fix a longterm problem the way to go.

        • Hugh Cavill

          It’s the difference between 20-30k in the city and 5-10k in the country that’s the killer. No country town has the facilities to provide the crowd $$ the ARU need.

        • moaning expat

          Point well taken – but even Adelaide , Darwin or Newcastle etc would be a better usage of the event than the Gold Coast. Its a 1 wood from Brisbane. I Just feel sorry for country people that rarely get a chance to see a ‘good’ game.

        • Davey

          I wonder if boradcast agreements have clauses around grounds, facilities etc.?

        • Chris

          This is true. But Hunter Stadium holds 33,000. They also have history. They had 21k turn up in 2012 in the worst weather possible and watch Scotland beat us.

          I think that’s a good market. Especially if the Knights don’t make the finals. That could be decades.

          I think Canberra is at this time of year, too. Because it’s starting to warm up a bit.

        • gel

          Townsville would probably get “good 20k+”crowds to a one of test match, I reckon. they do have a stadium that is well appointed and very easy to get to.

        • Dave

          Townsville? Newcastle?

  • MT

    it was nothing to do with Argentina and all to do with the Gold Coast. This game would have sold out AAMI Park, NIB Stadium, the SFS or Hunter Stadium. Gold Coast rugby fans are just like the rest of the sports fans there, pathetic.

    • Hugh Cavill

      Disagree. The TV ratings were dismal, there was no interest anywhere.

      • Klaus

        Big weekend of Rugby League and AFL would have something to do with that also. But the Gold Coast has always failed to deliver crowds. Numerous sporting teams have died there or a dying because their citizens are all Bikies and wannabes.. ;)

        • Stomper

          The Wallabies need to get more ink – that would attract the Gold Coast crowd.

        • Train Without A Station

          Couple of sets of fake cans probably wouldn’t go astray either.

      • Meatray

        shame about the TV ratings. I enjoy watching Arg. play

      • MT

        No there was no interest on TV because the Brisbane Broncos vs NQ Cowboys NRL and Fremantle vs Port Adelaide AFL finals games were on. Anyone with an interest in those sports would be watching those, in fact they’d probably pick those over a bloody Bledisloe. Put the game in a timeslot that was free like 3pm and people might have paid attention.

  • Klaus

    It needs to be in Rugby Heartland so either the SFS or Suncorp to attract more than 30,000. The fact is the Gold Coast and more so Robina is a shit hole and people outside of Gold Coast would rather stay in than travel over an hour and risk your life driving through Robina…. In saying that it wouldn’t matter if you had that game in Perth, Melbourne or Canberra they would all get crap crowds not as bad but still poor. When Rugby needs to look like its prospering for a TV deal it is baffling why they had that game there. They would have been better paying the stadium out for any monies owed. The other thing is price. The ARU have to realise people can now watch quality rugby at super rugby and don’t have to wait to watch the Wallabies so their tickets prices are simply absurd. They also don’t negotiate what so ever on corporate areas and being in some cases 3 times super rugby rates you could see how well that worked for them on the weekend as my mate said they looked over 3/4 empty.

  • Jack

    Saturday or Sunday arvo at Ballymore..!! Day games are great and there’s nowhere near enough of them on offer at the professional level. I was at the GC game, always am, and will continue to go if the game continues there, but I’d happily jump on a train for the trip to Ballymore..!!

    • John Tynan

      The Ballymore dream wouldn’t work in reality. Yeah you’d sell it out, but it would be a nightmare getting there/away/a drink/a spot in the toilets. I’m afraid I believe it’s nostalgic claptrap.

  • Tangawizi

    The Australian sporting public in general is pretty fickle. I think many punters have genuinely had enough of the Wallabies getting pumped in the Bledisloe every year only for the ARU to still try charge top dollar for Test tickets whilst failing to put our best possible side out there by refusing to select overseas based players.
    Aussies want to watch winning teams and at the moment we are handicapping ourselves from winning!
    And as for the Argies Test, if given the opportunity I’d send it to the Adelaide Oval. It’s a shiny new stadium and people seem to love watching sport there. And you can walk to pubs & hotels in 10 minutes. Not spend close to an hour on the buses getting back to Surfers like on the Gold Coast.

  • Meatray

    Not playing on the Goldy would be a good start (transport issues). Ballymore would be a better alternative. Ticket pricing changes would be another good start.

    • Meatray

      maybe even a Toowoomba game?

      • Meatray

        or anywhere in a larger country area with attractive pricing.

  • Pedro

    How about a Tasmania test? They get bugger all sport. If they couldn’t sell out there nothing would.

    • That idea might be as extinct as the Tasmanian Tiger in ARU circles

      • Pedro

        Why do you say that?

        • Ralph

          Cos it’s funny

  • Walto

    You’d sell out Newcastle stadium any time of the day / night! I2N

  • Hitcho

    The ARU are greedy and are simply not in a position to be.

    ANZ is a bloody awful stadium to watch rugby at (that goes for league too), but the ARU have the misguided preconception that in this climate if they charge top dollar we will come and the more seats the more money they get….. WRONG!

    A lot of people are making suggestions on venues and you know what they are all right, why because they are all in Rugby heartlands at Rugby Stadiums built to watch Rugby. It’s not rocket science.

    For me its GIO Canberra. I will drop my strides in the middle of Oxford Street if it’s not standing room only if the ARU ever bought a test match to Canberra.

    Ps now is not the time to make a push into places where Rugby is not supported. Now is a time to regroup and bring it to the fans at venues where we can feel the game…. rant over

    • Train Without A Station

      Like the last Canberra test in 2010 that was the second lowest attended test match in the last decade?

      • Hitcho

        Yep and how well were the Wallabies doing then too? Oh that’s right team performance doesn’t impact.

        • Train Without A Station

          You said ” I will drop my strides in the middle of Oxford Street if it’s not standing room only if the ARU ever bought a test match to Canberra”.
          I’m merely pointing at that 4 years ago, which is likely better for attendance considering these have declined since 2010, only 1000 more people showed up in Canberra.

        • Hitcho

          Comment still stands… I reckon I’m safe. My point remains though during tough times bring the games to the people wherever that may be. I don’t really care as long as we get a packed house

        • Train Without A Station

          Comment is still wrong. The Brumbies can’t sell out a semi final there, how are the Wallabies going to certainly do better, when they didn’t the last test they played there in more popular times?

        • Hitcho

          Yep Semi final that drew 16000 on the same night they held the biggest family event of the year (skyfire) which had 180000 at it. The Vikings got 4000 to the NRC against QLD country.

          Fact still remains, I don’t care where they play as long as it’s in front of Rugby loving fans at a rugby venue.

        • Pie Thrower

          Canberra test crowds vs Wallabies

          September 98: Tonga. 14176
          June 2000: Argentina. 15072
          June 2009: Italy 22468
          June 2010: Fiji 15738

          Hardly selling out the stadium.

          When you off to Oxford St?

    • Bushpig12

      Sounds like you really want to get your strides off in Oxford St :-)
      Perth or Sydney would make a wee difference though!

      • Hitcho

        Ha ha ha nope seriously not keen: )

        • Chinese Dave

          Don’t be shy mate, embrace those inner feelings.

        • Hitcho

          If that’s what it costs to prove Canberra can put on a good show then I’ll do it but it’ll bloody happen at 10am on a week day!

  • Gottsy

    Moving it to an afternoon slot would make a huge difference, also a little bit of advertising wouldn’t go astray. I was on the Gold Coast on Saturday night (unfortunately couldn’t get to the game though) and everyone I know was either watching the broncos v cowboys or didn’t even know the rugby was on.

  • John’s No.1 Fan

    Build a time machine and send Arnold Schwarzenegger to kindly suggest John O’Neill take a career in basket-weaving.

    Solutions to Aussie Rugby’s mire:

    Rename the comp the “quad-nations”. “Rugby Championship” is trite.

    Big games in Syd/Brisbane. NO South Africa games in Perth. NO games on AFL fields. No exceptions.

    Kids attend for free. Free face-painting. At least one blimp at every home game.

    Drop ticket prices so that every game packs out.

    Stop selecting players to appease local crowds: have some respect for Aussie rugby supporters as a whole and give us the best possible team week-in, week-out.

    Revamp http://www.rugby.com.au – it’s been next to dormant since its inception.

    Get all NRC games on live streaming available across all platforms.

    Put all ARU staff on performance-based contracts with 1/3 base pay, 1/3 based on wallabies wins, and 1/3 on financial success (i.e. gate numbers and TV viewers).

    Put wallabies on similar contracts, with 1/6 match fee for a loss, 1/2 for a draw,
    and the full amount for a win.

    • Nathan

      We have to have a game in Perth. The Force Field is the obvious evidence to the fact that there is a strong and growing support base there. I blame it being played at Pattersons. And Quad-Nations sounds stupid. Rugby Championship sounds worse though.

      • Hitcho

        ^^^^^ See poor choice in venue. First rule of business, if the punters want it give it to them. I hear Pattersons is a cricket/ AFL oval and crap for watching Rugby.

        • Nathan

          That was my point?…

        • Hitcho

          Yep and I agree wholeheartedly with you.

        • Nathan

          Apologies. It looks like your a million lightyears away from the field of play! I thought ANZ was bad.

        • Hitcho

          No mate, got mates in WA that hate Pattersons. Apparently there’s no feel there and the crowd is too far away.

      • Stomper

        Southern Hemisphere Cup

        • brumby runner

          Was going to suggest the same but you beat me to it. Don’t like the sound of Quad Nations much.

        • Pincher

          The four or 4 nations….

    • Hitcho

      Agree with everything except the pay cut for players.. We are already loosing some of our best to O/S for the dollars. Once they are gone apparently they are dead to Australian Rugby. Can’t afford to loose any more with the ARU’s current way of thinking.

      Oh and face painting for the adults too.

  • Richard

    Thanks for the article Hugh. It is a brave attempt to distract attention away from the key underlying issue which put simply is that the quality of the Wallaby performances are just not high enough to attract the attention of either the diehard rugby fan, or more importantly, the marginal sports fan who will attend any event that they feel will provide good entertainment.

    Wallaby fans seem keen to highlight the 1 loss only record over the past 11 matches so the fans can’t be accused of neglecting a losing side. I would prefer instead to examine more closely the 7 tests played this year which were marked by 2 good wins against a mediocre French side in Brisbane and Sydney, interrupted by a terrible spectacle in Melbourne. The AB match in Sydney was a close affair but hardly a classic contest (where it should be noted only 8,000 more attended than the Super15 final the week before). The Eden Park performance was plain awful and the Perth match contained far too many errors to suggest this side is making meaningful progress forward. Ditto this latest effort on Saturday night.

    It is easy to pile the blame on unimaginative, lower ranked Argentina but the numbers against the IRB ranked No. 2 side South Africa in Perth the week before were equally disturbing. Where were all those Western Force fans?

    The relevant comparison is across the Tasman. For the Puma test on a wet night in provincial Napier (population 120,000) attendance was 22,000. Sure, what else is there to do in all NZ on a Saturday night — but the reality is the All Blacks are “must-see” entertainment, irrespective of who or where they are playing. They sell out every stadium they play in (ex Sydney!) which shows you it is the quality of the product that is the biggest attraction. Ewen McKenzie, Michael Hooper and Bill Pulver need to understand this ASAP. Fronting up each week with the same laundry list of excuses for poor basic skills, lack of accuracy, low intensity and weak fundamentals does not cut it. The numbers do not lie.

    • Braveheart81

      Aside from becoming the best rugby team in the world, what do you suggest? The crowd attendances certainly are affected by how the Wallabies are travelling but there is no magic bullet to suddenly being better than the All Blacks.

      If anything hovering around 3rd on the IRB rankings and hopefully trying to secure 2nd place for the longer term is probably a reasonable expectation. We’ve got to make crowds work with that position.

      • Hitcho

        Entertainment. Nobody wants to see a game full of basic handling errors or stupid penalties. Win loose or draw people (well me) want to see a hard fought 80mins of entertaining Rugby and even if we loose be able to turn around to the other teams supporters as say bloody good game, see ya next year and walk out proud.

    • Hitcho

      Fair call Richard. The quality of the contest also plays a big part. I was unfortunate enough to be laughed out of Eden park while wearing approximately $450 worth of Wallabies gear not to mention the gear worn by my wife and daughter costing the same each. That after shelling out $5000 to get there for the privilege of watching the Wallabies get their ass handed to them.

      Would I do it again?

      • Richard

        I can assure you that one day the Wallabies will win at Eden Park. You gotta be there (and be solvent) when it finally happens.

        • Hitcho

          Yeah Richard and the answer to that question is yes I would, Why because I love Australia, I love the Wallabies and I love Rugby…. she’s going to be a big night when it happens: )

    • Train Without A Station

      I love that things constantly come back to the quality of rugby performances by the wallabies.

      We won 4 in a row on tour against Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. But they’re all crap right?
      We pumped France 3-0 but they’re shit right?
      We drew with the All Blacks in Sydney. But they were shit and just didn’t turn up?
      We beat South Africa in Perth after losing by 20+ points in the same fixture last year. But the number 2 ranked team in the world are shit aren’t they?
      We beat Argentina (Who subsequent pushed SA and NZ to scrape home in wins this year) by 7 in a game we won by 1 and 4 points the last 2 years but Argentina are shit too.

      Who the fuck is good then? Only teams who beat the Wallabies are good and if the Wallabies win the opposition is automatically shit then?

      • Hitcho

        Compare NZ vs RSA with Argentina vs AUS. Tell me which was the better more entertaining game? How many basic handling errors were there form AUS? and yes had the Boks played like they did Saturday a week ago it would have been deja vu Eden Park, oh and the Pumas bombed 2 late tries so the result could have easily been different.

        Does this impact on crowds…. yes and if you don’t thinks so your kidding yourself.

        • Train Without A Station

          Oh thanks for clarifying. We only beat the Boks because they played bad. We must not have had anything to do with that though…

        • Baz

          They blew a 9 point lead with 12 minutes yo go. They had a guy put in the sin bin for a reckless tackle and then failed to find touch from a defensive penalty that would have allowed them to retain possession and run down the clock. Any side who does that in my books needlessly blew a lead and lost a game that should have been won.

        • Hitcho

          Ok I’m happy your happy with the way the boys are currently playing because they themselves aren’t! The fact the Wallabies themselves acknowledge they are not playing well is the thing that’s most pleasing about the current situation.

        • You’re

          *you’re

      • Richard

        Mate you are the IRB’s No. 3 ranked team. You should be beating Ireland and Scotland and belting Italy and outplaying tired French sides who come touring a long season at home. God forbid you had 20 minutes against a 14 man AB side in Sydney and still couldn’t get it done. The Springboks lost the game in Perth and a late refereeing technicality prevented a possible draw on Saturday.

        4 weeks after the humiliation at Eden Park, ask yourself this… Based on current form, how do you think this Wallaby side would go if they fronted up against the All Blacks again this Saturday night? I would suggest they’d get put to the sword again because they have made very little progress and still commit the same basic mistakes and lack the necessary intensity for 80 minutes of test rugby. You keep measuring yourself on that Win / Loss record. I’ll be watching for the skills and application necessary to win the really big test matches. It may start in Cape Town next Saturday.

        • Train Without A Station

          We should. Yet the All Blacks only draw with us. They’re IRB’s number 1 ranked team. They should be beating teams below them. The same with South Africa.
          Ultimately all you can do is defeat the teams in front of you, which we have. We copped a couple of rough calls at Twickenham, but ultimately if you deserve to win you take it out of the officials hands, since then we have lost a solitary game. it was a bad loss, yes, but it was clearly an anomaly. How? Because it’s the only 1 in the past 10 games.

      • Klaus

        Cheers to that.

    • Tahs_Man_Fan

      Mate let’s compare apples with apples. New Zealand is a small population but a die hard rugby population. Rugby is their major/only sport, and it is the life blood of the country. When the AB’s lose, the economy suffers. Every Kiwi will deny it, but the reality is that they have all their eggs in the rugby basket, and all they care about is the All Blacks. So to ask why they sell out a stadium in Napier and we don’t sell out a stadium in the Gold Coast is like asking why the rugby league crowds are smaller in New Zealand compared to Australia – it’s not their main sport, so why would they care.
      Unfortunately, this is the case with Australian rugby. It’s a private school boy sport, supported by a small sector of Australia’s population. Just consider that almost 1 million people play junior/senior rugby league in Australia compared to just under 200,000 playing union. It is the 6th ranked sport in terms of attendance & tv viewing. And nothing, NOTHING, will change until rugby’s old brigade pulls their finger out of their arse and grows the game. 2 starting suggestions on how to do this:
      – Invest in grassroots rugby. Out of their budget, the NZRU put almost $4 million into junior rugby last year. Compare this to the $200 levy every subbies rugby team had to pay the ARU this year as a bail out. I play subbies rugby, and that fucking pissed me off. Why should I pay a single red cent because of the incompetence of some cigar smoking fat cat at the ARU!?!?!
      – Start to actually promote the game. And no, I don’t mean plaster Waratahs membership posters on the back of every Sydney cab. I’m talking about getting in people’s faces, getting ads on TV, getting games on free to air TV, creating a good marketing campaign for major games etc etc
      Look at the Reds. They played rubbish rugby this year, and finish 3rd last in super rugby. But they have a hugely strong community support, build from the grassroots up thanks to some killer work by the QRU. They are the only team to have grown their members base this year – quite a stunning fact considering how badly they were playing on the field

      • Marty

        How about properly investing into that enormous player base that exists west of Parramatta Road innSydney. Who at Moore Park and ARU HQ is willing to give up the Pims and cocktails of the eastern beaches to take on that juggernaut?

  • Jackson

    Ask yourselves this simple question…. Who in this current Australian side is worth either the time, the aggravation or the (not insignificant) price of an admission ticket to go watch don a Wallaby jersey and play a rugby test match? I can’t get past Israel Folau and Micael Hooper. Sorry, 13 journeymen consistently delivering journeymen type performances has about as much appeal as stabbing myself in the eyes with needles. Wake up Link and Pulver. You’re trying to sell Sausage meat as filet mignon. At the end of the day it’s still sausage meat.

    • Hugh Cavill

      So what’s the answer? Just give up altogether?

      • Jackson

        It starts with standards Hugh. The Wallabies need to understand that the fans are demanding higher standards than what they are currently offering them. The fans have voted with their feet. Always a powerful message.

        • bob

          and you have to admit the tahs’ got it right this year with both Entertaining and Winning Rugby. The Wallabies currently are playing like the link led tahs. Winning but hardly entertaining. Considering the stock we know it’s not the talent. Must be the style and engagement with the players (i.e. the coaching). Not that I’m bashing on Link here as I am a fan and QLD under him were amazing in 2011.

          Get the wallabies entertaining and winning and the crowds will come back at all stadiums.

        • Hugh Cavill

          Really? We are scoring plenty of tries. I think our style is fine at the moment, and more free flowing than it has been for a decade or more.

        • bob

          Compare our entertainment factor to the ABs at test level and we are not entertaining, or at least not this calendar year under link. Last year on European tour yes but you have to admit that was against weaker opposition.

        • Hugh Cavill

          Yeah, of course. We haven’t been as entertaining as the All Blacks for over a decade. I don’t think that’s really the issue. Think results have a bit more to do with it.

      • Brendan Hume

        Maybe we need to adjust our expectations… we lost the momentum and spent all the money from the golden era 1998-2003. The cupboard is bare. We’re a long way behind from the other two winter sports in Australia. That’s roughly where we were before professionalism and we were too far behind the curve when it was finally decided amateurism wasn’t viable. Professionalism sucked a lot of the good stuff out of the game culturally and hasn’t returned the dividends that are required to compete against established codes in our own country and established and wealthy competitions overseas.

    • Tahs_Man_Fan

      Spot on mate!! They also need to re-think their pricing schedule. $250 for a sideline seat to the Sydney test. And the cheapest, shittest seat with a blocked view still cost you $120. Only the gold brigades seat were affordable, and even those cost $80. Compare this to super rugby GF, where sideline platinum seats were only $110. And they packed out the house.
      If a mediocre team is going to turn up and play, then at least sell us seats for $50 and pack out the stadiums

      • Hugh Cavill

        The Bledisloe got a bigger crowd than the Super Grand Final.

        • Pedro

          That’s kind of sad considering how few SR Grand finals are played in Australia, let alone Sydney.

          The most obvious explanation I would guess is how long the promoters have to sell tickets. I would expect the Bled to have a much larger corporate attendance as well.

          When you consider that there was only 7K in it (61-68K), it’s probably not a significant difference.

        • Lindommer

          The Bledisloe crowd (68k) included every Kiwi in Sydney who’d saved up the Centrelink cheques. The SR final (62.2k) had only a handful of Saders supporters. The test was always going to attract a larger crowd.

  • Bobas

    I don’t think its about getting fans caring about Argentina… its about getting fans excited about watching the wallabies play, no matter who they are playing.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the wallabies score 142 against Namibia.

    • Guest

      Maybe some ex-con could have painted a mural in GC before the game.

  • Brendan Hume

    It’s not a good time of year to be a second tier sport. A lot of other comments suggesting the same thing – better stadium selection, better ticket pricing, better kick off timing, better performances, better marketing… ultimately, the ARU aren’t doing a great job at selling the game to the wider public and the rugby fans aren’t doing a great job at supporting the matches that are played. It’s difficult – our performances over a long period of time suggest Australian Rugby is too big to fail, but it may be that we’re just not good enough to match it with the Boks and ABs as well as the NRL and AFL.

    • Hitcho

      Agreed. We are good enough though Brendan, the potential is certainly there and that’s the frustration.

  • Matthew Lalor

    As a school teacher on the Gold Coast, I have never seen such an obvious blatant absence of any form of promotion in schools. There is, however, significant promotions in the form of coaching clinics , offered by either the AFL or Soccer. The ARU never seem to suggest they are in a good financial position but still seem to suggest the best way to gain ground on other codes is to pay top dollar for league/AFL players. When are we going to see QRU/ARU in schools trying for long term promotion in schools. BTW, my Reds membership went up in price next year. Where did they come in the comp? I strongly feel this is only going to get worse without investment in the ones that count.

  • Bobas

    Maybe some ex-con could have painted a mural in GC before the game.
    Catch the Fever!

  • John Tynan

    Couple of points for my no-dollars worth:
    (1) I’ve been hearing from my non-rusted on rugby mates (ie your average punter) that they don’t know when things are on – the ARU’s marketing department is not scoring any runs with people who aren’t rugby tragics
    (2) Ticket pricing is prohibitive, but maybe/probably less so vs Argies
    (3) Last year I took my young bloke down to the Gold Coast (we’re in Brizzy) – awesome father-son opp I thought. Can I just say – Robina is a SHIT of a place to get to/from if you’re not on the train.
    (3a) If it was an afternoon game, there would be more of a travelling crowd down on the train from BrisVegas, and maybe more of a Sevens vibe.
    (4) At that game, the crowd was very cynical and just crying out to be entertained. Fair enough, it was getting to the end of the Dingo Deans era, but to be honest, they got served up the same stuff again, 2 years in a row – poor skills and execution, a start-stop affair. Compared to a Titans or Suns game, we didn’t win any repeat business I’m pretty sure. The best enetrtainment was the Argie crowd, and I ddin’t hear them on the broadcast this year.

  • RubberLegs

    A Wallaby run-on team full of Tahs playing in Queensland; the low turnout couldn’t be helped.

  • Kevino

    Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart or Melbourne at AAMI park and you would have got a crowd. All places that don’t get Rugby championship matches. GC is to close to Brisbane and the choice of quality test matches.

    Perth gets the SA game so share the rugby championship around a bit and you will get a crowd, Melbourne has a lot of Argentine living here and would fill AAMI park for it.

  • MattyF2

    Most of the proposed replacement venues all have agreements with the NRL to be free in case of needed for a finals match. All listed apart from NIB have similar deals/agreements.

  • Davo

    Totally agree with you re competition name. It sucks. Surely it has to be something with the word “Southern” in it?
    In terms of of narratives, one of the most recognisable and popular things about Argentina is their jerseys. So why the hell were they wearing an imitation French jersey?
    The “compelling demographics of South East Queensland” has been fools gold for a lot of companies and sporting organisations. Property developers and tattoo parlours are the only ones to make it work. Forget about it ARU.

  • Elliott

    The ARU signed a 10 year agreement to play the Bledisloe Cup in Sydney (at ANZ) as the opening Rugby Chamionship game. We are only in about year 3 so we ar stuck with the current draw for a long time yet. That means we may not win a Bledisloe series for over 20 years at this rate.

  • dapper dingo

    I think its madness that the first 2 fixtures of the RC are against the same team. 2 games in and the bledisloe is already out of contention. wouldnt it make more sense to have a round robin style instead. Imagine the hype for the second bledisloe with both nz and aus coming off the back of 2 wins and a draw and it would also give games against argentina and south africa more meaning in the context of the competition as a whole.

  • YBT

    One aspect of the game I really enjoyed, and one that I had never really paid close attention to in past encounters with the Puma’s, was the Bajuda scrum battle.

    I found myself turning up the volume at scrum time hoping to hear the calls of “BAJJAADDAA” followed by the clash. How cool would it be if this became a new means of involving the crowd and creating atmosphere a la the calls of “BEEEAASST!”

    Maybe this fixture is a reflection of the lack of enjoyment of and emphasis on the scrum the public at large within Australian Rugby is guilty of. And perhaps it holds the key to turning that around?

    I’m personally looking forward to taking the Puma’s on again in the scrums – hopefully the boys work hard as 8 and really support Hanson who is somewhat of an unknown quantity, and still very much developing, in regards to scrummaging strength and technique at this level.

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