The man in the crowd: have we all gone too far? - Green and Gold Rugby
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The man in the crowd: have we all gone too far?

The man in the crowd: have we all gone too far?

I didn’t enjoy the game on Saturday night.

The Wallabies played below their best and went down to a resurgent Argentina, with Israel Folau blowing a last-play try that would have certainly won us the match.

But the major talking point happened after the full-time siren, when a boozed-up Wallabies fan waited for the team to do their customary post-match lap of the stadium before giving a number of them an absolute earful.

It came to a head when he had a crack at Lukhan Tui, who clearly wasn’t in a great headspace. Subsequent to the incident, it was revealed that he lost his stepfather just a few days earlier and had family present when the fan started mouthing off.

The footage makes for ugly viewing, and it’s honestly given me pause for thought.

Lukhan Tui, before the incident

Lukhan Tui, before the incident

Of course I’d never do that, and I know 99% of our readers wouldn’t either. But is it symptomatic of the way we’ve come to talk about this team, and the way they play? Do we all need to take a step back and remember it’s all just a game?

I’ve certainly said a few things on here and on social media over the years that I wouldn’t be brave enough to say to a player or coach in person. It’s easy to forget that these players are all human beings at the end of the day, and for all their faults they are doing their best in a tough contact sport.

I’m not for a second saying that we should give the Wallabies a standing ovation no matter how they play, or that changes to the team or coaching staff shouldn’t be strongly considered.

This is a game, first and foremost. We watch it because we enjoy it and the range of emotion it brings us each Saturday night. We celebrate the highs and commiserate the lows. But if it’s bringing you such anger that you end up abusing the players, what’s the point?

The incident after the siren has changed the way I view the game, and the way I support the team. Because if I’m honest, I saw a little bit of myself in that abusive peanut, and I didn’t like it one bit.

I’m still going to write articles, and debate selection, and wonder if we couldn’t get a better result with a change of tactics or coaching staff.

I’m still going to call Izzy out for blowing that final play and costing us the match. What a blunder!

But when the game is on? I’m dressed in gold. When a player knocks on? It happens. When someone has a bad game? They are only human, and while they might be dropped, they shouldn’t be put on a boat and never allowed to play for the team again.

And when we lose? I’m still dressed in gold.

Just close your eyes and think of happier times

Just close your eyes and think of happier times

I know the comments section is now likely to get stuck into me with both barrels. And Cheika. And Izzy. And Ned Hanigan (what’s that bloke ever done to you?).

But before you do that, I’d urge you just to stop for a minute. Have a think about why you’re doing this. It’s all just a game! If it’s making you froth at the mouth and call for multiple people to lose their jobs because of how they played in a game, have a think about that peanut in the crowd on Saturday. Maybe you need a new hobby?

Go outside, it’s lovely! Read a book or just change the TV channel.

Because at the end of the day this is a fan site. By the fans, for the fans.

And I think I need to be a better fan.

Maybe we all do.

  • Dud Roodt

    Agree totally.

    Some people take this sport and their following of it way too far. Passion is great, and I would say every single person on this site loves the Wallabies.
    But we don’t really want it going down the path of league where players are called c*nts by supporters, or racially abused.

    There needs to be a happy medium. Sometimes our sport lacks the real passionate fans that other sports have in this country, but what the fuckwit did on Saturday was so far out of order.

    I think we can all assume that if it was just he and Lukhan in a back alley way he wouldn’t have had the courage.

  • Reds&Wallabies

    Great to see this article Hugh. Well said.

    Let’s hope everyone sits back and also reflects on how willingly harsh we have all become, typically via social media/forums/articles – but not until we see a d!ckhead doing it to the players faces do we reflect how unfairly willing we are to abuse these blokes – most of them still kids when they are down on luck.

    Yeah they get paid well & we want better – but so do plenty of other people in the world who stuff up too.

    Everyone needs to take a farken chill pill! Building pressure on people has rarely resulted in improvement.

  • Larry Jorgensen

    Simply … yes.

  • Will

    It was a sad sight to see for sure. I understand the guys upset but that behaviour is never acceptable.

    It feels like we’ve hit a new low and now more than ever we need to believe.

  • Adrian

    Excellent comments Hugh

  • I agree with what you are saying. Admittedly, I experienced this moment 10-15 years ago when I got stuck in to a player from the sideline and in a moment of clarity a few hours later, thought what a twat I was… Needless to say, I have never done that again and cringe when I see it. As a referee, I have seen the ugly face far too many times.

    This does not remove the case for critical review of the potential causes though. As a reds fan (supporter?) I am pretty critical of not as much the players, but the way the club is run. Recently, and after to paying for membership for many years, I received an email to ask for donations to refurbish Ballymore… in a season with about $2 million of talent on the sidelines for various reasons.

    The Wallabies set up, including their Head Coach, the Defensive coach, continue to under perform. Not only this, and possibly more important, and frustrating, they seemingly choose to address the issues by doing the same thing, over and over.

    Paul Cully tweeted a few days ago about how he felt sorry for Chieka because he had no “in-form” 10 to choose from; he has been Head coach for a number of years now and this issue is no secret. How is this man still in a job when he has failed to even at least try and expose a new 10 to the role for any extended period. Beale is not the answer. he was lost again on the weekend. Toomua was pulled for him, much to many fan and Toomua’s disbelief. Reece Hodge was tried and I can’t say that he failed but still nothing? Hamish Stewart spent most of the Super season out of position or not on the field. QC… Wouldnt it be great if we saw stewart shadow Foley for 30 mins in these tests so he has some experience for Japan?

    You are right. The players do not deserve this. Individuals do not deserve this. The guy is a peanut and I would like to see him barred for a period. But, at the end of the day, the frustration felt by many stems from the inability of a Union to control its people. I certainly do not want this person protected because he was frustrated but, RA, get your head out of the sand long enough to understadn the fans are walking and it is your fault.

    • Dud Roodt

      You can’t just say something like that without providing the Youtube link or at the very least the backstory?!

      • Back story… too many black cans. Regional game… still a twat.. the referee thing? sent off 3 parents in different games and 3 coaches in two different games in one season where I only refereed about 8 games total. :(

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate I do sympathise. I’ve sent a coach off once and the abuse we get at times can be out of line. Luckily I’m half deaf from an incident with a mortar in the Army so I don’t hear a lot from the sideline.

        • Mine was a minimi and many 105 rounds… that is the excuse I tell my wife…

  • Missing Link

    I back Tui on this as I would have slotted the bloke, he showed a lot of restraint. Also good on Kerevi, Samu and whoever else was around to support their team mate. It has unfortunately created some bad publicity in the media who love a drama. It’s been a tough week for Tui and his family, I just hope his decision not to play is not a direct result of the dick head in the crowd and Tui knowing he needs to be around family. I would hate to think that dick head had such an influence over the Wallabies because I can tell you we need Tui in the team.

    • laurence king

      Playing his heart out, losing in the last play of the game in a week where he lost his step -father, seeing his young sister pushed and being abused and he’s just a little bit more than a kid himself. Well I think Tui’s reaction is quite understandable myself. My life, and I don’t think I’m alone here has been me behaving like a shit from time to time, but I have not had to deal with all in the spotlight like young Tui. My feeling on the matter was that it was the final straw on an absolutely crap week an what did he do wrong, dropped a pass.

  • Custard Taht

    Not condoning it, but something “rage” is becoming the normal in our society, people are just angry and short fused.

    My biggest concern is that if the Wallabies continue to serve up this dross and people are being charged $100+ per ticket for the privelege, this could happen more frequently.

  • Kev

    Looking at the comments so far…this will be an unpopular opinion.

    My 2c is that Tui overreacted. According to reports, what the fan said was: ‘‘F—-ing disgraceful. Why don’t you play with some heart? You should all be f—ing ashamed.”

    The video shows Tui was the first one to lay hands.

    The man also was not arrested despite police being on scene and taking reports – which seems to contradict the pushing his sister story.

    If any of your clients/customers said that to you at your work, do you think it would be acceptable for you to grab them by the collar and physically threaten them?

    Now he wants to take the rest of the year off…(yes I know his step father passed recently)

    This never would have happened if Izzy had just passed!

    • Hugh Cavill

      Isn’t that a bit irrelevant though Kev? The fact is the bloke still gave him a gobful.

      I’m sure Tui regrets his actions, and I don’t disagree that he shouldn’t have engaged him like he did.

      But the broader point still stands, and we all need to reconsider how we react when the Wallabies lose.

      • Custard Taht

        On the flip side do we also need to reconsider how we react when they win? Passion is a double edged sword.

        Players love the accolades when they win, surely players should expect criticism when they lose, especially the manner in which the wallabies are losing.
        If they play well but still lose, different story, but they aren’t.

        The Wallabies definitely deserve to be criticised for their recent performances. The fans are the key stakeholders in all of this, and should be able to voice their opinion.

        I guess it comes down to the reasonable person test, as to what is and isn’t acceptable criticism.

        • Hugh Cavill

          Yeah fair points. As I said, criticism is certainly valid, especially after games like Saturday. Sometimes we veer too close to abuse, and that’s something we all need to monitor.

        • Custard Taht

          Unfortunately that is the way society is heading, short fused and angry looking for excuses to go into rage mode.

        • Hoss

          You are so fucking wrong mate, i cant fucking believe how fucking wrong you are. Christ this shits me.

        • laurence king

          People are trying to be serious here and what are you doing? haha

      • Kev

        Yes that’s true. Not disagreeing with your last point.

        I was more responding to comments that seemed to pat Tui on the back for his reaction.

  • Bernie Chan

    There’s a reason why there are 22 players (44 if the opponents are included in the discussion…) playing and the rest of us are watching…I certainly don’t agree with much of the coaching/selecting/managing ideas under Cheika’s ‘watch’…but abusing players is not on…not the opponents, and not the home team.
    I think the players are giving their best in terms of effort, but the selections, tactics and strategy (eg. substitutions…) come from the coach. The defence is a shambles under Nathan Grey, and Larkham has shown no ability to produce a backline that plays to a functional system, but the buck stop with the Head Coach.
    Exhibit “A”:The subbing of Toomua (when Beale was having a shocker…) baffled most observers…it sure seemed to baffle Toomua based on his reaction! And that lead to another positional shuffle in the backline…

  • Kokonutcreme

    What if?

    – Izzy passed the ball to Foley and the Wallabies won the game.
    – the disallowed tries to the Pumas were awarded
    – players families and friends only mingled after the game in the safety of the changing rooms a la AFL
    – Lukhan and the rest of the players walked away from what was clearly a potential confrontation with a drunken fan
    – Lukhan actually did get involved in a physical altercation with said drunken fan
    – fans actually stopped caring and didn’t react/overreact to performances like this

    Poor behaviour from fans and players is not the sole domain of any particular sport, and it’s not become worse either since the advent of social media. Prejudices, bias, bigotry, will always exist at differing levels in people and sporting contests reveals them all whether you’re a sore loser or ungracious winner.

    What we read/write here and elsewhere is censored compared to what is said at the ground and in pubs during and after a game.

    The fans behaviour is unacceptable but the high feelings he was feeling is understandable.

    Sport = Passion and like it or not, we’re all guilty of revealing more of ourselves than we care to in different circumstances.

    • Dud Roodt

      While I agree with most of this, but I can’t agree on poor behaviour not increasing since social media.
      Whether it be politics, sport, bullying, or anything else, social media has given people the anonymity that allows them to say whatever they want, without any repercussions. pre-social media, you just couldn’t do that

      • Kokonutcreme

        I was approaching it from the perspective that poor behaviour has always been there its just that now we’re connected we can see/hear it from anywhere in the world and not just in the circles we travel in. Maybe that’s why it appears to be on the increase.

        • Dud Roodt

          Ah right, well in that case, I agree wholeheartedly.

        • Hoss

          Amen

  • Brisneyland Local

    Hugh, some very interesting points you have raised and it is a fair discussion that has to be had. BL’s points in BL’s usual way.
    – the bloke was a stark raving tool of ocean going variety. But to be honest, not that I am in any way condoning it, they have been at the footy since Moses played fullback for Jersualem U15’s. they will always be there, it is how they are managed by their friends that count.When ‘he’ has a stomach full of jungle juice ‘he’ is being an irrational fuckwit. It is the job of all mates to moderate their ‘tool mates’ behavior when they over step the line.
    – Tui was also at fault, because he shouldn’t have engaged. That was just stupid. If it had gone to fisticuffs then Tui would be staring down the barrel of a suspension or a torn up contract. There are mitigating circumstances regarding the horrible week that he and his family had. But dont put yourself in those postions, or if you get in them, walk away and quickly. Dont get into an argument with an idiotic, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience everytime.
    – I also think that Cheika has to wear some of the hurt for this. He talks about passion and about Physicality. He drums the team up into a siege mentality. This is not good for the players. Passion is good. But ruthlessly efficient clinical, un-emotive execution is even better. Hyped emotive players is not.
    – For the record, I am prepared to put in words to any person, what I have put in writing here. And I hope most people would as well. If that gets me a punch in the face then so be it. Un-eloquent? Yes guilty! Occasionally Obnoxious? Yes guilty! Appalling written communication skills? Definitely. But in life, I will always stand by what I say, and I will wear the consequences good or bad!

    • John Tynan

      Nicely said mate.
      I’m lucky in that I don’t have to worry about Outrage Boycotts or other mindless modern day contagions, so I have the luxury of posting under my real name, and it’s one way I do the same – stand by anything I put down in writing, and happy to be talked away on a different path anytime.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Nice response JT.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I think you make a fair point with Cheika’s performance being a catalyst. Love it when the cameras go to him after a play and I’m sure some of that flows to the players and spectators.
      I’ve said some things here but fully prepared to say the same face to face even down a dark alley

      • Brisneyland Local

        You and I can afford to be a bit mouthy! We have a unique set of skills! ;-)

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah true

        • I don’t have the same set of skills as you two. I still get carried away and state my case, show my beliefs and call for players (and at the moment particularly coaches) to shown the door.

          Part of the reason my posts are long is I like to stop and clear my head and use my words – I have a PhD in a science subject, I’m meant to be good with rational arguments and words – and part is that I want what I say here to be something I’d be happy to say to someone who could break me like a twig if they thumped me to be something that isn’t going to make them thump me! They might disagree – I’m sure Cheika doesn’t want to read I think he needs to go and that the team have failed to improved under his coaching. If he searches my posts he’ll be in no doubt I believe that. It might hurt them and make them angry to read that opinion, but, even if someone has just lost a family member, it shouldn’t provoke violence.

          Drunken dickheads in the crowd, idiots on twitter and all the rest of them really need to remember that. And remember that these guys are huge, super fit and have feelings too. Equally, if a player is aware they’re likely to be feeling particularly sensitive – as they have a perfectly legitimate right to in circumstances such as Tui’s, they should consider not doing the walk around the stadium after the match, particularly after a bad team performance; they (as a team) must have known they were not exactly going to get a warm welcome.

          Sadly I agree again that a chunk of the blame must also be laid at Cheika’s feet. Not only for the siege mentality, although I don’t think that helped. The team and the management think everyone is out to get them, and then someone lays into them… feeds right into their feelings. But Cheika or someone should have thought “Tui is not up to taking the shitstorm that they’re going to face out there, not today” and hooked him from the lap. However, the coaching staff seem to live in a land of denial, so they probably didn’t appreciate that the fans might be upset at what they’d seen…

        • Brisneyland Local

          Eloise, a most articulate post. My skills are less blunt instrument, more scalple like, but violence was only ever a profession never a past time. I agree with your points very strongly.
          I think the coaching staff should be doing to walk around and apologising to all of the fans.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I knew there was a reason your posts are so eloquent and well thought out. I do have a Masters but I can’t write as well as you do mate.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I have two degrees and an MBA. The most eloquent I can write is to say it is farked!

      • Who?

        I think passion in the commentary box is fine, it’s more the calm comments about it before and after matches that are a problem. Because we all get excited in the heat of the moment. Heyneke Meyer always used to look like he was maybe 30 seconds off a heart attack in the coach’s box, yet he didn’t stress passion, and there wasn’t the same sort of vitriol about him, in spite of the fact that South Africans are some of the most passionate Rugby fans in the world.

      • Patrick

        OK I’m not so sure about the dark alley bit, quite frankly if I saw Lukhan Tui without recognising him in a dark alley I would not say much at all (then again I’m not particularly upset about his game except for being too high in contact sometimes) but I’m certainly comfortable saying what I say here to any of the targets.

    • Die Hard

      All so very true.

      Am I alone in that as I age I realise how easily my fingers break now and so have become ever so much more patient with dickheads. They get away with a lot but I win anyway using words and smiles. (Clever words and smug smiles)

      • Brisneyland Local

        Die Hard. The only fights I have ever been in are in war zones, or in a boxing ring / octagon. Being my size (6’8″) everytime I go to a pub some pissed little fuckwit wants to have a shot at the title. Hence why I rarely go to pubs anymore. Rather than curse the existence of pissed morons, I just dont frequent where they are.

    • Who?

      Your point about passion and Cheika is something not mentioned elsewhere, and very valid…

      • Brisneyland Local

        Thank you my friend. I have my moments!

  • Dally M

    Isn’t it a bit ironic that on one hand you are saying we should take a step back & think, yet in the same article you yourself have singled out Izzy and stated he cost us the match?

    Sure he should have passed & it cost us the try, but i’d argue there were at least a dozen other moments throughout the match where someone made a mistake or missed a tackle that cost us points & could equally be claimed to have cost us the match.

    • Hugh Cavill

      I’m more than happy to debate that, and any other incidents that happened in the game. It’s great fodder on here, or over a beer at the pub.

      But to me, when we do this we have two options. 1. Izzy cost us the game – what a shocker! or, 2. Izzy cost us the game, what a selfish twat. Should NEVER play for his country again.

      I think it’s fair to call out errors as we see them, and debate them on here. But to go further and stick the boot into the players attitude, personality, family etc. is way too far.

      • Happyman

        Agreed by all means call out poor play but not effort or heart those are non negotiable in a contact sport.

      • Dally M

        Like i said i agree it was a shocker, but that, in and of itself, did not cost us the game ergo it is unfair to lay the blame at the feet of one player out of the 23 that took part.

    • Liam

      You’re right that there are lots of moments, but the thing is, the team works and builds pressure to get to a position to win the game. And there will always be a couple of small moments that win or lose it. That, the team engineering an overlap, was a chance that has to be converted under pressure. The whole team is working to generate a chance like that. So when a player bombs that chance through an inexplicable poor decision, you have to ask would others have passed the ball on if they were in that position? And if most would, and could, then theres no surprise people point finger at the guy who didnt. Especially when hes a protected species and highest paid and still not signed a contract

  • Happyman

    Hugh
    Insightful read I would like to think that the fan involved is probably not that happy with himself in the cold light of day. Apparently he gave the players quite a spray that would make a shearer blush.
    I would be disappointed if teams were not to interact with fans after the game it is one of the things I like about the game.
    Personally I think the TMO and replays at stadium games are part of the problem it only adds to the frustration. I went to quite a few games of club Rugby this year and found the experience to be much more enjoyable. When the Ref makes a play that you are not happy with you just move on as the game is back in play.
    We should always remember it is just a game and meant to be a pleasant distraction from life. Win lose or draw.
    I back Luchan on this one he acted with admirable restraint it would be much worse if he had hit the bloke. I would also hope the fan reaches out and apologises it would be a great way to put a line through the entire episode.

  • Hoss

    Harden up.

    I reckon the fan didn’t go far enough. Its the old bacon and egg breakfast adage. The chickens involved, but the pigs committed.

    That fan was a pig for sure.

    I would have produced receipts for my expenses, beer, food, transport, tickets, merchandise, lost time earnings, opportunity cost of doing something else (anything else really), pain and suffering, psychological scarring, tourettes, a nervous tick and i reckon i am also a bees dick of Munchausen by proxy – i only follow the Wallabies so i can bath in the glow of sympathy offered by all and sundry as i reveal my dirty little secret , i crave the beatings.

    I would have a whiteboard and a whole presentation ready to go, flow charts, SWOT analysis – the lot and demanded i be remunerated accordingly – in folding.

    As for Dusty, I bet if it was an opinion on SSM or one of those Salm thingies in the Jewish Backpacker Book ol’ mate would have passed it on real quick, but no, not the faux pigskin, lets keep that wrapped up like a contract negotiation with (insert code, team, sport or provence here) don’t give that to anyone – selfish mongrel.

    Winning ugly is like a bad root – no such thing. Never had a bad one, never will (a few ex’s complain about some they’ve had though) – cue best Montgomery Burns voice here – ‘Excellent’.

    I don’t want deep thinking with my Rugby, i want wins, paper over the cracks all you want, but just give me that escape, that sweet nectar, that for 2 hours i can forget the world, forget that a neanderthal misogynist is only ever a tweet away from ending generations of my family through nuclear armageddon, or he wants to bomb Switzerland cause his watch stopped working (yes i stole that from rake) or that i have to wait till next year for GOT (WTF – how hard can it be for a plot that involves boning your sister / Aunty and dragons burning everything – hurry up).

    Life is complicated, rugby is simple. Big boofy blokes crashing into same and then giving it to pretty, asexual little guys to dance and flirt and determine the margin (thank you Nutta) – give me back my escape, that last bastion, that little semblance that once presented joy in my life – that’s what were all missing – joy.

    Put some fun back into our Saturday nites boys, because passion cannot be sustained, it can be twisted and become a darker, ugly force (Saturday night). But winning, well winning fixes all.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      You are gold mate

    • Brisneyland Local

      Two GAGR Academy Awards!

    • laurence king

      I had to, save that one to a file, marvelous stuff.

    • Die Hard

      You make me cry

      (In a good way)

    • After that description, I really hope you watched the other match. The outcome is almost irrelevant, the “big beefy blokes crashing into same and pretty little guys dancing and determining the margin” (not sure they’re asexual, despite Nutta’s claims) is an excellent summary of what went on in Wellington. With a huge degree of skill and passion. And forced errors in the main, rather than stupidly dropped balls.

    • Human

      Hoss, you have outdone yourself…wonderful imagery.

    • Liam

      The chicken IN the egg is arguably more involved than the pig!

  • sambo6

    Storm in a teacup. Let’s not forget that this test wasn’t played in a civilised metropolis. But amongst a collection of holiday units by the beach, which masquerades as a ‘city’. The guy probably got his match tickets for free in a pack with discount vouchers to a cavill mall strip club…..

    (PS: just banter coasties……just banter…)

  • Hitcho

    In a perfect world full of rainbows and
    unicorns this article is on the money.

    Unfortunately though Rugby is not just a game anymore, it’s a job, played by professionals, professionals that get paid good coin. Not only is it their job, they also represent an entire country, it’s the pinnacle of Rugby in Australia!

    On the flipside to the squad, coaches, every other man and their dog working for RA and the Wallabies there’s me, you and countless other Wallabies and Rugby fans out there who see the type of performance being offered as embarrassing. RA and the Wallabies will continue to take our money for, tickets, merchandise, players fees, food, Foxtel subscriptions etc etc, while we pay for flights, fuel, accommodation, taxi’s etc etc to support the Wallabies only to be served the increasingly disappointing product that is the Wallabies at present! “Elite” players running into each other, catching the ball with their head, dropping the ball under the most basic of situations, constant stupid mistakes that wouldn’t be tolerated in club rugby this includes stupid decisions made by the coaching staff. I mean oh sweet baby jebers what is this crap!

    Do I agree with old mate Peanut in the crowd?….. No! Do I understand where he’s coming from? 100% I do! I was screaming the same things just at my Tele. Do I feel for Tui given what he’s going through personally, yep 100% I do.

    The simple fact is that most of the Wallabies didn’t play with any ticker I’m actually not counting Tui in that statement, unfortunately the only difference between peanut and me that night was he was paying $7-9 for a drink, I only had to get up and go to the fridge which I did at ever increasing intervals and he paid a small fortune to be there, I wasn’t going to and won’t again after walking out of ANZ early with countless other fans during the first Bledisloe debacle.

    I’m glad Izzy didn’t pass at the end. After I calmed down I’m actually glad we lost, I’m even glad that we’ve dropped to 7th in the rankings. I’m not even upset that Mr Peanut made an ass out of himself, because hopefully it’s a catalyst for RA, and the Wallabies to sit back and have a serious look at themselves because this shit has got to stop! I’m not glad that Tui in the position he was in had to cop that abuse and I feel really sorry for him.

    • Hugh Cavill

      Hitcho, honest question: you’re screaming at the TV, and you’re glad we lost. Why are you doing this?

      It’s not mandatory. I understand the passion, I do, but it’s all just a game. Yes it’s a job for the players but us fans get to watch just for the fun of it.

      If you aren’t having fun… then what’s it all about?

      • Who?

        I get into trouble for abusing the ref then using the epithet ‘sir’ as my noun of direct address for him at the end of the sentence whilst watching with my son. :-D

        Life isn’t always fun. Life can be painful. But without the lows, the highs are less keenly enjoyed. What’s happening now frustrates me. I was frustrated under Deans (from mid 2009 on). I’m frustrated by Cheika. I was frustrated by Graham, and Hickey, and McGahan. But that makes the memories of 2014, 2011, 2004, 2001, 2001, 1999, 1991 all the more sweet.

        All that said… I completely agree with your article. I had a realization about myself a few years ago, that I was being personal with my statements, playing the man and not the ball. I made a conscious decision to change my methods. That doesn’t mean I’m perfect or can’t do better, it just means I’m on board.

        Lastly…
        What happened to your photo?! Since when are you meant to be publicly identifiable?! Why are we no longer staring at Mr Waugh?! :-P

        • Hugh Cavill

          Haha I actually re-read my own article, and figured if I’m going to criticise players publically it’s only fair I put my name and face to it!

          Great comments BTW. It’s fine to be frustrated, God knows we all are. As long as you can keep it in perspective, and realise why you are doing it. It’s easy to forget at times.

      • Hitcho

        Because I’m passionate about rugby in general Hugh. I was screaming at the tele due to the totally inept display I couldn’t believe I was witnessing. Sometimes frustration is displayed that way. I’m glad we lost because had Izzy thrown the pass all Foley had to do was trip over his own feet and fall in the right direction to score for the win (which judging by the nights performance would have been exactly what would have happened), an entirely undeserved win. This would have significantly detracted from the fundamental hard questions that must be asked and the answers that must be acknowledged by those that have the power to change (players, coaches, admin etc) before we have any hope of moving forward.

        I don’t expect the Wallabies to win every game. What I do expect is quality skills, execution, and game plans, respect for the jersey, passion and ticker from our international side. I want to be able to stand up at the end of a great game turn to opposition fans who I’ve probably been involved in friendly banter with, shake hands a say bloody good game… win or lose.

        The Bledisloe was never just a cup which it is now. It was a guarantee of a bell ringer of a test match where if you didn’t get your tickets early you’d be watching it on tele. Now we know we won’t win even though the likes of the fox crew and media used to try to build it up. Jesus they don’t really even bother doing that anymore. And crowds, you can literally buy a ticket on the night. The game in this country is dying and I feel like I’m powerless to stop it so no I’m not having any fun… that’s what’s worrying me. When people aren’t having any fun that’s when they walk away entirely….

        There has to be a catalyst for improvement. To make the custodians of our game sit the F&%k up and say holy shit this has to change. Kinda like an addict won’t make changes until they hit rock bottom, they’ll just keep stealing from their family and robbing people to feed the habit. Until they get abandoned, locked up, or they die. I’m hoping RA and the Wallabies have hit rock bottom because I’m sick of being robbed and want them to change.

        I still have patches of fun. Watching school and club rugby, where there’s almost a defiance of those at the top to keep the, tribalism, the heart for the game, the passion going. This however is being hampered by the absolute shit show that is RA and the Wallabies.

        Participation rates are down in almost all areas. Traditional Rugby homelands and breading grounds are being infiltrated by other codes, and it’s just being allowed to happen. Regional clubs are struggling. The Yass Rams used to be able to field multiple junior teams, now they are lucky to field 1 team in each age group. Soccer in Yass on the other hand has so many juniors teams they are actually thinking about starting their own comp.

        Our product is not regularly in the public eye on FTA television. And when it is, it’s a display like the Wallabies produced Saturday night which is what people who don’t usually watch the game see. If that was your 1
        Once a year fix of Rugby would bother turning on the next game or would you watch the NRL finals?

        Sometimes Hugh the most passionate of us make mistakes, just like Peanut, my only hope is that out of this extremely ordinary situation all round a positive arises. I’d like to see Mr Peanut make contact with Tui have a chat and apologise. If RA and the Wallabies aren’t currently in crisis meetings I’d be asking why not. I just hope this is actually rock bottom and there isn’t further to fall.

        • Hugh Cavill

          I certainly understand all of that, and feel the same way on most things. I too hope that change is coming, both in the team and in the administration.

          I suppose this article was about trying to compartmentalise it all a bit better. Trying to just watch the game for what it is, without all of the baggage that goes with it. Because I think if you do that, you can enjoy it more (or just hate it less).

          It’s a personal thing at the end of the day, and I don’t want to seem like I’m having a crack at you. Everyone does things in their own way.

          Interesting you mention club/school rugby – one of the reason I think that is having a resurgence is because it’s free from all of the commentary and analysis and stress and attention that Super/Test receives. No baggage, no pressure, just a few tins on the hill watching two teams slug it out for the love of it all.

          And then we all go home with a smile, regardless of the result. Sounds fun.

        • Thomas B

          I feel exactly the same way, well said :)

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Awesome write up Hugh. Thanks for the sanity check. I agree and I think that while it’s easy to get caught up in the moment these guys are doing their best. I retain the right to question everything and everyone and every decision. I’m a passionate rugby supporter and when I see my 2nd team play so poorly I will question things. I’ll even get angry at times because that’s how much I care. However, that scene was totally uncalled for. TBH I don’t blame Tui much, hell I’ve punched people for less in the past, and he was the one wearing that shit. I hope that dickhead gets banned from the game.
    You are so right, sun still came out, beer still tasted good and life goes on. It is just a game and regardless of the score or mistakes the players give their best.
    Thanks for the post and the chance to reflect

  • Thomas B

    I was at the game on Saturday – the stadium was basically empty. I’m not the best judge of bums on seats but there was no way there 16,000 of us sitting in that big empty egg shell. The guy that lost his mind after the game didn’t have to shout advice to those players, he could whispered it and they still could’ve heard him..
    There were mitigating circumstances on both sides – but at $9 for a mid strength beer he would’ve had to have spent the mortgage payment to be as drunk as some have suggested.
    So was it the playing of Johnny Farnham songs at every penalty break or dropped ball that pushed him over the edge.. potentially.
    Or my money is on the red line being crossed because he was promised an international rugby event where there was an atmosphere, and professional rugby players who wanted to be there and had the skills to be selected as the best current players for theie position in all of Australia… our fellow supporter was lied to, had his passion and wallet taken advantage of and had had enough.
    He reacted terribly there’s no doubt about that – but we’re all feeling it.
    Having SA play NZ in such an amazing cauldron on the tv screens prior to kick off had the fans (like me)that did turn up genuinely excited for the next 80 minutes and what did we see?.. Beale catching a ball with his face in the first 5 min – I mean ffs it does makes your blood boil **Your the voice try understand it**

    • Brisneyland Local

      TB, I agree. We had complimentary (cause sure as shit I wouldnt pay for box seats to see those fucktards play) Corporate box tickets last weekend for the Wallas vs Boks game. We turned up early to indulge in the smoke salmon and nibbly bits and were treated to the AB’s vs Los Pumas. It was a fantastic game and got me all excited. It led to higher levels of dissapointment when we watched the Wallas game.

      • Thomas B

        Can’t help but think it reflects on the players too.. imagine finally climbing onto the world stage and no one turns up? Can’t tell me the ARU don’t know that there are going to be more empty seats than taken ones at the beginning of the week – why don’t they pass out $5 seat tokens to every rugby club within a drivable distance? Or local schools? or ..fuck even senior citizens (at least they’d like the music they insist on playing) and get a crowd.. what they miss out on ticket sales they’d probably make up in the bar because the ones that do turn up could justify a few cold ones and the players might think we care and lift their performance a few notches..

        • Brisneyland Local

          I concur. If you know the ticket sales are crap, which they would have already known. Ring all the local clubs and say turn up in your club rugby tops and you get free tickets.

  • Die Hard

    I was at a Roar game many years ago. We had recruited Danny Tiato back from Europe and near retirement.

    Danny was hit or miss at best and we love hated him. A yobbo in front streamed a continuous roar

    We hate you Danny you’re useless go back Danny. Give it up Danny Oh yes! Oh good! Go Danny Go Danny. Yes Dany. WE LOVE YOU DANNY!

    Danny was a favorite in the end. Crowds vary. People are what they are. We need them all. Just too many bloody cameras around now

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    When it is ok for a Chairman and CEO of Rugby Australia to not even take the time to travel to Perth to tell WA rugby players, fans and staff in person why they believe that all professional rugby in this state must be cut off from the rest of the nation and then punish them for protesting this decision by taking their only test a year away and schedule it within 40 minutes of a test that was played the previous week, then a little bit of player abuse is not an issue, is it?
    Rugby used to be a sport where we can enjoy the game, drink a beer and make a friend. Now it is entertainment, a commercial product that comes at a high cost with the entertainers earning millions. People that pay these inflated prices expect to be get value for their money and be entertained. When an entertainer do not deliver a quality product crowds will either stay away or a few brave and committed souls my object verbally or show their disgust in a less accepted way.
    Strange that there was no article about what a flop the crowds were during the Rugby Championships where all games were played in a narrow strip between Brisbane and Sydney. Shameful!

  • Gilbert

    Well my 2 cents is… I have given the Wallabies away. Dumped Fox Sports. You know how hard it is to watch the Wallabies without Fox Sports.

    I have a theory, Eales and his mob played rugby for the love of it, as a result had good skills. When was the last time you saw a lock kick like John Eales. They just happened to be around when it turned professional. The mob we have play rugby for the money. Watch Reece Hodge he has no pace for a 3/4. Look at the basic skills of the Wallabies, or should I say what skills? I can’t believe it. They are professional athletes they should be able to handle the pressure. See what pressure professional golfers are under with people around them all the time.

    So I think they should be able to wear it. Sad that Tui’s family was involved, and the death in his family… it begs the question why did he play if his head and heart were not right place.

    I am sick of the “mediocrity” that is allowed to dominate. The she’ll be rght mate attitude. They are not reaching their KPIs and we as a fan base have a right to bitch. They keep on working on skills then forget them the next week, As much as I hated Jake Ball…. god it could not be worse than watching the Wallabies right now.

    • Hugh Cavill

      So you’ve given away the Wallabies, and yet you’re here on GAGR writing a long comment on a post?

      I mean, if you’re going to give it away Gilbert, then bloody well give it away!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Ba-boom!

    • Who?

      Some say it’s easier to watch the Wallabies without Fox – Bray’s better than Clarke, Burke’s miles better than Kearns! :-P

  • Wallaby Legion

    Absolutely spot on. I get devastatingly disappointed at every Wallaby defeat and stuff up. But hating on the players and coaches won’t fix that. Abusing them at the game won’t fix that.

    They’re the ones good enough to make it out on that field. Not me. And not any numbnut in the stands or in the pub next to me.

    Now, that said, I still reserve the right to hold a grudge against Bill Pulver. What a flog.

    • Who?

      Coaches aren’t on the field – I don’t see any reason to believe that I couldn’t be a better coach! And I’m sure most on here would also think they could be a better coach. Depending on BAC levels at any time, that might even include being a better coach than Macqueen, Henry, Hansen! :-P
      But I completely agree that we shouldn’t ever hate players. Even if they weren’t giving their best. And I can’t think of a time when I saw a player come off and I thought, “he clearly didn’t give his best today.” And giving their best, even when they get it wrong, that’s all we can ask when they’re on the field. When they’re off the field? We can ask for them to lose their job, but I agree we must remember they’re humans, and treat them as we’d like to be treated ourselves.

  • A few comments that may already be here. The fan’s behavior was totally unacceptable and he probably should be at least given a symbolic ban from Gold Goasts tests for 1 year ;)

    But I feel his pain.

    – It’s not just a game, it’s a multi-million dollar industry. And those tickets and shirts and FOXTEL subscriptions (or ESPN!) cost $$$. In return for $$$ we see penny-on-the-dollar skills.
    – Watching SA v NZ and then seeing the Wallabies stroll out for a huge payday and not doing much is infuriating.
    – GAGR Podcasts sledge players constantly, with no right of reply for players. I love it, I laugh, I cry, but what the fan is alleged to have said is close to what I hear on the podcast.
    – If RA actually acknowledged how frustrated fans were, how bad the coaching is, and how badly the players are playing (and they are), it might help. I appreciate the “young men giving their all” line, but I’m not seeing them give their ‘all’ right now. At all.

  • mikado

    Good thoughtful article Hugh. I agree we need to find sport fun, and to be able to get some perspective on it, especially when we lose.

    That said, I thought the Tui incident was something of nothing. A fan went a bit OTT and there was some pushing. Big deal. And there’s going to be passion in sports. We want fans to be passionate. If the price to pay is the occasional dickhead going a bit OTT in the heat of the moment then I can live with that.

  • Liam

    I found this site when you did your massive rant after the loss to the irish years ago. Ive come to appreciate the passion on the site since. But youve probably got a good point and everything needs balance.

    • Hugh Cavill

      Thanks Liam! Can you believe that was seven years ago?

  • astamax

    Nearly teared up there mate. I completely agree with you.

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Can't write, can't play. Tahs and Wallabies.

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