Different sporting codes, different problems
I don’t get any applause from rugby league fans when I predict, as I usually do whenever it’s time for a test match, that the Kiwis will lose to the Kangaroos.
Actually, I don’t mind getting up league noses because I grew up playing, watching and dreaming about rugby – and it’s still my number one sporting interest.
Also, the rabid league supporters irritate me when they carry on as if an occasional win for the Kiwis – such as when they beat the Aussies for the world cup last year – means we’ve suddenly become the best team in the world.
We’re not. The Aussies have such a depth of rugby league talent that they’ll keep beating us four times out of five no matter how hard we try.
And it was almost unfair last Friday night that they could field a backline where six of the seven players were genuine A grade superstars. Still, I’m hooked on watch- ing league because it’s such a spectacular game and it’s a showcase for so much Maori and PI footie talent.
The rugby season has finally become interesting too as the Super 14 teams jostle for a spot in the playoffs.
But, however that competition pans out, it’s clear that New Zealand has so much rugby talent that we’re likely to remain the world’s most powerful rugby nation, even if we occasionally dip out in the Super 14 or at world cup time.
there’s no matching talent among our administrators, or international officials.
One of their major failings is that they still haven’t sorted out a set of rules that are simple enough for players, refs and spectators to understand. So it’s often anybody’s guess who might get pinged when there’s a tangle of players competing for the ball after a tackle. All that confusion is bad enough but what’s worse is the continuing failure of the NZ Rugby Union to give Maori rugby a fair go.
The latest stuff-up is the way they wimped out of the proposal for a Maori All Blacks trip to South Africa. So now the Maori All Blacks schedule for 2009 is zilch.
The union has a long history of pushing Maori to the back of the queue. It’ll be interesting, now that Winston’s young brother Wayne Peters is on the board, to see whether he’ll accept more second-class rugby citizenship for Maori.
Like Winston, he’s a cocky, smooth operator and has a legal background too. So perhaps he’ll put up a decent fight. It’s time someone did.