Australian rugby in real trouble
was at Suncorp Stadium to watch the Hurricanes beat the Queensland Reds. His observations suggest there are some big differences between the state of rugby in the two nations.
New Zealanders do not know how lucky they are to have such approachable rugby players. At Wellington Airport Julian and Ardie Savea used Facetime to talk to the grandson of one proud woman who asked for a picture.
Catching the train from Indooroopilly to Suncorp Stadium, it would have been easy to imagine you were actually in New Zealand. Most of the passengers wore Hurricanes tops, others proudly sported All Blacks gear.
Suncorp Stadium hosts a lot of sport but there would be a furore in New Zealand if Super Rugby was played on such a poor ground. The surface was ripped to pieces before the game started and groundsmen doing running repairs is not a good look.
The surface was not the only sub-standard aspect of the game. The ground announcer did not have the courtesy to even introduce the Hurricanes or name their replacements, as they took the field. Failing to acknowledge the Hurricanes as the current champions was just rude.
Stuff.co.nz was the best way to follow the game and most of the comments about the referee and surface were spot on.
It was a pleasure to watch a game where you did not need to wear seven layers of merino to stave off hypothermia.
Roughly 40 per cent of the crowd wore Hurricanes or All Black tops. There were also Taranaki, Chiefs, Blues and Manawatu jerseys on display.
The Kiwis were far more vocal than Reds supporters. The home crowd seemed surprised that their team was competitive and was strangely subdued.
The difference in skill level between the two sides was obvious. The Hurricanes had match winners across the park and in the end it was their skill level that won them the game. The Reds played with passion and deserved respect but passion does not win rugby games.
Australian rugby is in real trouble and New Zealand must be concerned about the state of the game across the ditch. The Reds should be a powerhouse and it was only in 2011 that they won the Super title in front of 52,000 fans.