Before you call me heretic, hear me out: New Zealand rugby crowds are largely boring.
The best we can do is a Mexican wave or All Blacks chant. The lack of singing or chanting, for instance, will please those who still maintain the on-field action should be enough entertainment.
On the global scale of expressing sporting passion, we still have a way to go. Yes, there are a few exceptions, like the 2005 Lions tour taught us to loosen our buckles ever so slightly and that Cricket World Cup semifinal when the Hairy Javelin Grant Elliott sent Eden Park into a frenzy. But we can do better.
Which brings me to the comments of 2017 Lions coach Warren Gatland, who said this week New Zealand supporters lack humility. Bollocks.
Having travelled around the country for the best part of 15 years following the All Blacks, I believe Gatland is way off the mark to say we are now an arrogant fan base. Happy, more like it, stoked, even gobsmacked. Sure, it's time we all stopped booing Quade Cooper but, let's not forget, it broke him at the 2011 World Cup. Remember the kickoff in the semifinal against the All Blacks? It set the tone for that fabulous victory.
I know many from the Northern Hemisphere will try to have a dig even if the North on this occasion comes with a Kiwi passport, but the constant barbs over our superiority and powers over referees are tiresome. We have a team setting records galore. I wish Kiwi supporters would shout that more from the roof tops instead of bemoaning the demise of world rugby.
Let's get Kiwis out of their conservative slumber and learn to just to let rip. That's not lacking humility Warren Gatland. It's called enjoying the ride.
The Code War
I love winding up my Facebook followers with a subtle dig about league v union. The responses provide hours of entertainment. So with tomorrow morning's international double header on, I couldn't help but wonder which took your fancy. A league test between the best two sides in international league or an All Blacks test where only the bravest Irish fan would pick anything other than one result.
I wonder whether a test between the Kangaroos and Kiwis would even jump into the same stratosphere as an All Blacks test when it comes to ratings. Hopefully Sky TV will oblige and give me that answer for you next week.
A commentator's purpose
I got to spend an hour chewing the fat with the front man of Channel Nine's cricket coverage Mark Nicholas this week. He's just released his book and it was a thoroughly good read. But what caught my attention was confirmation of what we always knew: commentators are there to keep us watching. One of the major accusations hurled at Channel 9, and the super-smooth Nicholas, is that they are nothing but cheerleaders.
Here is an extract from Nicholas' book when the scary Kerry Packer called telling him to lift his game behind the mic. This is gold.
"Son, it's Kerry Packer," said the gravelly voice on the other end of the line. "Son, stop bagging the f***ing game."
"Pardon, Mr Packer? I'm sorry, I missed that," replied Nicholas, struggling with a bad connection.
Packer: "I said stop bagging the f***ing game, son. Celebrate the game, talk it up."
Nicholas: "But Mr Packer, people tell me I'm too busy talking the game up and that I should toughen ... "
I'm not one to say I love Channel's 9 sometimes over-the-top coverage of cricket but, I can tell you this, if Kerry Packer says you call a game a certain way, you bloody well listen.
Questions of the week
- If a promoter managed to get Steve Adams and Oklahoma City to play a promotional match in Auckland, do you think it would get ratepayer funding? Bloody oath.
- Anyone else suffering massive FOMO because you're not in Chicago for the biggest sporting party of the year? Five million fans for the parade!
- On that note, anyone else now a baseball fan after that sensational game seven of the World Series? Now I get what all the fuss is about.
- Word I'm getting is Martin Guptill is about to be put back on the test scrape heap for the upcoming Pakistan series. Had to happen, didn't it?
Story of the week
The two Aussie lads who conned their way into playing the North Korean Golf Open. Now that takes balls, especially considering one of the boys shot 120. Love the Aussie spirit.