OPINION: For the second year in a row the UC Championship final is destined to be played at the home ground of the top qualifying finalist instead of the traditional venue Rugby Park.
Why you ask? Well, there doesn’t appear to be any major wall preventing it from happening other than there being a worry the pitch could be made heavy for its use as Canterbury’s home training ground and because hosting a home final gives the top qualifier a reward for their work earlier in the year.
It was bad enough we had to host this year’s Super Rugby final in the giant marquee at Addington held together by Blu-Tack and goodwill. Why shouldn’t we let the region’s secondary school final be played at a venue it deserves.
Last year’s final saw a move away from Rugby Park when Christchurch Boys’ High School hosted Timaru Boys’ High School.
The spectacle was nothing on its final predecessors at Rugby Park – which are some of the best atmospheres I’ve witnessed at a game of rugby – and unfortunately it looks like this may not be a one off.
The final needs Rugby Park, especially if we get the match-up we’ve been wanting but denied for the past two years.
Saturday is the third year in a row traditional rivals CBHS and Christ’s have qualified one and two for the play-offs. But, we are yet to get what would undoubtedly be one of the most hyped matches of rugby in Christchurch in years . . . surely the stage is deserving of Rugby Park. Heck, I’d even have it at the Addington marquee and use next Saturday’s Canterbury v Wellington Mitre 10 Cup match as a curtain-raiser.
Speaking of the Canterbury match . . .
The Canterbury Rugby Football Union has already moved next weekend’s UC Championship final from Saturday to Sunday so it doesn’t clash with Canterbury’s match with Wellington.
However, is that in itself a fair enough reason to move the game to Sunday? As far as I’m aware Sky are able to film both games, so where is the clash?
There are likely two reasons. There’s a good chance Christ’s College – who are coached by Canterbury assistant coach Reuben Thorne – will be playing in the final. The man has accomplished a lot but even he isn’t capable of being in two different places at ones.
The other reason is likely to make sure the Mitre 10 Cup game doesn’t miss out on ticket sales. In that case, you would think the least the CRFU could do is offer up Rugby Park for Sunday’s big match as a token gesture.
Come on CRFU, let these boys play on a stage worthy of what for many of them will be the biggest game they ever compete in.