Opinion: Idiotic rule wrecks great school final

OPINION: We can thank one of the most idiotic rules ever created by World Rugby (IRB) for ruining, or at the very least, casting a dark cloud over what should have been the greatest first XV rugby final Christchurch has ever witnessed.

With the scores locked at 18-18 in Saturday’s UC Championship final between traditional rivals Christ’s College and Christchurch Boys’ High School, at full-time everybody watching was getting excited about the prospect of extra time. But they were quickly left confused and disappointed as CBHS celebrated. It was announced that they had won the match on an under-19 IRB rule that states no under-19 game will have extra-time and the winner will be decided by who scored the most tries.

If you’re wondering what happens when they score the same amount of tries, yes, it’s just as silly – the team that scored the first try is the winner. Let’s not delve any deeper down this dark moronic hole.

As every single person watching on Saturday knew, the most logical way to decide the tie was undoubtedly extra time – 5min each way or golden point would have done the trick.

However, there are several other options that could easily be deemed a fairer way to decide the title than the ‘you scored more tries, you win’ law. They include a three-legged relay race, a game of force back or props bobbing for apples.

My personal preference is to hold a boat race between the two sides of 22 – easily creating Christchurch’s most anticipated race of all time.

But due to a New Zealand law that is enforced far more loosely that the IRB’s strict ‘you scored more tries you win’ law, we would have to wait until every member of the two sides has turned 18.

But joking aside, the reason for the rule seems to be the same one behind under-19 matches having 35min halves – it’s about player safety. Sure, but can we not loosen those guidelines a bit to decide a major final? How about the players’ mental safety. After all, you’ve created a scenario where one team is grieving, even though they never lost the match, and another is expected to celebrate knowing they drew the match.

The undecidedness of the result isn’t the biggest issue I have. It ruined the best thing about first XV rugby – giving someone an opportunity to be remembered forever.

Even if some of these
players go on to accomplish nothing further in rugby, games like this one present an opportunity for someone to be a legend for life among their schoolmates.

If Kurtis Weeks made the attempted drop goal at the end of the game, it’s a moment that would have never been forgotten by the thousands of people at Saturday’s match. Just as Rico Syme’s performance in last year’s UC Championship will never be forgotten by many.

It also swings the other way. The 2016 epic final between CBHS and Shirley Boys’ High School will always be remembered for a missed,
and very makeable, a conversion that could have caused an
upset.

I still hear references on a regular basis about an attempted kick into touch more than 10 years ago which would have given St Thomas’ their first ever win over CBHS. That poor fullback is still remembered for being charged down.

I won’t remember Saturday’s match for being a great final. But it will be remembered for being incomplete.

Comment