OPINION: Where were you Christchurch?
Alarm bells should be ringing after the Crusaders failed to sell-out the biggest match of the Super Rugby season against the Hurricanes on Saturday night.
Where does the problem lie? We can’t point to the usual excuses we’ve had in recent times
. . . it was anything but a nothing match; it wasn’t against a far lesser team; and the weather on Saturday evening provided unseasonably mild conditions.
I believe the problem lies with the illegitimate modern format of the competition. However, that shouldn’t take away from us recognising the fact we are currently witnessing one of the most dominant Crusader sides of all time.
The Crusaders look like the force many of us remember from late 1990s and 2000s. However, the atmosphere on the big occasions isn’t even a shadow of those days. Yes, we don’t have a new stadium that will undoubtedly increase bums on seats, but failing to turn up for a semi-final against arguably the second best team in Super Rugby is only harming the Crusaders’ plea to the council to fast track a new stadium.
One area fans, who were at the game deserve kudos for, is the way they welcomed Scott Robertson and the coaching staff walking up the stand on the way to the coaches box like god-like figures.
Fans in the area rose to their feet as Robertson threw his hands in the air, encouraging them to make more noise, the feeling was electric. However, beyond that you could have struggled to realise Saturday was the biggest match of the year.
The atmosphere was summed up perfectly by four English lads walking in front of me on the way home . . .
“There was just no passion from the crowd,” said one Englishman with a strong northern accent.
“I’ve felt better atmospheres at a school game,” his mate uttered in response.
We can moan all we like about not getting All Black tests. However, we seem to be taking for granted the fact we can currently go and bare witness to a side playing at an All Blacks-like level every other weekend.
Yes, we don’t have the stadium we want but this Saturday could be the only Super Rugby final we host at the outdated tent. Let’s make sure she’s jam-packed and has a thumping atmosphere.