Less about rugby…

…more about insults.

Oh dear. Eric Janssen’s Southern View Rugby Blog at The Telegraph has really set the cat amongst the pigeons by “mocking an entire nation because of attendances at rugby”. But I actually found it pretty funny, if a little contrived at times.

Look back to the 2005 tour to New Zealand … grown men were crying in the pub because they did not have tickets to see one game – any game, not even a Test – featuring the men in red.
I’m told South Africans are blaming high ticket prices for the low attendances, but get over it. There are many ways to save a few rands to buy a ticket … don’t throw a whole damn kudu on your bbq next time; drink fewer disgusting brandy and cokes; give the escort agency a miss next week; save legal costs by not shooting someone soon.
Tickets were far from cheap in 2005, but that did not stop people – real rugby fans – from filling the stadiums.

Firstly, he’s right on the attendances. They have been shockingly poor. Embarrassingly so. Either that or the SA rugby fans have been cunningly disguised as plastic seats. And this is weird, because generally, the fair-weather South African rugby fans turn up in big numbers for big rugby games. And surely the much-anticipated British and Irish Lions’ tour is about as big as it gets?
But then, as Janssen states:

…provincial sides stripped of all their current Springboks are making the warm-up games virtually meaningless. It’s a disgrace.

Janssen’s view on SA are stereotypical and exaggerated – attempting to elicit a response, which they have. And he knows which buttons to press because he lived here in SA for a good few years. But I can’t believe that the locals are so up in arms about the whole issue. Take a joke. Because it’s funny.
And if you want to be all serious, then if rugby and pride in your country are so very important to South Africans, why are so many of the stadiums empty on this tour?

There were far fewer complaints when he described the (Gauteng) Lions as “a pathetic bunch of Skoda-driving, sandal-wearing, tree-hugging, lentil-eating, polyester-wearing, greased-hair weasels” and “a feeble collection of player-wannabees” last week.

Mind you, I think he understated that a bit.

32 thoughts on “Less about rugby…

  1. Ag its really all so simple. Who cares that much about the Lions? Sure the Springbok games will be epic, but thats the nature of international tests. Tours don’t mean very much these days – but for some reason everyone wants to blame the South African rugby public for it. Shame.

    Eric Janssen is just angry SA doesn’t love his Lions as much as he does.

  2. Lee > Eric Janssen is, of course, a kiwi.
    I think he’s right in expressing the embarrassingly poor attendances as symptomatic of a disrespectful rugby public. Who probably do shoot stuff, chuck whole kudu on their braais and drink Klippies and coke (met eish, ja?). Especially those in Pretoria.

  3. Really it’s just another example of how we shoot off at the mouth about anyone and anything – but when it hits closer to home, oh dear god, it’s a bloody tragedy.

    I thought it was funny though. We just need a sense of humour as a country.

    Goblin´s last blog post was: Having a whale of a time (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  4. The same can be said for domestic 4 day cricket. The crowds at these games has been so disappointing that they even let you in for free to try get people in. Bigger tournaments are stealing the interest away from people, and the same can be said for rugby. We’ve just gone through a hectic S14, where an SA team won, (maybe Eric Janssen is a Chiefs supporter), and we’re now preparing ourselves for a Lions thrashing.

    SA ruby is doing well, let’s not bring out the worst.

    BlindCripple´s last blog post was: A Little Bit About Being Single (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  5. Goblin > Ha! Exactly right. And everything is taken so much to heart. Just like Clarkson’s Jozi piece.

    BC > Domestic cricket is definitely struggling. But this is far bigger than domestic cricket, so I don’t understand your point.

    Lee > Right, so none of the crowds so far would have filled an average New Zealand stadium. I don’t get what you’re trying to prove here. Or have you swapped sides?

  6. 6000 > My point is; “South Africa, your disrespect for the Lions tour is a disgrace” isn’t justified.

    Our ‘disgraceful’ attendances would almost fill an average NZ stadium. Given the different circumstances of this tour:

    In 2005 the Lions were made up of a team that had just won the World Cup,

    Sport overload: S14, IPL, Confed Cup, Tri-nations,

    World in recession,

    Percentage of population that watches Rugby;

    I don’t think thats a disgrace. In fact, its a bit much to now label the SA public whore-mongers and murderers. And its my prerogative whether or not to think thats ‘funny’ or not.

    ‘P.S.’? Patronise much?

    http://www.sarugby.net/matchbreakdown.aspx?id=16146 (Official Springbok website.)

    P.S. The crowds we will have at the actual test matches will total 166,373 (48,900 more than NZ).

  7. Lee > You think your Royal Bafokeng is right? Mine was from the official Lions Tour website. Who was playing that day, Lions or the Boks? Yours not just a hopeful estimate? Nice of the crowd to come to such a round number. Handy. Good for calculations, that sort of thing.
    You are the epitomy of the outraged nationalist and I think it’s hilarious.

    Take. A. Joke.

    Yes, it’s contrived, stereotyping humour, but at least accept that it’s meant to to be funny even if it is your “prerogative” to disagree.

    The fact that the crowds at the three tests will be so large further emphasises the “fair weather” nature of SA Rugby fans, and makes it all the more of a disgrace that they are only going along to certain games.
    And don’t tell me it’s a sport overload. What a pathetic excuse. How many die hard rugby fans give a flying toss about the Confed Cup? Or the Super 14? They only turned out in any numbers for the last two games, same as always – glory hunters – and that’s disgraceful and disrespectful to visiting teams.

  8. I posted the link to back my figure. Stop treating me like an idiot!

    I disagree that it was meant to be funny, being labelled a disgrace illustrates that quite obviously. Just because YOU think its funny doesn’t make you right.

    After all the drama surrounding the Golden Lions and the Cheetahs this year, we’re now all ‘glory hunters’ for opting to watch the games on tv. Nice! The Royal XV don’t have a support base because they’re not even a team. I’d be very surprised if all the warm-up games in NZ were sold out anyway.

    So what exactly do you expect me (us) to say? South Africa is indeed a disgrace? We’re just supposed to admit to it without a defense? I think thats pretty damn arrogant. I gave examples above about why numbers are down; rational examples that make sense – its not difficult.

    Can the Brits please just cut us some slack? I’m getting tired of hearing about how embarrassing we are.

  9. If we are indeed so embarrassing, and its simply disgraceful playing here, maybe they should just overlook the next tour. I think it would be a shame, but hey, we’re just not good enough are we?

    And I don’t think I can be described as an ‘outraged nationalist’ for defending these claims. But if thats what this makes me, I’ll take it.

  10. Lee > Maybe just accept the charges against the SA rugby watching public. (Or lack of it). It is disgraceful. Maybe they should choose smaller venues next time. If there is a next time – I can really see the Lions tour staff taking offence at how little support there has been for the tour over here. And quite rightly too. There will be better supported tours and more lucrative deals in 2021.

    And – once again Janssen is not a Brit – he’s a Kiwi. Don’t shoot the wrong nations messengers. (I know you guys like shooting).

  11. Janssen was referring to Paul Ackford. I’m not only referring to him (hence plural), but to what I’ve been reading these last few weeks, from press and public in general.

    Why don’t you wait until the tour is over before condemning all of us? The numbers at the remaining warm-up games will be higher – they’re actually decent games. Will you maintain we’re all a disgrace afterwards? I’ll come back and check, but really, I don’t expect you to change your mind. You made it up a long time ago.

  12. Why choose smaller venues? This will not make the crowd bigger, but it will make the stadium appear less empty on your Tv screen 6000. Personnally I don’t see the issue 23 000 for a warm up game isn’t bad. They may get more in NZ, but that’s because there is less to do in NZ. As for a more lucrative deal in 2021, what is the deal for 2009? I suspect that most of the money comes from TV rights and other sponsors (checked out the Lions website, hard to see a team lineup through all the sponsors gump).

    However I do find his description of the (Gauteng) Lions insulting,afterall they did finish 12th in this years super 14.

  13. “attempting to elicit a response, which they have. And he knows which buttons to press”. Sounds like you are doing the same thing here 6K.

    And considering the poor attendance at some of the NZ Super 14 games/derbies, Janssen should probably just mind his own business. Last year’s S14 final was played in front of 26 000 people in Christchurch.

    The SA rugby watching public watch the games from the comfort of their own homes with a cold beer in hand and a potjie of the fire because they don’t want to get ripped off at the stadiums paying over the top for tickets, warm beer and mediocre boerie rolls.

    I watched at least 3 matches during my visit to SA in March and every time the lounge/TV room/bar at my folks’ house was packed with spectators.

    PS: It cost AU$20 to go and watch 2 Top 3 teams play each other in an AFL match at the MCG. This will get you a capacity crowd of around 80 000 people. Last year’s Grand Final was played in front of 100 012 spectators. How much does it cost for a rugby ticket to a big game?

    Delboy´s last blog post was: Kid-talk (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  14. Lee > Made my mind up ages ago? No. But something has gone wrong somewhere with this tour and it reflects badly on SA when the pictures being beamed all over the world show rows and rows of empty seats. I can see why people would label that a disgrace.

    Stan > Smaller venues because the crowds obviously aren’t willing to come and watch, so at least make a better atmosphere and create a better international impression by having a fuller stadium for each game.

    DelBoy > Not like you and I to cross swords over rugby 😉 (or is it?).

    The ticket price/warm beer/cold boerie thing really doesn’t apply here. We’re comparing SA with the rest of the world and all over the rest of the world you get high prices for crap food in stadiums. And why should the SA rugby-watching public do it from bars and their living rooms? Everyone all over the world does that too, but people still turn up to watch big games. And by big, I mean the opportunity to see the Lions on tour, which only happens every 12 years.
    I can’t answer your questions for all the stadia and matches, but I know that a Grandstand ticket for Newlands for the Lions v WP game will cost you R230. Which (apparently) is Aus$35.
    Take into consideration though that that is a decent ticket and also from the WPRU who are stupid about their prices anyway because they are very, very greedy.
    The cheaper seats have all sold out, incidentally, which is not a disgrace.

  15. Tickets for Super 14 games were less than R100. R230 for a Lions warm-up is expensive, no matter what anyone says. You can’t compare it to Aus$ using the exchange rate, you have to use PPP (purchasing power parity); how much would R230 buy you, and how much would that cost in Aus. Using smaller stadiums is a stupid solution – rather make tickets cheaper. Its simple economics.

    Delboy > If it seems I have been overreacting to this post, let me give the posting some context. 6000 told me to ‘get a life’ after initially posting Janssen’s article. I replied; “Easy tiger! Life’s fine thanks. That article was simply uncalled for – mocking an entire nation because of attendances at Rugby. Nice!”, Which is where this all started.

    That article warranted a response, I think it would have been quite sad if everyone just said “Ya, I guess you’re right. We’re [censored]!”

    What I really think this all comes down to, is the fact that it is the Lions’ supporters who are embarrassed. They’re embarrassed they can’t draw the big crowds, they’re embarrassed S14 crowd attendances were bigger; its really easy to blame us for it.

  16. Lee > Let’s compare like with like here. Grandstand tickets for the S14 games at Newlands were not “less than R100”. And when you compare the standard of the players in (say) the Chiefs side (I was there) vs the Stormers against the standard in the B&I Lions, there’s the justification was raising the prices right there.

    As for the Lions’ fans being the ones that let them down – well really. You blame the current economic climate for the poor SA showing, but expect huge numbers to travel 6,000 miles (I’m told) to come and watch?

    But look – I think that we are very much arguing over two different things here, whereas you’re lumping it all together into one. The whole “get a life” thing was directed at the way you took offence at what was obviously intended to be a joke about SA.
    Whether it was funny or not is a matter of opinion. (as we almost agreed on some time ago).

    The size of the crowds at the Lions’ matches (which was what instigated the “joke” in the first place) is, however, indisputably a disgrace.

  17. Comment from Lee which I accidentally deleted:

    “I meant the Lions are upset that they can’t draw South Africans to their games. Because thats really whats happening here. (I will still pay R230, and am doing so tomorrow for the Sharks.) I can’t explain that – I thought everybody was keen for this tour as well, but there are also many reasons that would keep fence-sitters at home instead. I fail to see how we can be called a disgrace for not coming to support your team.

    Over it.”

  18. Lee > In answer to your deleted comment (sorry about that).

    Ah – it’s all about MY team, is it now? And I thought it took two to tango (or scrum). Incidentally, I will be supporting the Boks against the Lions, so I’m not 100% sure which MY team is, but obviously it’s everyone’s fault except the South Africans.


  19. Now you’re just being petty.

    I’ve already explained why the Cheetahs, Royal XV and Lions games weren’t sold out. They’re crap. In fact, all those thousands of people who did turn up only went out of RESPECT to the Lions in the first place. I’ve tried to point out that crowds have not been as bad as everyone thinks; I’ve also said that the crowds should get bigger and I hope they do. My whole argument is that is it is unfair and unjustified to call us a disgrace.

    Season ticket-holders at Durban were forced by the tour organisers (read Lions organisers) to forfeit their tickets for the Sharks game, so expect the stadium to be empty yet again. I can understand them being forced to forfeit their Springbok games for a tour like this, but the Sharks game was one game too far. All my friends in Durban are choosing to watch this game at home rather, I had to talk a friend of mine into coughing up for tickets, and he’s been a season ticket holder for 3 or 4 years. This is the nature of whats going on here.

    I call myself a fanatical rugby supporter, yet I have been to 3 S14 games at Newlands, 4 IPL games in CT, I have a pool game and a semi-final ticket for the Confed Cup, and I am still going to the Sharks game. I’m only going because its the Lions game, yet I’m still part of the disgrace, even after all the effort.

  20. Lee > The WPRU refused to ask season ticket holders at Newlands to give up their seats and got no Test match because of it.
    Who won that one?
    The days of rugby tours (or any other sporting events) being organised to test your self or your team against another team are long gone. It’s all about money. Anyone who says otherwise is in denial.

    “Yes, but I’ve been a season ticket holder for ages…” etc etc, cuts no ice. Read the Terms and Conditions before you buy. Lions games not included*. You can’t have something for nothing. You buy your season ticket for a certain number of games and you go to a certain number of games.

    All of which leaves us with the continuing reality that the appalling attendances have been embarrasing for SA and are a disgrace.

    * obviously, or there would be legal action all over the place.

  21. Look, 6000, I was a season ticket holder at Durban for 3 years prior to this. We’ve had Springbok tests allocated to Durban at the last minute and never had to pay for them, I think that was in 2007 IIRC. In Durban, unlike other stadiums, if the Sharks host a semifinal/final, it is free to season-ticket holders (which they could not have accounted for in initial ticket costs). I disagree its all about the money.

    But I expected them to pull the Lions tests off the ticket. That was necessary! I didn’t expect them to pull the warm-up. As a result, you’ll now get a half-empty stadium at best. And then label us a disgrace. Keep going!

    I get the impression that you’re very proud of knowing everything, and equally impressed with yourself when you correct everybody else. Sorry, thats just my opinion. You really didn’t have to explain how a season ticket works, but thanks*.


  22. Lee > I explained because you seemed confused, petal. Sorry. You should make it clearer that you understand the concept. It will save time all around.

    Your suggestion that the Sharks game will be half-empty because the game isn’t included on a season ticket doesn’t fit. How many season ticket holders are there?

    As for your personal slurs, I’m merely defending my opinion against your outrageous claims.

  23. Lee > And here’s a post from SA Rugby LAST NOVEMBER, stating VERY CLEARLY that:

    “The tickets will be made available in the second phase of sales, following first phase sales to season ticket and suite holders at five of the venues the Lions visit next year.

    Rugby supporters at Coca-Cola Park, Loftus Versfeld, Vodacom Park and Newlands will guarantee themselves a ticket to see the Lions in action when they purchase or renew their season ticket at those venues. British & Irish Lions tickets are not included in packages at the Absa Stadium, Durban, but season and suite ticket holders can buy Lions tickets when they renew. ”

    So why the shock?


  24. Ya ya ya ad hominem, whatever 6000. You’re a bigot. My outrageous claims that we aren’t a disgrace? Fair enough.


  25. Your SA Rugby post: Coca-cola Park, Loftus Versfeld, Vodacom Park and Newlands all upped their season ticket prices to include the warm-ups. So their supporters didn’t have a choice, they had to cough up regardless.

  26. Lee > Re: season tickets. So again, I ask – why the shock when no Lions games were included in your Sharks S/T?

    Bigot, eh? How do you work that one out?

    It is my experience that one only resorts to personal jibes when one has no further logical argument. Disgraceful.

  27. There isn’t any shock involved with season tickets. I’m explaining why attendances will be low tomorrow. You are so stubborn you will just argue with anything I say. Bigot isn’t so much an insult, as an observation.

    Bigot: “a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.”

  28. Lee > Whereas you, of course, have been open to all the viewpoints, ideas and suggestions which both I and Eric Janssen have put forward.

  29. This is almost as much fun as the “South Africa’s Xenophobic Attacks” post.

    “The ticket price… thing really doesn’t apply here”. Actually, it does apply. AU$35 is only just above the Australian hourly minimum wage. How many people earn R230 per hour in SA?

    My point was that 15500/12300 to watch the Royals (who?) play the BI Lions isn’t bad when you compare it to the number who went to see the S14 final last year between two big name teams. Besides, it IS only a warm-up game! Even John Plumtree agrees. Who would want to watch a bunch of ‘unknowns’ get thrashed by a world class side? http://foxyurl.com/5DI

    Would you?

    Delboy´s last blog post was: Kid-talk (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

    Leave a Reply