Australian Super Rugby fans seem to have a ‘cultural problem’



We have such a strong club rugby culture in Australia, you can attend any club rugby match over the weekend and you will witness young and old alike expressing themselves, being forgiving and creating an atmosphere.

In fact, I prefer it to the sanitized Super Rugby product, especially games involving Australian teams at home.

The simplest example that demonstrates this problem is the difference between the Fijian and Australian fans in this year’s Super Round.

I was there for all three days, the loudest and most fun game involved two teams I had no emotional connection to: Battle of the Pacific, Drua vs Moana.

Compare this enjoyment to almost every other game I attended, it was dismal in comparison.

An example that highlights this, is during the Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force game, a Mexican wave was started after much effort by a motivated gentleman, this wave was quickly cut off, but the members section lacked participation.

This individual continued to attempt this wave and the only way he was able to come to fruition was by skipping the members section entirely.

If this isn’t a solid reflection of why Australia’s Super Rugby crowds and interest are at an all-time low, I’m out of ideas.

Another cultural difference that I don’t like in everyday life, but would encourage in a sporting context, is drama.

Rugby lacks drama, let me rephrase that: we lack the ability to make actions seem bigger than they are.

An example of how this should be done is Rugby League (NRL). At this point, it is almost impossible to distinguish between MAFS and NRL.

There has been endless talk of Harry Grant’s farewell, debates have intensified and hyperbole is everywhere.

Harry Johnson-Holmes. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The old clich├ęs resonate: “The game has gone soft,” “We’ll be playing football before we know it,” or “Player safety is paramount.”

This type of outrage happens on a weekly basis, if you listen to a guy in a bar or on the NRL360 rugby league show, they are quite deliberate in evoking anger and emotions on both sides.

Which, as we all know, generates views and clicks, which means revenue and, if we do it intentionally, support. By clicking or discussing it, we are actually consuming the product.

It wouldn’t be a worthwhile article without some attempts to fix it. My solutions involve both you, the individual fan following the game, as well as Rugby Australia and the great marketing team at Stan Sports.

Firstly, try to make it fun to attend rugby. Think about what you have seen others do and what you are envious of. Dress up, drink beforehand (responsibly), bring a big group of friends, beach balls, and even some creative, kid-friendly constructive criticism for the players.

Secondly, the marketing team and experts lack venom, all comments are made as if they were working in a human resources company. Follow in the footsteps of the NRL and AFL.

Complain more, be hyperbolic, overdramatize, and make sure the average person gets angry in one way or another with your comments.

For example, someone is upset that Harry McLaughlin-Phillips was replaced by Lawson Creighton.

Although it has nothing to do with anything, it will make people express their opinion on both sides of the argument.

Leave a Comment