The tiny, indeed almost non-existent audiences, despite sunny days, at most provincial rugby matches provides further evidence of the game’s fading appeal.
Personally, I find it largely unwatchable because of the incessant whistle-blowing, on my observation, at about one minute intervals, followed by 2 minute stints standing about, or setting and invariably re-setting scrums. Time-wasting seems at times to be the objective.
One time-wasting oddity peculiar to maori players is when re-starting at either the 25 drop-out line or half-way following a try. Why it is necessary for the re-starting kicker to bend from the waist and slowly bounce the ball five times, then straighten and kick it?
Rugby aficionados express alarm at its declining participation in schools in the face of more attractive options. It doesn’t surprise me given its rule-ridden constant interruptions. No other sport has such a degree of referee involvement.
I’d love to see a repeat here of an incident in a soccer match three years back, in a small village in one of Mexico’s rougher regions.
After a player abused the ref for his penalty decision, the ref pulled out a gun and shot him dead.
This led to the side-line supporters of the deceased player’s team, storming the field and hacking off the ref’s head. This was placed atop a stick on the middle of the half-way line and the game resumed happily without further bloody whistle-blowing interference. I’d pay serious money to see that happen here in a rugby match.
From rugby devotees viewpoint it could only be for the greater good as for all the talk of rule reform, nothing happens.