Talking World Cup Rugby: These kick-off times don’t please anyone

Peter Bills
rugby1 236x300 Talking World Cup Rugby: These kick off times dont please anyone

Corey Flynn of the All Blacks tackles children on a bouncy castle during a New Zealand All Blacks IRB Rugby World Cup 2011 fan day

The day after the weekend.. for me, life is the opposite of most people’s working lives.

Monday morning after a hectic Saturday and Sunday at the World Cup is a chance to draw breath. For gee, it was hectic this last weekend.

Saturday I was at Eden Park, Auckland, early enough to watch the England v Romania game on TV. After that, I covered the New Zealand v France match.

The authorities say that the reason all these World Cup matches over here kick off at night is to maximise commercial value from breakfast time starts in the northern hemisphere. But from what I hear, I’m not even sure people over there like those morning kick-offs.

After Ireland’s great win over Australia the previous weekend, I heard from a friend in Dublin. “Great win but what a shame we couldn’t see it down at the pub” said someone. “The craic would have been unbelievable.”

I’m sure there must have been some bars open to serve breakfast with the rugby. But they were probably not serving the black stuff – too early in the day for that. And somehow, the rugby doesn’t seem to go down quite as well without a little drop of the black stuff to help it on its way.

So both hemispheres get the worst of both worlds. The north can’t see games with a pint in hand in the pubs. And down here in the south, we have to wait until 8.30 at night when the dew is down and the ball more slippery, to start. It isn’t very satisfactory.

In my case, once the game was finished, I sat through two press conferences. The losing team, in this case France, always comes through first.

Then you queue up for a bus to take you back to the North Shore, over the impressive Auckland Harbour Bridge, which gives you a superb view of the city lit up at night.

So I was back at around midnight and started work for a couple of hours. This weekend, I needed to send stories or match reports to papers in Dublin, Belfast and South Africa. Bed by 2.30am…

Up Sunday morning to write a considered report for the Monday morning papers in South Africa, giving my article a ‘Springbok’ angle.

Then on Sunday, I watched three games: Fiji v Samoa, Ireland v Russia and finally Argentina v Scotland. I finished work at midnight after that lot.

So on a bright and beautiful Monday morning, I jumped in the car and drove around 45 minutes north of Auckland to the beautiful Gulf Harbour area. I had two (non-rugby) interviews to do and was then entertained superbly by Gary and Fran at their lovely home overlooking the sea, a harbour and golf course.

They’re just ordinary Kiwis who have been so kind and hospitable to me since I met them on this trip. But then, they rather typify all New Zealanders. They’re superb people who genuinely welcome you and can’t do enough for you to make your stay memorable.

I’m sure this World Cup has brought together complete strangers who will now remain friends for life. Not too bad a sport that does that, is it?

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  • suttercane

    so…..what are you saying?play the games at 3:00 in the morning so people can watch down the pub?how utterly ridiculous.If people in europe cant be bothered watching a world cup game at 9:30 am then you shouldnt be watching at all.Maybe all the players should be on different time zones so that they are ready to play early in the morning just so the armchair fans dont have to put themselves out….you couldnt make this crap up.

  • DaiWales

    as suttercane asks  “what are you saying ?”  this article wanders uselessly from asking a question -  without suggesting answers  , – to wittering on about where the author’s been and what nice people the New Zealanders are.

    sorry the only word for this is vacuous  space filling !

  • Andrew Nichols

    The ridiculous freezing night footy in NZ stadia has been a significant factor in declining attendance in NZ over recent years. Far better crowds attended when the games were on at 2.30 pm in sunshine. Way better quality footy too.

  • Kiwitosser

    Vacuous pap.

    “Up Sunday morning to write a considered report for the Monday morning papers in South Africa, giving my article a ‘Springbok’ angle.”

    Presumably you tossed this one out while getting dressed.

  • suttercane

    exactly,i remember when i could watch saturday afternoon rugby…but no more because it doesnt fit in with the tv times!rugby selling its soul to tv just like wendyball…..what a disgrace

  • GVA bob

    Professionalism means money talks. Wages keep going up and unions keep playing more test to get in more cash. The TV guys are just doing their job, they don’t love or even like rugby they like viewing figures. the Unions like cash. The only thing that will change this nasty little spiral is if we stop watching. The mistake is to ever think that the people running the game give a tinker’s toss about what we, the paying fans think.

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