Tries don't always mean entertainment value

RUGBY was the winner on Friday night.

Watching the Reds v Blues game, one thing in particular came to mind.

The number of tries scored does not relate to a game's entertainment value.

If you didn't see the game and looked purely at the stats - only one try and five penalties in the 12-11 scoreline - you would be thinking, crikey, that must have been a boring game dominated by kicking and shots at goal.

But in the context of Friday night's game, the opposite was the reality.

As sports lovers, we far too often use the number of tries as an evaluation tool when determining a game's quality.

Especially if we have not watched the actual game.

But, are tries for tries' sake more entertaining than watching numerous attacking raids repelled by better defence?

Is three soft hit ups and a cross kick for a try entertaining?

Or a try from a rolling maul, for that matter?

Real sport-entertainment, sport-entertainment that generates the 'water cooler and bar stool discussions' and penetrates our very soul, requires, in fact necessitates, a struggle, a contest, the foot (attack) and the shoulder (defence) going at it with all they've got until one overcomes the other.

The closer the gap between the foot and the shoulder, the greater the game.

On Friday night the shoulder was the close winner, and so was the game of rugby.


ANOTHER thing that became apparent from Friday night's game was the versatility in the Reds'' game plan.

What impresses me most about the Reds, is their ability to change tactics, drastically, from week to week.

And do it effectively.

Against the Brumbies they did not take a single shot at goal from penalties, whilst against the Blues they took them all.

This is strategic, and not by chance.

And there's not too many other teams that truly have this versatility, or are as effective in its implementation.

Super rugby has a history

WITHOUT sounding too self-involved, I must correct a lot of journalists who continually write "...since Super Rugby commenced in 1996".

The professional era of Super Rugby may have started in '96, but Super Rugby's genesis was in 1992 with the Super 6 Championship involving Queensland, New South Wales, Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury and Fiji.

It then evolved into the Super 10s from 1993 through to 1995, and included South African teams Natal, Transvaal and Northern Transvaal.

I hope this does not sound too needy or a sad cry for relevance, but as a proud captain of the Reds' Super Rugby championships (1992, 1994 and 1995) I speak for all involved in saying it is important that we honor this history and the unions and players that were involved.

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