peteg's blog - noise - sport - 2011 04 17 Rugby BrumbiesVWesternForce

ACT Brumbies versus Western Force

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I figured I'd risk going to see another rugby match at the ground; it's getting on to three years since I last went, and this game reminded me why: it was complete rubbish.

The game itself can be dispensed with quickly. The Brumbies had a few more ideas in attack but their defence fell to bits in the final quarter, resulting in a come-from-behind scoreline of 25 — 17 to the Force. Giteau (for the Brumbies) was mostly jeered (when he kicked for goal from anywhere and everywhere), and cheered only when he kicked a penalty out just before half time. (The Brumbies proceeded to fumble that attacking opportunity.) Ashley-Cooper came on in the last twenty minutes or so and did nothing much.

The afternoon cost me $43, consisting of $37.95 ($33 for a student ticket and $4.95 for the pleasure of booking it with the nice lady at the ANU Ticketek office) and $5 for parking. This is too much for a game of this quality; I've avoided seeing better rugby at Coogee Oval because they charge $20. My seat was in the "inner bowl" on the eastern side of Canberra Stadium (previously Bruce Stadium), so I was staring into the sun (but warm) until the final quarter, when it got cold, dark and bad for the Brumbies all at once. That spot would have been OK if the game had grabbed the crowd, but as it was there were many people standing around aimlessly, blocking the view.

There is no doubt the club realises it has problems when only 13,500 supporters turn up for a likely win (which wasn't). Long gone are the glory days of Gregan and Larkham, and now even George Smith. I'm certainly not likely to go back. The pick of the games this year will presumably be the Reds versus the Waratahs, provided the Tahs field a full-strength team and bring their pride. It strikes me that Australian rugby stretches to support three decent teams in the Super Rugby competition, let alone five. We're going the way of South Africa. One can only hope that the Wallabies will play entertaining rugby before they exit the world cup in the first elimination round.