Let me be clear, the Hurricanes are my side and always will be, that will never change. I love them and the last five seasons have certainly been some of the best years as a Hurricanes fan and member.
Going to the rugby, regardless of the level, has always been a highlight for me. It’s great to see your best play against the best from everywhere else and to make up your own mind as to who should and should not be All Blacks.
Make no mistake, I am ‘on board’ when it comes to ensuring the All Blacks can perform to the best of their abilities so if having a few integral players managed over the course of the season in terms of minutes played and a conservative approach to players returning from injury is a must, then so be it.
I will not argue with the science or those ‘in the know’, it cannot be a simple exercise to navigate.
I have seen from my own son the effect of injury; two concussions and a knee injury saw him prefer to sit out this recent season and it was certainly the right thing to do for him. So, naturally, it is perfectly understandable that professionals will be closely monitored to ensure their health and peak performance.
But the Hurricanes side named to meet the Blues this tonight has left me a bit cold and, frankly, struggling to justify why I would continue to pay for a membership in future years.
Now I am not begrudging other players’ opportunities. As contradictory as it is to say, I am personally looking forward to how young talents such as Danny Toala and Salesi Rayasi fare this weekend and I certainly hope they make the most of this opportunity in a winning side.
But those opportunities to expose these players have existed all year round. Why wait until there is ‘nothing’ riding on the result and why do so when at home against another New Zealand side, the matches that, as I understand it, are some of the more popular among fans?
Why should I continue to renew my membership and show up if such matches can be deemed ‘meaningless’? My understanding is Ngani Laumape is the only player reported to need to fulfill his mandatory stand down for national duties, why are the rest not playing?
I had loose plans this year to travel to Brookvale and Tokyo to watch Hurricanes games, Tokyo even more so given the now known fate of the Sunwolves. But buggered if I am going to part with a few grand knowing that some of the best players may not take part.
Chuck in rumours of players jumping ship or about to embark on sabbatical deals and you must wonder, local fans and members may only have two more opportunities to see these players in these colours, now it may only be one more in Wellington? It’s not good enough to me.
Don’t get me started on the praise for the sabbatical deals, ‘keeping’ players available to New Zealand rugby, just not for the Super sides for a while, or being able to see them play. Yes, wonderful.
While having my whinge, whatever happened to momentum? Is that not a thing anymore?
I appreciate that I am coming from a selfish (and potentially naive) point of view – and it is only my point of view – but I know a few feel the same way and, in the end, I am the consumer and it is no longer viable for me to justify the expense if this is the value we can expect for our dollar.
I don’t pay for Platinum membership to not be able to watch our best side play and for every ‘suck it up’ I have had in response to this conversation I level the same phrase at our Super sides and New Zealand rugby as well.
They are professionals after all. The paying public has already voted (as we can all see over the past several seasons) and this selection certainly demonstrates a symptom of why.
Super Rugby has its struggles, we all know that with declining crowds and interest, but I consider myself a rusted on regardless, it might just have to be from the lounge rather then in ‘my’ seats in future.
Too many more ‘rest’ days and ‘deals’ and there will be a bit more ‘yellow’ in the cake tin for the non-locals to complain about on TV moving forward.