Once rugby went professional, it was ‘dollars to doughnuts’ that the price of Test tickets would rise.
Unfortunately the quality of the product being presented has not increased by the same margin.
Rugby was not ready for the conversion and a few cancers have developed since 1995/6.
The one to which I must refer is the ‘professional wasting of time’.
As a retired A-Grade referee, I look at what is being presented from a different perspective. My hobby is trying to analyse whether or not referees – and thereby the public – are being conned.
They certainly are.
Like many. I have timed matches and discovered that the ball has been ‘in play’ for less than 40 minutes in an 80-minute match.
That is not value for money under any circumstance. Various ‘practices’ have contributed.
Let me remind my readers of some of the scandals that peppered the Rugby World Cup in Japan last year.
How in the last ten minutes of some of those games – especially where the scores were close – did the refs let the clock keep running while they set and reset scrums?
Teams from countries north of the equator were masters at conning the refs from deciding an offender. No wonder we are losing followers.
In plain English, the teams were cheating. And they got away with it. Why didn’t the TMOs bring these matters to the refs’ notice?
Surely it is in their charter to do so. If not, then it should be.
These are the changes I want to see introduced into Test matches ASAP.
1. Stop the clock from when the ref signals a try has been scored or he has doubts and has referred the situation to the TMO. Restart the clock when the ball is subsequently kicked-off from halfway.
2. Stop the clock when a scrum is signalled until the ball is cleared from the scrum to the ref’s satisfaction.
3. Stop the clock when the assistant ref signals the ball is in touch until the ball clears the line-out to the ref’s satisfaction.
Many of our internationals are very boring. I can no longer justify attending Tests at Suncorp unless I can be assured that I will get value for money – especially when one considers the prices being asked for tickets.
I’m not worried about the costs – I’m concerned about the value! IBM taught me that.
One day we might get a Test where the ball is in play for more than 75 per cent of expired time, just like the other codes.
Let’s start a conversation.