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Australian Super Rugby supporters seem to have a 'cultural problem' - so how can we fix it?

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Roar Rookie
17th May, 2024
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3371 Reads

We have such a strong club rugby culture in Australia, that you can attend any club rugby game on the weekend, and you’ll witness young and old individuals being vocal, indulgent and creating an environment.

That I actually prefer over the sanitised Super Rugby product, especially games involving the Australian teams at home.

The easiest example that demonstrates this problem is the difference between the Fijian supporters and Australian supporters at the Super round this year.

I was present during all three days, the loudest and most enjoyable game involved two teams that I didn’t have any emotional connection to – the battle of the Pacific, Drua vs Moana.

Compare this enjoyment to almost any other game I attended, it was dismal in comparison.

An example that highlights this, is during the Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force game, a Mexican wave was started after much effort by one motivated gentleman, this wave was promptly cut short, but the member’s section lacked participation.

This individual continued to attempt this wave and the only way it was able to come to fruition was by skipping the members section entirely.

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If this isn’t a solid reflection of why Australia Super Rugby crowds alongside interest are at an all-time low, I am out of ideas.

Another cultural difference that I dislike in day-to-day life, but would encourage in a sporting context, is drama.

Rugby union lacks drama, let me rephrase this, we lack the ability to make actions seem larger than what they are.

An example of how this should be done is Rugby League (NRL). At this point, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between MAFS and NRL.

The send-off of Harry Grant has been talked about endlessly, debates have raged, and hyperbole is everywhere.

Harry Johnson-Holmes celebrates with Waratahs fans.

Harry Johnson-Holmes. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The age-old cliches ring out, “The game has gone soft”, “We will be touch footy before we know it” or “Player safety is paramount”

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This type of outrage happens weekly, if you listen to a bloke in a bar or the rugby league show NRL360 they are quite deliberate in conjuring up anger and emotions on both sides.

Which, we all know, leads to views, and clicks, which means income – and whether we do it intentionally, support. By clicking or discussing it, we are actually consuming the product.

It wouldn’t be a worthwhile article without some attempted solutions. My solutions involve both you the individual supporter who follows the game, and Rugby Australia and Stan Sports’ large marketing team.

Firstly, you, attempt to make Rugby enjoyable to attend. Think of what you have seen others do and are envious of. Dress up, pre-drink (responsibly), bring a large group of friends, beach balls, and even some creative and children-appropriate constructive criticism for the players.

Secondly, the marketing and pundits’ team, you lack any venom, all comments are made like you’re working at an HR company. Follow in the NRL and AFL’s footsteps.

Complain more, be hyperbolic, over-dramatize and ensure that the average Joe gets riled up one way or another about your comments.

For example, someone gets annoyed that Harry McLaughlin-Phillips got dropped for Lawson Creighton.

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Even though it has no bearing on anything, it will make individuals vocal about both sides of the argument.

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