IRB Control Freaks
by Paul Waite
12 Sep 2010
This recent stuff.co.nz article is another example of the control-freakism that the IRB holds dear.
Apparently one or more of the gin-swilling denizens of the International Rugby Board have decided that ‘confrontations of the haka’ are a bad thing for the sport.
What gave them that idea? Historically there have only been a few times that teams have actively stood up to the All Blacks doing the haka, and each time it has excited the fans on both sides, and added to the mystique and legend of rugby. Ask Maori whether it’s appropriate to stand up and respond and they will tell you that it absolutely is.
At no time has anyone ever been harmed, or has there ever been a hint of violence in any of these confrontations. They are part and parcel of laying down the gauntlet, two prize-fighters staring each other out promising much for what’s to come, and that’s it.
Here are some YouTube links for some previous haka confrontations or responses:
- All Blacks vs Ireland 1989
- All Blacks vs England (Richard Cokerill/Norm Hewitt) 1997
- All Blacks vs Wales 2008
History shows that the IRB have absolutely no grounds for this nonsense. Trying to ‘tone it down’ is just another way of taking more of the game away from the fans. At Rugby World Cups, which should be a celebration of the game, we already have to suffer the iron fist approach to anything which might remotely be seen as an attempt to ‘steal’ monies away from IRB coffers.
So an event in the country or countries unlucky enough to be chosen to host the thing is run like a prison, where everything is “don’t do that..”, “you can’t do this..”. The IRB ought to wake up to the fact that by relinquishing control a bit more, and letting people and businesses in the country key in to the event the Rugby World Cup would be a bigger thing, and much more vibrant. Sure they wouldn’t control everything, but contrary to what they currently think, they wouldn’t make any less money either, and in fact would stand to make more.
With this latest Haka nonsense, apparently the Australian girls at the recent women’s Rugby World Cup in England had the temerity to confront the Black Ferns doing their Haka, and were fined as a result. Turns out the Aussies hadn’t read the fine print in their RWC contract. God’s above, you need a fucking lawyer to play rugby in a competition these days!
So get off the grass IRB, and TRY to connect with the fans of the sport you are meant to be running. Rugby is confrontational at its very essence, and fans and players alike want to feel that they have an ownership of the game they play.
Stop control-freaking us all to death already!by