After the predicted became reality on Saturday night and it was confirmed that the Waratahs would host the Crusaders in the Super Rugby final for 2014 an interesting, and not unusual, phenomenon started, both in my text messages and social media timeline: a call to arms that I, as an Australian, should support the Waratahs, as of right, in next weeks final.
Here are 5 reasons why, at best, I will be a neutral viewer of next weekend’s final:
1. I am a Queenslander, born in Ipswich, and I have never, ever, supported a team representing New South Wales in winning a sporting contest. And I never will. It is a parochial thing.
2. I have written before that my enthusiasm for any sporting code wanes once my supported side is out of the finals and, frankly, with the Queensland Reds out of contention it would be fair to say I am somewhat ambivalent to the outcome of the game on the weekend.
3. I keep hearing, particularly on Foxsports and in the Sydney media, that a Super Rugby final in Sydney is “one of the most important games in Australian Rugby’s history”. What an absolutely specious statement: if it was the Rebels or Force hosting the final that that statement would have merit but not in the current context. Just because the press think the Waratahs have earned some sort of special status above other finals combatants of the past does not mean I have to support them.
4. When my beloved Reds made the final, and won it, I did not ask, nor did I expect fans of any other franchise to support my team. To do so, in my view, would be to ask said fans to change their colours and is nothing short of disingenuous.
5. As a Queenslander and lover of Rugby’s hoodoos and history I, personally, find comfort in the Waratahs’ 18 year streak of not winning the Super Rugby title. It just feels right to me that that hoodoo remain for one more year.
The coming final will be an epic encounter between the two best teams in the competition this year. Make no mistake about that. I look forward to watching it: just don’t ask me to support the Waratahs!