The Blues are in a slump. On the field and off the field something is going wrong this season. Russell's posts on the season so far seem to only scratch the surface. Poor play, poor management, poor experience for the fans.
The Blues sit last on the table with one win from eight games. But last year they were 10-1-5 and a wildcard semi-finalist. So why all hands to battle stations? Sure it's a slump and a big one, but teams have been there before, including the Blues. But taking a look at the Blues history and there's nothing too much to complain about.
You are not the Detroit Lions, yet.
What is far more worrying than the on-field bumbles is the strange direction off the field. For Super Rugby to be able to charge the higher ticket prices the quality of the experience has to be higher. Everyone knows the games won't sell out and that this is an annual contest, so exclusivity isn't a big draw card.
For example, I really like the Caketin. I like that nearly every seat has a good view. I like that it fills with sound easily. I like that it has a nickname, but one that we don't obsess over. Sure it swirls with wind and can be awfully cold if you don't have cover, but it is one of the best venues in the country for sport.
Last month my mum was visiting and, as it was a very nice afternoon, I took her to the game. The Hurricanes were looking to put away the perennially terrible Cheetahs (there's a team that should be complaining). There looked to be a healthy crowd outside and we forked over $20 each to get tickets right in behind the sticks.
That's not too bad really, $20. Online for the same seats it was going to cost me $25 + a $5 Ticketek fee. The game was free-flowing (sadly for the Canes who decided to stop tackling in the second half) and the crowd was in good spirits it was a good atmosphere. As a friend (who coincidentally was sitting with his family a few seats down) said to me: "I could bring the family along and the whole thing cost me $60". Sunshine, decent rugby, and an energetic, if disappointed, crowd; this is what Super Rugby advertises to us.
I don't really have a point here, because I haven't thought about it too much. But after a World Cup where we saw the kind of unique experience you can have at a rugby game, it seems we're back to: "it's rugby you should just like it and shut up".
Oh and you can stop playing the bloody music through the stadium, thank you.