Stefan Terblanche fined for having an opinion

Stefan Terblanche: Fined for daring to be interesting - Image by Ryk Neethling via Flickr

Will Carling once famously called the administrators of the English Rugby Union, “old farts”.  Well the old farts in tweed jackets smoking pipes at Twickenham can move over: there are new “old farts” in town – SANZAR who recently showed their savvy by fining Stefan Terblanche $2000 Aussie dollars for “abuse of social media”.

Terblanche’s shocking tweet that got him in all this trouble?

SANZAR again being very impartial. The Sharks not even allowed to take who we want on tour. Pathetic!!”

“Not allowed to take Swanepoel who has been part of squad all year and toured with us for 4 weeks. He didn’t play 4 games. Caleb Ralph, Reds?”

What a load of asses. Terblanche actually said something interesting for a change unlike 99.99% of rugby players who inanely tweet that the guys are looking forward to Saturday and that Habana has been looking good in training. The useless knobs at SANZAR have made it clear that social media and interacting with fans is all great as long as you don’t actually reveal your opinion or personality.

What’s next? All postcards from the Rugby World Cup to be edited and reviewed by the thought police?  Hey SANZAR, wake up and smell the coffee – you can’t treat your fans with contempt in an age where you’re competing with the internet, videos, entertainment systems and iPods for the time and attention of your target market.

Let our sportsmen have personalities please – they’re competing with the Double Rainbow guy on YouTube for our attention after all.

Financial bail outs come to the world of rugby

The Kiwi press this week has been reporting that the New Zealand Rugby Union will be providing financial assistance to the Cantebury Rugby Union, home of the Crusaders.

While some of us may have thoughts that rush to visions of some lowly accountant in the back office of the Cantebury Rugby Union engaging in credit default swaps, naked short selling and collateralized debt obligations while simultaneously shorting the coffee futures market thus necessitating a financial bail out, the reality is far more sobering:  Christchurch is still reeling from the after effect of the massive earthquake earlier in the year.

Crusaders rugby in happier times.

The cobbled together recovery plans for Christchurch rugby, including hosting a game at Twickenham, have not had the financial impact rugby fans may have hoped for. It’s just not financially viable from a ticket sales perspective to host the mighty Crusaders in small 10,000 seater stadiums while the team waits for a stadium to be rebuilt.

It’s a pretty poor showing that SANZAR as a whole aren’t providing assistance to Crusaders rugby in their time of need. For years both Australia and South Africa have benefited from having the tv ratings boost of having the unbeatable men from Christchurch in town.

The original story is up on Fox Sports here.

So here’s to our brothers and sisters in Christchurch and on behalf of rugby fans everywhere – we are sending good vibes to the kiwis as they try to put their rugby union back together.