By Toni Bruce, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education and Social Work/Te Kura Akoranga me Te Tauwhiro Tangata, University of Auckland.
Nigel Owens has been named as referee for the All Black’s quarterfinal clash with France. For those of us who remember the horror quarterfinal loss to France in 2007, that can’t be anything but a relief. But given France’s track record of getting fired up to play the All Blacks, most rugby fans will be on the edge of their seats until the final whistle blows.
What do you think? How has your experience of the Cup been so far? How are those around you reacting? What are they talking about? How much do you care (or not) if the All Blacks win the Cup?
I’ve been studying Kiwi’s experiences of the Rugby World Cup since 2007, trying to understand what it means to New Zealanders and what effect the event has on their lives.
I invite you to share your views in an anonymous 10-minute survey where rugby fans, rugby haters and everyone in between can have their say.
I also invite you to circulate the survey link to friends, workmates and family. The more people who complete it, the more we can learn. I’ll post a report of the results back to Sportsfreak after the Cup ends.
For the direct link to the survey, including further details about me and the research project: click here.
So far, almost 100 people have filled it out. And this is what they’re saying. Most want the All Blacks to win (81%) but only 66% actually think they will. Nearly 40% have picked Australia to win, even though only 3% actually want this result. The other teams generating some interest are Wales, Ireland and South Africa. Only 3% are betting on France taking out the Cup.
And the majority (54%) aren’t making a lot of effort to watch games. As one wrote, “It is definitely not as cool having the games at such a bad hour.” Only 3% reported organizing their lives around it, and 24% are making some changes, such as getting up early to watch live coverage. Some were making no effort (14%) and 6% were actively trying to avoid it altogether. At least one objected to the highly visible commercialization of the team
“I hate the way in which all the businesses try and jump in on it – black milk bottles and other products that have no connection with the sport, Air NZ images of rugby players in their hiphop safety video. That makes the RWC feel more all-encompassing and invasive, getting into your fridge and into the ad-breaks of non-rugby TV programmes.”
Watching games live is most popular (65%), followed by replays (49%) or news highlights (45%). Quite a few are watching on the Internet (29%) and getting updates on their mobile devices (14%). Print media are out of favour, with only 14% getting information from newspapers and 1% from magazines.
The timing of games is keeping us at home, with 91% watching at home. Only 8% have seen a game at the pub, despite the Government changing the liquor laws to allow pubs to open early. Most people are either watching with their partners (51%) or alone (35%). Some are also watching games with their family/whanau (34%) or friends (14%).
In stark contrast to 2011, half the survey respondents say they can’t watch as much of the Cup as they want to. Games in the middle of the night or early morning (overlapping with work) and no free TV coverage are both major barriers.
And there’s a wide range of positions on the importance of the All Blacks winning the Cup. Just as I found in the 2007 and 2011 surveys, there’s a big gap between individual importance and assumptions about other New Zealanders. Although only 42% said an All Blacks win was important or very important to them, nearly twice as many (81%) thought it was important to other Kiwis. And everyone though the media was making it out to be important. Most thought there was enough coverage (58%) but nearly one third felt there was more than needed.