Friday Night Rugby Returns to Sydney - And About Bloody Time

A welcome return to Friday nights for the Waratahs when they take on the Bulls. Sunday afternoons are fine if you're into behaving yourself and you like kids screaming in your ear and getting carried away with waving flags or banners in your face at inopportune moments.



Amongst all the self-congratulatory bumpf associated with a decent Tahs performance a couple of weeks back (before it all went to shit) against the Crusaders on a Sunday afternoon, what was forgotten was who the opponent was.

The Crusaders would have attracted the masses no matter what time they were playing. You could put them up against the Tahs at 3am on a Tuesday and 20,000 would turn up. Even at the Olympic Stadium a couple of years ago they attracted 35,000, and everyone hates that stadium as a rugby venue except when it's full, and that only happens for Bledisloe Cup.

Sunday afternoons are great for families but suck for people who don't like families, or more to the point want a raucous and drunken night out with yer mates or the missus. Indeed babysitters were invented so that stressed and exhausted parents could get all their aggression out screaming at their footy team or swearing at the ref instead of taking it out on the kids. Parents are meant to set examples but they're not angels. With no kids in the vicinity adults can be adults and going to the Rugby is just about the best fun that adults can have with their clothes on, unless they're streaking of course.

It's a welcome return to Friday nights too for the business community. The SFS is a conveniently short cab  ride, bus trip or pub crawl from the city, and the 7:30 start is just perfect for getting a skinfull before kick-off. Sydney's businessmen (err, people) after all need to be able to let their hair down and let off some steam after steering a raging multi-speed economy along the post GFC highway and other mixed financial metaphors. Sacking staff and outsourcing call centres is thirsty work.

Corporate boxes were invested for Friday nights, and if the Tahs want to make more money flogging them off to CEOs and bankers with more money than sense then they need to provide opportunities to use them.

So here's a message for Jason Allen, the Waratahs CEO who's campaigning for Sunday afternoon games: Variety is the spice of life. Sure, have one or two afternoon matches to keep the kids interested but Rugby is a tribal sport and tribes have a tendency to get aggressive and that aggression needs an outlet. Sensitive kiddie ears don't need to hear what adults really think. Bring back the Friday night game in all its regular glory and you will be rewarded with passion in the stands that will be reciprocated on the field by appreciative players enjoying boisterous support.

This Friday will be the proof. Tahs by 4.

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