Fans stand under the national anthems during the Rugby Championship match and the Bledisslo Cup between New Zealand’s All Blacks and Australian Wallaby in Eden Park. Photo / Getty Images.
Previously, there were only 15 people on the field in black, which caused fear in rugby fraternities around the world, but nowadays everyone from New Zealand creates a feeling
afraid wherever they went.
What has become indisputable after nearly two decades of unprecedented success is that the world has nurtured a deep respect and admiration for the All Blacks, but a contempt for the typical Kiwi rugby fan.
Humility defines All Blacks, but arrogance is the most famous trait possessed by their fans, Italy coach and New Zealand coach Kieran Crowley’s point last week when he said: “One thing I found after I left New Zealand and I I don’t want it to be misunderstood, but New Zealanders are arrogant. “
He in particular meant the inability of New Zealanders to recognize greatness in others and afford the competition like the Six Nations, the respect it deserves.
New Zealanders are putting New Zealand at the center of the rugby universe, ignoring or deliberately not knowing what lies beyond it.
There is an argument that this is the cause of unfavorable time zones and practical difficulties in consuming seafood for rugby, but it is the product of something much deeper, which tends to view the rest of rugby as an amorphous block that shares a single characteristic. All Blacks are expected to defeat them.
It’s a special pride that typical Kiwi fans suffer from, even inconspicuous ones, but it’s still the audacity to rebuild the rest of the rugby world and, by doing so, effectively stigmatize them lower.
Crowley did not use the word “embarrassed”, but he did not need to, because those who lived beyond these shores and witnessed firsthand the alleged superiority of New Zealanders abroad, know exactly what was said without speaking.
For decades, it was English fans who were cursed by the complex of superiority that had emerged since the creation of the empire, but now only traces of this colonial complacency remain.
English fans tend to come to everyone only on the days when their team wins, and the privilege introduced by the public school support base manifests itself in an undesirable way.
But All Blacks fans are constantly annoying others because they just can’t understand or accept what can, should or will be a story other than their team’s victory and dominance in the world game.
Every loss of All Blacks is a shock horror for New Zealanders that causes a witch hunt: this insatiable need to pull people out to blame and shame.
It seems beyond Kiwi’s cognitive range to recognize that sometimes, as was the case in Dublin and Paris last year, the other team wins rather than loses the All Blacks.
To think otherwise means that to win over the All Blacks requires luck, not sustained skill: defeating them is an anomaly, undeserved and strange.
New Zealand likes to think it’s matured since 1999, when some people were so angry about the World Cup semi-final defeat by France that they spat on coach John Hart’s horse, while some were so sad that Messi University offered students grief counseling.
Maybe so, but not to the point that anyone is willing to give up their belief that New Zealand’s rugby system is inherently the best and that no other nation can create relatively gifted players.
When it comes to international rugby, the level of parishionership is such that New Zealand fans have gained a reputation not as true fans of the game, but sadly obsessed with the victories of the All Blacks.
Kiwi is a good company when the All Blacks win, but they are not visible when they lose, and so Crowley is far from the only emigrant, Kiwi, who fears that New Zealanders have become world famous for their impudence.
This need to be exclusively locked in defeat, distribute guilt, identify deficiencies, question the strategic approach and execution of All Blacks, has been legitimized for years, sold as passionate attacks by fans who contribute to bringing the team to justice.
The All Blacks themselves have often acknowledged the motivating role played by public expectations, with former Captain Tana Umaga saying in 2005 that it was a generous and charged force.
But high expectations are good until they cross the line into unrealistic and based on erroneous and unjustified assumptions.
And this is the problem that Crowley hinted at – New Zealand fans have not so much high expectations as a ridiculous sense of justice.
The previous and continued success of All Blacks has been misinterpreted by some as a license to consider global supremacy a divine right.
This cast iron belief that All Blacks must win every test is celebrated in New Zealand, but the rest of the world finds it both tedious and odious as it forces fans from this country to disregard the achievements and excellence of others.
At the moment, France is the best team with the best players – another point made by Crowley, and yet, as he also pointed out, most kiwis have no idea whether Antoine Dupont is a revolutionary hero, impressionist, award-winning cheesemaker or an inspiring and rather brilliant captain of the national rugby team.
New Zealand fans have lost the essence of the fact that All Blacks need to test their real potential, not perceived potential.
Or, frankly, lose your temper and realize that New Zealand does not have a monopoly on rugby excellence and that it challenges the reason to automatically believe that every All Black team at every stage of its development should be the best in the world capable of winning in every check they play.
That All Blacks are now ranked third in the world is about right. It’s a fair idea of the abilities and experience in their group, and New Zealanders shouldn’t like it, and they have every right to hope for the best, but they shouldn’t automatically see this as irrefutable proof that the team is failing.
To some extent, this relentless expectation is the product of great success, but it must be acknowledged that the nearly 90 percent win ratio enjoyed by All Blacks between 2010 and 2019 was the exception rather than the norm.
And more importantly, we have to admit that the All Blacks can go to the next World Cup as the third favorite, and if Kiwi fans can’t come to terms with it, they will probably go to France as the least favorite fans of the tournament.