There is a British tradition of Boxing Day sporting events and today was no exception for the males in the Snowden household. Huw and I went down to Newport to watch the Cardiff Blues lose narrowly to Newport Dragons. A game we should have won and there were some nonsense substitutions in the final quarter that lost us the match. That said it was a good match and the crowd were, shall we say, engaged. It is a characteristics of Dragons supporters that they are for their team, the whole team and nothing but the team and it makes a difference when they are playing at home. They also have a good coach, one who speaks his mind and thus did not get the Cardiff job, more's the pity. However home advantage was the difference here today. At the Arms Park we are more likely to appreciate good play and acknowledge the odd fault on our side.
Ok so I am partisan as well (in fact my son tells me off for it) but the difference between the crowds is interesting and noticeable. I thought and said that Faletau's try (pictured) was outstanding, and he plays for the Dragons. Part of watching rugby should be about appreciating quality play, not to mention teaching kids to understand the rules of the game and respect the fact that your side will break them from time to time. Playing to the whistle is good advice, but if it gets too cynical we end up with variations of bloodgate and the game suffers in consequence. So yes the crowd should be the 16th man and home advantage should be home advantage in part due to that. But we don't want to be purely tribal. Of course as background we have massive triable conflict in the British game and the Welsh game in particular; to the point where we have no idea what the teams will even be next year. Knocking heads off the pitch is more needed that on at the moment.
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