The Crooked Feed No. 10 - Green and Gold Rugby
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The Crooked Feed No. 10

The Crooked Feed No. 10

The Crooked Feed has been quiet lately and the ancient one has been nodding off from watching too many rugby games.

But now we can consider happy returns, the way we were, sevens and eights and the House of Lords.

Ruan Combrinck chipping for himself to score

Happy Returns

++Kings v Brumbies Rd13 — This was only the second time these teams had played each other; their first meeting was in Canberra in 2013.

Of the players in Port Elizabeth, Alexander, Speight, Carter and Kuridrani played in the Canberra game, but none of the Kings did.

++Nice comeback – How good was Lions’ winger Ruan Combrinck on his first game back from cracking his shoulder against Wales on the Springbok November tour?

Against the Bulls in Round 13 the ball went wide to him, and as though he were Christian Cullen he chipped Jesse Kriel, caught the ball on the full and scored in the corner – after 72 seconds.


Not in my day

Near the end of Reds v Force match there is a scrum and the Force no. 8 keeps bound with one arm on a lock, and he casually reaches forward with his free hand to roll the ball back to the scrummie.

Not in my day says this ancient. Even the half-back couldn’t put his hands on the ball in the scrum – it had to be heeled out before he touched it.

The same with the rucks – but it was easier then because everybody had to stay on their feet. Rucks were like loose scrummages (that’s what Danie Craven called them) and they moved up the field, like a maul, with the ball on the ground.

What’s that you say? Players still have to stay on their feet in rucks? Haven’t noticed it lately.

PS – in those days the no. 8 was called the lock.


Scotland beat NZ for the first time and go on to defend their London title in the Final

Sevens and Eights

++Underarm rugby – Scotland beat NZ for the first time ever in the quarter-finals of the London Sevens, but there was a bit of drama.

Having been behind 0-21 a few minutes before, Scotland had scored 17 points on the trot and needed a try at the end to progress to the semis. Having just scored they kicked off and recovered the ball, but it went into touch. NZ throw.

There were only eight seconds left and Scotland looked doomed but the touchie reported that the Kiwis had played with an extra man from the last restart.

Indeed – you could see on the TV that they had eight men on the field a few seconds before the ball went out. The eighth man must have slunk away after that.

It was similar to when the Kiwis beat the Aussies last year in the Sydney semi-final, and scored with eight men and won the game by three points. It wasn’t noticed then; but if any Kiwi mentions under-arm bowling at the MCG, come back with: “What about Eights at the Sevens at Allianz Stadium and Twickenham?”

New Zealand Sevens – beat Aussies with 8 men in 2016 – but were spotted in 2017

++Place the ball – In XVs why don’t teams have to place the ball on the ground immediately when they are penalised or free-kicked, as they are required to do in Sevens? They’re denying the other team a quick tap deliberately.

In XVs we see players from the offending team running back with it a few metres or throwing the ball away to the side. Sometimes they pretend that they think it is their advantage, and tap and go. This gives their defence time to reset

Fix this up please.

++Quick Sevens – According to Sean Maloney, Aussie Sevens’ coach Andy Friend said his fastest players were Brandon Quinn and Dylan Pietsch.

I thought that John Porch would have got a mention.

Pietsch, The Kings’ School no. 8, and occasionally lock, didn’t look extra fast playing schoolboy rugby last year.


Dylan Pietsch – one of the fastest Aussies in Sevens?


Extra points

++Halfpenny Down Under? – Robbie Nock mentioned in commentary in the La Rochelle v Toulon semi-final on the weekend that Toulon fullback Leigh Halfpenny didn’t want to commit to a long term extension of his contract.

According to Nock he was interested in connecting with his pal and Rebels’ Assistant Coach Morgan Turinui, and playing Super Rugby.

++Excellent stat – There was an interesting stat mentioned in Rd 13 by the commentators about Hurricanes’ scrumhalf TJ Perenara. He led the NZ Conference in turnovers won with 16; the next highest was Ardie Savea with 12.

Nice hustle Thomas Tekanapu Rawakata Perenara


The commentators

++Sean Maloney – In the Paris Sevens an Aussie lost the ball in the act of scoring a try against Samoa..

Kennewell coughs up the ball with the chalk calling his name.

Samoa was involved again when France were behind at the end but had a lineout on the Samoa 5-metre line. It was poached but France got a chance for another one at the death. The same thing happened.

And it’s another repeat, Samoa steals it again.

Nice repetitive tautology Sean

++Greg Clark – Clarkie has to be one of the best commentators going around.

– All the English commentary for Jaguares’ home games are handled from studios in Australia, NZ or the RSA – they don’t fly them over there.

The commentary is therefore usually as dull as dishwater but didn’t Clarkie make the game exciting when the Force played the Jags in Buenos Aires?

– He was in good form also after the Crusader blindside flanker took the ball up near the Rebels’ goal-line last weekend.

With a name like that he should be in the House of Lords.

It was Heiden Bedwell-Curtis.

HBC – should be in the House of Lords

  • Andrew Luscombe

    I can remember no. 8 being called lock. I can’t remember rucks moving up field. It must have been prior to the 1970s. In the 70s and 80s they really were piles of bodies.

    There’s a few clips of games on youtube from the 1920s and 30s. No piles of bodies to be seen. No mauls either.

    When do you reckon the loose scrum style of ruck became a pile of bodies?

    • SuckerForRed

      You pair are just showing you age now. ;-)

    • juswal

      It was 1976 or 1977 that the lock became ‘Number 8’, breakaways became flankers and second-rowers became locks. I can picture the
      track-suited PE teacher with permed curls, groomed moustache and gold chain
      writing it on a blackboard.

      • idiot savant

        This was pre Village People right? Didn’t we change to the northern hemisphere terms? I think we were the same as rugby league in those days.

    • Lee Grant

      Andrew- I was talking about the 1950s when I was a lad – you were talking about recent history by my measure. You probably don’t even know who Danie Craven was and don’t care.

      The moving ruck or “loose scrummage” that moved up the field was a product of the Vic Cavanaghs – father and son – who coached the famous Otago teams before and after WWII.

      Post-war, other teams complained about the moving loose-scrummage, much like we do about the mauls now.

      Done well, they were difficult to defend against because the ball was at the back. It was a real weapon especially on the wet grounds they had in NZ in those days when the turf wasn’t prepared much, and forward play paid a bigger dividend than back moves with a muddy ball did.

      You didn’t see mauls in those clips you saw because they were illegal. You had to release the ball when tackled, as now, but if you were stopped it was deemed a tackle though you and the other bloke were still upright.

      You had to place the ball on the ground when “tackled” and the upright tackler had to permit you do so otherwise he was penalised.

      Of course it could be contested on the ground as soon as it was placed there and, as now, it was important to get to the breakdown first.

      So the moving “loose scrummage” could take the ball up the field unless it was “counter-rucked” by the defenders or hooked back by them..

      It was very much a foot-ball game in those days and dribbling the ball along the ground was a great skill – every kid was taught it.

      You couldn’t even pick the ball up if a fellow had been tackled and the ball came loose, unless you touched the ball with your foot first. (The “tackled ball” law.)

      This moving ruck died out about 1950.

      You could kick out on the full from anywhere on the park in those days and still gain ground – except in domestic games in Australia who had a dispensation to use the modern practice of gaining ground from kicks inside the 25-yard line, only.

      Therefore there were heaps of lineouts and teams got more pay using a skilled kicker and lineout experts, than mastering the technical moving ruck (or lose scrummage).

      But everything mentioned above, and more, changed about 1958 when some of the arcane laws were discarded and others introduced .

      The 1958 transformation was the most radical change to the laws in the 20th Century and it changed rugby into the modern game.

      But I digress.
      .

      • Andrew Luscombe

        Thanks. No digression. Very interesting.

        I wonder if you could purposely set up one of those rucks these days without any tackle – i.e. put the ball on the ground and form up over it and move forwards.

        • Who?

          Formation of a ruck doesn’t require a tackle – there’s no mention of a tackle in the definition in the law. So sure, it could. But that doesn’t mean that the ref would understand it. Look at Poite and his correct interpretation of the formation of a ruck in the England/Italy game (ruck requires two players on their feet in contact CLOSING over the ball (i.e. moving to contest the space)), against Jackson’s horrible interpretation on the weekend (touching the tackler, lying on the ground creates a ruck). The real question around any tactic isn’t whether it’s legal according to the laws of the game, it’s whether or not the ref understands the laws of the game and believes that the tactic is legal.
          Lee, thanks for the FANTASTIC history lesson. I’ve read bits and pieces about the past, and there’s a real difficulty in understanding how it worked. Because all the reporting is written from the perspective of a person who understood the game. In the same way that someone from the past reading our match reports wouldn’t have a clue how it worked. I think there’s scope for a very interesting set of articles in explaining how the game evolved to what it is now…

        • idiot savant

          Great idea. I think the rules changes and its influence on the evolution of styles would be fascinating.

      • idiot savant

        Thanks for making me feel young Lee. I remember when you could ruck a player out with your feet. ( I think I still have few tags embedded). But what I can’t recall is when sides starting committing less players to rucks creating less room for back play and this sometimes quite boring one out/pod running. Do you remember?

      • mikado

        Great stuff Lee, really interesting.

  • Duncher

    So if that’s TJ Perenara’s full name, where does the ‘J’ come from?

    • SuckerForRed

      Just wondering the same thing….

      • Duncher

        Wikipedia can’t shed any light on the matter, but it did inform me that he’s scored his ’41th’ try recently…

    • juswal

      He’s Thomas junior. I read that somewhere.

      • Duncher

        Indeed his father’s name is Thomas… Mystery solved, carry on everyone

  • Pearcewreck

    Just glad the touchie at London 7’s (8’s) pulled up the dirty cheating New Zealanders.
    8 on the field again!!!
    Makes me wonder how many times they have been cheating like this over the years and getting away with it.
    Dirty cheats.

    And well done Scotland.

    • SuckerForRed

      Something just occurred to me – has anyone counted how many players the All Blacks have on the field during a Bledisloe game?

      • Pearcewreck

        Maybe GAGR should employ a full time numbers man to count all NZ teams, 7’s, All Blacks, Super Rugby, World U20’s, Womens.
        I mean, if some one wants to pay me about $100K a year, plus travel, meal and accommodation, I would consider doing it.

        • SuckerForRed

          It would have to go to proper se4lection process. I have experience with numbers therefore I would win……..

        • Pearcewreck

          Dunno, I’m an accountant, so …..

        • SuckerForRed

          So am I……

        • Lee Grant

          I used to be., but things didn’t add up.

        • Xaviera

          Credit to you for that one.

      • Andrew Luscombe

        No, but I’m sure I saw 3 Richie McCaws one time – one handling the ball in a ruck (must have got his hands on it before the ruck formed), one standing behind the ruck waiting for play to catch up, and the third lying on the ground in Nick Phipps way with one leg ‘trapped’ in the ruck rolling back and forth slightly pretending to get out of the way but getting further in the way.

        • idiot savant

          You forgot about the one that was standing between Phipps and Foley. Oh and the one who came in the side gate of the ruck. There must have been 5…

        • Xaviera

          So that means there are at least three cloaks of invisibility in existence. Wow!

  • Pearcewreck

    It was similar to when the Kiwis beat the Aussies last year in the
    Sydney Final, and scored with eight men and won the game by three
    points. It wasn’t noticed then; but if any Kiwi mentions under-arm
    bowling at the MCG, come back with: “What about Eights at the Sevens at
    Allianz Stadium and Twickenham?”

    Lee, don’t want to be too pedantic, but this isn’t quite correct.
    The Kiwis blatantly cheated on the Sat night, they scored with 8 men on the field and drew the game with us, which meant they finished top of the table.
    They then beat us in the final on Sun evening by 3 points. as far as we know they didn’t cheat in the final.
    But after London, I think we should assume all Kiwi 7’s teams are cheats.

    • Lee Grant

      You’re right – I remember now I was there. I put in semis at first but I looked it up and saw that NZ beat us in the final so I thought I was wrong.

      I’ll change it you don’t mind for posterity.

      • Pearcewreck

        Yeah, I was there too, their try to tie it up was scored right in front us.
        It seemed so easy at the time, and we all know why.

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