Dwyer's View: Stuart, All Black cheating is NOT OK - Green and Gold Rugby
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Dwyer’s View: Stuart, All Black cheating is NOT OK

Dwyer’s View: Stuart, All Black cheating is NOT OK

I read a piece in yesterday’s Times by Stuart Barnes titled Yes, Richie McCaw is a cheat, but that is his job and what makes him great. It agrees (as I do) that to deliberately play outside the laws of the game is to “cheat”. To cheat is to take an unfair advantage on someone who is, or chooses not to play outside the laws of the game.

There are a lot of things you can’t do outside the laws of sport. Drugs for example. Anyone who takes them is rightly castigated and banned for a long time. In some sports you are absolutely ostracised if you play outside the laws. Take golf – no one will play with you.

The laws of the game aren’t there to hinder you – they’re there to help you. To make it so that everyone knows what’s going on.

However certain individuals  – and one team in particular – make a mockery of this; namely the All Blacks. McCaw is labeled the chief transgressor, although he’s not the only one.

Let’s be clear, no one doubts that this is a great All Blacks side – of any era. Which to me makes it even more insulting that they should want to break the laws to their advantage; it’s NOT OK to play outside the laws, and it’s NOT OK for respected commentators to say that’s reasonable (take note Stuart Barnes).

There’s a school of thought propagated by many All Black apologists that if you haven’t been caught you haven’t infringed. Clearly untrue. You’ve cheated, but just not been caught by the referee.

Richie McCaw’s latest transgression is that on their own ruck ball he comes in at 90 degrees at the line of the ball carrier ALL THE TIME – blocking the abilities for defenders to contest.

In the scrum the New Zealand flankers – especially if the scrum starts to turn – just detach and start to play at the ball with their outside foot – witness the image below from earlier this year.

mccaw unbound

In the semi final Kaino was sliding up the side of the scrum and doing the same thing. He was transgressing so many times it was as if he was asking for a card. The final straw for which he finally got one was just ludicrous!

One of the the other things New Zealand do are that if they get you going backwards at the breakdown with good low drive (full marks to them for that) they then all go off their feet over the ball and make it unplayable – resulting in them getting the feed. That’s illegal. They do it well and in numbers – perhaps that’s why they don’t get penalised?

But we certainly can’t intentionally play outside the laws of the game and no respected sports writer should condone it. These condoners will say “other people do it too”. Now, just because half a dozen people play outside the laws of the game doesn’t mean we shouldn’t penalise any of them, it means we should penalise all of them.

I used to say to my players that to deliberately give away a penalty is an insult to your team mates and the team. It says that you don’t believe they can win within the rules.

There’s a famous poem about sportsmanship called Vitae Lambada. The last line is

“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

As the poem says – it’s not about winning or fame, it’s about the game itself, and if our game is to continue to exist and grow then it cannot be OK that at certain levels a team and individuals be condoned to cheat.

This weekend

Everyone in the UK is saying this is the final we had to have sometime, somewhere. On this occasion the two best teams in the world are playing against each other in the final of the competition. There’s rejoicing therefore that this tournament has brought this final confrontation.

michael cheika

New Zealand are deserved favourites. The Wallabies are worthy opponents and can definitely win, although only if we play at our very best. But this team has the habit of rising to the occasion. Michael Cheika has a phenomenal record in tournaments like this where you have to win one match at a time to progress.

He and his assistants have won the admiration of the whole of the UK and as it should be the outcome is in the balance. We’ll go to the game giving ourselves a chance and my understanding is that everyone will be fit with just a little doubt about Folau. However, Beale had a great game when he last started so we can assume that if necessary he can do it again.

Sio’s presence is vitally important even though we got away with it against Argentina. If Sio starts, they may play Smith on the bench as James Slipper has looked a little out of place when on the field of late. This is vital as the front row is where we could gain some advantage.

We all go the game full of admiration for the Wallabies in what they’ve been able to achieve and full of spirit and hope for a great performance and a victory.

  • wilful

    Hear hear Bob! Wise words. Just need Nigel to pay attention.

  • Parker

    Well said Bob. I’m happy to see a spade called a spade. Outright cheating is what it is. That’s why I am so upset that so many writers and commentators whitewash the All Black’s with the euphemism “lack of discipline”. Wrong it’s their business as usual and the only reason the penalty count was so high against them in the first half of the first semi against the Boks is because the referee actually called the penalties. It was about time the refs started policing the breakdown and set pieces properly, not to mention the open field obstruction the ABs routinely perpetrate. It was satisfying to see the ABs win by their own excellence rather than unfair advantage granted them by lax or timid refereeing. Let’s hope Owens lifts his game on Saturday.

    • Da Munch

      I’m really hoping we just win despite Owen’s love of the abs as we’ve pretty much done for the whole comp – take the scrum penalties from the last two games as an example.

      • Redsman

        Sad but true… Owens is a AB lover… thats why kiwis so happy with his appointment for this game… Aussies playing the ref too in this game…

      • Pclifto

        Do we need some kind of social media push a la #scrumstraightjoe?



  • Hitcho

    Agreed Bob.. But we know they do it, we know what their go to shenanigans are, therefore we can prepare for it, expose it and counter it.

  • Bravo Bob. I don’t hate the All Backs, …..really…. but I have memories of Sean Fitzpatrick that indicate the New Zealanders have long thought the laws are there to be flouted, and I was amazed they got away with so much then and still do now.
    It’s like an entitlement………. and the fans are actually proud of it!
    You’d think they were the convicts, eh.
    But like you Bob, I think it has to be called and at least you have a profile.
    I’m sure you’ll be tipping a Wallaby victory!

  • Avid

    As with the outing of Joe Marler’s scrum tactics – its a timely reminder to the press and RWC officials of exactly what blights the game.
    Cheating – hate it!

    • Dally M

      Not just cheating, systemic deliberate cheating.

      There have been a number of instances over the years where there have been illegal plays off set moves. I recall one where McCaw detached from the scrum took the pass from 8 as the ball came out and scored, then there was the one this year in the Rugby Championship where McCaw went through the middle of the lineout verus the Boks to seal the game. It has something like 3 things blatantly wrong with it, but it was clearly a deliberate set move.

      • bullrush
        • Dally M

          Lol…the entire premise of a maul should be illegal as it denies the contest for possession.

          World Rugby on the other hand have said this is OK & in fact it was them or SANZAR that issued some further clarification during this SR season about players joining in front of the ball carrier etc. which the Brumbies were doing.

          A series of still photos also only shows you half the story, but something that evolves dynamicly like a maul, is hardly systemic unless they are doing the same illegal move every time? Are they doing that?

        • bullrush

          A series of photos like the ones Bob uses? ;)

          The ones he uses for something that evolves dynamically like the breakdown?

          And yeah – the Wallabies employ those maul tactics almost every maul.

          BTW, I’m not saying the ABs don’t ever break the laws of the game but to pretend that the Wallabies don’t either is silly.

        • Dally M

          The photo above is of a scrum, not a breakdown & i think others have posted videos of stuff at the breakdown.

          No one ever said the Wallabies don’t infringe or break the laws but there is a difference between the split second stuff at the breakdown and the two i mentioned above which were illegal set moves that were clearly trained for.

  • Da Munch

    Woke up from a nightmare the other day, it involved AAC being speared and was just a replay of BOD, it had the ref ignoring it again (even with the TMO’s intervention). The Lions should of walked off that day and I really hope Moore has been given the tap to say if they aren’t playing rugby then we ain’t either, much as Nobody threatened in 99 against the French.

  • Champ

    So over these comments about the all blacks cheating. If they’re cheating, then the refs should penalize them. If the refs aren’t going to penalize them, don’t blame the all blacks. Players become creatures of habit based on what they are allowed to do on a regular basis. Obviously there are infringements made by most players across all teams at one time or another. But to say the all blacks are cheating is pretty low. And why is it always the Australians making these comments? You don’t hear the South Africans making comments even remotely close to this sort of stuff. I would love Australia to win. But regardless of whether they win or lose I want them to respect the opponent.

    • Chris Green

      you saw the pic above where Richie Detaches from the scrum, that’s a clear violation and whether you’re over it, or not, deserves to be brought into the limelight.
      “if they’re cheating, then the refs should penalize them”, well the reason that it might not happen, is that in real time, a lot of shit get’s missed. It still won’t stop any rugby fan from scrutinising tactics such as those.
      And to say that South Africans don’t make comments, how would you know? Do you have records of every comment a South African has made, or every SA web article published that neglects to mention this debate?
      I know plenty of non-wallaby Rugby fans that would call a spade a spade, and agree that cheating is cheating, just as this article posited

    • Bobas

      So your argument is the all blacks don’t have a moral compass.
      So many times I hear the every openside flanker does it… etc it’s bullshit.

    • PB

      The most frustrating thing the ABs do.. Which after watching them for decades is clearly part of their approach, is to give away a penalty in the 22 rather than give away a try. All team do, but none quite so systematically as NZ. Killing the ball is an AB specialty.. Time and again, you just know its coming. Winning above all else hey? I guess they’ve got the record to back it up…

  • TouchFinderGeneral

    First up – this is a top AB side. Best ever? Not sure about that but they are bloody good. A goodly part of their success is likely the attention to detail – which means playing the officials as much as they can.

    No point complaining, it has always gone on, and always will. Do the AB’s get away with more than most? It seems like they do but are we seeing what we look for? Some stats would be needed to convince me.

    Regardless – there really is no argument here, break the laws and by definition you cheat. This nudge-nudge “It’s professionalism” stuff is, literally, nonsense.

    And now for my current pet-hate – how f**k*** hard can it be for the touchies & refs to halt this plague of flankers sliding up and boring in the oppo back row?

  • brumby runner

    It’s a very big call by Bob Dwyer to accuse the All Blacks of cheating. Cheating implies a deliberate flouting of the laws. It is something a lot of anonymous posters on blogs like this often say, but for someone of Bob’s status to come out with that accusation is almost taking it to an official level. Is that what we want?

    However, in relation to this week’s final, I have a real nervousness about our Nos 10 and 12 handling the front on defense of the likes of Carter, Savea, Nonu and Williams, all of whom will be running at the 10/12 channel I believe. Sure, both Foley and Giteau have pulled off some exceptional cover defending tackles in recent games, but their low, around the legs defending style will have problems with big runners coming at them straight on. I’m guessing that Hooper and Pocock will be patrolling those channels, particularly at set piece time. And that’s where I expect to see Black No 7 running obstruction across the field from the side of scrums and entering subsequent rucks at 90 degrees to negate the presence of the Pooper. Is that cheating? It is definitely not in accordance with the laws, but I’d rather see the referees sort it out than having cheating claims aired in public by someone of Dwyer’s standing.

    • Chris Green

      Mccaw has had 14 penalties conceded against him in just this tournament. He gave away a penalty (controversially albeit) in the 2014 Super Rugby Final for infringing behaviour, and you saw the picture in Bob’s article with Richie clearly not bound in the scrum and playing at the ball with his feet.
      I’d say it was a call that had to be made ‘officially’ and I’m glad it’s being publicised (although the timing of the article would suggest a clear motive)

      • Andrew Stoddart

        Yeah, right before a world cup final and McCaw’s last test in all likelihood. No motive at all there :-)

        As you allude to, McCaw gave away a penalty in S14 final that was subsequently reviewed and deemed to be wrong. So yes, it was controversial because he was legal.

        I think both Wallabies and ABs push the envelope to find the edge to win. Neither are angels. To suggest one is cleaner or more saintly than the other is quite humorous.

        • Tip

          No, no, no.

          When the referee yells, “Leave it 7″

          And 7 then goes and plays the ball on the ground.

          The referee invariably has no option but to penalize. Richie has reviewed this HIMSELF and said he was wrong.

        • McWarren

          I believe the point of Bob’s argument is that we shouldn’t just condone the behaviour, be it McCaw, Gill, Pocock, Reid…..
          What gives me the shits is that no one is allowed to criticise McCaw for it, we have to bow in admiration of his ability to cheat better than anyone else???

        • Andrew Stoddart

          Never said McCaw is off limits. That was never my point. Criticise away. Just be sure to pull up all indiscretions.

        • McWarren

          bugger that. that would imply we are impartial.

        • Whig

          There’s a motive all right, and that’s to try and influence the officials to make sure this final is won by the best team, not the best cheats.

          McCaw should go out as one of the most respected greats of the game, but for me he is just a big fat cheating slime, and I can’t wait to see the end of him.

        • Andrew Stoddart

          He will go out as a great mate. Can’t see many getting close to his record for a while, or match his longevity in what is the most demanding position on the pitch. You’re entitled to your opinion and I will respect it.

    • Bobas

      You can’t run sideways to get back onside. You have to pick a direction that will eventually get you back oneide and stay with it until you become onside. McCaw gets away with it because he watches where the referee is looking at any particular time better than anyone else.

    • McWarren

      Come on Brumby Runner grow a set. Its time to stop listening to all the bullshit from across the ditch. Time to start calling it what it is and stand up for ourselves. Bob’s called it right, if it insults them then tough shit, stop cheating. We should have been calling them out on it 10 years ago. The same with the scrums, it seems that only in the age of spider cam are we now allowed to call out the likes of Woodcock as being cheating b..tards, because now we have aerial proof.
      I will be surprised if Nigel pulls them up on any of it this weekend though.
      We may be wrong about the cheating, but I hereby reserve the rite to call them on it if I see.
      Well said Bob.

  • Klaus

    I have said for years the All Blacks flood the retreating breakdown and kill the ball. Thanks Bob for showing I wasn’t seeing things!

  • keith

    That photo up the top with Ritchie is gold, absolute corker.

  • Andrew Stoddart

    Erm, Pocock doesn’t retreat to enter through the gate. He enters from side, places his feet behind ruck and latches onto the ball. In realtime, seems legitimate. But it’s not. Does that mean the Wallabies are cheats? Where is the outcry? No, nothing? Thought not. :-)

    • Chris Green


      • Andrew Stoddart

        Watch a game mate. The weekend there were a couple of instances. Pocock loiters by the side as the tackle is made. He steps around the ruck, but has never retreated to come through the gate. I don’t have an issue with it myself. I think he’s an incredibly gifted breakdown operator. I just think the whinging on here is comedy gold. :-)

        You guys should be thankful you’re playing in the final. Just hope you haven’t used all your get out of jail cards getting through the QF :-)

        • Chris Green

          pretty general statements buddy, I could easily say a player is throwing sneaky punches in the ruck, and when questioned when just say “watch a game mate”. Name me a game and time when Pocock does what you say so generically, and I’ll humbly concede and say you’re right. Otherwise, I can’t take what you’re saying seriously and is probably why there has been no “outcry” yet :)

        • DrFoo

          Ooooh I am thankful mate….I’m bloody grateful to see a team come together as one and begin to play to their potential, to see sheer guts, determination and hard work reap rewards, especially in such a short space of time with a new coaching structure.

          Regardless of the outcome, I’m thankful to see the Wallabies’ collective character emerge…they’ve already done themselves and Australia proud.

          The best two teams are in the final, what more could you want….besides a hard fought and fairly competed game?

          I can’t wait, C’mon Wallabies!!

        • PB

          Was pockcock tripping the opposition captain up too when a try scoring chance presented itself?

        • Andrew Stoddart

          No. Try scoring chance…from half way. Pushing it. Stupid thing to do from McCaw. Not exactly something he’s known for. Tripping that is :-)

        • PB

          Here’s a little video that could help shed some light https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pdr-W775hk4

    • Pedro

      If you’re the tackler you don’t need to go through the gate.

      • Andrew Stoddart

        He isn’t always the tackler. My point wasn’t to denigrate Pocock. I think he is a wonderful player who makes decisions and executes in a split second. Marvellous player. My point is that he sometimes gets his hands on the ball when a ruck forms and gets away with it. He sometimes doesn’t enter through the gate. What Bob is whinging about above, all great 7s do it.

        What Bob is whinging about in general, all teams do it. Blocking, pushing the laws, getting away with small things. To focus on the ABs in the article is quite sad, as it would have been a better article if he had picked up on Wallaby indiscretions too. The gist of the article for me (as a Scot) is that the ABs cheat and the holier than thou Wallabies don’t. If that wasn’t what it was supposed to do, it failed.

        • liquorbox_

          I took the point of the article to be that just because all players do something does not make it legal. It just happens that being a former Australian coach that it probably stands out more when a good exponent of this tactic costs us games rather than when one of our own does it.
          I am sure there are similar articles about how Wallabies break the rules too.
          I think it is highly unlikely that one of our former coaches is going to write an attack piece on one of our players this week.

        • harro

          Good point re the holier than thou attitude. Kinda like ignoring the poor reffing call that allows a team to make the quarters and then focusing solely on the poor reffing call that knocks them out

    • Patrick

      Show us that on a video, should not be so hard since he makes 40 rucks a game

      • Andrew Stoddart


        Several Pocock “interventions” in this game ;-)

        • can you be specific? Give an example of him not through the gate in that video?

          They flag up one, which is marginal at best, and isn’t hands in the ruck (he’s first man on ball – no ruck formed)

        • Andrew Stoddart

          3:42. Not an example of a turnover, but you see him come round the side and motion to head into the breakdown before the clean out happens.

          In this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4SrZYjsYr8 (same game), 48 seconds in. Pocock rides the tackle. His body is over the ball before his feet are behind. As he isn’t the tackler, he needs to come through the gate.

        • Again marginal, that video is from 2011 btw, hardly representative of david pocock in current form is it?

        • Andrew Stoddart

          That is a fair comment. Sadly I don’t have every rugby game on tape and and an editing suite. My point wasn’t to suggest that Pocock is worse than any other. It was more to say that he is a very good, probably great rugby player who pushes the boundaries to gain his team an advantage. Is that not fair?

        • I think ultimately the point to this article is that if you chose to cheat you can’t complain of being called a cheater.

          We all moan about the ref missing things and then applaud players for cheating… how does that work then?

          By saying, well all players do it/good 7’s do it you condone cheating, and that is poor for the game and future generations of players.

        • Andrew Stoddart

          Maybe that was what Bob was saying. He started off that way, then made it specifically about the ABs. Why did he not point at other teams (the Boks block and hold back people in back play a lot for instance).

          If he wanted to talk about cheating not being good, he should have taken everyone to task. Instead, he chose to take aim at the Wallabies final opponent. Coincidence? Nope.

          I like Bob’s stuff normally, but he has form here. Prior to the England game he did the same thing with their scrum. I didn’t hear him screaming and moaning when the Wobs had Matt Dunning propping about scrum irregularities :-)

        • You realise he’s writing a reply to an article by Stuart Barnes in which he explicitly condones McMCaw Cheating because he doesn’t get caught – the context and focus is laid out there, the article is shaped by that.

        • Andrew Stoddart

          I do realise that. If he had stuck to analysing McCaw, I would have understood the piece. But he didn’t. Conveniently, it was used as springboard to discussing NZ cheating in general. By that stage, he was no longer replying to Stuart Barnes’ piece.

        • he repeatedly goes back to reference the Barnes article – It’s linked and I count it three times throughout – I think the article is a bit of a ramble at times – which is what I think you’re picking up – but he’s clearly addressing the point Barnes made which is that McCaw’s job is to cheat (it isn’t).

        • StillaTragic

          Andrew, thee doth protest too much, me thinks!

        • Andrew Stoddart

          I think I’m in the right place then ;-)

        • Funk

          Is Andrew’s real name ….Nigel Owens?????

        • Bobas

          He is a Nigel.

        • Robbo_76

          Harsh a bit – good commentary Andrew. I see your point of view although am too patriotic to side with it :)

        • Andrew Stoddart

          Do you think the Wallabies cheat? If so, where is the condemnation of them? Or do the Wallabies only push at the edges, so that is ok?

        • why do i have to condemn the Wallabies for my view point to be valid?

          Either his point, cheating is not acceptable is a universal truth or it’s not – there is no lee way in this matter mate.

        • Andrew Stoddart

          You don’t at all. Your view that cheating is not acceptable is a good place to start. But it happens. All teams do it. All.

        • Nailed it

        • Pclifto

          That last statement is fair. But you also suggested that Pocock was illegal in the RWC 2011 qf and the incidents you’ve highlighted have been pretty well refuted…

        • Andrew Stoddart

          Here…44 secs in. As the tackler he must release the tackled player. He never does it. Also an example of him pinning the tackled players arm.


        • again from 2011, and marginal – also iirc before the “clear daylight” mandate.

        • Redsman

          Ah the ol 2011 RWC – blighted by cheating referees… now with Bryce gone and Joubert sidelined (for ironically helping the aussies O.O)… kiwis manage to get their next favourite ref… I’m sure there must be a kiwi or AIG executive pulling the strings here…

        • Andrew Stoddart

          Your tin hat is waiting for collection :-)

        • muffy

          My tin hat is on, firmly, but the reality is you created a discus profile purely to comment on this article… maybe I need new batteries in my hat, but I know something smelly when I see it…

    • Not really, Pocock tends to be there before a ruck is formed, as long as he comes in from behind the tackled player then he’s going to be seen as ok.

      I think what you’re seeing is him swinging around and getting over the top – but it’s pretty clear he comes from an on side position with his lower body very much through the gate.

      If you can give some examples of him coming in form the side i’m happy to have a look at them in more detail.

      • Andrew Stoddart

        It all happens simultaneously which is why he is so good. He swings around, but his upper body is heading into the tackle/breakdown before his legs are behind. He doesn’t go through the gate so to speak…more straddles it sideways ;-)

        Where Pocock is brilliant is the jackal. Interesting to note though that when he goes for the ball, he sometimes pins the ball carriers arm before latching onto the ball. This buys him the split second to get at the ball and stop the ball carrier from placing it too far away from him. Again, for me, very canny play by Pocock.

        • righto.

        • McWarren

          I think what Pocock does better than anyone is choose the ruck he is going to attack. Quite often he does get to the tackle an instant before the tackled player hits the ground, thereby avoiding the entering through the gate rule. Its about timing isn’t it.

  • Andrew Stoddart

    Wallabies have been trying to pin McCaw down at rucks for years. Where are the calls against this? Or is just that All Blacks are cheats? Thing is, both sides on the weekend will bend the laws to get the result. BOTH. It is disingenuous of Mr Dwyer to focus in on the All Blacks without aiming fire at the Wallabies.

    • liquorbox_

      I have really only seen the Wallabies attempt to keep him down at the rucks, what infuriates me is that Ritchie is so good he manages to escape and make it to the next ruck.
      The All Blacks are very successful at holding our flankers at the previous ruck and this is why having Hoooper and Pocock together provides so much hope, we need to fetchers against the All Blacks due to how effective they are.

  • Andrew Stoddart

    If Dwyer had said cheating was not ok, i’d have had more time for him. He’s normally v good, but he loses the plot when it comes to NZ.

    Remind me again, how many times did the Wallabies transgress at the weekend in their SF? 12? ABs transgressed 14 times. So Oz cheat too? Wow. Genia escaped a yellow for a cynical foul for not retreating 10. One of your props nose dived into a Puma forward without his arms in the tackle. I could go through every match and find blocks, shirt pulls, holding off the ball, decoy runners in front of the ball…from ALL sides.

    Just enjoy the game guys

    • Pedro

      I think he was saying that it’s wrong regardless, even if you get away with it, even if you would win anyway.

      I will enjoy the game, cheers.

      • Andrew Stoddart

        No, I think he was focusing on the ABs. Giveaway is:

        “However certain individuals – and one team in particular – make a mockery of this; namely the All Blacks.”

        Doesn’t leave much doubt, no? ;-)

        • He’s saying both

        • Dud Roodt

          I also think what he might be suggesting is that the AB’s plan to transgress. The things you mentioned above are spur of the moment type things that all teams are guilty of. Whereas all the AB’s piling in and going off their feet is a strategy. Akin to diving in football. For instance in the 2nd Bledisloe where Richie was on our side of the maul pulling players out the back. Nigel seemed to find nothing wrong with that.
          But, to your point, whatever happens in the game is what will happen. We should all just play what the ref sees and enjoy a cracking game

        • Andrew Stoddart

          Watch a NH game. All teams pile into breakdown and seal off. This world cup has been great because refs have been hot on sealing off. Players have to at least be seen to be staying on their feet and driving over and past the ball. Rucking lite. About time too.

        • McWarren

          Yeah, your right he is calling the AB’s and Richie in particular a cheat. But he’s right, so cop it sweet, enjoy your cheat for the last time in Black.
          Well called Bob and I don’t often say that.

    • StillaTragic

      Andrew, Bob was responding to a particular article titled Yes, Richie McCaw is a cheat, but that is his job and what makes him great. He then goes on to say that regardless of who does it, cheating is not acceptable. Perhaps you need to read it again without bias.

  • teach

    Disappointed to read the whole article and finding absolutely no bagging of Quade Cooper. C’mon Bob you are slipping.

    • idiot savant

      Its the exclusion of any mention of Higginbotham i find disappointing.

  • goldngreen

    Pull ya head in Bob, it’s up to the referee to ref the game the way he interprets the laws. If he’s letting somethings go and the players notice that, then fair play to them. Let’s not start the sour grape if-only’s just yet.

  • JJJ

    I have no problems with a good rant, but this one would be better with footage of specific examples. We have one well-worn photo of cheating, but that is pretty thin grounding for a world-cup final article. Without more evidence, it just seems like a bunch of whinging and/or attempts to influence refs.

    A few gifs or a video compilation would further the cause immeasurably. And rants about Richie cheating seem a bit passé. If you’re going to rant about them cheating then at least pick the more innovative and influential cheating they do.

    • PB
      • rugbyfan

        This one is so funny esp the bit at 2.11 when Owen Franks is pulled through by a SA player. You can see him grab his arm (to prevent him from joining the ruck) and pull him through to ‘obstruct’ the poor play who pulled him through

      • Brendan Hume

        can’t argue with the guts of that but it is only an analysis of All Blacks indiscretions – you’d need to analyse another dozen Springbok rucks to determine whether there is a problem with the refereeing. In fairness to any and all rugby refs – it’s possibly the hardest game in the world to referee – there are 30 players going full tilt smashing into each other from all over the place. As has been mentioned plenty of times this week – hopefully the game is a good one and the ref doesn’t play a significant role in the game or the outcome.

  • AlanDownunder

    Not just NZ. They just do it best, and in numbers so that it looks normal.

    Obstruction ahead of the ball at close quarters is one of their specialties, and it is amazing how many refs and commentators are blind to it, whether done by NZ or anyone else. The final penalty in the Aus/Sco quarter final had a ridiculous number of well-credentialled people poring over replays but so many didn’t notice Strauss obstructing Phipps ahead of the ball. World Rugby itself didn’t notice it, so what chance McCaw etc being pinged for it?

  • Jaq.H87

    Very well said, in other words do the AllBlacks think that they actually aren’t good enough for everyone else? I beleive that is the case, it is a severe case of low self esteem and it is evident in the whole nation, hence the fact that they are never gracious in defeat. They don’t have any self respect therefore they don’t respect anyone else.

  • StillaTragic

    What has always irked me about the All Blacks is that they are an exceptional team. Truly a great team, and have always been the team to beat. Why then do they cheat? I’m not saying other teams don’t as well. That’s not my point. But the sneaky trips by Carter and McCaw, the lazy loitering by all and sundry. The holding down in rucks, the pull of the jersey….. We all know what they do. Why though, if they are that good?
    I think the speed at which the ABs play make it harder for a ref, I really do. But come on. A truly champion team shouldn’t need to cheat, and I agree with Bob. It is never OK.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Sorry if this offends anyone here but I have never heard such a load of dribble in my entire life. And being 55 there’s been a lot of opportunities. I lost a lot of respect for Bob when he was coach and poor old Nick Farr Jones got slammed by him for talking to the “enemy” when he went up to talk with Brian Lahore at a pre-test function. Now he comes across as a whinging little fool trying to live on his legacy as a coach and with nothing else going on in his life.
    I know a lot of Australians and UK people like to label McCaw a cheat and that there is some sort of conspiracy that all the referees have got together and decided that because he is such a nice guy they’ll let him get away with things that no one else is allowed to. But seriously! that’s up there with the aliens built then pyramids and the CIA shot JFK. McCaw is a fantastic player who knows the rules better than most and had the speed to take advantage of them. You know as soon as he retires it’ll be Pocock who will take on the role of world cheat as he’s the only one close to what McCaw was at his prime. Of course Bob will never admit that because his one eye is one eyed.
    Good luck for Saturday night. I’m just wrapped it’s Nz vs Aus. I absolutely want NZ to win but I know if we don’t bring our A game we won’t. I’m just looking forward to a really good game.

    • McWarren

      Nah sorry mate. I know this criticism goes right the core of the Kiwi nervous system, but crabbing sideways around the edge of a ruck, running 90 degrees into a ruck, sliding up the side of a dominant opposition scrum, gaining an Oscar for pretending to role away from rucks, losing your sense of direction and running back between the scrum half and the ruck or the scrum half and the first receiver with your arms in the air, isn’t knowing the rules better than anyone else. Its breaking them better than anyone else.
      You are right Richie is a fantastic player, so why does he persist in cheating? Like Bob said the carry on is insulting to the team as a whole.
      I just wish we had continued as a nation to call him out for it. I don’t give a shit if sounds like whinging, it is, I’m whinging because an opponent is cheating and I’m whinging because for 10 years we’ve been to spineless to call him on if for fear of insulting the AB’s and Richie.
      I’d also like to throw in the special Nonu rule. The one that says he doesn’t have to use his arms when tackling, cleaning out and probably eating. Or the attacking Nonu/Savea rule, which says either player is allowed to lead with their knee or elbow when being tackled.

      • bullrush

        Do you think the Wallabies don’t ‘cheat’?

        Almost every driving maul they perform is ‘cheating’ and the untold turnovers where there is no clear release or supporting of their own weight.

        Bob can whinge all he wants but until he – and you – are willing to open both eyes, all it is is whinging.

        • AlanDownunder

          Agree about the rolling maul. Unbinding & rebinding and truck & trailer are rife. The refs only ref one side. And they are utterly vigilant about collapse in a rolling mail but uncaring about it in a choke tackle maul. But for the Wallabies, it’s been a case of “if you can’t beat’em, join ‘em”. SA showed the way, and NZ and the north weren’t far behind.

        • McWarren

          I tell you what bullrush, you admit that Richie cheats consistently at the breakdown and I’ll admit that the Wallabies do as well. I tell you what I’ll even go first, Wallaby players have been, are and will cheating in the future. The difference is when you, the poms, the scots or saffa’s call us out for it, we won’t cry and yell and accuse you of insulting us, our team, our culture. We will just snigger and get on with it.

        • bullrush

          Hahahahaha…..itz too late for the ‘no whinging’……that bus left ages ago with Dwyer driving! Lol

        • moaning expat

          Yes we do cheat sometimes. And after watching 20 years of oznz tests I wish we cheated a shit load more. But that’s still wouldn’t be half as much as you lot.

      • Pclifto

        I’d like to add the Beauden Barrett rule, which is when a player is tackled but is allowed to crawl/scramble forward an extra 5 metres before placing the ball backwards to recycle

      • idiot savant

        Add Kaino to the Nonu/Savea rule. I dont think he uses his arms for eating either.

    • Brick

      Have a look at the footage of McCaw “scrummaging” or the video on this website of Conrad Smith illegally taking players out in the air. It’s coached play, its systemic cheating. It’s exactly the same for the English scrum.

    • Gordo

      The secret service shot JFK, though it was an accident. McCaw cheats on purpose and gets away with it due to poor ref’ing.

      • Better Red than Dead

        I am not smart enough to make up rules all I know is they root sheep

    • idiot savant

      I thought the CIA did shoot JFK. My bad…

    • DReido

      Who shot JFK?

    • moaning expat

      I think you’ll find one eyed is where all the world call Ritchie a cheat except for the country he plays for.

      If the king of cheats paddy obrien was still referee boss he wouldn’t even have the yellow cards he’s copped in the last couple of years. A funny coincidence.

  • I won’t comment further on the forward work, but what really grates on me is when the AB’s regularly block players chasing a kick and habitually rush up and stand where the jumping man will land when contesting a high ball. It’s dangerous and will lead to an injury one day when Folau goes up and low and behold someone is standing their pretending to catch it – but they really just want him to fall over.

  • bill lothian

    100 PCI agree … And another thing. So called “project signings” just because other teams are doing it doesn’t make itv right to cap a player with absolutely no blood link.

  • galumay

    The implication that only the AB’s test the referee’s interpretation of the laws is Bob Dyer at his silliest. The calling of this ‘cheating’ just makes him sound like a whiney old twit.

    What RM has done better than anyone else over many years, is test how the referee is interpreting the breakdown and once he has found the line, consistently play to the limit of the referee’s interpretation.

    • idiot savant

      I think there’s some truth to this.

  • Bizzare

    I used to respect your opinion Bob and think that you had something of value to add, in days of old your assertations would be met by a cry of “pistols at dawn.” If you are suggeting that as a coach you only encouraged your players to abide by the letter of the LAW and, I haven’t looked at the history, that because you were absolute in your requirement for the players to play within the Laws, there were no Wallaby penalties in the RWC final that your team won? Rugby has laws for a reason, it is a recognition of the history and development of the game, it is not Monopoly! Laws are made to be bent, broken and interpreted!

    This leads to requirements in Rugby to:
    Manage the play of the game on a skill individual level, a team level, an opposition level in trying to dictate the flow and tactics of the game and management of the referee and the interpretation that they have of the LAWS.

    We can talk about “cheating” in respect to your ascertation, the 2 tries scrored against Fiji were scored by a “retreating ripper” off a linout maul. This is illegal, that the ref does not interpret it as such doesn’t make it less illegal and give that it is a consious and deliberate tactic makes it by your definition “cheating!” Wales & England get out of the pool and Aus are on the way home!

    12 Australian penalties to 6 against Argentina!

    My challenge with Bob’s view is the hypocrisy and I will be cheering at the TV for the Wallabies on Sunday morning and for Nigel Owens to get them onside, both teams. I only care that a ref, is at worst, eqally and consitently bad for both teams and lets the game flow.

    Simple mantra from U8’s up; score more points than the opposition which nullifies the ref and understand that Nigel Owens is the best in the World by a long way and that he will manage the game better than anyone else available, even if he is in the opinion of the arm chairs awful. He will make mistakes Richie and the ABs might/will play the game to the limits of the laws and beyond, rest assured the Wallabies will be coached to the same!

    Get back in your box Bob and GO YOU GOOD THINGS!

    • Tony Dun

      Mate I think you should see this for what it is – Bob Dwyer putting some public pressure on Nigel Owens to police Richie in the final. Bob won’t get any media coverage if he doesn’t include some attention-getting stuff so calling Richie a cheat is all about that. If Bob gets some coverage in the media in the UK it might come to the referee’s notice and plant a seed. Mind games stuff and I think that is an attempt to help the Wallabies. I doubt Bob really thinks that Richie McCaw is a dirty cheat. I think most of us respect Richie as a great player, and he would seem to be a classy chap off the field as well. On Sunday morning though, I am highly likely to be yelling a the TV for Richie to get onside and to be calling him names.

  • idiot savant

    I prefer to refer to the kiwi way as spoiling, not cheating. I’m sure we’ve all played against or in sides that spoil, usually because they lack firepower. Maybe the forward pack is small for example. The fact that the kiwis are the gold standard in both attack and spoiling I think makes them the most compete side in world rugby and pretty unique. You ask yourself, why do you need to spoil when you’re already that good? The answer I think is that they grow up learning all these techniques.

    It frustrates many of us who come from cultures where spoiling is more severely penalised. Many moons ago I toured the shaky isles in a schoolboy first XV side and it was an absolute education. I was a forward and swear I still have some of the tag marks down my back. I remember that we stopped complaining to the refs about halfway through the tour because the refs laughed at us and we began to sound like whingers to ourselves. I was shocked at the extent of the spoiling and I learnt new ways to hurt people within the small confines of rucks and mauls. When we got back to Oz we put those new found skills into practice and got penailsed off the park. Oh no you cant do that! Kiwi kids get spoiling tips in their Weeties packets. How to loiter on the wrong side of the ruck and be invisible… three easy steps.

    We forget that ‘pushing the boundaries of the rules rugby’ is in the kiwi DNA. That’s what they have done through the ages and in the old days of heavy balls before well drained and mowed fields, it suited the 10 man rugby they played a lot of. Brilliant attack is a relatively recent innovation. That’s why they are so awesome.

    But, note well Mr.Owens good sir, as evidenced by the kiwi bleating on these pages, when referees take a dim view of kiwi spoiling the winning margins close up and the Rugby games become much more enthralling for a global audience.

    • Aron

      Interesting anecdote

  • d_funkt

    Lord, what a desperate whinge. Still, all the wins wouldn’t be nearly so satisfying if we couldn’t come to G&GR and taste the tears of WB fans. Don’t ever change.

  • Chris Woodley

    Typical Aussie complaints. If it were an Australian player they would be called legends. Aussie media is the greatest reason why Australia is internationally being recognized as whingers. If they lose it is never because they are outplayed it is always someone else’s fault. As seen in the comments here. Already blaming a loss on cheating and the greatest referee in the world… it isn’t even passion it is just sad! The wallabies AND the all blacks both deserve to be the final 2. Nigel Owens deserves to be be the officiate and at the end of 80mins the best team on theday will be named world champions! Simple. Stop the whinging, whining, complaining and moaning and just bloody enjoy what has been one of the greatest tournaments ever seen.

    • Dally M

      Oh you mean like the NZ media getting all frenzied about Cheika not referring to the AIG’s as the All Blacks?

      Or about how Wayne Barnes robbed you in 2007.

      Or how the UK media went after the Wallabies and Joubert after Scotland?

      Just typical ‘insert country here’ complaints!

  • SorryNotSorry

    There is a difference between ‘strict’ laws with little room for interpretation e.g. drug taking as was suggested, and ‘grey area’ laws with greater scope for interpretation based on the views of each referee e.g. ruck infringements. With ‘grey area’ laws, surely it is the referee’s onus to set a standard/precedent of their interpretation of the laws early in the game, to foster a law-abiding game. But to expect teams not to stretch the grey areas before the referee enforces his expectations of fair conduct is unreasonable.

  • AlanDownunder

    Brian Moore, here:


    A technique he developed fairly quickly – and this is the other side of McCaw – is technically illegal but incredibly difficult to see. Sometimes he will not actually compete for the ball but will simply brace himself to take the hits from opposing players trying to clear out, leaving his colleagues to win it. To the letter of the law this is obstruction because if he does not play the ball he should immediately retire to his own side of the breakdown. However, given the speed of international players we are talking mere seconds or fractions of seconds before several players from both sides pile into a breakdown and it is only by knowing what to look for and using slow-motion replays that it becomes readily apparent.

  • Punter

    Ouch Bob. Tell us what you really think!?

    I’m going to try and add some practical direction to this noise.

    I do not think the problem is cheating.

    But ambiguous/complex rules.

    In summary don’t blame the player. Blame the game…

    I digress – Living and playing in EUR for years you often become mates with people who have no background in rugby. And often you have to explain rules to them when watching a game. It is not until you do this several times that you realise the rules of rugby are actually quite complicated and ambiguous. At a base level they are simple. Run, pass, tackle etc. But then you get into more complex areas. Scrum, ruck, maul etc. Plus these laws change every few years to “improve” which adds to the complexity.

    Compared to many sports (e.g. soccer) rugby has a complicated rule book and requires 3 refs and a TMO (none of whom, according to the average spectator, have a clue what is going on).

    Soccer has diving, boxing has mayweathering, cricket has walking, cycling has doping etc… Rugby has its complicated rules. Let’s be honest. No one knows what is happening in the scrums. No one knows what is happening in the rucks… and surely this is not a good thing.

    I do not want to go down the path of calling it “cheating” as I do not think it is correct or constructive.

    I think what is happening is that certain facets of the game (e.g. scrums, rucks, mauls) have such convoluted rules that refs could not possibly be able to see everything. When play stops or they will just award what they see as penalties going to the dominant side. Whether or not this is correct by the rules – is beside the point. The point is that the rules are overly complex.

    I think the powers that be should do a big clean up of the rules. Similar to what Rod MacQueen attempted with the ELVs. Rugby should be about a free flowing game with a constant battle for possession. I think some changes which would/could improve would be:

    i) allow quick feeds to scrums; ii) only short arms scrum penalties; iii) get rid of silly rules such as accidental offside/tuck trailer/player out of touch cannot hit ball back in unless he lands back in field of play; iv) allow mauls to be tackled; v) bring BACK RUCKING (but not around head/over-vigorous); vi) reduce penalties to 2 points.

    Just some random musings….

  • RuggerB

    Sounds like you Ockers are already running scared, talk about moaners and the game hasn’t been played yet.
    The truth is, if it wasn’t for a dodgy ref, the team in yellow would be playing of for third or fourth spot, you would be nowhere near Twickenham this weekend.
    And keep that bald headed captain away from Owens, he is enough to turn any one of with his non stop complaining and tittle tattle.
    I reckon he does that just to slow the game down to suit his tired old hacks, well that will get sorted quick smart by Owens for sure.

  • Andrew Stoddart

    Last post to all. Good luck to your team this weekend. May they do you proud one last time. They’ve had a wonderful tournament and I see a team on the rise.

  • harro

    Wow! 138 comments, I expected this thread to be filled with a multitude of frothing Kiwis. Sadly, half the comments are from one disgruntled Scot. Quite boring

  • Senortubbs

    Complaining about it now is perhaps a little futile. Worth it on the off chance that it works, but probably unlikely.

    What we need to do is catalogue all their favourite ‘tricks’ – climbing up the scrum, ruck entry angles, upfield blocking on kicks etc. Then spend the next 2 years doing them in our bright yellow jerseys (they seem to make that sort of thing unmissable). Then, with a bit of luck, those will be the rules being “cracked down” on in 2019.

  • Jumbo

    Such a tiresome, over-hyped topic. As if every Australian No. 7 is maticulous at every breakdown, every Australian scrum is faultless at execution and every Australian back line perfect in their lines of attack against defenders. George Smith was an outstanding loose forward and a master at breakdown trickery. Somehow all that seems conveniently overlooked. Move on….

  • Scarfman

    Thanks for writing this, Bob. I feel the same way. The referees’ inability to control the All Black’s cheating is the reason I stopped watching rugby 3 years ago. I was a huge rugby fan – even helped to create this site. But I just couldn’t take cheating as a deliberate tactic. I feel that Richie McCaw has left the rugby of rugby in a worse state than he found it.

    Forgetting the All Blacks and thinking about the rules of rugby – they need a complete rewrite from sentence one. I follow NFL these days and someone should have a read of those laws / rules. They are written very clearly, with very few grey areas. Rugby needs to do better.

  • Wolfcub

    Well Bob, Kepu must have read your advice because he tried to take McCaw’s head off.

  • idiot savant

    This is fun. Add the Conrad Smith rule. Stand offside in the eyeline of the opposing half back as he goes to pass.

  • muffy

    You had me at precious…

  • idiot savant

    The Woodcock rule is the close in one where the opposition half cant even see his backline. The Conrad Smith rule is where Smith is 25 metres away and the halfback looks up to pass and sees a black jersey and thinks I better give it to a forward because there no room out there!

  • Dally M

    It is, so off back to the site for trolls you go!

All Blacks

If you don't know Bob Dwyer is the world cup winning coach of the 1991 Wallabies, then give yourself an uppercut. He did a load in between, but he now runs Bob Dwyer's Rugby Workshops, which you can read more about on his site.

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