Bob Dwyer's view on the All Blacks cheating and Paddy O'Brien
All Blacks

Dwyer’s View: All Blacks, 2010

Dwyer’s View: All Blacks, 2010

Hands up those offside

Over the past few weeks, there has been plenty written and spoken about the New Zealand All Blacks performances so far this season. In the most demanding Tri-Nations tournament, they have, to date, played four and won four, with three bonus points. This is a most formidable start for them and, indeed, they have been in scintillating form. Whilst there has been much praise for their performances, there has also been much criticism, with some aspects of their play being described as illegal. This criticism, I hasten to add, has not been entirely restricted to their opponents, nor to their opponents’ ‘home’ press.

I have written and spoken on both aspects of their performances – and have received much correspondence, once again, both for and against. Subsequently, rather than respond individually, I feel that there is a need for elucidation and education.

Firstly, claims of bias! Whilst I am as biased as any supporter in my hopes and desires for my team, I remain coldly analytical in my assessment of performance. “Result” never clouds my assessment of “performance”; I recognize clearly that a team can play well and lose, and vice-versa. Further, I have been critical – sometimes scathingly – of the performances of both the Wallabies and Springboks, and full of praise for many aspects of the All Blacks play. I hope that clears up such assertions.

Next, the positive aspects of All Black play. The players look “cut”; that is, they carry very little body-fat. “Lean and hungry” might be an accurate description. They have clearly worked on their “footwork” and this has enabled all players to gain the ‘extra yard’ on ball-carries on many occasions. When I coached Leicester Tigers, I introduced a programme of SAQ – Speed, Agility, Quickness – way back in 1996, with great effect. Such is my regard for this aspect of training, that I have included access to SAQ on my own website.’ Support’ play, a traditional aspect of great All Black play, has returned to its traditional levels.’ Alignment’ and ‘realignment’ are obviously high on the agenda at practise sessions.

‘Quick ball’ from the recycle at the tackle contest is clearly a top priority – and so it should be. However, it is just as clearly not a priority with ALL other international teams. The unusually large number, by current standards, of off-loads and “pop ball” off the ground, by the All Blacks, gives testament to this. Once again, in my Coaching Manual, I preach that the ‘ruck’ should be our last option for ball recycle from/at the tackle, and should be used only when other, better options are not available – which, by the way, is rare, if support play is at an acceptable level. All of this is giving space for the phase attacks and the opportunity to exploit it. [One interesting contact from a French coach, Jean-Louis Ribot, read: “This summer (our winter) I found that New Zealand followed your lessons!!!”]

On the negative aspects of All Black play, which has resulted in much criticism – and, as I have said, from many parts of the world. Just as the All Blacks value the necessity of quick ball for their own attack, they clearly recognise the threat that opposition quick ball poses to their defence. In fact, I thought that the All Black defence was unusually vulnerable to attack from quick ball, as evidenced by two quite simple Springbok tries in their second test in Wellington and a few similar efforts by the Wallabies. They strive therefore to limit such recycles from their opponents. Nothing wrong with that – all teams have a similar agenda – so long as they do so within the laws of the game.

It is here that I, and many others, question their tactics. Black jerseyed tacklers finish on the ground, on the wrong side of the ball, so often, that I can’t believe that it’s by accident. This prevents their opponents from arriving quickly to support their team-mate and allowing other All Black support players to attack opposition ball on the ground. Further, opposition scrum-halves are having difficulty getting in close to clear the ball and are forced to “lift” the ball for their pass to clear Black bodies. This slows down the clearing pass and gives valuable time to the defence. And, it’s illegal!

On New Zealand ball at the tackle. Whilst they, generally, arrive “through the gate” on opposition ball, they enter from outrageously off-side positions on their own ball – sometimes they are clearing out opponents from positions a metre or two BEYOND the ruck/maul. This has the beneficial effect of limiting opposition hands to the tackle ball and allowing their “early, long place” ball for instant recycle to their excellent support players. If any one doubts this, they should Google “All Blacks at the Breakdown” and view an excellently compiled video from the Wellington test v the Springboks. It is even on the increase. All players play their part, and while McCaw, Franks and Smith have been serial offenders, Kieran Read has recently perfected his technique also. It is dramatically effective and frequently brings tries – and it’s illegal!

On the subject of referees! One of my correspondents has made the point that it ridiculous to claim that Paddy O’Brien has instructed his referees to cheat in favour of New Zealand and this is absolutely, obviously true. However, it is not too outrageous to think that he could have some influence on the referees’ subconscious mind – even conscious mind! I’m sure that they all read Paddy’s unforgivable, public attack on Stuart Dickenson’s performance in the Italy v New Zealand test last year – and his reported, subsequent visit to the All Black hotel to “apologise”! We had a recent demotion of the novice South African assistant referee, but no such criticism of Jonathan Kaplan for his failure to yellow-card Tony Woodcock for his act of foul play on Sai Faainga – and, amazingly, no citing afterwards.

On the subject of yellow cards. A recent article on the informative Green & Gold Rugby website gives a tally of the penalties and yellow cards awarded in the Tri Nations tournament to date. They have calculated the “penalties-per-yellow card” suffered by each team with the following results [click on graph to the right]

It’s difficult to argue with the facts!


  • Hugh

    I’ve seen this graph a bunch now, and whilst everyone (including the cycloptic NZ commentary team) seems to agree that Woodcock did very well to avoid the yellow card, isn’t an alternative explanation for the NZ ratio perhaps that they’re just playing with more discipline than the other two sides?

    • Jnor

      surely if the ABs played with more discipline they would not be incurring as many penalties as either the Wallabies or Boks. In almost every 3N game this year I beleive the ABs have conceded more.

      I think they have a fantastic captain in McCaw who can talk to a ref like no-one else and they are given a lot of leeway as a consequence – see all the ‘final’ warnings given re offside play. However, they infringe cleverly in general and aren’t (Woodcock aside) prone to Bakkies-like openly foul play.

      While it might not be dirty or violent, I agree with Bob and it’s still illegal.

      • Hugh


        I thought the graph represented “Penalties awarded : Yellow cards”, rather than “Penalties conceded : yellow cards”

        Then again, with the exception of Botha in Brisbane, haven’t all the YCs been for dangerous play? I agree that the ABs have been lucky at times re the breakdown, but it isn’t like the other two sides have been handed a deck full of cards from breakdown infringements either, is it?

        Again, you can argue that they we haven’t deserved them so we haven;t had them and they have deserved them so should have had them, but if its true that they mostly have been for dangerous play and not repeated infringements, the refs are being at least somewhat consistent (the Woodcock case notwithstanding).

        • Who?

          Mitchell’s red was for knocking the ball away – hardly foul play. Illegal play, and something the ref had warned both sides about. So we have a precendent for yellows – and even reds – coming out for offending after a warning in this 3Ns.

          Gotta admit, though, that, given the ABs have been conceding 10.75 penalties per game, opposed to SA’s 8 and Australia’s 7, that the ABs are the ones who should be receiving penalties for repeated infringements (even if they’re getting away with things not being penalized) – they’re giving away 2.75 more penalties per game than their opposition.

        • Ian

          Shmoos yellow wasnt for dangerous play, it was for shits and giggles.

      • bakkies brotha

        what about ranger-like openly foul play?

      • Nabley

        Jnor, I think you are forgetting Jedi Gregan. He had no peer when it came to influencing refs. I remember the 2003 RWC Semi where the SAFA top ref whose name I have forgotten was running the line and shouted into his communicator to the English Ref, “dont listen to him don’t listen to him, he will talk you into it”. And he did. Yet come the final when he was the ref, Gregan talked him into a number of things including the last penalty in extra time when Baxter through exhaustion, collapsed the scrum and had it blamed on the Poms.

    • Ian

      They are clearly not playing with more discipline, if they were they wouldnt be conceding so many penalties. It is the absence of yellow cards and maybe the fact that they should in nearly everyones eyes be conceding even more penalties that is the issue.

    • blackmagic

      There’s been way too much written on this topic. All teams play to the whistle, end of story. Isn’t that what you taught your players Mr Dwyer?
      The style of rugby played by both Australia and New Zealand has seen a dramatic improvement and the 2009 version of rugby has been shown the utter disrespect it deserved.
      It’s an unfortunate fact about our sport that in any given match, supporters will invariably find infringements committed by the opposing team. It’s up to the ref, who has an impossibly difficult job to do, to do his best.
      As for the meaningless stat of penalties to yellow cards. Nowhere in the rules to my knowledge, does it state that after so many penalties there should be a card. It’s accepted by almost all interested parties that during the 2010 Tri series to date, some cards have been issued that shouldn’t have been and there are instances where they should’ve been, but weren’t.
      Are you trying to blame the All Blacks for that ???

    • mike

      it is an alternative explanation. BUT. Were you not watching the number of times that Richie got “final” warnings? Probably about four times a game on average, but no yellows. It is AB POLICY to give away penalties rather than tries, but none of their opponents REALLY ram it home to the ref how much they are giving away. Because we always take teh kick at posts and relieve the pressure on them.

  • Jay

    “We had a recent demotion of the novice South African assistant referee”

    For a decision that benefited the AB’s, but let’s not let those facts (the ones you can’t argue with) get in the way of your point, Bob.

    • Jnor

      I don’t think that does get in the way of the point – it’s no P divvy conspiracy up in here

    • mike

      yyeeeah it was also for calling a (marginal) skew throw in against the AB’s

  • CJ

    Great article… abosolutely spot on!.

    Funny however, all these things the All Blacks are doing i.e. being the fittest side ( bring back memories of when the Wallabies led the world in fitness and were the first international team to take fitness to a new level, which Clive Woodward then mimicked with England in his drive to success in 2003). I also noticed this popping of the ball off the ground recently and noted how the defence was sucked in only for the ball to come out the back and play to advance further. I wondered was this easier v Australia because our backs are small, always tackled low and ‘falling backwards’ thus the ball carrier has his arms free, wasn’t monstered or dominated in the tackle? Perhaps something for Dingo to talk about.
    There skills level, again soemthing Wallaby-esq about it in my opinion. And surely given the natural talents we have we should be of a similar level? No… how can a player like JOC not tackle or spin pass one way, same for Barnes… and how many times do the Wallabies knock on or pass forwards? Ridiculous for no 3 in the world in my opinion.
    The rest of the stuff – slowing down ball, support play, relignment, alignment, counter attacking – all nothing more than being ‘well drilled, smart and playing intelligent rugby. Which is exactly what Australia were always renowned for in the past. We’ve lost that ‘smart’ aspect. We don’t come up with new and intricate backline moves like yesteryear to confuse the likes of Nonu and co. And finally, re McCaw etc… although it is killing the game and illegal, and pottentially the Blacks are getting away with more than others, I also see it as great coaching and confirmation that rugby is merely about getting away with what you can… but I do agree the referees are helping the Blacks here.

    • Who?

      Forward passes are, IMO, often the fault of the support players. Certainly, the ones we’ve been called for the last few years have often been that way. It’s been the ball player holding the ball until he’s drawn the defense, and the support player overrunning him. I like a flat backline, but the players need to be better coached in retaining form. Or just coached in formation. I often think the overrunning has been because of a lack of patience, seeing an opening close (often the support player’s space has been limited to less than the tram tracks down the sideline), and that’s often been because our attack has been too predictable, with the runners inside not doing enough to hold the defense.

      Completely agree with your last paragraph. Spot on!

  • Sam Bananas

    In concern of the many yellows and susequent red card, there has been much variation.

    Several players were cared for tip-tackles, then post-match were cited and received subsequent suspentions (Cooper, DeVilliars, Fourie).
    Both Mitchel and Franks were given over-top punishments,being yellow carded for what were deemed dangerous tackles, but on replay appeared to hardly meritt even a penalty. Possibly the ref was evening things out by sin-bining Mitchel after seeing the big screen replay of Franks purported infringement. This is rugby, Test rugby, a physical, contact game.

    The second yellow card Mitchel received which earned him a red card, was at most a penalty for stupid play. Mitchel acted foolishly, but for slaping a ball, to result in a team playing a man down for virtually half a Test match was ridiculous and an embarassment on the game. Of course neither Franks or Mitchel were cited or suspended and rightly so.

    Then came Woodcocks dangerous and reckless hit into the back of Fainga, who was on the ground with his head turned away. This certainly was an offence worthy of a yellow card. Of course we know that did not occur. Kaplan seemed predestined not to card anyone that game, especially Ritchie after his 2nd or 3rd “final warning”. However why did Woodcock fail to be cited post-match? On replay everyone saw the hit, it was potentially more dangerous and certainly more malicous than any of the previous 3 citings (Bakkies excluded, malicous is his middle name).

    I accept different refs on different days in the heat of a game will react differently, but in the cold calm after the match, how did Woodcock avoid being cited? He could still have argued the case to the SANZAR commision and possibly avoided a suspention, but not to have been cited at all? Somethings not quite right here.

    • I accept different refs on different days in the heat of a game will react differently, but in the cold calm after the match, how did Woodcock avoid being cited? He could still have argued the case to the SANZAR commision and possibly avoided a suspention, but not to have been cited at all?

      Spot on. That’s the bit I didn’t get Sammy B

  • Scotty in Devon

    Good artice. All of the stuff the ABs do I applaude them for except one thing – this running past the ruck by 2m and taking a guy out on the opposition side. It IS happening over and over again.

    Some ref is going to realise this as a card will come.

    • Ian

      And the house of cards will collapse!

      Just hoping that they get away with it right up until kick off of the World Cup, so they dont have time to find a new way to cheat.

    • Paul

      Well said …lets hope that they get a ref who sees them for the cheats they are …hopefully in the WC2011 …not only do they run/stand on the wrong side they are diving over the ball all the time or getting thier legs in the way of the ball so that it comes out slowly ..never mind that they play the ball on the ground at the tackle as it goes to ground …have a look at McCaws try against the Aussies,Smith scoops it back as it goes to ground, and Kaplan stands there with a mouth full of teeth, damn fool,and I say this as a Saffer, if any ref should have been stood down it should have being Kaplan. But cheaters always get their due ,here’s for hoping it’s in the WC …It will serve them right.

  • D.

    What I don’t like about the whole scenario is the way the refs were policing the breakdown in the S14 compared to the way it is being policed now in the Tri Nations. The law interpretations are night and day. I’d love to see some video comparison on that.

    You could use the excuse that northern hemisphere refs were used, but they would have seen the new interpretations and/or “should” have been brought up to speed on how the game is being played. And they had at least one southern hemisphere touchie as well. There is no excuse for Kaplan’s mess the other week though. That was a worse performance than the Yarpie touch judge that got demoted the week before.

    The question that is on my mind is, Are these issues of cheating and inconsistent refereeing decisions going to be addressed, or is the game going to get to a point where refs are going to start getting accused for match fixing? Maybe PDV isn’t a big of a clown as we once thought he was. Don’t get me wrong, he still is one, just possibly not as big as we initially had thought…..

  • Jay

    Jnor – Dwyer’s point is that Paddy’s allegiance may sub consciously influence refs to favour the All Blacks – how does demoting a ref for a decision that benefited the All Blacks provide evidence towards such a theory.

    And in general this blog is laughable – you turn a blind eye to the Wallabies (and Boks, when they’re playing NZ) when they do exactly the same tactics you decry. If I was obsessive and sad enough it’d be a piece of piss to make a similar video showing all the Wallaby cheating at the breakdown.

    In just a few minutes of a video made by the very same poster….

    You can see Richard Brown at 1:04 clearing out Spies, only Spies is just getting up and isn’t a part of the ruck, yet Brown cleans him out ending up at least 3 metres away from the ruck.

    And remember that example of Tom Donnelly standing in the guard dog position? What’s Dean Mumm doing at 1:20? Or Elsom at 3:11?

    This holier than thou whinging is making you all look pretty stupid.

    • Who?

      The examples you’ve pulled out there are quite poor. Brown on Spies? Spies was getting up, sure, but he was the tackler and the first Bok in front of the breakdown – there was no one else there to bind onto to create the ruck, and yes, Spies was getting to his feet, but he was getting to his feet to attack the ball. Nothing remotely like taking a bloke out 2m to the SIDE of the breakdown.

      Mumm in the ‘guard dog’ position..? The difference, again, is the position compared to the ruck. Mumm’s not in front of the ruck, often the ABs are. Rocky in the last one? It’d be nice to see how he got there. He was offside, and should’ve been retreating. The Boks could have easily gotten rid of him if they felt he was a problem (he had his back to them!).

      That said, if the ABs are managing to get away with it, the Wallabies, Boks, etc would be mindless fools not to copy them. That doesn’t mean that it’s good for the game, though, and that we wouldn’t be happy to see a crack down on ALL sides. An example was Pocock in the last game – he was penalized for not releasing when a tackler had gone for the ball without releasing him. Kaplan ruled the tackler wasn’t a tackler. The next penalty was against Pocock, for not releasing the tackled player – Kaplan labelled him second tackler (he was the third), and said Pocock didn’t release the player (he did). Yet McCaw was fine to turnover Genia off O’Connor’s run, with McCaw sitting Genia on his backside then ripping the ball off him, with no break in contact (i.e. he didn’t release Genia). It was a great tackle, deserved a turnover, but wasn’t legal with the current interpretations or consistent with what happened with Pocock.

      • Drew B

        Re: McCaw on Genia – No All Black went to deck, so wasn’t a tackle, so no requirement for McCaw to release. Genia was on the deck, so had to release the ball.

        I initially agreed with you, and Marto sure gave his thoughts on the matter, but the slow-mo proved me wrong.

        • BigNose

          If the ball carrier goes to deck then anyone holding on to him has to release him and allow him to place the ball. A tackle *has* taken place – it’s just that there is no tackler.

          Law 15.6 (c) – for the saddos. IRB say we have to place strong emphasis on this in their latest directives which have been in place for this Tri-Nations series.

        • Who?

          My understanding’s the same as BigNose’s – the tackled player must be released by the tackler before the tackler can play the ball. The tackled player is under no obligation to release the ball until/unless he goes to ground, the tackler going to ground is only relevant if you’re talking about playing the ball off your feet. And the tackler doesn’t have to release until the tackled player goes to ground. So… Genia went to ground, the tackle was completed and Genia had to release. McCaw was also obligated to release Genia, but, given he was on his feet, would have been able to immediately play the ball. It was a great tackle, it deserved a turnover, but it was technically illegal.

        • Jay

          I agree that was a wrong call, though it’s one area of the new interpretation I disagree with. McCaw didn’t just have Genia, he also had a hold of the ball – if the ball carrier can’t protect the ball sufficiently, why should he be bailed out by going to ground?

          It wasn’t just that incident, I’ve seen this a fair few times this season. Seems wrong to me.

        • BigNose

          @Who? – there is no tackler. The key part of that is that the “non-tackler involved in the tackler” – the so called “other player” or “assistant tackler” has no rights with regard to the gate. He must release and go back around entering the tackle area through the gate. McCaw in actual fact is usually pretty good at dropping himself down on to one knee which makes him a bona-fide tackler in law.

          @Jay – it’s not an “interpretation”. The law is explicit about it. Unless you mean “interpretation” in the strict, IRB sense of the word i.e. “the laws that we can be bothered to remember to enforce” :o}

        • Jay

          Bignose – it is an interpretation, in the legal sense. And in that last year, the law was interpreted differently.

          What I’m referring to though, is when the defensive player has his hands on the ball also – not just the tackler. I see why they have to release the tackled player, but if they’ve got the ball equally, I don’t see why the ground should be a haven for the ‘ball carrier’.

        • mike

          Not true – both players do not have to go to deck for it to be a tackle. If one player makes a player go down to ground, its a tackle and that tackler must release.

  • Dally M

    Jay, it benefits them because he left Kaplan to referee the AB’s game after he too erred in advocating a yellow card for Franks which wasn’t deserved + called a penalty on the AB’s for a lifting tackle that wasn’t in the same match? We all know how Australia fare under Kaplan compared to any other referree. He then ref’s the next game,doesn’t card Woodcock when he clearly saw the illegal hit, gives the AB’s 2 final warnings & then doesn’t follow through when they infringed again. Tell me there’s no benefit there.

    And i don’t think Bob is saying that no other team infringes, just that the AB’s are doing it nearly all the time and getting away with it, more so than any other national team.

  • Would rather of read his thoughts on how the WB’s are going to move forward… what areas of thier game they should be working on, etc. I’ve been reading a lot of Australian comments on various sites, is Woodcocks actions that BIG that it warrants all this attention?
    You can’t change a ref’s mind… just have to learn to live with it and move on.
    Calling AB’s cheats… sad days indeed

    • Robson

      ……… Woodcocks actions that BIG that it warrants all this attention?

      Yes it is because it’s totally incomprehensible that it wasn’t cited.

      • I would have thought that the current lack of WB vision and execution would have taken precedence.
        The incident was penalised, didn’t get a yellow card on the pitch nor was it cited, I’m only guessing but don’t people actually get paid to follow through with this sort of stuff? If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.
        The lack of vision and execution (and basic handling skills) are a big issue to me – a really BIG issue.
        Seriously starting to wonder were Ozzie fans are heading, labelling the All Blacks cheats… what sort of sportsmanship is that?

        I now it’s not everyone but seriously when did Australia become a country full of whingers?

        • Lee Enfield

          When all the Poms and Kiwis moved here!

        • Perfect, great reply Lee Enfield.
          Agree 100% on all points.
          The AB’s have a theory about ‘leaving the jersey in a better state than when you found it’ as well as “you’re only looking after it, you don’t own it”, perhaps the WB’s need to adopt a similar standpoint. If Cooper does the money run (and head’s over to league, which I doubt as he’s not as good ‘yet’ as his manager thinks he is) who fills the spot? This may not be the thread but a third tier would go a long way in developing and showcasing younger players, would love to see it.

          Nothing against Deans but is Mckenzie available as National Coach after the world cup?
          Also has there been anything written about “in-fighting” in the press? Just for those that need it spelled out… was it Gitz?

        • Pants

          Its a culmination of events, not least of which is the despicable unprecedented behavior of Paddy O’Brien publicly apologizing to the ABs last year about a refereeing performance from an Australian ref in relation to scrums of all things and his continued demonstration of bias towards the ABs. Paddy goes on record to comment about dangerous tackles saying something like ‘you don’t want 3rd grade players making dangerous tackles’. The implication is those making those split second tackles are 3rd grade, ie. the wallabies and spring boks, against his precious ABs. Him being in charge of the refs, what have we witnessed this year? Strangely enough we’ve seen the rub of the green has gone the way of the ABs even for the clear as day obvious yellow card offenses. We see very lenient treatment being handed out to the ABs. In contrast the Wallabies have been shafted this year in terms of yellow cards, suspensions (Cooper missing 2 3N games compared to every other cited yellow missing 1 3N game) and other calls during the game; good passes being called forward and penalties against us for good legal play. I think the refs are just sucking up to Paddy to get their sweet gig for the WC next year.

      • Good point Lee Enfield, fair enough then!
        Shame though, 2 weeks to go before the WB’s get another chance at the Saffa’s and everyone’s wahing on about Woodock.
        My thoughts are, if it looks bad for the WB’s, just imagine what the Bok are going through – best chance to smite them in their own backyard in AGES.

        • Lee Enfield

          I agree with you, what happened has happened, and nothing will change it now. We need to stop looking backwards and start looking forward to how we can beat the All Blacks with 15 men and not having to rely on the Ref.
          A good place to start would be securing Cooper for next year, if the ARU are that way inclined. The second would be dealing with the reported in-fighting within the Wallabies, the reports of some Wallabies being banned from an Eastern Suburbs pub due to their behaviour and the senior Wallaby whose nose is out of joint as he was told he will never be captain.
          Deans needs to tear these guys a new asshole, sack those with an attitude problem, and bring in guys who want to be there, and who don’t think they are bigger than the game.
          Thirdly, we need to start picking the best guys in their position, stop picking players on reputation and out of position and start picking on form, and stop the cycle of giving players endless chances to prove themself, when they have been weighed, measured and found wanting. i.e Mafu, Mumm, Brown, O’Connor.
          Mckenzie summed it up best, when asked how he turned the Reds around. It was easy because the players were wanting to learn, were willing to listen, making them very coachable. Seems to me, there are few too many Wallabies who think it is their right to play for the Wallabies, and think they are bigger than the game and the team.

        • Lee Enfield

          For me, if Cooper goes, I would be inclined to trial Beale at 10, he has some Coperesque qualtiies about him. Giteau is an absolute failure at 10, Barnes is capable, but not necessarily the best person for running rugby. Brumbies 10, Leifano (not correct spelling) is probably not developed enough yet to be the Wallabies 10.
          So I would give Beale a go, he would better then Giteau.

  • gregt

    In addition to Bob’s observations, I’d suggest, albeit without statistical verification, that basically the reffing has been uncommonly shite in the Tri Nations for a couple of years. Like NH refs have for many years, our SH blokes are now reffing with momentum — either theirs or the ‘dominant’ team. Australia’s probably felt the pain of this the most over the last couple of years and now the Saffers are feeling the pinch. The ABs get away with it in part because they ‘appear’ dominant in attack because of their admirable propensity to run the mongrel — and with the ref interpretations again (rightly) swinging the way of the attacking team it’s even more pronounced this season (When the rules smiled more favourably on the physical contest, the Boks had the same ‘status’ the ABs enjoy now — which is also why it’s so annoying for PDV).
    Bob’s unarguably on the money — the reality is this Wallaby mob has got to start winning against the odds in order to turn perception around and the complexities of reffing the game remain it’s most awkward challenge.

    • realist


  • David

    I can’t understand why the worlds best team thinks it has to cheat to win games. I’m sure they would win just as many games if they didn’t.
    In my opinion the AB’s should be setting the example of fair, hard play and sportsmanship for the rest of t he rugby world to copy.

    • Ian

      Thats usually the Wallabies job, being the “good guys” of international rugby, but it just aint working for us anymore.

      • Nabley

        Gawd Ian, who are you kidding with such “jingoism”.

        Teams always have and always will test the limits of the law and its interpretation with a particular ref. The first law in rugby is not the size of the ground, it is understand the preferences of your ref. You discover that by his history or by testing his limits early on in a match. If you do not understand those limits, then you end up with a good chance of loosing. Mmmm. Perhaps its lack of understanding rather than lack of skill.

  • Dally M

    It’s only cheating if you get caught!

    They push the laws to the limit. All teams do.

    I’m just not sure why they get away with more than any other team though. I guess when you are considered the best in the world the referee’s give you the benefit of the doubt.

    And good old Paddy has shown his true colours a number of times as head of the referee’s so there is unlikely to be any crackdown as far as what the AB’s are getting away with.

  • Dally M

    C’mon MyRugby Mate, it’s not isolated to Australian fans.

    Didn’t the Kiwis scream like banshee’s that Wayne Barnes robbed them of the world cup. Hell they even created a Wikipedia page for the guy crucifying him.

    No one here has shied away from the problems the Aussies have with the team & their gameplan, but we are looking at the games as a whole & the facts are there to see along with the video proof.

    If it walks like a duck & talks like a duck…..

  • Mooloo

    Woodcock was not cited, because he couldn’t be. The ref saw it, and didn’t even yellow card. So it cannot have been for an offense that was possibly a red card. There is no ability to cite in such situations (and it has happened before).

    IMO it was a yellow card from the start mind you. A nasty, cheap shot.

    I feel that it would be nice if Henry just stood him down for a week. Saying, in effect, that it was unacceptable.

    • Who?

      I agree that it was a yellow. I don’t think it was worth citing, except for the fact that it wasn’t carded. But Quade and Fourie both had offenses seen by officials, deemed only worthy of a yellow, and yet they were suspended… So, either way, consistency is absent.

    • BigNose

      Anyone can be cited for anything in a game regardless of whether the referee or other officials saw it and/or dealt with it. If the citing commissioner thinks that it needs to be dealt with further then it will be.

      It’s only the wendy-ball hand baggers that hide behind the old “you can’t get me, the ref saw it” defence.

  • Jay

    Who – some of the example in the original video were very poor – claiming players were entering from the side of the ruck when the ball carrier hadn’t even been tackled yet, meaning there’s no ruck to enter.

    I don’t think any of the examples I pointed out are particularly dire crimes, but they’re all technically illegal and if you apply the same level of examination to the Wallabies, you’re gonna find they cheat all the time. I didn’t scour through 80 minutes of rugby remember, I found those in the first few minutes of an unrelated video.

    As another example of finding infringements at pretty much every ruck, if you look at the original “All Blacks at the Breakdown video” you can see John Smit infringe in 3 of the first 4 examples.

    The reality is that all teams cheat. A lot. I’ve no doubt McCaw gets away with a bit, but then he also gets some dud calls (like the penalty against him in the 76th minute in ChCh where the tackled player fell at his feet yet he was pinged for entering from the side – he didn’t even move!).

    I don’t have a problem with the Wallabies or Boks doing it, but I do have a problem with hypocritical fans trying to act like their sh*t doesn’t stink. Get over yourselves FFS.

    • Who?

      Fair call Jay. I’m with you on all sides cheating – they clearly do, to varying degrees. I think the ABs are clearly the masters of pushing the line. I’m not complaining about that, though. As long as it’s consistent both ways. No ref (not even three refs and four touchies) is ever going to pick up on everything. And it’s the players’ job to get out there and find the line – which Richie and his team do very well.

      The only place I think there is a problem is in consistency. Consistency in citings, consistency in yellows, and some consistency in penalties. Why did JDV/Fourie/Cooper cop suspensions for (mostly) soft tip tackles when Schalk and Brown (note that I’ve picked up on an Aussie, too) had their fingers in opponents’ eyes (Pocock and Mils)? No consistency! Kaplan was a long way from his worst in Christchurch, he didn’t have near the impact he has had in some games. But, given how soft many of the yellows this year have been Woodcock, in a consistent regime, would’ve been carded. The ABs still would’ve won, I doubt we would’ve scored! But it would’ve shown consistency and prevented the continuation of focus on refereeing. That’s the tragedy of this. That we’re talking about how the ABs cop numerous ‘final warnings’ without cards, instead of talking about how effective they are at clearing the breakdown, setting their attack and the strength of their counterrucking and decision making on when to counterruck.

  • Nabley

    Cleaning out is cleaning out and you will see it every Saturday and all coaches wanting to win make an issue of it with their players. Whats the limits of it? It is defined i9n most peoples mind by the perimeter of the ruck if one has formed. If it has not formed then one of the two players involved must have some part of his body over the ball.

    I think Bob is being a little too one eyed on this issue. Pocock tried what he described against McCaw and came off second best with an injury.

    The issue about Woodcock on Sai Faainga I find intersting bacause there was no yellow card and no citing. The commentary team (Aust) said at the time Faainga had been positioning himself the AB side of the breakdown several times and was taking his time getting up and out and back onside. The suggested idea was that he deliberately was looking to obstructed play. Greg Martin suggested on TV that it only deserved a penalty and in retrospect I agree. We are all big boys and we know that when a player consistently offends and the ref does nothing about it, the issue gets dealt with by other means which you might call rough justice. I think thats what happened here and Kaplan knew exactly why it happened.

    The real issue that Bob has written about is the bloody awful laws that surround the tackled ball and how they are exploited by the ABs and every other team including the Wallabies. You need to be a lawyer to get through the technicalities of it. The more I think of it, the more I believe they have it wrong and have had it wrong for a long time. The compexity of it puts a lot of people off our game and I suggest at lower levels makes it more dangerous. The whole thing needs to be simplified. The key to doing so is to take the emphasis off the attacking team having the advantage in the resulting ruck or maul.

    If a tackler lets a tackled player go as he is required to, then the tackled player is not held and can get up and run off with the ball. The tackler needs to be able to hang on to the ball carrier until a ruck forms. Having been tackled why should the attacking team have the advantage. The tackled player should have disposed of the ball before or during the tackle. I believe a lot of issues would be solved by making the responsibility of the tackled player to dispose of the ball with no respnsibility on the tackler except to tackle. If the ball carrier is held so he can not dispose of the ball or a player is in the way of the ball being cleared, thats his problem. He should not hav egot tackled with the ball in the first place and probably deserves something like a free kick against him.

    • Who?

      If Kaplan thought that Saia was a problem, then why did he leave it to the players to sort out..? That’s the exact opposite of Kaplan’s normally whistle-happy character. Saia was not in the ruck, he was not interfering in any way with the half back or the attack (i.e. he wasn’t blocking passes), there was no reason to clean him out. It was a cheap shot in the back.

      Now, if something had gone on in the bottom of a ruck, that wasn’t at the head or groin… No complaints!

      The laws around the ruck are pretty clear. Tackler must release the tackled player, and the tackled player must release the ball. If the tackled player is released then jumps up, he’ll be penalized for not releasing – as Stephen Hoiles was, infamously, against the Tahs.

      Your gripes about the tackled player being unable to release or having someone in the way… The laws state that players must not prevent the tackled player from releasing the ball. If it’s the opposition ripping at the ball (provided they’re not the tackler without releasing), he’s got no right to hold the ball. If it’s opposition blocking the path of the ball, they should be penalized for not rolling away. It’s really quite simple. It’s the old laws and interpretations that were used before the ELV’s. I really don’t see what all the complaints are about…

  • Dally M

    Have to disagree with you Nabley.

    Greg Martin eventually conceded that it should have been a yellow card after watching a couple of replays. Watch the replay again & you will see that Faingaa isn’t lying there for ages or in the way. It was a cheap shot & nothing to do with the ball being slowed down. The kiwi commentary team also agreed that he was lucky to stay on the field as they felt it warranted a yellow card.

    It’s not so much the offence, but the inconsistency, as highlight by this clip put together by a kiwi

    As to your second part, i agree there needs to be a balance & it’s something Les Kiss has constantly mentioned. We should reward the dominant tackler who stays on his feet, but also ensure those that go to ground clearly release before they get back up and go for the ball.

    It only takes a couple of early penalties for players lying in the rucks to get the message. Either that or allow teams to truly ruck players that get in the way, that will sort it out.

  • @ Jay, My Rugby Mate, Darano etc

    If you bother to read the rest of Bob article or the vast majority of the articles on this site about the Wallabies, ABs, Boks etc, you’ll see the vast majority are about what’s going well, going wrong, how to get better, selections and so on.

    So enough with the ‘whinging about the whinging’ – it’s fucking tedious and a lazy way to try and defend yourselves.

    As for your other lazy-arsed argument; “if you made video about the Wallabies cheating you’d see loads of stuff as well”. Guess what, I don’t take your word for it! Find some vid, examples, stats or something to back up your arguments. Should be easy if there’s so much of it going on. I tell you, it’s very easy to find it against the ABs.

    Put up or shut up!

    • All Black Fan

      Shit someones getting a bit worked up there

    • Podacity

      I agree. I think the Wallabies have not won on the high veldt since 1963 due to the appalling cheating by the Boks and the sub standard refereeing over the last 50 years. I could go on to mention the extremely poor refereeing on Sat, 16 Dec 1905 at Cardiff Arms Park although I don’t think Wales cheated.

      • Jnor

        haha, although seriously I think the main reason the wobs haven’t won on the highveld since 63 is that there was a very long time between then and now when nobody played the boks on the highveld…

  • Jimmy

    I think a bit of perspective is needed here. I don’t think you can really draw too many rock solid conclusions from that graph. I know it appears fairly damning, but if it was a graph depicting the same results from a whole S14 season for example, then I’d be pretty suspicious. From a 10 game tournament only halfway through though – nup.

  • Jay

    Gagger – I did find examples in your video about Pocock/Elsom – see upthread.

    Here’s some more

    A highlight package from Chch – again, not the full 80, but let’s see what I can find?

    Ooh, what’s Rocky doing at 0:23? The ball’s being cleared out of the ruck by Genia, but Elsom advances and clears out Tom Donnelly who’s not a part of the ruck.

    Elsom in from the side at 0:35

    Marginal as to whether O’Connor retreats behind the hindmost foot at 0:54 (he is the tackler, but that’s irrelevant in terms of offside at the ruck – it’s marginal cause it’s not clear if it’s a ruck or merely a tackle).

    Not a ruck/tackle situation, but Faiinga is blatantly holding Rokocoko back at 0:58.

    What do you know? That’s a bunch of Aussie cheating in the first minute of the clip!

    • Nabley

      Now I call that putting some uncalled for abuse into perspective Jay.

    • Good lord! well there you go – the truth is out there!
      Tri-Nations teams and just a bunch of cheats… all of them… thnaks Jay for clearing that up!

    • pants

      Just watched that clip and you’re clutching at straws. Those examples you mention are nothing close to the ABs clearing away defenders 1 or 2 metres in front of the ruck. Nice try.

      • Jay

        Really? The Elsom clear out on Donnelly who’s not a part of the ruck is nothing like the AB’s clearing out people who aren’t part of the ruck?

    • vidiot

      If Donnelly isn’t part of the ruck at 23 seconds, he’s offside.

      • What? @ 0.23 Donnelly’s offside?
        Can I have some expert feedback on this? Is that what off-side is under the current rules? That’s offside?!?!
        Would really appreciate some more feedback on this one…

    • mike

      How can Elsom be Elsom “in from the side at 0:35″ if he went directly over the ball? Rubbish dude – and this from a Bok supporter.

      • Jay

        A Bok supporter who doesn’t know the laws of rugby that well, obviously.

        Whether or not he goes over the ball is irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that he doesn’t enter from behind Nathan Sharpe’s feet.

  • Podacity

    “It is here that I, and many others, question their tactics. Black jerseyed tacklers finish on the ground, on the wrong side of the ball, so often, that I can’t believe that it’s by accident. This prevents their opponents from arriving quickly to support their team-mate and allowing other All Black support players to attack opposition ball on the ground.”

    Bob, since when does anything that happens at the tackle prevent someone from arriving quickly! In my opinion the reason the All Blacks are past the ball and on the ground is often due to the opposing team arriving late i.e. there is no one to form a ruck as the tackle is completed.

  • Scoot

    I would say only one thing needs to be addressed in terms of the referees. Paddy O’Brien are you listening? You don’t need more procedure, more technology or rule interpretations.

    What I will call this is the follow through principle.

    Once the ref says, “Ritchie this is your final warning”, all he has to do is apply the follow through principle which in keeping with the ‘final’ warning means to produce a yellow card.

    It will be a water shed moment, and Paddy you can apologise to NZ afterwards if you want to.

    I know between northern and southern hemispheres there might be some misunderstanding in terms of the definition of final so we just need you, Paddy, to clear that up and we should all be in good shape.

    *Great article Bob. A good read as always.

  • CJ

    The bigggest problem with Australian rugby is John O’Neill. End of story. Look at all the contract fiasco’s –
    McMenimem, Sailor/Tuquiri/Rogers, Andrew ‘is he coming or going’ Walker, the Andrew Johns saga, Chris Latham, and now Quade Cooper.
    The ARC.
    World cup pay deal.
    Gregan contract extension issues.
    The rise and rise of AFL in Western Sydney.
    The failure of union to have grown in stature, and is still the no 3/4 sport in Oz.
    Having a foreign coach now
    Failure to tap into the Ellas, Farr Jones, MacQueen and so on…. database of knowledge and experience.
    The Deans set up – no kicking coach, no defence coach,
    The failure to even approach or try and lure Sonny Bill, Greg Inglis, Billy Slater.
    I could go on and on.

    Positives – world cup 2003 success? Was it due to him? Debatable.
    Turned around Aussie Soccer?
    Anyone who wears red jeans and thinks he’s stylish is definitely a wanker.

    • AFL… now there’s something to eliminate

    • Alex-A

      Not sure how relevant that is to this particular post… but fuck me it would be fantastic to have more big players in our backline to replace Stirlo. Greg Inglis, and even Izzy folau would have made a big difference to our world cup squad. Rebels should have thrown evrything they had at those two.

      Great article though. And hard to aurge with. It simply needs to be reffed better, and if the AB’s (or us Aussies) start getting seriously pinnged for it then they will stop doing it. its a simple solution. I’d rather see yellows being dished out for opposition lying over the ball than i would for the ‘no arms in the tackle’ rule which in curtain circumstances can be a bit soft and hardly foul play (shmoo’s 1st yellow).
      Anyone remember in bledisloe 1, Kaino retreating and knocking the ball out of Genias hands to avoid him taking a quick tap. I have never seen a more blatant example of this performed directly under the refs nose EVER! Joubert the moron should have given him a Yellow and neither team would do it again! subsequently shmoo tries it (although way less obviously) and this brought him a red card!

      look at kaino on youtube: ‘Drew mithchell red card broken down’ @ 0.32

      Actually give them a yellow and they may just learn!

      • Jay

        It was pretty blatant, but if you look at Joubert, he’s actually turning around as it happens so he didn’t see it.

        Pause the video at exactly :38 – you can see that as it’s happening, Joubert is looking to the side.

        And I don’t think Mitchell’s was any less obvious, it was fairly blatant too. Unforgivably stupid too, seeing as it came after the warning (though that may be Elsom/Deans fault for not reiterating the warning).

  • Melsees

    Great Article Bob !. If only the Wallabies coaching staff would keep lend a good ear to critics like you our boys would be doin’ a helluva lot better. Quick delivery from the tackled ball I agree from your recent articles is what the Wallabies and other teams are just not doin’ and yes I agree with others that the illegal antic-teachin AB coaching staff are following your articles very closely, esp Gramps Henry! anyway that aside with Coops coming back I am sure Will has got someone to receive the quick deliveries now!

    • Nabley

      Melsees, don’t forget that Genia was also playing against the Bok and was hopelessly slow. I have always advocated speedy ball from the breakdown so I look for it as a principle attacking feature of play. During S14 Genia delivered. It seems slipping into a Gold Top has changed his mind set

  • suckerforred

    Isn’t it interesting that the only ones not bitching about refereeing decisions are the Kiwi’s. De Villers was jumped on by the press, IRB, and just about everybody else when he publically expressed a thought that many others have been having privately.

    Maybe we should be discussing how to improve the performance of referee’s as well as how we can improve the performance of our beloved Wallabies. Constructive critism is always best.

    And before I get howled at – there are pages and pages of comment here dedicated to what we as fans believe could improve the performance of the WB’s, so you can’t really claim that we are justifing poor performance by blaming the ref.

    There is nothing better then a close, fair (!!!!!!!) game of rugby. Problem is that at the moment the ref’s and assistant ref’s (and until they make some relevant calls they should still be refered to a Touch Judges) seem to be, at times, having undue influence on the playing of the game. You may notice I resisted the urge to say they are having an influence on the outcome of the games. No, the WB’s probably would not have won either of the Beldisloe games played so far, but the inconsistancy of the refereeing decisions has spoiled the spectacle and the edge of our seat feeling that always arises when we a watching the WB v AB. Even a one eyed kiwi should be able to appreciate that. (Oh, that’s right they, give up, go home and sulk when their team looses to the better team on the day.)

    So – any suggestions on how the ref’s can improve their game? Perhaps those inclined analyists out there should do some video analysis of the referee’s and show us all where they got it right as well as where the errors have been.

    One of my thoughts would be to formalise the co-ordination of the field ref and the assistant ref’s responsibilities – i.e. assistant ref’s responsible for offside decisions at the breakdown leaving the field ref to concentrate on what is happening in the breakdown. Even ref’s don’t have eye’s in the back of their head. Then perhaps the TMO could also become more involved and if he see’s blatent infringements then he can make the call as well. We do need to be careful thought that we don’t end up in the situation of one official overriding the call of another official.

  • Dally M

    I think you hit the nail on the head suckerforred.

    Someone needs to be compiling a package of referee mistakes, offences missed etc. & sending it to the IRB after every test match.

    The only problem is, Paddy doesn’t really care & the IRB isn’t really bothered either. Plus, it’s not like in the NRL here where you can get all the ref’s together & go over the stuff they are missing or should be policing better & that seems to be a bigger issue – consistency.

    From one ref to the next, you don’t know where you stand. What was ok last week, is suddenly a penalty this week because the ref is a stickler for that particular rule. An example was Kaplan’s treatment of the offside rule in the Christchurch match. He called advantage to the WB’s for the AB’s offside as they charged Giteau while in goal trying to clear, then after Gits potted a poor kick he said ‘no effect’ and it was play on. It clearly should have been a penalty & probably would have been under another ref.

    Also, how come the AB’s got Irish ref’s for their matches against the Boks, yet we got Saffa’s for our games & now the games over in the republic are Northern Hemisphere ones again. Where are the Kiwi & Aussie refs?

    • suckerforred

      Kiwi & Aussie ref’s viewed as bias perhaps? I am not saying they are, just that that is perhaps the view….. I did think that one of the Aussies was running around in 3N, but happy to stand corrected.

      And as for getting all the refs in one place – we don’t need to. Technology is a wonderful thing and it could be done as a teleconference on the net. (Assuming ofcourse that the ref’s don’t live where I do and actually have a reliable connection. Just couldn’t resist a dig at Telstra.)

      Something does need to be done however to get all game officals on the same page. Preferably the Rugby page.

    • Drew B

      I’ve a feeling you don’t actually know what you are talking about here Dally M. At every international game, the ref will be being assessed by his ref coach, effectively “compiling a package of referee mistakes, offences missed etc”.

      “Paddy doesn’t really care & the IRB isn’t really bothered either”. Paddy is part of the IRB, so I’m not sure what your point is. And anyway, do you have anything other that cercumstancial evidence for this?

      Consistancy – yep, this is a good point. Refs want to be consistant with each other too. But due to the complexity and pace of the game, it highlights different strengths of the indiviuals. Your example only has merit if Kaplan still believes he was correct after seeing the replay – I’d suspect he’d view his decision as a mistake also.

      • suckerforred

        So, Drew B, how would you propose improving the consistancy and standard of the refereeing?

        What the IRB is doing does not seem to be working on the face of it….

  • Derano

    Wasn’t it Bob Dwyer that wanted to ban the haka?. Good to see you’re well Bob and keep up the niggle. Australia will become better as more and more kiwis get in the side. Willie Ripia might be able to replace Quade when he goes to league.

  • Melsees

    C’mon guys! stop gripin’ about the refs. I am sure Kurt B was not worried about it when he was scooting away for his scintillating try. Maybe Elsey should start studyin video tapes of game refs and chat up the ref like McAw-ful does. No wonder the refs ca’nt yellow card him, ten minutes into the game THEIR PALS!

  • kiwidutchie

    The graph of Penalties awarded per yellow card is mischievous at best and dishonest at worst.

    yes the number of penalties and the number of yellow cards are a matter of record but mean nothing on further analysis.

    Of those yellows, only 1 has been awarded for persistant infringing, to Drew Mitchell for slowing the play down after a team warning not to do so. Botha was for a professional foul. Franks, Cooper, de Villiers, Mitchell (1st), Rossouw were all carded for dangerous play.

    • mike

      What were most of the kiwi penalties for? Persistent infrnging – but no yellows! Thats the whole point! In fact the kiwis were most ill disciplined (play wise) of the lot of them, with teh most penalties averaged over all the games but never got properly penalised for it.

  • beeza

    The only effective and consistant way to stop players from sealing off the ball is to bring back rucking. I agree that the refing has been rubbish but they seem to have a hell of a lot to watch now days, more power to the players on the field to sort it out. I seem to remember even Steve Hansen suggested this.

  • mike

    The AB tactics of obstruction running is very cleverly worked out as being on teh periphery of where teh ref and teh libnesmen are looking. The ref is focussed on the tackle areas and hwo has hands on ball, and who is off tehri feet – he is not looking at a range of 2 metres radius from teh tackle. The linesmen are looking down the line for offside, and are not focussed at teh ruck itself. So the AB’s escape detection time and time again.

    But when you see it on replay, looking for it, it is so blatant it is ridiculous. You can almost forgive the Saffas for believeing that it must be purposefully being overlooked by the ref. And then Paddy O Brien comes out and says that that Irish ref did a starling job – maybe in teh traditional sense.

    Having said that, these tactics stick in a my throat as being like a boxer training to hit below teh belt when the ref is not looking. Surely you expect an opposing sport team to actually TRY to play according to the rules? This is not very sporting at all – for a team that claims to keep the lofty standards of rugby sacred. Very disappointing.

    Sure the Boks have a couple of thugs and a few cheap shots – most teams do at some stage or another. But intimidation is a means of getting on top of a team mentally. It could even be construed as being part of the game (albeit not a nice one, and a bit of a historical relic). But this takes cheating to new levels….

  • mike

    Lets just make ths clear – the obstructive running by teh AB’s on defence as well as a ttack, had a MASSIVE difference to teh games. It resulted in them getting quick ball on attack, leaving holes difficult to fill on defence by their opposeing teams. Their obstructive running on defnce also slowed their opponents ball down tremendously, and often resulted in turnovers, because no cleaners could get to the rucks in time.This stifled any attacks against them.The fact that teh refs were not picking it up (delibeerately or otherwise) meant that it was like the Boks or WB’s playing the AB’s with one hand behind their back. HUGE effect.

    After that video came out, and the fuss was made by Bob Dwyer after teh first WB test, the AB’s toned it down a bit, and only ever ran obstruction a coupele of times on defence and in their red zone. Frankly, the score of 20-10 seemed about right (they have goood players, and a lot more experience than the WB’s) – at least much more reflective of the approximate relative strengths of the teams.

    I dont expect the AB’s to use this technique again this 3N, and I expect them to lose to the Boks this saturday (because, frankly, the Boks have better players and more experience when allowed to play legally). The AB’s will only use this technique again when really required. Keeping an ace up their sleev so to speak. For special occasions like the RWC. This must be planned for now.

    • Jay

      It’s funny you mention that Mike – Here’s that All Blacks at the Breakdown video again

      Hey, what’s John Smit doing at 2:12? Looks suspicously like he’s pulling Owen Franks back to prevent him from supporting the tackled player.

      And hey, what’s with that sideways step he takes at 2:27? Surely he couldn’t be trying to put himself between the tackled player and the All Blacks arriving at the tackle area? But that would be obstructive running? And we all know it’s only the AB’s that do that.

      But then again, both of those are on defence and the Boks were on the rack a bit. Can forgive some indiscretions. I imagine this weekend they’ll be back to their best form, just like last year. Cause last year they really showed the AB’s how to play and didn’t have to resort to any sort of obstruction ahead of the ball, right?

      Oh wait – here’s the highlights from their win in Hamilton last year.

      Hey, what’s happening to Brad Thorn at 2:35? He isn’t bound to the ruck, yet a Springbok seems to be grabbing hold of him.

      And what’s Bismark doing to Mils Muliaina at 3:13? And to Tony Woodcock at 3:19? Looks suspiciously like he’s clearing a path that allows for the initial break and the drive for the try.

      But of course, it’s only the AB’s that do that, so it must be something else.

  • JD

    Woodcock’s non-citing is only incomprehensible to the thick.

    In order to be cited after the game the transgression has to have merited a red card. This is known as the ‘red card test’. So all those who argue he should have got a yellow card, and I agree that he probably should have, are thereby arguing against his being cited after the game. To spell it out, since his penalty was worth a yellow card it cannot have been worth a red card and therefore cannot have been cited.

  • Bob Dwyer

    JD. Your assertion is clearly unfounded. If it were true, then no citings could be dismissed – and they are dismissed, frequently. Two such citings were not upheld in one recent Tri-Nations match. ALL foul play can be cited, if the citing commissioner believes that the incident deserves more attention (and inspection) than the referee deemed appropriate at first sight.

  • JD

    It isn’t unfounded Bob. There is, of course, a question of interpretation and judgement. Specifically, in the judgement of the citing commissioner does a given incident merit consideration as a ‘red card’ offence. The judiciary then investigate that possibility and rule on it. If they determine that it was not a red card offence, they dismiss, which happens as you say.

    The point is that anyone who says Woodcock deserved a yellow is saying he didn’t deserve a red, or presumably they would have called for a red. And a red is the standard for consideration for citing. To argue for a yellow is to argue against a red and thefore to argue against citing.

    A ref might, of course, issue a yellow ,and the citing commissioner might on later viewing deem the incident to have been worthy of consideration as a red. But that is a different matter.

    • Batmann

      How then, was Giteau cited for his comments about Steve Walsh after the Brumbies v Tahs game?

      • JD

        Batmann, if that’s a serious question I suggest you go away and think about the difference between an offence committed in the course of a game and a breach of the code of conduct committed after the a game. It’s subtle I know, but I think you can get there.

        If it’s not a serious question…

        • Batmann

          It’s the same process, the same judiciary & proves that any player can be cited & asked to front the judiciary for any number of offences.

          It does not have to be a red card offence.

          On top of that, teams have the right to refer a matter if they feel their players have been subjected to foul play during a match.

          You are probably thinking of the way the citing process used to be, but it has changed over the last few years.

    • JD

      It’s the same process? That’s like saying suspending and fining for doping or fielding unregistered players is part of the same process. It’s true but utterly irrelevant to citing for in-game behaviour.

      And as for the red card test being out of date, I suggest you look at regulation 17.6.2.(a):

      17.6.2 When a Citing Commissioner is appointed, the following policy shall
      (a) Citing Commissioners shall be entitled to cite a player for any act or
      acts of Illegal and/or Foul Play which in the opinion of the Citing
      Commissioner warranted the Player concerned being Ordered Off;

      And to see the definition of being Order Off look at 17.5.1

      17.5.1 A Player is Ordered Off when he is sent off the playing enclosure
      permanently by the referee and can take no further part in the Match in
      which he was Ordered Off.

      That’s a red card and is distinct from a yellow card, which is defined in 17.5.2:

      17.5.2 A Player is Temporarily Suspended when he is cautioned in a Match by
      the referee and temporarily sent off the playing enclosure by the referee
      for a period of ten minutes playing time which is spent in the so-called sin

      So the Citing Commissioner cites based on whether he thinks the player should have been Ordered Off, which means recieved a red card.

      He cannot cite if he thinks the player should have been Temporarily Suspended, which means yellow card.

      The key here is what the Citing Commissioner thinks and not what the ref adjudicated during the match. If the ref gave a yellow card the Citing Commissioner can still regard the incident as having been worthy of a red, and then he can cite.

      Breaches of codes of conduct or other misdemeanours are irrelevant in this context.

    • Garry

      Question. Is there any difference between what Woodcunt did, tackling a player off the ball, and say, tripping a player? We get in a hullabaloo about tripping, which is considered cowardly, but what about the cowardly act the he performed, tackling a player on his knees, from behind, clearly off the ball?

      red card surely? not a yellow Paddy (NZ radio). Shame on you, step down if you have any integrity.

  • Bob Dwyer

    Anything on 17.6.2 (b), or (c), etc.?
    Some citings have resulted in the players being cleared, so it clearly does not require “certainty” on the part of the commissioner, perhaps only, “worth another look and a chat!”

  • JD

    Bob 17.6.2. (b) and (c) are clarifications that the Citing Commissioner can rule on events that were otherwise punished in game, except where that punishment was a red card. In such instances the red card means the perpetrator already has a date with the judiciary.

    And I don’t think I mentioned certainty – I may be wrong there. The Commissioner makes a judgement and that judgement is then explored further by the judiciary, who either uphold it in some kind of sanction or dismiss it.

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  • WillieJohn

    Rather specious stats. It completely ignores what the penalties are for and where on the pitch they occur. Those are two key factors in deciding whether a yellow card follows a penalty award. Without that information, those stats are meaningless.

  • Dion

    The all blacks do cheat. They are 99% offside when defending. I am a new zealander who now lives in Oz, i refuse to support the ABs until they play fair. I hope they lose at the upcoming world cup, i really do. They do not deserve the trophy with the way they are playing currently. They are cheating.

  • Mike Nemesis

    Get over it. Dion, i am glad you live in Oz, stay there.

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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