Monday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News sees the results from the weekend, the Rebels Super W squad finally announced, the latest from the Waratahs, and some brutally savage irony.

In case you missed it…

Jake Gordon is all smiles.

Jake Gordon is all smiles.

Super Rugby is finally back, and it was a refreshingly happy weekend of rugby for Aussie fans (except if you’re from Queensland).

The Waratahs and the Brumbies grabbed gritty wins against the Stormers and Sunwolves respectively, and the Rebels showed a whole lot of class in dispatching an ill-disciplined Reds outfit down at AAMI Park.

Here’s a fact for you: the last time Aussie teams won two matches against opposition in one round was back in round 14 of 2016, when the Waratahs defeated the Chiefs 45-25 and the Brumbies demolished the Sunwolves by a record margin, 66-5.

That was also the last time that an Aussie team beat a Kiwi Super Rugby side. We actually start against the Kiwi sides quite late this season, with the first Trans-Tasman match between the Rebels and the Hurricanes kicking off in Round 7.

But hey, at least we’re off a better start than where we were twelve months ago.

It was actually a pretty disappointing round for the Kiwis. While the South Island teams in the Crusaders and the Highlanders got up pretty convincingly over their northern rivals, the Hurricanes got their season off with a surprise loss to the Bulls, who look to be a different beast after last years lacklustre performance.

In other matches, the Lions continued their dominance with a win over fellow big cat team the Jaguares, with the Sharks having the bye.

The other big rugby results this weekend came from the Six Nations.

France snapped an eight match losing streak with a 34-17 win over Italy in Marseilles. It is the first win for their new coach Jacques Brunel, the former coach of the Azzuri. It was a much needed morale boost for French rugby, which they will hopefully build on when they face England next week in Paris. Italy will head to Cardiff to face Wales.

Speaking of Wales, they had an absolute banger of a match against Ireland in Dublin, with the final result not decided until Jacob Stockdale intercepting a Welsh pass to wrap the game up for the home side in the final minute. Ireland prevailed 37-27, but this match will serve as a much-needed wake up call as they face the two toughest teams in the competition in the last two weeks, starting with Scotland at home.

The Ireland-Wales match was a solid contender for match of the round, but the Scotland-England match proved to be just as intense. With this performance, Scotland proved that they are no longer a pushover team, especially at home. With the Murrayfield faithful behind them, they ended a ten year losing streak to their southern rivals, running out 25-13 victors to win back the Calcutta Cup.

England will need a big win against France to keep their Six Nations aspirations alive, while Scotland could take the lead with a surprise victory over Ireland next week.

Super W Squads, Part 3…

Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea puts on a big hit in the Womens Final

Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea puts on a big hit in the Womens Final

Finally, we have the last Super W squad. And what a squad it is!

Melbourne Rebels coach Alana Thomas announced a 30 player squad over the weekend, with Aussie veteran Ashley Masters and Samoan international Sharlene Fagalilo spearheading a young Melbourne squad.

The Melbourne Womens team had a tough time of it at the Sevens, coming away winless. However, Thomas believes that the team can turn it around and really take the fight up to NSW, ACT, Queensland and WA.

“It’s a really good and exciting mix of girls, who I think will grow and develop over the course of the season and hopefully flow into the seasons to come,” Thomas said to the Rebels. 

“We’ve got some really experienced girls with Sharlene (Fagalilo) and Ashley (Masters), who have played international rugby before and then you mix in there an 18-year-old girl in Janita (Kareta), who’s played 7s rugby for the first time last year and is a pure athlete.

“I really want to see them get out there for that first game and have a crack.”

“There’s going to be a lot of people watching women’s rugby that are going to be intruiged and appreciate the skills,” she added.

“It’s not like the men, our players don’t have the same tactical kicking strength so they play more running rugby.

“It’s a lot more entertaining brand of rugby to watch.”

Considering how great the AON Uni Sevens was to watch last year, along with the Brisbane Tens, there are high hopes that the Super W can really turn on the goods and give fans a real taste of the future of Aussie Women’s Rugby.

“We had over 50 players training over the trial period so it was definitely hard to get down to the 30 players for the final squad but it was a nice selection headache to have,” Thomas said.

“They’re excited about it, they’re working hard and really embracing it all so I’m excited to see how the 30 players that we’ve picked go in the competition.

“It’s all going to be about that journey we go through over the course of the season and giving them the opportunity to play.”

Check out the Rebels squad here. 

The Super W competition will kick off next month.

Gamblin’ Gibson

Photo courtesy of Keith McInnes

Photo courtesy of Keith McInnes

It was a good weekend for Waratahs fans, to finally start the season on a high note with a gutsy performance.

It’s a long way to go to win back many disgruntled fans, but the Tahs will go a long way to achieving that if they have a successful South American/African tour. But Daryl Gibson looks to be taking a gamble by taking on several rookie players on tour, as opposed to Wallaby Sekope Kepu. 

Kepu has to miss the next match away in South Africa due to being suspended for a shoulder charge in the Scotland match last year, however Gibson has told Kepu to work on his fitness for the round 4 match against the Rebels, meaning he’ll miss the round three match against the Jaguares.

It will be a tough assignment for a Tahs pack to go up against some of the strongest scrums in Super Rugby, even more so considering that Stormers tried to target the Tahs scrum on Saturday night. But Gibson thinks his men are up to the task.

“We made a decision we’re going to leave him [Kepu] behind, let him work on his fitness. We believe he’s still not going to be physically able to really be effective,” said Gibson to 

“We’d prefer to leave him at home, so he’s ready for that Rebels game.

“We know we had our troubles [against the Stormers], but we’re going to back the guys who are in there and look at the drawing board and look how we can compete.

“We’ve got the guys who can back it up and do it and I’ve seen that at training.

“The Stormers are so strong, they’re squatting us, a couple of those guys are so big in that front row.

“We got a bit of false security there getting forward a bit and they’re go back and bring it forward and caught us off guard a bit there, so it’s a good little roll in for what we’ll probably see next week.”

The Tahs front pack will also be without Rob Simmons, who suffered a quad injury on Saturday night. Youngster Lachie Swinton will replace Simmons, and Simon Cron is hopeful the youngster can step up.

“Lachie has the flexibility to cover both lock and loose forward and with Ned likely to play in the second row, Lachie was our best choice replacement.”

The Tahs 27-man squad flew out on Sunday to South Africa. You can check out their squad here.  

Oh the irony…


Many rugby fans in the last few days have started to receive emails from Rugby Australia, advertising the Wallabies upcoming test series against Ireland. It’s a great opportunity to encourage people to go to games, to show youngsters cheering on their heroes. You know, stuff that makes you feel positive about rugby.

There’s no way in hell that RA could stuff this up, right?

Well, the governing administration is in hot water (yet again) for picking 11-year-old Sam Harding as the poster child for the upcoming series. So why was picking Sam a bad decision?

Well, because Sam doesn’t have a Super Rugby team anymore. He’s a die-hard Western Force supporter.

Sam’s father Steve made an official complaint to RA after the email went out, saying that it was pretty poor taste for them to choose a WA kid to sell tickets after the Force removal caused so much anger, on top of the fact that the Ireland Series that won’t even go to Perth.

“It’s typical of the ARU’s maladministration that they would use Sam’s image,” Mr Harding said to The Australian. 

“As a kid in WA, Sam doesn’t have the opportunity to see live rugby. The Force have been scrapped and the Wallabies aren’t even coming here for this series.”

Sam himself found the whole debacle to be quite upsetting, as it reminded him of when the Force were cut.

“Rugby used to be my absolute favourite sport and I went to every Force game,” he said.

“But now cricket, soccer and (Australian rules) football have gone up in the rankings.”

An RA spokesperson commented yesterday that RA had contacted the Harding family to apologise.

“We have attempted to reach the family of the young Wallabies fan to apologise for any upset caused by his image appearing in the email,” the spokesperson said.

Head up mate. Hopefully Sam can be inspired again when the Force eventually do return to the field in June this year.



  • wilful

    I don’t understand how or why a kid’s image could be used in marketing without his parents full consent.

    • Consent may have been given to use his image at some point in the past (when the Force existed).

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      For example, when you sign up to tennis coaching it says in the waiver that you consent to giving the right for your child’s photo to be used.

      Regardless of how any feels about it, that’s in the contract.

  • To read this felt ridiculously good: “The Waratahs and the Brumbies grabbed gritty wins against the Stormers and Sunwolves respectively, and the Rebels showed a whole lot of class in dispatching an ill-disciplined Reds outfit down at AAMI Park.”

    When we play NZ teams in Round 7, it’s either going to be a horrific wake-up, or some cohesion and wins for Aussie SR teams in previous rounds may at least give them the confidence to be competitive.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      The only thing that can be said is at least it gives us enough time to find some form AND it is very possible that there will be injuries to key New Zealand players by then. Having Pocock and Valetini back is no small thing…

      • Bakkies

        The Brumbies handling was atrocious and the ball carrying too high in to contact.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Damned if RA do, damned if RA don’t in this situation. You use a Force fan to promote it and people get angry, you don’t use a Force fan and other people claim RA is ignoring Western Australia again.

    There’s really no right answer here.

    • Pedro

      West Australians get at least a couple of years grace when it comes to whinging about anything rugby related. The RA will have to get used to it.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I don’t necessarily disagree, as I’d feel the same as the West Australians if the Brumbies were cut (I know how worried I was during that short period when it sounded like we were on the chopping block – so I empathise with how they must feel).

        That said, I empathise with the ARU too on the engagement with WA issue. Engage with WA and get told to get stuffed. Don’t engage with WA and get told they’re once again screwing WA.

        It’s a lose-lose situation.

        • Pedro

          Yep but that’s the bed they made.

          They can only find solace in the fact that while there’s anger there’s still passion.

        • Moz

          You also have to look at how the ARU treated the kids last time there was a test in Perth. They had picked a whole lot of youngsters to run out with the players at the start of the game. The kids all assembled, and then were told by some ARU officials that the decision had been changed, and that no kids were to run out with the players – a complete departure from every other test in Oz last year. So yeah, a bit too soon to try a hopeless suck-up, especially without asking the family if they agreed to using the photo – lets use your photo to promote a test series you dont even get the chance to see live!

        • Brumby Runner

          And just who is the architect of that situation?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          It depends on whether you believe that Australia could sustain 5 teams financially and in terms of results.

          If the answer is ‘yes’ then the ARU board last year is responsible.

          If the answer is ‘no’ then the fault becomes that of JONs ARU for prematurely creating the Western Force.

          There were ironclad agreements that meant that no one but the Force could be cut. So if the latter then the ARU took the only option available to them. If the former then it is obviously very different.

        • Bakkies

          Daryl this is the same organisation that said that they will hand back the IP to Rugby WA yet haven’t done so by putting a price on it or submitting a handover to IP Australia. The RA also have shysters like Anthony French involved with the IPRC negotiations. French was the clown that submitted the nonsense in a review about the Force and Brumbies being close to being insolvent to a board meeting in August 2016 to justify axing a side.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I had thought they gave the Force IP back? That’s really sad to hear.

        • Bakkies

          That’s what we all thought they would be doing.

          Twiggy has registered Rugby Roos (his Aus Kick style program for under age development) and Perth Force under Minderoo.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I think you are right mate

  • Richard Patterson

    As someone who subscribes to the belief that you do not let referees dictate the outcome of a contest, nothing about this post makes me feel especially comfortable. However, I was very alarmed by some incidents that I saw on this opening weekend of Super Rugby that I fear need to be addressed — or properly dealt with by SANZAAR / World Rugby to avoid this season getting out of control early.

    Each of them refers to rulings over supposed foul play which in 3 of the 4 cases directly impacted both the spectacle for viewing fans and heavily influenced the outcome of the game. The 3 incidents I refer to are:
    1. A yellow card for a marginal high tackle at a crucial late stage in the Highlanders vs Blues game.
    2. A red card in the 9th minute of the Rebels vs Reds game for a high tackle.
    3. A yellow card (and penalty try) in the Crusaders vs Chiefs game

    The 4th incident was a tip tackle in the same Rebels vs reds game that resulted in only a yellow card.

    On each occasion, to the absolute letter of the law, when displayed in ultra slow motion, the decisions by the officiating crews were technically correct. Each though meant these officiating crews (or in these cases a referee and a TMO) had as greater influence on the outcome of the game as the 46 players involved. Is that really what we want this sport to look like?

    How many others spent this weekend holding their breath, waiting for a whistle to blow, or a game be stopped while a TMO was bringing an isolated incident to the attention of a referee? How many upon viewing the incident in question then questioned if there was intent by the player to make contact with the head — or was the player actually falling and therefore the tackler was simply inaccurate in his contact point?

    What really disturbs me is this disclaimer that referees serve up which is “you made contact with the head, therefore you have given me no alternative but….”

    In my opinion SANZAAR and World Rugby need to rein this in really quickly. Otherwise, there should be a microphone and TV camera placed in front of the referee so he can also announce to the paying spectators and those watching on TV “I have been left with no alternative but ruin this game as a spectacle for all you people who have paid your money to attend, or paid your subscription to tune in”.

    In the case of the Chiefs player trying to stop a player scoring a try are we soon to see the farcical situation where the player does not even attempt to stop the falling player scoring a try and in defence claims “I thought it was better to let him score in the corner and risk it only being 5 points, then to attempt a tackle – slide up to make contact with the head and then have a 7 point penalty try and me in the sin bin for 10 minutes”. Is that what World Rugby want here? Are we to see a player in possession orchestrate a dive head first at the arms of a defender and then claim a blow to the head as means for a red card and reduction to 14 players for the opposition? What is stopping either scenario playing out?

    How about the referee when responding to an incident bought to his attention by a TMO says “Thanks for pointing that out, but I am on the ground and have the feel for this game. I saw nothing intentional with the incident and so let’s get on with what is an excellent game of rugby.” Why can’t that happen – especially when there has been no injury to any player?

    I get that player welfare is important. That is not in dispute! I also get that shots to the head need to managed. That also is not in dispute. However, this is a contact sport and things happen — on many cases completely unintentionallly. Yep there is a VERY clear responsibility for players to be accurate in their execution (Scott Higginbothom) but if referees are taking this “there is zero room for negotiation approach” then we are facing plenty of very good games getting ruined by referee rulings. Not sure how others feel about that — but that has ZERO appeal to me.

    The whole situation was made farcical in Melbourne of Friday night when after red carding Higginbothom in the 9th minute the referee only ruled a yellow card for a far more dangerous tip tackle not long afterwards. Would the referee have ruled Red Card if he had not already banished one Reds player? Of course! Was he conscious that this whole game could become a bigger farce inside 20 minutes of action if 2 players had been sent off? Yes. But who is most at fault — the people setting the rules or the people adjudicating the rules? Right now the whole thing feels a gigantic, poorly thought through mess.

    I hope I am wrong and I hope Week 1 was just opening week teething problems. I’m not sure they were and I fear plenty more games this season are set to be ruined because people not playing the game feel obliged to do just that. Ruin it!

    • Braveheart81

      I think the penalty try in the Crusaders vs Chiefs game was correct. The attacking player was about to score a try and for all intents and purposes had beaten the defender. Just because the defender’s only option to try and make a tackle was to attack the head of the player doesn’t mean he should be allowed to do it.

      If the attacking player was a few metres out the defender would try and take his legs and put him into touch instead. The only reason he goes so high is that the attacker is effectively already over the try line and diving to put the ball down.

      • Richard Patterson

        You may be right. The frustrating thing for me with this incident was his 1st contact was at the chest — but it slid up to the head. Is this now the precedent for the rest of the season? I sure hope not otherwise we are going to see a whole lot of needless cards.

        • Braveheart81

          There’s no way he makes that contact without sliding up into the players head.

          That player scores every day of the week unless the defender attacks his head.

          If the attacking team isn’t rewarded with a try in a certain try scoring situation there and only gets a penalty then that says that the defender should do that every time.

          I think the potential change to the laws should be to remove the automatic yellow card when a penalty try is awarded. In that situation a penalty try with no yellow card would have been a better result.

        • Brumby Runner

          I agree BH, the ref should have the discretion to YC a player or not, given the particular circumstances.

          In answer to RP’s question, I am almost certain that the high tackle law was altgered last year to ignore the initial point of contact, so that if the tackle contacts the head, even after initially contactin g the body, the high tackle law and sanction come into play.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          correct mate. It’s actually quite hard to adjudicate on during the game, but essentially if the head is hit then the red comes out.

        • Huw Tindall

          How do you differentiate between a penalty vs yellow vs red for a high tackle then? It seems first contact with the head = auto red. Is a ‘sliding up’ high tackle an auto yellow? Can I just get a penalty?

          I think there is a problem here is it removes intent from the equation making it a strict liability offence. The problem with this is the resulting sanction can’t differentiate between malicious/intentional contact with the head versus essentially an accident without out any malicious intent or reckless i.e just bad luck.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          The trouble is mate the word intent is not part of the ruling so it’s not on the cards for the referee. Maybe it should be, but it makes a subjective incident even more subjective so there’ll be even more differences between referees and even during a game.

        • Bakkies

          Richard the dangerous tackle law doesn’t take that in to consideration.

      • Nicholas

        Not sure sure about the defender being beaten, he was bundled into touch by the head high, if the defender had managed to get his arm under wouldn’t the attacking player still have been forced into touch? Hard to say I know, I agreed with the yellow going by the law, didn’t agree with the p. try

        • Braveheart81

          From where the attacker and defender were I think it’s almost impossible for the defender to stop him with a legal tackle. If not for the foul play it was a certain try so it has to be a penalty try (and under the laws, also a yellow card).

          I don’t think the attacker gets bundled into touch or stopped from grounding the ball if the defender attempts a legal tackle. The only way he could really stop his momentum was by trying to rip his head off.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Richard, you used my mantra of take the game out of the referee’s hands. my points on your well written missive.
      – Higgers tackle deserved a card. Probably a yellow, but for the last 1-2 years any contact to the head has been a card, it is just the severity of it that is up for argument. Higgers got it wrong, the umpire probably did too. But players have to adjust their technique, because rightly or wrongly they are going to get pinned for it, so take it out of the referumps hands!
      – The tip tackle was definitely a red, but I think you are completely right, that the referump knew that he had already issued a red, to issue another one would turn the rout into a complete farce, so he didnt knowing the judiciary would pick it up in the back end.
      – The Highlanders v Blues game tackle was marginal, but back to my previous point, World Rugby is coming down hard on this, players, coaches and match officals know it. So adjust your technique. If an accident happens then be prepared to ware the consequences.
      You are right that it is ruining the spectacle that is the beautiful game of rugby. But after the NFL experiences with cioncussions and brain injuries and the impending legal suits that will go close to bankrupting the NFL, you have to think WR isnt in as strong a financial position, so anything they can do now to protect the game will be better for its longevity.
      The thing for me is I would have been crapping myself if I were Higgers having to go in and face Thorn! total brown undies stage5.

      • Braveheart81

        Higginbotham has been suspended for three weeks. The referee got it right.

        Tui will almost certainly also get suspended. The referee got that one wrong and should have sent him off.

        The onus has to be on the players to fix their technique.

        • Happyman

          For mine that is very harsh and at this stage of the season they are setting themselves up for a fall. effectively four with 70 minutes of game time missed. watch this space for the rest of the suspensions.

          No injury or even concussion protocol for the tackled player.

          Consistency will be a massive issue.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I agree the onus is on the players and the coaching staff to get the techniques right.
          I am of the view that Tui’s offence was worse than Higgers. But we could certainly see the time for quiet reflection coming a mile away!

        • Gareth

          3 weeks and 71 minutes for something that was careless with no injury, that’s too harsh.

        • Bakkies

          Gareth the reduced the suspension due to his previous good record whatever that is as he has been banned for a total of five weeks at least. Very lucky man.

      • Richard Patterson

        Great points as always BL.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Mate dont tell anyone. Last year the lynching mob were after me!

        • Richard Patterson

          Mate the BL Rants are always a “Must Read”

        • Brisneyland Local

          Thanks mate!

        • Kiwi rugby lover


      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate I don’t often disagree but I do in this case.
        Higgers tackle it was red all the way. This whole issue has been out there for a few years now and there is no excuse for a player to go high, leading with his shoulder, and accidently hit the head. It was a dumb tackle by someone who should know better.
        I also doubt very much the referee thought “I’ve given one red, I can’t give another or the game will be ruined” I think it was a yellow because it looked as though the supporting player contributed to the tipping motion.
        My biggest issue though , and I mentioned it below, is why do people say it’s the referee’s fault. I just can’t get my head around that one.

        • Nicholas

          The yellow was given because Willy G came down on his shoulder first then onto his head. If it was head making contact with the ground first it would have been a red. ( The shoulder contact was marginal at best)

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          You may be right on that. I thought the supporter also played a role in it going over so maybe both reasons had something to do with it. I’m not saying I totally agree with the ruling on head contact as I think a lot of it is actually unintentional and some the tackled players fault, however the ruling is pretty clear and has been for some time and Higgers definitely contacted the head so I don’t really see any other choice from the referee.

        • idiot savant

          So all accidental contact with the head should be a red card?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          That’s what World Rugby have stated. As I mentioned I think it’s harsh but maybe it needs to go that way for a while to get players thinking. I always asked why is it that all the “instinctive reactions” to a player going past where an arm is just pushed out are head high? That just shows poor technique and a lack of thought. You rarely get that now at the top level because all through the grades it is smashed. I think that will happen here too and players will change and hit lower which will reduce the contact with the head and keep them on the field.

        • idiot savant

          It will be interesting to see what kind of suspension Underhill gets from the Scotland England game. If the no arms rule is applied to all rucks it might be the end of the cleanout. I agree that putting an arm out or jumping into a tackle like Cooper does is just stupid and deserves red cards, but accidental head contacts are going to happen in the game and close matches may well be decided by accidents (or players learning to duck into tackles and milk penalties which was an endemic problem in the AFL for a long time). Protect the head by all means but really shouldn’t we all, refs included, show some common sense?

        • Brisneyland Local

          KRL, as always I will defer to your better knwoledge and judgement than mine. It was definitely a dumb tackle from someone who knew or should know better. The tip tackle in proper speed looked worse, but I think he will also have a quiet period of reflection to gether his thoughts and improve his technique.
          One thing is for sure I wouldnt blame the referump for this one. The players and the coach have to own this one!

    • Happyman

      Well said Richard echo’s my thoughts exactly. The statistics on games being affected by yellow cards and TMO decisions must be very high at the moment. We all want a game where the referee has no influence on the outcome and all of the Referees I know feel the same. For mine the most influential person at the game at the moment is the TMO if he is over officious he has the capacity to ruin the game completely.

      Any contact sport is a dynamic game and that needs to be taken into account. No one want shoulder charges, coat hangers or spear tackles but a misplaced clear out or last ditch tackle on a guy diving for the corners is not a yellow card offence.

      For mine the TMO is the real issue. I like the NFL where the ref makes an infield decision and only certain things can be taken up by the TMO and only if the evidence is compelling is the decision changed. you cannot make an imperfect game perfect. If you could every game would finish nil all with no penalties conceded, no missed tackles and no dropped ball.

      • Richard Patterson

        Great points. I agree with your thoughts on the TMO. He sits in a booth somewhere and has the same “feel” for the match as you and I watching it on TV. The referee needs to take into account the mood of the contest and how to officiate it. When the game gets chippy and ill-disciplined he needs to clamp down on it and cards often achieve that. When guys are just playing intensely with no malice — why have some official ruin it by pointing out an isolated incident and change the course of the contest. None of us sign up for that!! God forbid if officials in the NFL threw a flag for every holding call, the game would never have any flow. Rugby must adopt the same approach otherwise the marginal sports fan will never shift from the AFL or NRL.

    • McWarren

      Spot on Richard.

      My very rudimentary thought are, if a player is hurt from foul play then the TMO should review. If no injury then post game review to cite or not.

      And rather then reduce the onfield 15 we reduce the bench options of backs or forwards depending on the position of the offending player.

      • Richard Patterson

        What a great idea McWarren!!

      • Moz

        I think the problem with injury/no injury criteria, is you could start to get a soccer type reaction, with players faking an injury.

        • McWarren

          Cite the over actors as well

      • McWarren

        And I’ll add that if by the actions of foul play an opposing player has to leave the field and it is deemed a red card offence then the offending team loses a player from the bench corresponding to the injured player, and the player who committed the offence leaves the field, replaced by whoever.

        It might mean though that the Reds name me on the bench as the sacrificial lamb for the gauranteed red card. Would it count as a cap?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          definitely a cap mate.
          If you got that far though why not lose the same number as the injured player rather than a bench player? I mean if a 10 goes out injured from a foul play by a 6, why doesn’t the team lose a 10? otherwise the offending team has their No1 10 staying on but the other team, who did nothing lose thiers.

        • McWarren

          Yep good points. My main goal is to ensure 15 players on the pitch, barring yellow cards time outs I guess. There will always be issues no matter who you replace. If big bad Ned took out Keiran Read, stop laughing he’s packed on grams in the off season, and we had to swap out McCalman for Dempsey, I’d wager the ABs are still worse off. My idea isn’t perfect but if we want to watch a game of 15 on 15 each week something out of the ordinary needs to be done.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate, I think that has merit but I’m sure that if that was the case some coaches would be getting some hitmen in to cause a few hurts or could plays knowing that they wouldn’t get sent off. I mean if I can think of that then as sure as hell others would be. Personally I think the rules are pretty clear and players need to adjust their techniques to abide by the rules. There is still a place for some hard tackles so it’s not getting soft, it’s just protecting the tackled players.

        • McWarren

          You’ll need a lot of hit men over the course of a season. Suspensions add up and bad behaviour rewarded with longer suspensions. Make suspensions count, there are only so many players in a squad. If a systemic habit of abuse continues you fine the club and coaches.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      At the risk of setting myself up with a different viewpoint; I don’t understood why the blame goes on the referee. A referee only reacts to what a player does, be this a knock on, forward pass or some foul play. No one says the referee is ruining the game when he rules a scum for a knock on, so why when he rules on foul play is it his fault? The issue in all of those points is that the player made a mistake and the referee applied the rules. The blame is on the player.
      The whole tackle and high hit issue has been around for long enough for the players to adapt. If Higgers had been 6 inches lower he wouldn’t have been penalised – simple really

      • Richard Patterson

        Fair points as always KRL — spoken like a true ex. referee!! None of us want the referee though to be dictating the outcome of contests based on technicalities. Rugby does not need to go down that road.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I agree. When we’re refereeing we have to look at both the tactical and technical aspect of the rule. So what is the rule, but then how do we apply it in the context of the game. Can get us into trouble like when I let a crooked throw go because the defending team didn’t contest it and then the attacking team scored. Coach was pissed but as I said, the crooked throw didn’t affect the outcome so why stop the game for no reason.

        • idiot savant

          So what was Pickerill’s tactical considerations in sending Higgers off in the 9th minute? None whatsoever. Purely technical.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yep. That’s how they have been told to adjudicate on a head contact.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah I agree but it’s really up to the players and coaches to modify their game for that to happen.

          Also, started refereeing again so not “ex” any more

      • idiot savant

        No its not simple KRL. Pickerill looks for reasons not to give Tui a red card (when he was lifted above the horizontal and should have been red carded) because he wanted to protect his own career. He did that because he realised he’d already given a red card and would be blamed for ruining a game. I dont think he even penalised Higgers in real time. It was the TMO who brought it to his attention and if you watch it in real time its very marginal. The front on shot looks like Higgers is aiming for the chest, the rear shot doesn’t look as good. There was no camera on the other side which would have showed he clearly had his right arm wrapped around Phillip at the point of contact. So at the very least Pickerill is wrong when he says ‘I see a no arm tackle’. But Pickerill has no hesitation in saying that. He also didnt ask to see the incident in real time (which rugby league refs do) which would’ve made him react like the majority of people watching the match did – that it was a yellow at best. After watching Fraser, Williams, and Pickerill last year I am worried about the unseemly speed all these kiwis refs want to issue cards to Australian players, a trait I dont see repeated in games I see them referee between kiwi sides. Ive seen far worse hits go completely unpunished in kiwi derbys.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate I think you’re reading into this a bit much. Happy for us to disagree but I don’t believe for an instance that Pickerill was thinking of his career when making that decision.

    • Bakkies

      Not that there were many at the stadium Higginbotham and Tui ruined the spectacle not the referee.

      We don’t want to go back to the days of when stamping on heads, elbows to the face of a prone player and head butting wouldn’t get you sent off.

    • Huw Tindall

      The root of the problem here is that we removed intent from the equation without introducing a middle ground sanction. You probably know where I’m going with this one already.

      Direct contact to the head and you’re gone; regardless of intent. Surely punching someone in the face is worse than an unfortunate tackle with a player falling into contact and connecting first with a shoulder? To the letter of the law both are red cards. Sure the punch will get more suspension time from the judiciary but the game itself is often ruined as a contest.

      Solution? Keep the tough rulings but introducing something between a Yellow and Red card – the much talked about Orange card. Say, 20 minutes in the bin and the infringing player can’t return. Obviously then a sub can come on after the 20 mins restoring it to 15 a side. The player and team are punished pretty significantly but the game isn’t made completely lopsided. There is still significant disincentive here to promote player welfare and so on but it also leaves some room to keep a game more balanced. Leave red cards for the most heinous offences – intentional foul play – give the flexibility to the refs so they aren’t forced to ruin a game.

  • paul

    On a positive note, I thought this was a good article and liked what Andrew Hore was saying.
    Somebody finally advocating discussions about the future of the game that does not mean treating your fan base as some sort of mushroom in the cupboard

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      That was a good article and shows a well thought out process coming through. I feel more confident reading that than some others I’ve read.

  • John Miller

    And in other news, the supposed demise of the ruck exponent with the deployment of the new, much vaunted “breakdown laws” in both provincial and international test rugby, has turned out to be the biggest beat up since Y2K.

    Turns out, the breakdown not only remains the fiercest and most frequent contest for possession in the professional game across all levels, indeed, its indisputable importance has only been re-emphasised based on anecdotal evidence across Super Rugby and 6 Nations competitions so far. In particular, Scotland’s excellent, hard on-balling, ruck disrupting, pilfering and counter-rucking pack (spearheaded by Hamish Watson and John Barclay with broad, square shoulders supplied by Gray, Gilchrist, Wilson and Denton), out-thinking, out-manoeuvring and out-performing the much higher profile and celebrated English pack – often with their own try-line mere centimetres to their backs. In fact, even after an undoubted mid-game Eddie Jones blast, the ruck calamity was never adequately acknowledged until squat England fetcher Sam Underhill (pre-yellow card) entered the fray to attempt to even the imbalance.

    Whilst the new laws do provide for individual tacklers to retreat back through the gate before contesting possession, this is such an infrequent scenario compared to the common tackle / jackal, there is barely any noticeable difference. And the design of the “forming a ruck” law was simply to ensure last season’s Italy / England kerfuffle didn’t recur in future seasons. Meanwhile, there is no – read: ZERO – difference to the referees instructions on how adjudicate the general ruck contest and this showed very clearly across all competitions.

    Rod Macqueens recent “41 phases is too many” comments following the Ireland / France match fail to recognise that the specific passage of play was wholly to do with France’s strategic decision not to heavily contest breakdowns for fear of handing Ireland penalties – particularly given the Irish were making such little ground (save one break) for phase after boring one-off running phase. History will celebrate a last gasp Celtic win thanks to a long range Johnny Sexton field goal – but his chances of kicking this punt out of hand were far, far less likely than with a tee and all the time in the world to brace himself.

    The openside flanker is dead. Long live the openside flanker!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      absolutely. The 41 phases was always a tactical decision not as the result of the laws.

  • Adrian

    Team of the week anyone?

    ….for example
    Not sure about Slipper, just threw him in to give the Reds a jumper


Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician, second rower. Still trying to make sense of the 21st century. Dropped a debut novel last year...

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