The Tuesday Top 5 - Green and Gold Rugby
Rugby

The Tuesday Top 5

The Tuesday Top 5

Here we are, knee deep in rugby and more topics than you can poke a stick at! How good!! In this week’s edition of the Top 5 we take a quick look at the NRC, watch in awe at what the Japanese have pulled out of the bag for this World Cup, including some creative arts for those so inclined, talk refereeing and protocols, discuss the implications for playing so many games in such a short period of time and browse through the Twitter feed to bring you the best of Social Media so far.

AUSSIE RUGBY ROUND UP

Call it luck, a good team performance or unconvincing the reality is there are no points for artistic expression or a degree of difficulty. Good, bad or ugly it’s the RWC and you get the points any way you can and move on. Personally, I can’t say it was a polished or convincing performance but the job got done so on to the next one. A personal highlight of the Mst’s is the return of “that” blight on the game that can be primarily blamed on the Brumbies; the maul! However, I still am not a fan of it in its current form and watching the way the Wallabies are using it (especially the set up), I will be interested to see how some of the other whistle blowers view it. The critic in me still worries the Wallabies are yet to put together a winning performance against a team that has the full complement of players on for a whole game. Moving on to the next game Wales will certainly be more of a tester and probably give us a better understanding of where we are at.

Locally the NRC continues on with the Force looking like the favourites to take out the Championship this year. Consistency seems to be a big issue for all the other teams. The Rising finally got their act together getting a much-needed win, the Drua had their way with Sydney, City and the Eagles fought out a close one with the points going north and the Vikings are slipping back even with the blessed roster they have.

Highlights of the round have to go the Drua who went on an absolute try scoring frenzy

With 3 rounds to go its still pretty open with finals spots still far from decided.

Pos Team P W D L PF PA -/+ BP Pts
1  Force 4 4 0 0 171 111 60 3 19
2  Brisbane City 4 2 1 1 133 103 30 2 12
3  NSW Country Eagles 4 2 1 1 110 100 10 1 11
4  Canberra Vikings 4 2 0 2 134 138 -4 1 9
5  Fijian Drua 4 1 2 1 137 113 24 1 9
6  Queensland Country 4 1 0 3 118 169 -51 2 6
7  Sydney 4 1 0 3 135 192 -57 2 6
8  Melbourne Rising 4 1 0 3 109 121 -12 1 5

 

LOVIN’ THE CUP

With Rugby’s showpiece underway I have to say so far its been a pretty damn good show. With any big event there is always the opening ceremony and necessary formalities. I was pretty impressed with what Japan came up with. It was good mix of spectacular while keeping it Rugby centric and very identifiable. I also liked that it was a fairly short affair and the formalities weren’t too arduous. The venues look great and thus far and it’s been a pretty good showcase for the game.

The host seem to have appeased the weather gods nicely with predicted mid 20’s temperatures over the next few weeks with a sprinkling of rain here and there but no major weather events are forecast.

I also have to say the RWC website also pretty good along with most of the social media offerings. For those that like some of extra offerings that come with big events you need to check out the Creative Park for those that are willing to give their home printer a workout to make some cheap RWC merchandise.

I also love some of the high-tech offerings. It might not feature the Wallabies unless they get to the finals but it is still pretty good stuff to watch and gives you a pretty impressive view of the game: https://global.canon/en/event/rwc2019/special/viewpoint.html#01

For those that miss out on the RWC opening ceremony have a look here: https://youtu.be/GLTza7PVQs0

 

MINOR DETAILS AND A REFEREEING JUNKET?

Less than a week in to the RWC and the referees are central to much of the post-game discussion. It’s disappointing but not surprising. I have always maintained that my unrequited love of Rugby has always been tainted by the failings of Rugby’s Laws. Now being the RWC and knowing that refereeing can turn a game and RWC history you would think the World Rugby would have had a little sit down and contemplate if they had it all covered pre-RWC.

But alas, again my love is tainted by the simplicity of Rugby officiating stupidity. I am going to avoid why the TMO’s seem to be on a junket and had a few too many Sake’s to watch the replays, or why the breakdown laws and maul laws appear to be subject to individual interpretation; if laws should apply in this game, and what Laws that believe exist and should be used, if any. I will stop there before I get too wound up.

But I do need to touch on my two favourite ones thus far. Looking at some of the RWC venues they are pretty impressive multi-use venues. Looking at some of them the players have to navigate stairs and a few other obstacles and travel a fair distance to get on and off the field. This was all highlighted with the mystery of why Sam Cane passed his HIA but was unable to return to the field.  The Laws mandate you have 10 minutes to complete the HIA; but that includes the time it takes you to get on and off the field. This time starts as soon as the player heads to the rooms.  Yep, so if it’s a long way back to the rooms that time counts (and all players with a head knock should run off the field quickly to get checked, right?), which means the longer the distance to the rooms the more time pressed the HIA is. It is what happened in the Cane scenario. By the time he had navigated his way back to the rooms, completed the assessment and returned to the side lines the 10 minutes had elapsed.  After the Kiwi’s protested post-game World Rugby has decided to change when the timer starts to when the HIA starts.

But wait, there’s more. The HIA protocols state that if you fail you have to go through the minimum 6-day regime. So, Fiji has a second dilemma with Yato not showing any post-game symptoms but is effectively ruled out simply by the combination of the draw and the protocols. All of a sudden, a few other teams have realised that are also in trouble due to the same draw/ protocol combination. Ireland for example look like they will be without Peter O’Mahony and Bundee Aki. Both are showing no post-game signs but with 6 days until the next game they are out.

Speaking of quick turn-arounds …

There was some talk after the Wallabies v Fiji match about the inequity between the two teams when it came to the time between matches. Fiji have already named their team for their next match, which they play tomorrow. 4 Days after the game against the Wallabies, while the Wallabies have a comfortable 8-day break before taking on Wales. Wales, meanwhile played last night and have a shorter 6-day break.

As mentioned above, the HIA protocols dictate a 6 day return to play policy in the event that a player fails the initial HIA. So in the case of Yato, with a 4-day turnaround before Fiji play again, he is unable to play. In fact, this is something that could affect nearly every team at the World Cup.

Out of the 20 teams, 13 have a 4-day turnaround at some point in the tournament. Of the remaining 7 teams, 3 have a 5-day turn around at some point. 3 out of the 4 teams remaining have a 6-day turnaround. The only team which would not be affected by the 6 day protocol is, funnily enough, Japan.

So as you can see, most teams have a short turnaround at some point in the tournament. Japan has arguably the best draw, with breaks of 8, 7 and 8 days. Namibia does pretty well with 6, 7 and 8 days, while Tonga has 6,8 and 7-day breaks. The Wallabies also do ok with gaps of 8, 6 and 6 days. Canada, on the other hand, do not have a break longer than 6 days.

These tables show the number of days between matches for each team, broken down by pool. It doesn’t exactly provide evidence for those claiming the tournament draw was set up to bias tier 1 teams, with most having very short turnarounds.

POOL A Days between rounds 1 and 2 Days between rounds 2 and 3 Days between rounds 3 and 4
Japan 8 7 8
Ireland 6 5 8
Russia 4 9 6
Scotland 8 9 4
Samoa 6 5 7

 

POOL B Days between rounds 1 and 2 Days between rounds 2 and 3 Days between rounds 3 and 4
New Zealand 11 4 6
South Africa 7 6 4
Italy 4 8 8
Canada 6 6 5
Namibia 6 8 7

 

POOL C Days between rounds 1 and 2 Days between rounds 2 and 3 Days between rounds 3 and 4
England 4 8 7
France 11 4 6
Argentina 7 7 4
Tonga 6 8 7
USA 6 7 4

 

POOL D Days between rounds 1 and 2 Days between rounds 2 and 3 Days between rounds 3 and 4
Australia 8 6 6
Wales 6 10 4
Fiji 4 8 6
Georgia 6 4 8
Uruguay 4 6 8

 

As a final note, I feel a little sorry for Canada. Not only do they have shorter breaks than many teams, their second game of the World Cup is against the All Blacks after they have a 6 day break, and the All Blacks have 11.

Social Media

So far there have been so many interesting social media posts about this World Cup, we thought it might be fun to round up the nest of them and post them here for you.

It all started before the Cup began, with the Japanese showing just how into the World Cup they are, with thousands upon thousands showing their support for the various nations.

Volume on for the next one

I know a few rugby fans who would love a stadium like this!

Just because.

For the ladies out there.


Siya who?

Everyone loves Canadians, and Canadians love the Japanese.


Japanese fans are the best! They clean up the stadium before they leave.

And the team is pretty cool too. I think this is right up there with the best awards for any sport that I have ever seen.

  • Patrick

    Sydney didn’t even look like they wanted to tackle the Fijian no 8 on more than a few occasions there!

    Can’t say I blame them either :)

  • Who?

    I’m with you on the HIA thing, but not the mandatory 6 day GRTP for concussions. Whilst it means that Yato misses the next game, I’m more concerned about long term health for the players. They could always have something pop up through the process, find the concussion isn’t progressing as well as hoped, and the last thing we need is for them to do further damage.
    .
    I agree with you on the mauls, though. If the TMO wanted to be picky, I thought our first maul could’ve been done for obstruction (the Fijians were prevented from ever touching the ball carrier when he landed by lifters stepping miles in front of him before landing him) twice (truck and trailer on the detachment). And if you watched Barnes (who I think is the best ref in the comp) and his ruling on mauls/tackles (which was consistent, but wrong) compared to Williams in the following game (much faster to call a maul), your point about interpretation of the same law and circumstances was perfectly illustrated.
    .
    Oh, and didn’t Paul Williams and Ben Tameifuma play together at the Chiefs? Didn’t their playing careers overlap? If so, why was he reffing that game? It’s like the fact he reffed Australia vs Samoa the other week as a Kiwi ref, when I was sure he was capped at Fullback for Samoa!

    • Patrick

      I think it is a shame that there could not be a derogation for eg World Cups, perhaps if they undertook to give him a 14 day break afterwards (which I’m sure they would be willing to do in this case!)

    • MST

      The HIA and 6 days GRPT is a tricky one with the RWC. I agree that player welfare is paramount and I would be fearful to put forward any of my unqualified suggestions. I do wonder if there was some way to help manage the GTRP to fit time the RWC time frames? Canada for example suffers as a result of the scheduling as they have a maximum of 6days between games so any player failing a HIA is automatically out. Is this more if a scheduling issue? Is the other issue that the GRPT rules were written based on the weekly game assumption and the RWC scenarios an after thought?

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Welcome back MST, I’ve missed your articles so great to see you back.
    I think rugby’s really got to look at the law application. With the proliferation of media and the ability of people to pull out a picture that is able to be taken completely out of context, they are easily able to find something that can be used to “prove” their point. Most conveniently ignoring anything else that counters it of course because most who do this are dickheads who are trying to show something that probably doesn’t exist. At the moment there is almost too much disparity between different referees and TMOs and the confusion this creates is supporting the dickheads.
    TBH I’m not sure of the answer as so much of the rulings depends on where the referee is in relation to the incident and what he/she sees at the time. I feel that for the most part if it doesn’t have a material affect on the game then just let it go, however I acknowledge that this is very subjective so not sure.
    Personally I’d like to see more ruling around entering rucks from the side, players staying on their feet joining the ruck and pilfering with weight on the feet not the arms.
    The Wales vs Wallabies should be epic. I thought Wales looked good last night but Georgia were able to push them at times so they can be vulnerable.

    • MST

      Thanks KRL. It was nice to have a short break and refresh ready for the RWC. I am with you about the Refereeing via social media and the pathetic tit-for-tat that usually ensuse. Really pulls my chain!

  • From NooZealand

    This is great. Gracias MST.

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Brumbies first, then for the love of the game. "It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I'm right." —Moliere

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