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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News sees more trial results, Eddie grumbling about World Rugby, the Reds, Tahs and Rebels trial matches, and news for Taqele and the Western Force.



Chiefs out muscle Brumbies

Shaun Stevenson, Final, Chiefs v Crusaders

Trials, trials and more trials are the dominant feature of these last few weeks. The Chiefs look to be making plenty of progress so far in their preparations, accounting for the Brumbies 38-26 at Sunshine Coast Stadium last night.

After trailing 26-7 at halftime, the Brums fought back with three quick tries in the last twenty minutes. But it proved to be too little too late.

It was a disappointing match all up for the men from Canberra, with many of their players, including Tom Banks, Isi Naisarani, Rob Valetini, Kyle Godwin and Chance Peni all looking mighty rusty. But hey, this is what trials are for.

The only players who really impressed for the ‘home’ side was (unsurprisingly) Christian Lealiifano, who directed the Brumbies backling with plenty of gusto and X-Factor, and Rory Arnold who put in a solid workhorse performance.

The Chiefs meanwhile looked clinical for the middle sixty minutes of the match and were deserving winners, and may have already discovered a big find in winger Solomon Alaimalo, who was an absolute menace all game.

Brums coach Dan McKellar spoke positively of the teams second half performance.

“I thought we showed real fight in the second half, which is pleasing,” McKellar said to rugby.com.au.

“I thought the boys that came on were excellent and we just managed to get into the game and play the game the way we want to play it – with speed and with tempo.

“The first 40 minutes we were just a bit flat.

“We had some guys who had their first hitout in a long while in some trying conditions so they’ll be better for the run – but I was really pleased with the second half.”

The Brumbies will be starting their campaign in Tokyo against the Sunwolves on February 23.

Eddie got angry

Cranky Eddie Jones at post-match press-conference. Not impressed with Stephen Hoiles' question

Cranky Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones has lashed out at World Rugby over their announcement that match official Glenn Newman made an error ruling out a try for Wales‘s Gareth Anscombe in their 12-6 loss to England last weekend.

Warren Gatland was pretty red-nosed about the whole thing, calling the event a “terrible mistake” in the post match conference.

World Rugby followed it up with a statement, clarifying that “Wales should have been awarded a try as the Wales player grounded the ball”.

But Eddie was having none of it, and stepped up to give World Rugby a piece of his mind.

“I’m on a good behaviour bond so I’ve got to be careful what I say, but I just think that once the game’s done and dusted that’s the game,” he said to the Age. 

“You can’t have retrospective refereeing of decisions being done. The game’s done and dusted, so we’ve got to trust the referees and respect their integrity.

“When I say respect the referee, that’s the TV process as well. You leave it at that, and then you get on with it. One side’s won, one side’s lost.

“In Japan they have a great saying: ‘At full-time there’s no side’. That’s one of the traditions of rugby, you get on with it, you respect the decision.

“If you haven’t got the rub of the green then you know you probably get it in the next couple of games. The TMOs do an excellent job. They make a decision.”

I’d be curious if he would be saying the same thing if his side had lost the match.

Regardless, I’m curious to see what GAGRs think about this one. World Rugby have done this before, such as with the Scotland-Wallabies match at the last World Cup when they admitted Craig Joubert made a mistake that, in the minds of many, cost Scotland the match. Should they be commenting post match, or should it be left up to the referees on the field and in the TMO box?

Reds/Tahs/Rebels trial news

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The Reds will be playing their final trial tonight against the Fiji Warriors, kicking off at 7pm local/8pm AEDT. But while the Brumbies, Tahs and Rebels look to be coming close to deciding what the makeups of their teams will be for round one, defence coach Tony McGahan has admitted that fans shouldn’t read too much into the squad that is selected for tonight’s clash.

Among the big names for tonight’s clash include the likes of Jono Lance and Aidan Toua. McGahan spoke to rugby.com.au about the selection to the team, and explained that it was done more out of team management than out of deciding a round one team.

Management will be particularly important for Lance, who has been recovering from a broken hand injury he suffered while on loan playing for UK side Worcester.

“He wasn’t fit to play in the internal trial or the Tens last week and this is his first opportunity,” McGahan said.

“It’s more about giving time and then we’ll cut it up and see where we go to.”

Regardless of whether this management of players will work, McGahan confirmed that there is a solid plan in place for the Reds squad, and Brad Thorn is pulling the team together well.

“He’s got a great respect from the players, he certainly knows exactly what he needs to do,” he said.

“He’s probably one of the most qualified first-year coaches going around with his achievements but also the style of player he was and how he’s been able to translate that into running a program and also running a squad, so he’s got things moving really well.

“He knows exactly (what) he wants to do, how he wants it done and players are responding.”

For those who are interested, you can purchase tickets to the Reds-Warriors trial here.

Meanwhile in Sydney, the Tahs will be releasing a younger squad to play the Melbourne Rebels at Brookvale Oval. The match will also be on tonight, kicking off at the slightly earlier time of 6:45pm AEDT.

Michael Hooper will be leading a lot of the youngsters around the park for the homeside, with several senior Tahs players out due to injury.

“(New faces bring) new ideas, excitement, intent and competition,” he said to rugby.com.au.

“(It) always re-energises you, you see someone with really good talent , someone like Will Miller has come in and turned some heads.

“In his first game, he was really good against the Highlanders, (and) you’ve got plenty of guys who can play seven within this team and across the backrow there’s plenty of competition when everyone’s fit, with Jack (Dempsey) coming back and Ned (Hanigan) sorting himself out.

“It’s bound to breed some good performances.”

“We’ve got plenty of competition for spots and nothing’s set in stone for the first round.”

The Rebels are still to name their squad as of Wednesday night, but they will be looking for a more positive result following a mixed bag in the Tens and a disappointing first trial against the Brumbies. 

From West to North

Taqele Naiyaravoro-G&G-Wallabies-Barbarians-51199

Starting in the West, reports began to surface yesterday that the Western Force have could have their first exhibition game of the year, against a very high profile team in the form of the Crusaders.

According to the West Australian, the Saders-Force match will be the first of five exhibition matches that will take place for the Force to bridge the gap between now and the start of the NRC.

The Crusaders match is still to be officially confirmed, but if it is it will be a solid opening exhibition match for the men from the west.

The matches are predicted to take place during the June Test window and after the end of Super Rugby, as there will be no international matches being played in Perth this year. The Force also look to be planning to entice other Super Rugby teams and Pacific island nations Fiji, Samoa and Tonga over for the other exhibition matches.

****

And lastly, heading north, it is confirmed that Waratahs and Greater Sydney Rams winger Taqele Naiyaravoro will join Northampton next season. It will be Taqele’s second stint in the Northern Hemipshere, following him going to Glasgow for the 2015-16 season.

“I’m thrilled to be able to return to the UK and join a massive Club in Northampton Saints,” he ‘said’ in an official statement. 

“The club is heading in a really exciting direction with the likes of (Hurricanes coach) Chris Boyd and Dan Biggar arriving next year, and I hope I can be a part of a push for more silverware at Franklin’s Gardens.”

“Taqele Naiyaravoro is an immense talent and we feel that he can really fulfil his sizeable potential at Saints,” Northampton interim coach Allan Gaffney said, once Taqele was confirmed.

“He clearly boasts the physical attributes to cause teams a lot of problems in the Aviva Premiership and in Europe – and he showed that during his time with Glasgow.

“Taqele already has a relationship with Rob Horne having played with him at the Waratahs and I’m sure he will make a massive impact when he slots into the back-line next year.”

  • Hitcho

    I believe that technology has caused more problems for all sports not just Rugby than it’s worth. Once you had the ref and 2 touchy’s, they made a call and everyone got on with it. Now there’s infinite replays of infinite angles of infinite phases. Does technology have a part to play, yes we can’t get away from that now. Should world rugby keep their mouths shut? I personally believe so but I am a bit torn because as professionals they need to be accountable, but I don’t see world rugby making public statements about refs is any different to theatricality the ARU coming out after a game and saying yep player X had a shocker because people are carrying on about it. Organisations don’t do it to players or coaches who are also professional why are refs different.

    If refs get it wrong I believe there should be a process of accountability but they should be held to account behind closed doors not publicly.

    • Pearcewreck

      I agree.
      However, one good thing about technology is it makes decisions more controversial, which sport does need to an extent, as it gets people intersted.
      I mean look at us now, all commenting about it.

      • Hitcho

        5yrah that’s a fair cop too.

    • Bakkies

      It went out the window when Paddy O’Brien was in charge of the refs apologising to the ABs in their Milan hotel even though the ref was quiet correct with his decisions.

    • Brumby Runner

      I for one do not hold to the view that errors should be kept behind closed doors. Doing so, imo is just a smokescreen to shield the bloke in the middle when many times their performances really need to be under the microscope. Clarity and transparency should be encouraged at all times.

      On the technology front, I continue to be underwhelmed by the lack of efficiency in streaming live sports events. Until the day arrives where everyone has unlimited, mobile internet access, streaming will be a very poor cousin of live TV.

      • Hitcho

        You’re absolutely entitled to your opinion and I’m not going to try to change that…. But in the unlikely event that say David Pocock has a shocker or makes a catastrophic mistake (I know not likely right) should the coach or Thompson come out in criticism because that’s essentially what’s happening to refs. Refs essentially “play” every week too they just have a whistle instead of a ball.

        • Brumby Runner

          Nah, different kettle of fish. A player, say Beale, making a mistake is within the realms of the team and is answerable to the coach. ATM the referees appear to be answerable to no-one.

          Take the current controversy in the England/Wales game. An error of such magnitude that it could have reversed the result of the game – no-one knows. If it deserves some sanction, then it should be out in the open and as immediate as practical, ie, stood down next week.

        • Hitcho

          Isn’t that the job of the refs oversight not the public space?

  • Kokonutcreme

    If World Rugby want to publicly comment on contentious decisions after the game then be consistent and don’t cherry pick.

    Still nothing from them about Romain Poite’s decision reversal in the third Lions test last year.

    • Pearcewreck

      Ahhh, because he got it right.
      So nothing to comment on.

      You Kiwis are still so butt hurt about it.

      • Who?

        Koko’s right, they need to be consistent. There was nothing about Craig Joubert’s performance at Eden Park in 2009, where we lost by 6, but he blew three incorrect penalties against Baxter at the scrum (against Baxter and they should’ve been against Woodcock) for 9 points. Joubert told Baxter at the airport that he’d watched the tape, got it wrong, and then apologized. Didn’t help Al much – Robbie Deans never picked him again (and Baxter was finally reaching his potential, given Le Return of Le Fuse the November before at Twickers). Every team’s got a reason to be grumpy, so the issue is consistency in these reviews.
        And, as an Aussie, of Irish extraction, Romain got it wrong…

        • Pearcewreck

          No, Romain got it 100% right.
          Anyway, who cares?
          Maybe time to stop dwelling in the past.

        • Xaviera

          No, he got it wrong, and a majority in the refereeing fraternity have that opinion. You only have to know the content of the conversation in French between Garces and Poite (which wasn’t broadcast) to realise that. What he really should have done was play advantage.

        • Pearcewreck

          No, Romain got it 100% right.

        • Xaviera

          Then all we can do is agree to disagree.

          BTW, are you aware of the Garces/Poite conversation, and its content?

        • Mica

          Do you have a transcript? (or point to somewhere we can see it).
          Just for interest sake.

        • Xaviera

          I don’t believe there is an official transcript, and if there was, it would have been buried. Amongst other things, they discuss Joobers 2015 AUSvSCO RWC match!

        • Mica

          Based on 11.6 I’d agree with you Pearcewreck.

          11.6 ACCIDENTAL OFFSIDE
          (a) When an offside player cannot avoid being touched by the ball or by a team mate carrying it, the player is accidentally offside. If the player’s team gains no advantage from this, play continues. If the player’s team gains an advantage, a scrum is formed with the opposing team throwing in the ball.
          (b) When a player hands the ball to a team mate in front of the first player, the receiver is offside. Unless the receiver is considered to be intentionally offside (in which case a penalty kick is awarded), the receiver is accidentally offside and a scrum is formed with the opposing team throwing in the ball.
          https://cdn.auckland.ac.nz/assets/auckland/on-campus/facilities-and-services/sport-and-recreation/sport/interfaculty-sports/rugby-laws-of-the-game.pdf

          Ken Owens is not intentionally offside (he is tracking back with the flight of the ball) and I don’t think he can avoid being touched by the ball. It looks as though the ball hits him as he is tracking back and then he catches it (and quickly drops it).

        • Xaviera

          If you’re going to quote 11.6, you also need to read the old 11.7. The key point is about the player who “plays the ball”. Critical point here, and the distinction between 11.6 and 11.7.

          That said, as I mentioned above, what he really should have done was play advantage. That may well have changed things too.

          DISCLOSURE: I am NOT a Kiwi!

        • Mica

          I think the ball played him rather before he played the ball and I don’t think he could avoid the ball. Also I think it is debatable whether the ball was knocked on by Williams since he was facing his own goal line and was knocked backwards after he contacted the ball. You could say relative to the impact point and the ground the ball did not travel forward, but this is always contentious.

          Let’s say Williams does knock the ball on and Owens is offside. If the ball hits Owen I’d expect 11.6 to be ruled not 11.7. If the ball doesn’t get propelled into Owens and he contacts the ball rather than the ball contacts him I’d expect 11.7 to be applied.

          Either way I would say objectively you could argue either case and make a reasonably valid point, and on this basis I’d call it a 50:50 call. In my thinking any 50:50 call should be accepted by both sides in the spirit of “you win some; you lose some”. Shrug your shoulders and play on.

          Disclaimer – I am not a BIL supporter….. :)
          (just keen to better understand and appreciate the great game of rugby)

        • Xaviera

          Except that Owen caught the ball, which means he played at it. It’s as simple as that. Had he let it hit him, then we’re looking at 11.6, but because he caught it, and knew straight away, hence why he dropped it like a hot potato, it’s 11.7, and that’s what RP called initially – PK black. But then they had the “French chat”, and changed it to the scrum. Therein lies the issue.

        • Mica

          I don’t think he could avoid the ball (and this is quoted in 11.6), but happy to agree to disagree once again. Do you think that he could have avoided touching the ball and if not why would 11.7 supersede 11.6?
          So much of the laws come back to interpretation and spirit of the law anyway and these can be pretty airy fairy.
          If it was Aus in the NZ shoes (then we’d have a better win % for a start :)), I would say that having read both laws it’s a 50:50, but more in the spirit of 11.6 (as I think 11.7 is really about when the player CAN avoid contact with the ball and plays at it anyway) and therefore I wouldn’t complain once I had a good think about it.
          It is an interesting scenario though – when parts of both laws apply, how technically is a ref supposed to adjudicate. I guess this comes down to discretion. I’d also be interested to hear exactly what Garces said, as this appears to change Poite’s mind. Maybe he said “Monsieur Owens non avoidez le ball” in my best French accent. :)

        • From NooZealand

          DISCLOSURE: I am NOT a Kiwi! . . . but as from now, an honorary one.

        • Parker

          So Joubert got it wrong then Dingo got it wronger. Only to be expected.

  • paul

    I wonder if Eddie would be so bi-partition if the decision was against England. In defense of world rugby surely they need to clarify rulings for future reference

    • Pearcewreck

      Yep, old Eddie should have kept his trap shut on this one.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Pretty sure he had a different view point at the last 6 Nations when Italy didn’t compete at rucks and so there was no off side and they got in the face of his players. Like most of us he has a short memory and only takes his side into consideration.

  • Greg

    All of the coaches need to zip it up tight. Mr Cheika included. There is just nothing to be gained form arguing about the refs post game.

    Officials who make errors should be dropped and additional training provided if required. Same as any job. Same as the players.

    • Dally M

      I guess that’s the problem, there doesn’t appear to be any accountability, World Rugby cherry picks stuff they will make comment on and requests for clarification through the appropriate channels doesn’t get responded to & this is why frustration spills over into the media conferences when the journo’s keep asking about various incidents.

      It’s easy to dismiss them if you won the match, far more frustrating if you lost.

    • Brumby Runner

      The problem Greg is that at least in the past no referee would be dropped the following week and perhaps not for a few weeks after the event. Very few then associated the dropping with a bad decision. It must be more urgent if it is to have any credibility among the bulk of rugby fans.

  • JimmyC

    Simple solution should be that after every week the referees boss fronts the media and talks through any contentious decisions. The medias questions should be posed prior to the conference so that they can have the footage and an explanation for each decision.

  • Muzz

    World Rugby shouldn’t comment on contentious refereeing decisions as there is no real benefit to anyone. Also they seem to do this on an ad-hoc basis.
    Re the Western Force: where are they getting their players from for this years’ games? It can’t just be Brache and Grant v the Crusaders.

    • ForceFan

      Happy to wait until genuine Western Force/Minderoo press releases rather than speculation by the West Australian. However, the talk is games start in May and the WF already have more than half the squad signed on. Evidently some notable returns to the fold.

      • Bakkies

        Yep and even more ridiculous that some meddler told Duco that the Force couldn’t field a 10s squad. Even Hodgson and the Badge (who was there downing beers) would have strapped on the boots for that.

    • Bakkies

      Pek Cowan and Heath Tessmann are still on contract and based in Perth. Ryan Louwrens is playing club Rugby in Perth.

      I would imagine they are all in.

    • Perth girl

      Keiran Longbottom just announced as signed, back home from the UK

  • Nicholas Wasiliev

    Update: here is the Rebels squad for their final trial tonight.

    https://melbournerebels.com/2018/02/14/rebels-welcome-back-experience-for-final-trial/

    • Perth girl

      How can the Rebels offer memberships for $88? Have they got a main sponsor yet (apart from RA and the Victorian taxpayers of course)

      • Bakkies

        and the Victorian taxpayers still don’t know what they are paying out due to lies in confidence.

  • Pearcewreck

    Good old Eddie, he certainly is dishing out a few comments and interviews this week, mainly to keep the 6N firmly in the media spotlight I suspect.

    Controversy can be good for a sport.

  • Gareth

    How many decisions have gone England’s way at Twickenham over the years, and quite a few recently. I’m not alleging corruption but the ref’s, TMO’s and AR’s seem to always rule in favour of the home side.
    I would like the benefit of the doubt to always go to the attacking team, (more so than now) at present it feels like they are looking for reasons to disallow a try.

    • Brumby Runner

      And it has been so very easy to sweep criticism under the mat when any action, if any, taken on the referee front is behind closed doors and unavailable to the masses. Has been the way things are for many moons, and questionable decisions still get made. Time for more public accountability.

    • Bakkies

      ‘I would like the benefit of the doubt to always go to the attacking team, (more so than now)’

      Why should a defensive team cough up 5 possibly 7 points to the opposition when they aren’t certain a try is awarded?

      It is like giving a batsman out even though you aren’t certain it was out.

      • Gareth

        Simply because i believe there is a trend against awarding legitimate tries because they are looking to disallow rather than award. Its a mind set, the wales v england one was a good example where the TMO looked for fault that wasn’t there. Same for the try against the kiwi’s 2 years ago when they disallowed a good try because someone 3 metres behind the play bumped into an all black.

        Its the refs mind set that needs changing,

  • Xaviera

    World Rugby, in trying to be transparent, have thrown another match official under the bus (along with 2015’s Joobers). EVERY Test match official has a referee coach watching them, and after each match, there is a detailed critique. A LOT gets said behind closed doors, and thankfully, it rarely makes the public domain. However, there is still a “black box” element to match official appointments and rankings, so there is room for improvement. However, the current method, via public statement, is less than best.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      It’s really disappointing to see this. I think it’ll only add to the players questioning the referee on the field. Whoever in World Rugby decided to release this is an idiot

  • adastra32

    Coaches should stop whining loudly about specific incidents in public when they lose. Won’t happen of course.

Rugby
@Nick_Wasiliev

Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician, second rower. Still trying to make sense of the 21st century. About to drop a book...

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