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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursdays Rugby News sees Hodge Banned, World Rugby Apologies, HJH Re-Signed, and Pocock Reflects


 

 

HODGE BANNED

2019-wallabies-v-argentina-20

Wallabies winger Reece Hodge will now miss the remainder of Australia Pool matches after he was hit with a three week ban for a high tackle on Fiji’s Peceli Yato.

The hearing in Tokyo took four hours before the panel decided that Hodge was guilty of foul play.

The Wallabies have 48 hours to appeal the decision but at the time of this article they have not expressed a plan to do so.

Hodge was initially sanctioned for six weeks, but was dropped to three due to his clean record and good character.

World Rugby released the following statement.

“In considering all the available evidence, including multiple broadcast angles and submissions from Hodge and his legal representative, the committee deemed that the incident was an act of foul play and warranted a red card in line with the high tackle sanction framework,” the statement said.

“Given the above outcomes, the committee determined that the act of foul play warranted a red card,” the statement said.

“The committee applied World Rugby’s mandatory mid-range entry point, which was introduced in 2017 to mitigate the risk of head injuries, which according to World Rugby’s sanctions table, carries a minimum six-match suspension.

“Having acknowledged Hodge’s exemplary disciplinary record, good character and conduct at the hearing, the committee reduced the six-match entry point by three matches, resulting in a sanction of three matches.”

The Wallabies argued that Hodge was the passive tackler in a “soak tackle” and that he turned his head to avoid a head clash, and that it was Yato changing his body height that caused the high contact.

This argument was dismissed completely by the panel.

Hodge will be free to play in the finals should Australia qualify.

Hodge is not the only one to face the judiciary panel this week after Samoan duo Rey Lee-Lo and Motu Matu’u were sanctions for high tackles against Russia.

WORLD RUGBY APOLOGIES FOR POOR REFEREES

Photo courtesy of Tim Anger

Photo courtesy of Tim Anger

World Rugby has made an awkward apology for the poor performance from referees in opening round of the Rugby World Cup.

Teething issues with technology and poor team communication were to blame for the referees and television match officials performance that “were not consistently of the standards set by World Rugby and themselves”.

“Following the usual review of matches, the match officials team recognise that performances over the opening weekend of Rugby World Cup 2019 were not consistently of the standards set by World Rugby and themselves, but World Rugby is confident of the highest standards of officiating moving forward,” theWorld Rugby said in a statement on Tuesday night.

“Elite match officials are required to make decisions in complex, high-pressure situations and there have been initial challenges with the use of technology and team communication, which have impacted decision-making. These are already being addressed by the team of 23 match officials to enhance consistency.

“Given this proactive approach, a strong team ethic and a superb support structure, World Rugby has every confidence in the team to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2019 delivers the highest levels of accurate, clear and consistent decision-making.”

Interestingly though, Reece Hodge’s controversial high tackle was not included in the referee review.

It is understood that Rugby Australia have employed the services former Waratah Mitch Chapman and referee manager Scott Young to help coach the Australian referees at the Rugby World Cup. 

Rugby Australia CEO Ralene Castle believes its important to have Chapman and Young work with Angus Gardner and Nic Berry throughout the tournament and offer them support.

“Rugby Australia has been working with World Rugby and supports their recognition that more needs to be done to support the referees, and more alignment between World Rugby and SANZAAR and World Rugby and Six Nations, and World Rugby and other refereeing [bodies],” Castle said. “World Rugby don’t have any referee coaches here, at the tournament. So Rugby Australia has paid to bring our referee coaches from Australia up, to support our rugby referees.

“We think it is important and that’s the support they get during Super Rugby and TRC [Rugby Championship], so we think that should remain in place for the world’s biggest rugby tournament.”

HJH LOCKED IN

Harry Johnson-Holmes

Harry Johnson-Holmes

NSW Waratahs have secured the services of newly capped Wallaby Harry Johnson-Holmes, with the prop signing a contract extension through to 2022.

HJH had a break out season in 2019, as he made the most of Tom Robertson injury and making the starting spot his own.

His performance earned him a spot in the Wallabies training squad, and more front row injuries had him leave his schnitzel dinner and jump on the play to Johannesburg for a Wallaby debut.

NSWRU General Manager of Rugby, Tim Rapp said that Johnson-Holmes had become a valued member of the Waratahs forward pack, and has praised the hard work of the young prop.

“Harry has really impressed since joining the squad in 2018,” Rapp said.

“He arrived as a young player with plenty of promise after performing well in junior representative teams, and he’s worked extremely hard to entrench himself into the match day squad over the last two years.

“While only early in his career, Harry has shown he can compete with some of the best in [Vodafone] Super Rugby and he’ll be an important player for us next season.”

HJH was happy to continue his rugby in New South Wales.

“I’ve been working through the pathways at NSW Rugby for a while now, stretching back to my junior days at the Wanderers in Newcastle,” Holmes said.

“To represent my home state in [Vodafone] Super Rugby has been such a privilege, working alongside some great people has been huge for my development as a player.

“I’m learning every day, it’s a great environment here at the Waratahs and to be here for another two seasons is something I’m really excited about.”

Johnson-Holmes will continue to feature in the NRC for the NSW Country Eagles.

 

 POCOCK REFLECTS ON ANNIVERSARY OF COMING TO AUSTRALIA 

2018-Wallabies-v-Argentina-Captains-Run-3

Wallabies Back Rower David Pocock had cause to pause and reflect this week. Not of the past match, or the past month, but of the past 17 years.

It was 17 years ago this week that Pocock’s family moved to Brisbane, a move that put him on the path to being a Wallaby.

It was during his junior rugby at Churchie that his then coach Tim Baker suggest that Pocock move out of the backline and into the back row, a position that he has become world class in.

“I am so grateful for the opportunities that it (rugby) has given me,” Pocock said.

“I think it was 17 years to the day yesterday that my family arrived in Australia. So, to be at a World Cup with the Wallabies reflecting on that is pretty special.”

“I guess you look back and you reflect on how lucky we were to have the opportunity to move to Australia,” he said.

“I look at my two younger brothers and we often talk about and think about the sacrifices your parents make.

“We are into our own things and are all doing well but it’s your parents who arrive with no super, no cash in the bank, in their 40s and will probably have to work until they can’t.

“You reflect on that and what a sacrifice it is for parents to do that. All immigrants have an idea of that.”

Ever the true professional, Pocock refined his jackal skills to the point where his position over the ball became instinctive. Much like goal kickers doing extras, Pocock put in his extras over the ball.

“It’s like any skill, you are trying to get better at it, more efficient to the point where you are not thinking, you are just responding to what’s in front of you,” he said.

“It’s like anything, if you are a 10 and trying to read what the defence is doing, little clues and body language.

“You are just playing, you are not getting into a game and having to think, ‘Oh he’s going that way, so I am going to step’, you just do it.”

“You’re doing a huge amount of practice on arriving,” he said.

“Arriving there first, arriving there low, and arriving there on your feet, getting straight on to the ball and trying to steal it.

“You’re not trying to buy time on the ball on your elbows, you’re trying to get in there and be efficient.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work as a back row and it’s something that we’ll continue to work on through the tournament.”

Pocock is looking forward to the challenge that Wales will bring, with the need for his over the ball talents being high as the breakdown contests become even more ferocious.

“Yeah, you look at the back row they’ve been picking and are likely to pick, a couple of really good on-ballers,” he said.

“It is an area where every team is wanting to put pressure on the opposition and that will be no different for us.

“Working on the timing around that and what we can do to get some pay there in D.”

 

  • Yowie

    “Johnson-Holmes” is an awesome surname. He sort-of needs sideburns, a mo and 70’s haircut/clothes to complete the look.

    • John Tynan

      “The full package”

      • Yowie

        …and a reliable finisher.

      • Keith Butler

        Too much information John.

    • onlinesideline

      Yeah its got Matlock Police or Division 4 written all over it.

    • AllyOz

      if it was Watson-Holmes it would be even better. he would still need side-burns but a pipe and a full three piece tweed suit

      • Yowie

        haha, gold. A genius front-rower explaining the set-piece strategies to the forwards with multiple whiteboards and red string going everywhere connecting the clues.

        • Nutta

          You guys are talking like we don’t already own 3-piece tweed suits with tacks and balls of red knitting wool in our pockets?

        • Yowie

          No takers for “…and front rowers are all geniuses” I see.

        • Nutta

          Well I just took it as an accepted given.

        • Who?

          How many backs have won RWC’s as coaches..?
          Woodward (centre), Hansen (centre).
          How many forwards..?
          Lochore (lock), Christie (flanker), Macqueen (openside flanker).
          .
          I’m not sure what positions were played by Dwyer, White and Henry.
          To my eye, it seems Australia’s done better under the management of former forwards, too, although the current one’s perhaps the exception to the rule (Cheika (#8), McKenzie (THP), Connolly (#2), Jones (#2), Macqueen (#7)). Deans was a back.

        • Yowie

          Three things:-

          1. there are more forwards then backs in a team, therefore there will be more forwards in almost any statistic as a starting point;

          2. ex League players tend to come over to the backs, remarkably reducing the average intelligence of the backs and diluting the brains talent pool

          3. yeah, I tend to agree that forwards and ex-forwards tend to make better captains, coaches, etc.

      • Keith Butler

        You mean the 1860s kit with Oxford Brogues instead of boots.

        • AllyOz

          that’s the one

  • Keith Butler

    In which case, the two Samoans can expect similar sanctions.

    • John Tynan

      More than similar, I think they will be looking at the full 6 weeks, especially if they (World Rugby or whatever they call themselves) are already publicly deriding their referees.
      Lee-Lo’s is the most like Hodge’s tackle in context, clumsy rather than reckless.
      Motu’u was reckless in both intent and execution.

    • John Tynan

      Agree with you KB that the Fijians looked like they were in a contrested training run.
      The old cliche about who wanted it more…

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Spot on mate. I think it was a combination of changes of players and a bit of thinking they would fly through this and didn’t need to try to hard then couldn’t adjust when they found out they were wrong

    • IIPA

      Agree Keith. Things I’m over this RWC: complaining about high shot inconsistency and whines about turnaround time. What I’m loving. Everything else.

      The short turnaround or Fiji making 12 changes and therefore lacking cohesion is a copout. They kicked terribly, dropped too much ball, pushed silly passes and were flat out out-enthused.

      Bit rich them whingeing Yato couldn’t play due to the min 6day concussion protocol. Mckee himself said he was their best player so there’s no way he would have been one of the guys to backup against Uruguay anyway.

      • Keith Butler

        During yesterday’s commentary someone said that they had 4 professional players at the 2015 RWC and 18 at this comp. A fantastic effort from a country with 4500 registered players. Saw them play England in Perth at the 2003 RWC when they went down by 100 pts. They have come on in leaps and bounds and long may it continue.

        • Missing Link

          De-Minnowing the Minnows has been one of the great successes of Rugby. This has occurred through the maturity of professionalism. Nobody could honestly like the cringe factor of seeing the Wallabies beat Namibia by 142 points in 2003, happy to see teams like Japan, Namibia, Uraguay, Spain, Russia, Romania etc. elevate themselves to better standards.

        • Keith Butler

          Hopefully we do not see too many blowouts in the pool games.

        • AllyOz

          Unfortunately I think if Italy can score 47 against Namibia in wet conditions and not playing particularly well, then they may have worse to come this tournament but I agree with your general sentiment. They have to play NZ and SA yet and they might not be pretty.

          I have watched both Russian performances and when you consider they only qualified after Belgium, Romania and Spain were disqualified due to playing ineligible players then it is an even more notable effort.

        • Damo

          They were a bit clunky at times in finishing off attacking raids but my word their defence was outstanding.

        • AllyOz

          Is that Uruguay with 18 professionals? that’s a fair effort and significant growth – good to see

  • Yowie

    Just think how many world-class back-rowers might be languishing in immigration purgatory at any given moment. Can we not get some sports scientists involved in refugee applications?

    • AllyOz

      are you suggesting we stand them all up against a wall and get them to do a virtual jump

      • Yowie

        Nah, the black-shirts telling them to “line up against that wall” might set off too much PTSD.
        A few basic rucking-based drills should identify who has potential.

  • Timbo

    It’s amazing how invisible you are in a black jersey. Reads collar of PSDT was far more cynical, foul and while high, didn’t meet the red card threshold? Incredulous.
    Hodge gets hit by a truck and gets three weeks.

    • onlinesideline

      Mate to be honest Im happy it happened now. WR (England) has vented against, what we all know is a very threatening team, the Australian Wallabies with threats all over the park and one of the contenders to take home Bill. Reece will have a sleep in, read the papers and by quaters will run the house down, just when we need him.

    • Hodge’s contact is a shoulder straight to the head with a lot of speed. That makes it a red card under the framework, and makes him straight away eligible to be cited. The fact he was off balance and bounced away isn’t in the framework – you can argue it should be in their for mitigation but it’s not.

      I can only find really grainy images of the Read tackle, which makes it hard to be sure. As a high tackle it look like a yellow card according to the framework from what I can see, which means he can’t be cited for it. Less force, didn’t move his head, no involvement of the elbow etc. and because it’s a tackle rather than a shoulder charge you’re looking for those things. Not helped by the fact that PSDT just ran straight through it and no one took any notice – the players just ignored it too. If there’s a clear video I reserve the right to change my opinion on what sort of card it should have been. Cynical doesn’t enter into the framework – again you can argue it should, but it doesn’t.

      • Timbo

        Please don’t bring you logic and well worded arguments to this discussion. I am outraged and I shall stay outraged! Huzzah! Take that, rational thought!

        • Sometime your outrage will leave you exhausted, and I’ll stay here, still being rational about it… But enjoy your overheated outrage while you can.

          I hear Cheika is recruiting people to build the walls around his siege camp… :)

  • onlinesideline

    Just out – LEAKED VIDEO

    Italian rugby team when they found out they were in Pool B

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU-wBJ4r3f0

  • Missing Link

    complete joke on the Hodge decision and even more of a slap in the face that Read gets a free pass. World Rugby continue to kiss the darkness on the end of the pecker…

    • Bobas

      Where’s Bogut and Luke Longley when you need them.

  • Hoss

    A big thanks to all that voted for your Wallabies XXIII to take on Wales

    I’ve include two sets of ‘Finishers’ a 5-3 & 6-2 bench to cover probabilities with actual selections later today.

    Last week we hit 89% v the real deal so let’s see how we fare this week.

    Here you go – actual votes, percentage of votes scored – enjoy:

    Starting XV

    1. Scott Sio 54 (93.10%)
    2. Tolu Latu 46 (79.30%)
    3. Allan Alaalatoa 54 (93.10%)
    4. Rory Arnold 53 (91.40%)
    5. Izack Rodda 54 (93.10%)
    6. David Pocock 46 (79.30%)
    7. Michael Hooper 51 (87.90%)
    8. Isi Naisarini 50 (86.20%)
    9. Will Genia 30 (51.70%)
    10. Christian Lealiifano 49 (84.50%)
    11 Marika Koroibete 56 (96.60%)
    12 Samu Kerevi 55 (94.80%)
    13 James O’Connor 56 (96.60%)
    14 Dane Haylett-Petty 49 (84.50%)
    15 Kurtley Beale 23 (39.70%)

    Finishers

    5-3 Split

    16. Folau Faiinga 26 (44.80%)
    17 James Slipper 44 (75.90%)
    18 Taniela Tupou 44 (75.90%)
    19 Adam Coleman 46 (79.30%)
    20 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto 33 (56.90%)
    21 Nic White 24 (41.40%)
    22 Matt To’omua 48 (82.80%)
    23 Adam Ashley-Cooper 16 (27.60%)

    6-2 Split

    16-20. Unchanged
    21. Jack Dempsey 10 (17.20%)
    22. Nic White 24 (41.40%)
    23. Matt To’ouma 48 (82.80%)

    Some interesting points:

    1. Koroibete & JOC top the poll for most votes to start
    2. Sanchez just nudges White by 2 votes as your starting 9
    3. GAGR Voters still prefer Tupou on the pine to Methuselah
    4. Likewise a preference for Fainga’a on the bench over Uelese
    5. Big news is that Hodge’s suspension gets Beale into the starting XV otherwise you voted for him on the bench. Hodges punting also sees Two-Dads on your 5-3 bench in the 23 shirt
    6. A 6-2 bench sees Dempsey get a run on the pine with Two-Dads missing the 23.

    Thanks again for voting – the actual votes are attached below & enjoy.

    Hoss

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/96bc19c57866c2e5084ade61d634fde1e0e2ec5f361dd0b3e84b01d3e0fc50a5.jpg

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7474da97143bf0ebf64f8e6cce7caad3fa5e526f4507adc270069ddca650c210.jpg

    • onlinesideline

      With Reece out White may pip Willy for his long distance kicking.

    • Bobas

      Good to see the same amount of votes for Simmons, Quade and Hanigan

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Awesome work mate

      • Hoss

        My thanks goes to all the voters mate. Its fun to do @ my end, bit of corporate pain around at present so it’s a welcome distraction.

        • Yowie

          bit of corporate pain around at present
          What possessed you to invest all of the employees’ super in that Nigerian thing in the first place?

        • Hoss

          It said he was Nigerian royalty so it seemed a lock.

        • John Tynan

          If you can’t trust a Nigerian Prince, who can you trust?

        • Hoss

          Yep, next thing you know you wont be able to trust Indian (dot’s, not feathers) tele-marketers.

          That’s not a world i want to live in.

        • Yowie

          I’m just glad I managed to pay off that ATO debt with Itunes cards before they sent me to jail. Thank f*ck that ATO chap rang me in time.

        • Keith Butler

          Must be Maro Itoje then.

    • Damo

      Thanks Hoss. I didn’t get the chance to make the selection this week but the majority result was about my pick anyway- save maybe for KB. If he isn’t too flash under the high ball he is going to get plenty of practice on Sunday. Bombs raining down like Coventry November 1940!

      • Keith Butler

        Can’t say I like the reference to Coventry seeing as as many many people died. Just saying.

        • Damo

          Point taken Keith.

        • Keith Butler

          Cheers. Who ever is picked at FB will be coping an aerial assault. Maybe be better to have DHP there rather than KB.

        • Dud Roodt

          Too soon?

    • Hoss

      Breaking news.

      Kieran Read has been cited.

      Previously unseen fan footage is doing the rounds (albeit a bit grainy), but you can absolutely see a bearded person in black, come in from the side and make clear and obvious contact with the neck with malice of forethought.

      Under RWC protocols there seems little mitigating circumstances and with what we’ve seen dished out to Reece Hodge the NZ Skipper could be up for a lengthy spell on the pine, perhaps even ruling him out of the cup entirely.

      Stay tuned. My apologies for the Japanese Translation on the bottom of the page.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niYmkymLxvk

      • Greg

        @hoss The subtitles were Dutch actually.

        Now luckily I can speak some Dutch and I can tell you that is said… “those laws don’t apply if you are wearing black.”

        • Hoss

          dank je.

          I knew enough Dutch ti get my face slapped once upon a time

        • Yowie

          What the hell did you ask for that was offensive to an Amsterdam *ahem* professional?

        • Hoss

          Not a professional as such, but a very keen amateur.

        • onlinesideline

          he asked if Holland was once a German province ?

        • Yowie

          that question must have been A Bridge Too Far

        • AllyOz

          Was it the Dutch that had their bikes stolen by the Germans?

        • AllyOz

          My brother told me that, when the Netherlands play Germany in soccer that the crowd yell out “Give us back our bikes”. Apparently when the Allied forced claimed the Netherlands back in 1944 the German soldiers and collaborators grabbed any vehicles that they could to escape, including any push bikes lying about.

          The bicycles became an “issue” in 1965 when it was announced that Crown Princess Beatrix was going to marry a German, Claus von Amsberg, and some people in Amsterdam hung out banners proclaiming “Eerst mijn fiets terug” (First, I want my bicycle back).

      • Yowie

        I didn’t even know that Alexei Sayle played professional rugby.

    • NSWelsham in London

      With Hodge out and no other wingers in the squad (can we still call Hodge a winger?) i voted for JOC in the squad but to cover wing and bring in Kuridrani for the 13, felt this wasnt given enough time.

      • Bobas

        I want Kuri to start on the wing. Nadolo style.

        Less changes, plus it means DHP and Beale can straight switch.

  • Bernie Chan

    WR is a joke. The people citing players post game are worse than the match officials. If Hodge deserved 3 weeks then there are a couple of players who should already be on a plane home and 1 or 2 others cooling their heels..

    • Mica

      It has set a pretty dangerous precedent that really now needs to be maintained at least for the duration of the tournament.
      Accidental high contact is my assessment. It looks to me like he was late getting into the right position to make the tackle and hence him getting pinballed off.
      At the time I fully expected Reece to come off worse for wear as it was a massive collision.
      3 weeks seems like a lot given the circumstance. Let’s see what happens with the Samoan tackles from a consistency point of view.

      • Bernie Chan

        Have the two Samoan players even been cited?
        Don’t think Read even got cautioned for his coathanger on PSDT.
        I think most are baffled by the 6 weeks, reduced to 3, but are looking for consistency in the application….a ‘bridge-to-far’ for WR?

        • Mica

          I don’t believe so. I thought they were both worse than Hodge’s tackle.

    • laurence king

      I’d like to see a stop-watch of that incident and see how much time Hodge actually had. Wouldn’t be much. My conclusion, too much to do, and too little time to do it. Therefore, an accident.

  • Nutta

    Morning Drinkers & Fornicators

    Disappointed for Hodge. Weak decision showing little true appreciation of the game preferring a blind adherence to written-word so some beauracrat can say ‘See – look how strong we are!’. If that was worth 3wks then Read should be missing the whole show from now and Farrell would not have even showed up (suspension still running). I expect the x2 Samoan Exorcet missiles may have already packed their bags

    Hodge out means Beale is certifiably in for Wales. That’s a problem for us based on his opening 25min especially.

    That said, Wales is in strife given their scrum frailties as exposed by our Central European friends and their mounting injury toll

    I actually thought the Aussie Ref was the only decent Blower on the weekend. He policed the breakdown & offside reasonably well. The others…

    Good to see HJH racking up minutes with the Eagles. Good. Should be more of it.

    • AllyOz

      can you be charged with not being inclusive by leaving some people out?

      • Nutta

        Absolutely. One of the definers of bullying or targeting behaviour is the exclusion or omission of the subject-person. Motive is irrelevant as it doesn’t even have to be malicious or even intentional (‘I didn’t think they would like to come given …’). The mere fact it occurred are the grounds for the accusation.

        • Yowie

          The “Liars” group might bring an accusation of bullying-by-exclusion, but their complaint would have credibility issues and probably fail.

        • Nutta

          Context has a lot to do with it always.

          I’ve had to front the Human Rights Comm x3 times over this sort of garbage over the last 10yrs. Thankfully all 3 have been shut down. The best one was when a Lebanese male Islam convert cited me/company for permitting bullying behaviours because an Israeli female Jewish colleague bought a birthday cake (out of her own money) for an Ocker Protestant Christian male colleague. The accusation was he was excluded and thereby bullied (which i somehow permitted) because the cake wasn’t halal… Wow.

          The sad part is that after having a crack through HREOC, the complainant can still go civil/sue. It’s double-dipping double-jeopardy garbage.

        • Yowie

          FFS, you’re as bad as those ethnic-cleansing war criminals from the former Yugoslavia. I hope the judges in The Hague have their black caps handy when they finally get hold of you.

        • Nutta

          It was just platinum plated golden garbage. There was no way the Accuser with his strident views on all manner of subjects was ever going to eat a cake bought from a Kosher bakery (Bondi Jewish) let alone take it from a female, let alone a Jewish person before even considering the fact she bought it as a personal gift for someone else altogether!

        • Yowie

          At the hearing it must have been tempting to say “Your Honours, the Accuser is trying to have his cake and eat it too”

        • Nutta

          Oh no, it was far far easier than that. As the accuser his counsel spoke first, then our counsel which was all pretty dry. Then he was offered a chance to speak and he didn’t disappoint… when the Convenor asked if i wanted to say anything i just ‘Nah, I think xxx has said enough. I’ll rely on our counsel thanks.’

          He dug it all nice and deep on his own.

          But it still cost us $25k in time and fees ffs.

        • Yowie

          That’s awesome (apart from the cost). It must have been a real performance. There is some quote to the effect of “Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself” that seems on-point.
          There is a rumour/factoid that Mark “Chopper” Read’s defence counsel defended him from the murder charges on the condition that Chopper only utter two words during the trial (not guilty). With your mate there I wouldn’t be surprised if his lawyer also recommended the “STFU” strategy, only to be disregarded when the in-court invitation to speak was made to him.

        • Nutta

          He clearly had been so-told … and clearly ignored the advice! The look on his counsels face when he started spewing forth with his religiously loaded palaver was just champagne comedy.

        • Yowie

          Gold. Probably not dissimilar to Raelene’s face when she answered a phone call one night “He’s posted what again now?”

        • AllyOz

          I am sure diversity has a lot of benefits in business but there are some significant hurdles it seems to get it everyone moving together in the right direction.

        • Yowie

          I think that carry-on-merchants come from all backgrounds, it’s just that there are a few extra avenues of complaint available to particular disgruntled d!ckheads. I’d still take that over a society where systemic apartheid-type BS is commonplace .

        • AllyOz

          I definitely think diversity can be a great thing in business where everyone respects each others different views and don’t jump to offence when they perceive someone is having a go at them. I have predominantly worked for smaller companies but there have been a couple where we came from very different backgrounds but got along really well and achieved good things. As part of my role, each Wednesday I would start calling contacts and clients as far west as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, all through Asia finishing in China, Japan and the Philippines and then speak to contacts in Europe and then in Brazil and the US the following morning.

          I personally think that, where a lot of people who are ultra PC get it wrong, is around jokes and a sense of humour. People can get it wrong but laughing and ourselves and each other, is actually, in my view, a way to bond with people from diverse backgrounds. I was surprised the first few times the Indians or Pakistani’s would hang sh*t on me or on themselves or each other but it was reasonably commonplace. I actually found the ones I had the best repoire (sic) with were a couple of Indonesian blokes, and they were always happy to joke about stuff that was going on in the news between the two countries – as long as it was respectful and light hearted.

        • John Tynan

          What I see in the big companies I work for/with is they target “visual” diversity, which is fine, but what they REALLY need is diversity of thought.
          Now you would think that the “visual” diversity SHOULD give you a natural level of diversity of thought, with people coming from a variety of cultures and lived experiences, BUT the big companies put so much effort into branding, onboarding and “culture” that pretty quickly the diversity of thought is weeded out as a nay sayer or too negative or not a team player.
          And then you get left with lots of different people who think in hive mind.

        • AllyOz

          That’s very true, I have seen that before too.

        • Hoss

          Corporate tokenism.

          Window dressing for appearances.

        • Yowie

          “And then you get left with lots of different people who think in hive mind.”

          I agree and so should everyone else here.

        • Nutta

          And i give you the Space Shuttle Challenger as exhibit A.

        • Haz

          an excellent example of this is the BBC. Full of people of all creeds, colours and genders – but all from private schools..

        • Greg

          The same as Mr Trump’s cabinet. Every possible shade of …. blonde and white.

        • Nutta

          I once played a game for the Istanbul Ottomans vs a UN team out of Lebanon called the Cedars. Pretty sure I (Fenian) played with and against Prodo’s, Coptics, Assyrian Christians, Ortho’s, both sets of Islam (Shite & Sunni) and I’m reasonable certain there was also a Jew or 2. Mostly expat diplomat/UN types. No one needed to get shot, stabbed or blown up etc. Had a great time.

        • laurence king

          Only certain groups of people qualify as being able to be offended. I am a white Anglo-Saxon protestant male so it’s all my fault. I’m sorry

    • Crescent

      Also disappointed for Hodge, but not surprised. At least the Samoan pair will also be up for a hearing after their non-red cards for very similar incidents, so WR can claim they are being consistent. What is most frustrating is this will ramp up the pressure on the referees again to be card happy on the field, which risks turning matches at the games showcase tournament into a farce.

      Oh well, notice has been served – let’s see how the administrators continue, and if the coaches work on some new drills to try and reduce the risk of getting carded off the park.

      • AllyOz

        I was a little surprised with 3 games. I thought it might be 1 but it seems it could never have been that given the relative penalties etc and 3 was actually half the full penalty so in that sense he’s lucky.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Dylan,

    Great to see HJH sign on. He’s showing he’s one for the future and this is good news.
    Pocock just comes across as such a legend. I think he’ll be missed when he goes and not just for his play.
    Interesting comments from the RWC on the referees and it’ll be interesting to see their reaction to being thrown under the bus. Perhaps not the best way to manage things.
    I’m not commenting on Hodge. Far too much hate on here for the ABs already on this. I’m hoping it leads to Petaia being given a go

    • Adrian

      Yes KRL, I was hoping for Petaia too. I wonder how fit/unfit he actually is.

      Another alternative to replace Hodge is Kurandrani. I’m not saying it will happen, but not saying it won’t.

      The way to do this is play him in the centres in defense, and right wing in attack. Swapping two guys is easier than swapping everyone, and it happens quite a lot anyway. It might keep Davis quieter and force them to kick, which is just as likely to be to the wings or straight up as it is to fullback.

      At changeover time, first phase they may well kick to Kurandrani’s wing, but most change over kicks aren’t pre-determined.

      Having just written all of that, I’m coming to like the idea!

    • Crescent

      I hear you – the “whatabout-ism” won’t change anything. As I see it, the Samoan pair are before the judiciary for similar hits, so we see WR seeking the consistency. Will be interesting to see the next few matches in terms of how card happy the refs get (coming under significant pressure now), and who the smartest coaches are in terms of adapting their drills to manage the risks. I was hoping he would get fewer weeks, but not to be.

      At the risk of inducing some outraged responses, the AB’s are one of the smartest teams going around at the moment in terms of making the necessary adjustments

      • Nutta

        Absolutely no argument about their ability to manipulate things. What Reid and Cane bluffed their ref into tolerating against the Bokke was worthy of serious acknowledgement.

        • Crescent

          Will watch their next match with keen interest if the refs have been told to keep a closer eye on them. Smart buggers will behave themselves and the scrutiny will move on.

          Having just watched Eng v USA, the chickens are already coming home to roost. First hit – Eng shoulder to USA head – play on. Quill gets a red – for a blatant hit on the best shoulder merchant in the game. Would have been a red any day and twice on Sunday, so no complaints, except from Farrell who channeled the round ball softies. On the irony. Will watch with interest to see if the citing commissioner will stand up to England.

        • Haz

          It’s annoying that it didn’t get looked at because then we would have all the angles and slow mo footage to scrutinise. Personal gut feeling is that the hit was shoulder to shoulder.

          Having said that it was completely stupid to go flying in at that height. Could potentially have cost the game if he had been red carded. Jones will not be impressed with him.

        • Crescent

          From the gif put up by G&GR on FB – looks eerily similar to me to the Samoan hits vs Russia. When I look at the WR framework – we have some boxes ticked for further examination – players head visibly rocked back for example. Should at least face a review or caution (a la Ed Fidow of Samoa). That said, I see that Matu’u had gone before the judiciary and the decision is reserved for 24 hours. Interesting times – they may need to redress the balance of what is acceptable risk and sanctionable offence.

        • Haz

          Definitely agree that it should have been reviewed and glad (ish) that he’s been cited. It’s important to take this issue seriously and be consistent across the games.

        • Crescent

          Doesn’t look good for Francis – he may be in the naughty chair for three weeks. Judiciary has come back on Matu’u and Lee Lo – 3 weeks each for the hits vs Russia and Quill got 3 weeks for the hit on Farrell. Seems the refs are reluctant to red card during the match and are letting the citing commissioner do the deed after the game on this issue unless it is absolutely blatant foul play.

        • Nutta

          They won’t.

    • Hoss

      Spot on re Brian mate. The worlds a better place with the calibre of person he is in it. I’ve read some who speculate he will enter politics. I hope not. He would be stained with the filth of others.

      • Nutta

        I reckon it’s an alien/Matrix plot. He is a reprogrammed Terminator infiltration unit.

        • Yowie

          Now that you mention it, Pocock did first turn up in the nip demanding (in a foreign accent) clothes, boots and a motorcycle.

        • Ads

          Wasn’t it clothes, boots and a prius?

        • Yowie

          Come with me if you want the planet to live.

        • AllyOz

          I could see him riding a BMX

      • AllyOz

        Emma, his wife is a senior strategy and policy adviser for Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and David himself worked at the Australia Institute as an intern during his sabbatical – I have seen it referred to as a left wing policy think tank. I think he will probably have one or two more years of footy in Japan. I think he is a good man but he probably won’t get my vote on those things. Still, all sides of politics need good men if parliament and society is going to function better.

        • Hoss

          I will channel Monty Python – ‘fuck the environment, what’s it done for us lately………….’

        • Yowie

          If anything, by getting hotter & drier with more extreme storms & bushfires, the environment is being even more of a prick to us lately and is in no position to ask for favours.

        • Hoss

          Sorry mate, busy approving coal mines for new housing developments in the Hunter. We need them to power our AC’s, it’s getting so damn hot and dry.

  • muppet

    SOCCER ALERT….be prepared to start seeing some head injury foxing

    • Missing Link

      paging Nicholas Sanchez

      • Haz

        The Argentines are a little bit ‘football’ aren’t they. Was really bad in the France game. No way that ‘tackle’ in the air was anything but the Argie flopped to the floor so ref got mugged into giving it.

    • Yowie

      Bonus feature – free substitution while your suspect head injury is being checked out on the sidelines.

    • Bernie Chan

      Already happens too much in the NRL…players ‘stay down’ post tackle and force the TMO to review the tackle.

  • AllyOz

    This may, but hopefully isn’t, how it works out.

    Hodge out, Beale to inside, Kerevi to outside, JOC to wing, DHP to full back. It is the change that causes the most possible disruption and that’s the only reason I think it might be considered.

    I think it will either be a straight swap for DHP, or a less likely choice of, AAC to the wing.

    It puzzles me a little that we have such little depth in this position as I felt we only recently had some depth. Maybe I was wrong but last season’s Rugby Championship Squad included Tom Banks, Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Jack Maddocks, Sefa Naivalu, Jordan Petaia all as wing options but of those only Marika and DHP can be selected for this game (and AAC who wasn’t in that list).

    If you agree that the Hodge deserved 6 weeks (downgraded to 3) then is that saying it should have really been a Red Card. If it had have been a Red Card at that stage, it would have been a struggle to finish as we did – it wasn’t until Fiji were reduced to 14 that we were able to breakaway (although had them under substantial pressure at that stage). And if that was the case, we could have lost to the team that 6 days later lost to Uruguay.

    I am not confident for Wales, you might have guessed that though.

    • Custard Taht

      I’d switch JOC to 15 if we are going to move him from 13.

      • Patrick

        I’d do it anyway if they aren’t selecting DHP

        • Custard Taht

          Agreed.

    • RedAnt

      I agree. The lack of true wingers in this squad is a real worry. Remember DHP getting caught way out of position in Auckland? And that’s before even considering the speed deficit.

    • Nutta

      Yeh Nah.

      My vote for Wales given Hodge is out:

      White/L’fano
      Kevy/K’drani
      Kori/Sauce/JOC

      Bring Beale on at 60min to run at tiring defences.

  • Frosty morning

    An interesting twist… it seems that the referumps are allowing players to get away with more on the field and then the judiciary mop up the mess afterwards. In one way that’s good because a red card, especially early in a game, can really ruin a game. I wonder if there is a real reluctance by the refs to pull out the red at this tournament – they seem to be doing everything they can to avoid it (including putting their head in the sand… )

    • AllyOz

      In a way its good but in another way not. It is better than the team you are playing against when you commit an illegality is the one that benefits from any sanction against you. This way its actually the teams you face going forward that benefit and not the one that has been impinged against.

      • Brumby Runner

        That’s true enough AO in respect of the card. But in case of any further suspension it is always the teams faced in following weeks who benefit.

        • AllyOz

          and there’s no real way to get around that. If a sanction is required, its required.

  • AllyOz

    oh sh&t…guilty as charged there I’m afraid… I will rephrase all politic parties need good people

    • laurence king

      I know a person is both man and woman and also a squirrel

      • AllyOz

        That’s exactly the sort of person/squirrel we need representing our countrymen(and women….and squirrels)

        • laurence king

          Unfortunately, the squirrel is Spanish. Not sure of the nationality/ies of the other pair

    • Nutta

      Your representation of ‘good’ is nothing more than a cultural assimilation of the oppressed into a white male Christian external extention of the existing patriarchy you social-colonising dictator!

      I’m offended.

      • AllyOz

        You are definitely a prop Nutta with all those big words. I mainly played lock so, after spending, 45 minutes with a dictionary and thesaurus, I will come back to you with a witty rejoinder.

  • AllyOz

    I discovered the word f*cktard today (in the same sense as Cpt Cook discovered Australia I guess…well actually someone called me it but that’s like discovering).

    It is incredibly useful word and one I will use again and again (in fact I have already used it several times this arvo).

    And to think that I was of the opinion that Millennials had never made a decent contribution to the world… they’re still f%cktards though.

    • Custard Taht

      You can still hold that opinion…..Fucktard pre-dates millennials.

      • AllyOz

        This is turning out like time I discovered Radiohead in 2017….

    • Geoffro

      Given that it is highly offensive and pc incorrect to call a person a retard these days I’m sure it’s more sensitive to call someone a fucktard

      • AllyOz

        fair enough

  • GeorgiaSatellite

    Fiji loses to Uruguay! I’d say, if not the first two spots, third in our group is well-and-truly up for grabs. This is important because third place automatically qualifies for the next RWC.

  • Bernie Chan

    Italy thumped Canada…the Azzurri #7 is some player!
    Early observation…they might not be all hardcore rugby fans, but the Japanese sports fans are THE best. I had the occasion to attend a football WC qualifier in Yokohama when our Socceroos were fighting with the Blue Samurai for the last couple of spots in the WC. The chanting was amazing, but the silence when the announcer mentioned a ‘minutes silence’ out of respect for the people who died in the Ash Wednesday fires in Victoria astounded the thousands of Aussies in the away stands. I swear the birds stopped chirping! And post game, anyone who spoke English basically said “glad you came. See you for the next game in Australia…”.

    Such enthusiasm wrapped in an amazing respect for the occasion and event. No boors or yobs…bloody brilliant. WR are messed up, but holding the RWC in Japan was a great decision…

  • Parker
Rugby
@DylanGLanges

Once captained the 3rds Rugby team, but then again so did Nick Farr-Jones

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