The Tuesday top five - Green and Gold Rugby
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The Tuesday top five

The Tuesday top five

The Bledisloe the Wallabies lost

The Wallabies lost that Bledisloe match in Sydney last Saturday. When you have an All Black player absent for 20 minutes in a close game and you enjoy two-thirds of possession and territory you have to win.

I have just had a chance to start watching my replay of the Bledisloe having been at the ground on Saturday night after running through a downpour to get inside the stadium. I had no idea if my seat was under cover or not, but luckily it was, just.

It’s strange to watch a replay when you have seen it from another angle and some things surprised me though I watched through binoculars at the ground. Here are some stray Tuesday thoughts, in no particular order:

Not the best haka


• I like watching the haka but the one they performed on Saturday night isn’t a patch on the strident cadence of the “Ka mate” haka of Te Rauparaha.

• To beat the All Blacks is always difficult but the Wallabies can improve by playing the head game better—sometimes physical or skill attributes don’t matter.

Folau taking the ball across the plane to give NZ the first lineout throw – Fardy ending up in a ruck where he wouldn’t have been had there been a snake where he landed – were within a minute of each other. And when they restarted after Cruden kicked the penalty goal the Aussies were in front of the kicker.

Those things had nothing to do with skill; and all that was at the start of the game. Then there were the too-long passes in the wet, and so on—and yet we talk about other things most of the time.

Aaron Smith – the butcher


• Not that the All Blacks started brilliantly: the way that Aaron Smith butchered a try coming straight towards me at the ground made up for the mistakes of the Wobs up to then.

• Then Fardy got pinged in the lineout not long after. I love the way he plays but there is a good reason why he was one of the most penalised guys in Super Rugby this year: he is not as good as the Kiwis are at being invisible—though he had a good run for his money on the last EOYT.

• The 30 metre kick-throughs by the Blacks were effective as they had the Aussie fullback coming forward and someone else running back to retrieve the ball and getting in each other’s way. I thought Hansen out-coached McKenzie in this element of rugby but, strangely, they started to kick longer in the second half.

• Peyper had a horrible game in the Super Rugby semi-final at Allianz Stadium and was poor at ANZ also in Bledisloe I. The most considerate, yet also the worst thing you could say about him is that he tried his best.

He is supposed to be the fifth-ranked referee in the world. This game deserved a higher ranked ref and as it turned out the conditions made that more necessary.

Say what you want about Joubert and the Super Rugby final but he let the game breathe. Peyper nearly suffocated the test match.

Jaco Peyper – the game needed to breathe


• One could see that the election to scrum before half time took advantage of the All Black yellow card which rid the NZ oprichniki of one of their raiding backrowers, but I was almost in despair when that decision was made instead of taking the easy penalty goal.

• Pat McCabe and Rob Horne were not bad types of wingers for the conditions as it turned out, and Horne had a strong game, but they needed a fit Henry Speight to score that try we blew and we had nobody else in the stable of that Ioane type when the big chance came.

My first thought at the ground was that the Waratahs would have scored that try and watching highlights in the news didn’t make me change my opinion. To be fair the Tahs woud have benefited from months of playing together—but it was still a what-if moment.

And one wondered why a field goal attempt was not set up near the end of the game. What-if.

• The All Blacks were not the commanding figures of recent times and nor were they when the Wallabies stopped their winning streak in Brisbane with another try-less draw two years ago; but full marks to the Black Death for trying to run the ball from their own half at the end of the game (on both occasions) trying to keep their streak going.

Romain Poite – will be harsher on the Wallabies’ scrum at Eden Park


• I’m only up to 20 minutes of the replay, having seen news highlights already of some items mentioned. I will spare readers from “War and Peace” but at the ground I thought that Romain Poite would be harsher on our scrums at Eden Park than Jaco was at ANZ.

• The 1984 Wallaby backs would have done better in the rain than this lot. Thirty years ago they played close and you would often see three backs just a couple of metres apart moving the ball to each other and maybe some of them looping around. The short passes they used would have been better than the longer Harbour Bridge passes with a wet ball I saw on Saturday night.

• It was good to see the physicality of the Aussie teams in the Super Rugby semi-final a few weeks ago reproduced by all the Wallaby forwards in the test match.

• Despite my criticisms, the Wallabies did better in the rain than they have in the past when they have been like babes in the woods. Their one-point win against Argentina in Perth last year was also a good rain effort; so maybe there is a favourable Wallaby wet weather forecast for the World Cup next year.

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  • Stin

    I thought, ‘there’s a chance of another draw in Auckland’, and then I saw – Romain Poite! Dear god help us.

  • RubberLegs

    Does the Captain say “take a field goal”? Can he do the maths? Is one of the Wallabies designated to attempt one? Has the world’s greatest fullback ever tried to drop kick the ball?

    • Braveheart81

      My guess is the field goal attempt would have happened a phase or two later if we hadn’t given a penalty away first phase off the scrum. Hooper said in the press conference that they talked about it prior to the scrum.

  • brumby runner

    I think Aus rugby’s woeful efforts in the wet have been a bit of an urban myth for a couple of years now.

    The Brumbies have generally won their games in the wet over the past couple of years (since Jake White is my theory) and I also have a feeling the Tahs have been better lately as well. That improved performance is now coming through in the Wallabies. I certainly don’t feel quite so nervous any more when it’s raining.

  • Jack M

    I can’t wait for the NRC. Got my Rams membership and will also pick up one with NSW Country – looking forward to a trip home to Forbes to see them at either Orange or Dubbo.

    Eagles should get support from towns like Forbes, Parkes, Cowra and the like – all with strong clubs and relatively close to the regional hubs of Dubbo and Orange (clever organising in first season before taking them elsewhere in years to come). Easy to get a car load together for an afternoon game just over yonder, or if you take the family you can even get the shopping out of the way.

    Can’t wait for first round match up between Rams and Eagles, this Saturday, Coogee Oval at 2pm. There’ll be a break in the rain, a few beers, and a cracking game with all involved looking to make a great first impression. Get out and see how it goes!

    The teams don’t need a hundred years of history and “tribalism” behind them to succeed like some have been claiming – what they need is support and the history will build itself (not to mention the tribalism between the likes of Rams and Rays, City v Country, Stars v all and sundry)

    • MM

      My 2 teams as well so will also get there on Saturday pm with a trip to the city from the mountains. REALLY looking forward to this tournament. I remember the ARC and watching a young TPN at Parramatta stadium and thinking “Crikey this bloke’s going to go far” as he tore it up. What’s happened with Eastwood, anyone know who they’re joining, or are they still sulking?

  • Robson

    Although Ngati Toa have given their blessing to the All Blacks to use “Kamate”, it still isn’t their haka and – in my humble opinion – they should be using Kapa O Pango all the time; because it’s been especially written for them. I don’t like that one either much. The tranlation is just a shade too pompous for my liking, but that is just my opinion. In fact i would prefer them not to do a haka at all! I feel the Wallabies are not being given the credit they deserve for their performance on Saturday, but not just from this article which is reasonably well balanced. In spite of not being able to score when the ABs were a man down (twice), which I don’t think would have been the case on a dry day, the ABs only looked like scoring once.

    • Observer

      I was keen to see the Kamate up close at the match. I don’t think much of the Kapa O Pango. Just doesn’t have the same feeling to it.

      • Robson

        I agree, it doesn’t and maybe that’s because there is some pretty important history behind Kamate.

    • Help

      I really liked the Kamate, and enjoy the variation. But each to their own.

  • Who?

    Jaco went ok with the scrums. He wasn’t ‘kind’ to us. He was pretty even handed. Against pretty well every other team, Crockett would’ve been pinged for boring. Franks was on his knees quite a bit. And Jaco did actually enforce the laws regarding pre-engagement and early shoves. SO there’s no reason to think the ABs were hard done by there, or that we gained a kindness.
    That said, Poite’s an idiot when reffing scrums. He goes into games with preconceived ideas, then executes them until he feels he can issue a card. The IRB loves him, but he’s far from infallible.
    And Jaco was kind in other areas? Let’s think back to last year – last year, the ABs were giving away the same high numbers of penalties, and the Wallabies were much less penalized (well, in TRC). The only unusual thing was that they got the YC’s they somehow have consistently avoided for years… I’m sure there’s an article on here in the last year or two showing how the ABs copped more penalties than the Boks and Wallabies, yet managed to get away with practically no cards… Maybe the YC’s are coming home to roost?

  • Pclifto

    Best 3 referees in the world for an open game and a fair contest:

    1. Joubert
    2. Nigel Owens
    3. Steve Walsh

    Say what you want about them but the games they ref are almost always rollicking, exciting games.

    We obviously can’t get Walshie to ref Bledisloe games… why not get Nigel down here?

    Payper is a goose and Poite not much better… and I agree he will be harsher on the Wallaby scrum this week.

    • Chinese Dave

      They should let Walsh ref Bledisloe. He’s a Kiwi after all…

      But I agree, Rugby should also be a spectacle and those refs you mention usually allow one to happen.

      • Pclifto

        I understand (and someone will surely confirm this for me) that to ref a Test, the referee cannot be from one of the countries playing.

        This doesn’t apply to refereeing of Super Rugby however…

      • Nick

        Walsh is the perfect Bledisloe Ref really.

    • Davo

      I’ve seen a lot of criticism of Peyper this week, but I think it’s important to differentiate between the “biased/inaccurate” based criticisms, and the “boring” ones. In my view it’s possible to be scrupulously even handed, fair and accurate, yet to still be a bad ref due to killing the game and turning off spectators. Peyper falls into this category. If an infringement is not having a material impact on the play, then for goodness sake LET THE GAME FLOW JACO!
      I know all the unfit props will moan about this, because pedantic unnecessary penalties are a great chance for them to have a rest. And loss weary expats from countries whose only skillsets are scrums and penalty goals will complain because they need lots of stoppages to have any chance of winning. But the other 95% of the rugby viewing public wants to see the game continue. The IRB should be assessing refs based continuity criteria, not just on technical accuracy. If they did Peyper would get a big FAIL.

    • GD

      Were you at the Warratahs-Crusaders game? Joubert managed to squeeze any life out of that game which came down to who he decided to penalise last. With another ref the Warratahs may have got to run the ball, score some decent points and firm up the result. I think the public want to see rugby players running around the paddock, not standing round watching the #10 slot penalties. Make penalties 1 point and you will put the outcome of the game in the hands of the players rather than the ref.

      • Chris

        I was at the Tahs/Saders final and Joubert could have blown 3 times the number of penalties that he did. Both teams did their best all night to kill the opposition ruck ball. The ref has two choices – let it go, which drags the game down, or penalise it.
        It was a much better game than Bledisloe 1, all facets in play – 2 tries each, lots of very hard defence and not a whole lot of tactical kicking (except Dagg who played himself out of the ABs).
        The main criticism of most refs is when they pull penalties out of thin air. That wasn’t Joubert, but it was Peyper.
        Eliminate long arm penalties for all except foul play and also eliminate the scrum option from short arm. You want to see some running? That’d do it.

        • GD

          Fair enough, then the problem is with the game. Either way it needs to be fixed to improve the game. Im a family of 5 so regularly attending a Warratahs season then Internationals is a significant expenditure – we need more than what rugby is offering, the rules are too complex and there is too much standing around watching #10s kick the ball. I heard a league guy joke, “they have to put up the reason for the penalty on the screen because no one would know otherwise’ – and he is exactly right.

  • Richard9

    If you wish to win against the All Blacks, we must get rid of the lazy , use by date players still in the pack. Namely Kepu, Simmons, Paulu and Fardy. All very inaffective theses days, and should be thinking of Xmas presents for there grandchildren. Even playing 14 men for 20 minutes didnt help with these pathetic answers for our Wallaby best forward pack.
    Get some grunt in the pigs with McCalman, Higginbottom, Jones and Weeks. No backwards steps in those 4.

    • brumby runner

      Ha, ha. Ben has been tried and found wanting at test level on a couple of occasions at least. Grunt and McCalman don’t go together. Weeks would be a much better option than Cowan but is injured. Jones day will come in the next year or so, but Higgers certainly deserves to be there. ATM as backup to Palu, and should come on with 20 to go in concert with Skelton to replace Simmons.

      • topgun

        who is Jones replacing in the next year? why all of the sudden do we have plenty of locks, no tightheads (Laurie weeks is a joke) and no wingers

      • Chris

        Weeks is a tightie and Pek a loosie. Comparison irrelevant.

    • Hugh Cavill

      Haha comedy gold! Yeah get Kepu out, what a lazy bastard, he could only go hard for 78 minutes before hitting the wall. Cliff, I know you topped the run count and hit plenty of rucks, but on your bike mate. Simmons… see you later, and Fardy, you’re a fucking joke mate. What we need are players who know how to WIN… we need some fucking REBELS up in here.

  • joeyjohns

    I don’t agree with your statement regarding Scrums mate. Both Crockett and Franks were guilty of dropping their binds and having a hand on the ground for stability – instant penalty.

    Sadly this rule seems to only be enforced during RWC’s.

  • Phil

    I love your work,Lee,but to be picky,there is a word which I really hate and it is “wunderkind”.Not even sure why I hate it.Maybe just because it is not English.
    Anyway,keep up the great work.

  • Nick

    Thanks for the news round-up mate. Excellent stuff.

  • mark

    can anyone tell me who most penalised player in workld rugby is?

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