My fellow Hosstralians.
You have a decision to make this weekend and the choice is clear:
Vote #1 G&GR Friday’s Rugby News!
Today there’s so much rugby news it’s still barely enough. Come down the rabbit hole of insanity with me as we look at Word Rugby’s new ‘Waterboy’ Trial Laws, dive into the penultimate round of SRP with Round #14 Previews, take a spin on the judiciary chocolate wheel of sanctions in ‘refs are wrong’, look at the official Wallaroo Selections for ‘Pacific Four‘ and round it all out with Friday’s Goss with Hoss – tipped to hold the balance of power in the Lower House come Sunday morning. Be afraid people, be very afraid.
As an individual you’d have to feel special wouldn’t you, when a global governing body introduces a major law ‘trial’ effectively to stamp out your actions from spreading like a plague through the game of rugby? So it would seem with World Rugby’s (WR) new trial law regarding the amount, frequency and title of those entering the field of play with water. You can read full details of the trial law evaluation at rugbypass.com, however, said ‘trial’ is aimed fairly and squarely to stop a repeat/proliferation of actions of one R Erasmus and his on field ‘involvements’ as ‘waterboy’ with his side, The Catholics, like those during the 2021 FUKIRS tour of South Africa.
Look, I generally like South Africans (from a distance) and they have bought a lot to the lives of many. Apartheid for one, that accent, a mix of Rottweiler growling while choking on kitten, inflated property prices in St Yves and their disarming, positive and sunny dispositions, plus who could ever forget ‘Suzie the waitress’ (does Erasmus own a skirt, hmmmmmm?) but when it comes to rugby they also seem to be, well, not ‘cheating’ exactly, but looking for advantage anyway they can by breaking the laws.
In general, the never-ending procession of ‘non-players’ onto the field in international rugby has become a blight on the game. Yes, absolutely player welfare must be a priority, but WR are to be congratulated for having the canastas and foresight to initiate this trial and hopefully:
- Address the actions of Jaco Johan.
- Improve the ‘spectacle’ of rugby while addressing genuine player welfare needs.
The final word should go to Rassie though, with tongue firmly (I think?) planted in cheek – this was his response on twitter to the new trial:
“Was just talking to my line manager yesterday, she also thought ‘Director of Rugby’ has such a formal ring to it. We agreed that Director of Coaching will be a so much better title for me! Lekka! Can’t wait.
SRP Round #14
We are near the pointy end of the regular season for SRP and with home semis, resting players, injuries and form slides, there’s a heap to discuss. All teams, times and coverage courtesy of the Minister for Propaganda and Social Club Secretary in the Hosstralia Parliament, Nathan Williamson of rugby.com.au and the current Super Rugby ‘ladder’ can be found here
Crusaders v Fijian Drua
Friday 20 May 5:05 pm AEST at OrangeTheory Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
Due to other commitments I missed the Drua v MP game last week and only caught it last night and what a cracking first 40 of rugby by the Drua, it was breathless, it was beautiful, it was how the game is meant to be played. If they could do that for 80 against the Crusaders than anything is possible. But we all know the Saders tend to impose their rugby will on demand. Even without Princess Mo’unga this week they should still be to strong at home.
Fearless Prediction: Crusaders by 24
Queensland Reds v Moana Pasifika
Friday 20 May 7:45 pm AEST at Suncorp Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
‘No team will want to face the Reds in the finals’. ‘Dirty Harry’ Wilson. Ahhhh the brashness and confidence of youth. Well big ‘H’ – you gotta get there first and this game against the MP gents ain’t no ‘gimme’.
The Communists welcome back Wilson (concussion) & McReight (flu) for this match to help shore up a largely undermanned Reds pack. The Reds are up to #28th hooker used this season in Matt Faessler for this one and are missing plenty of cattle. The return of JOC last week certainly steadied the team, even if the quality of pill he got was completely shite he still looked all class in a well beaten side.
As for MP they are big, physical, abrasive and love a scrap and the longer they stay close to the Reds on the scoreboard, the more they will fancy their chances. So, the Reds would want to jump out of the blocks quick, real quick.
Fearless Prediction: Reds, only just – by 8. But it wouldn’t surprise me at all if………………..
Chiefs v Western Force
Saturday 21 May 2:35 pm AEST at FMG Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
The Chiefs have been the most inconsistent of all the Kiwi sides and the Rebs will be kicking themselves for letting last week’s win slip through their fingers.
On paper I reckon the Force look the strongest they have all year. To look at the ladder doesn’t tell the full story to the Force’s year. A bounce of the ball here, a call there and they could be well established in the 8 with it all to play for. With only two rounds remaining, their final chances dusted and a new coach coming, their efforts in this game, more than the scoreline will be what counts most
Fearless Prediction: Chiefs by 12 but Force to walk off with heads up and chests out.
Hurricanes v Melbourne Rebels
Saturday 21 May 5:05 pm AEST at Sky Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
Well, as Mike and the Mechanics said ‘all I need is a miracle’ and that’s exactly what the Rebels need to make the finals this year. Are they capable of upsetting the Canes at home, even without the Canes inspirational skipper Ardie ‘Three Knees’ Savea?
It would be soooooo ‘Rebel like’ to play outta their skins in the last two rounds, only to ‘cruelly’ miss the finals wouldn’t it. With nothing to lose perhaps the Rebs will be more relaxed, more resilient and more effective. After all they should have won last week and Three Knees is out. You know what, bugger it……..
Fearless Prediction: Rebels by 11.
Brumbies v Blues
Saturday 21 May 7:45 pm AEST at GIO Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
Let’s be blunt. The Ponies were uglier than Toddler snot last week. No Valetini, no Lolesio shouldn’t mean ‘no fight’. They were poor, exceedingly so and no doubt Chuckles Mackellar and co would have stuck it to them this week, so un-Brumby like was last week’s shit-show. That said they run headlong into the competition pace setters and best team so far this year, the Auckland Blues whose form is ‘white hot’ and shows no signs of abating any time soon.
The Ponies are at home, Lolesio is back in #10, sure they will be chastened, hurting and embarrassed, but good enough to stop the Blue wave………..
Fearless Prediction: No. Blues by 19
Highlanders v Waratahs
Sunday 22 May 1:35 pm AEST at Forsyth Barr Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
The weekend rugby smorgasbord ends with a delectable offering at the fan friendly time of Sunday afternoon AEST.
With the Tahs top #8 and finals appearance already locked in they have taken the chance to rest a number of players. Gus Bell & Jed Holloway are both enjoying a week out to nurture weary minds and aching bodies to refresh ahead of an unexpected (not by me) finals campaign. However the form Australian #13 of the year Izzy Perese is also out of action for 3-6 weeks after last week’s knee injury.
That said, there is still so much to play for, with an outside chance of a home SF if they can get over the Landers and then the Blues at Leichhardt next week – that’s some ‘if’ though. Of all the NZ teams the Landers have the least scary look to them. Under Commissioner Gordon the Tahs have been a well lead and capable team this year. Add in the return of Hoops to the run on side, the form and work rate of Porecki and the unity of the side it’s no surprise I ‘like’ them for this one too.
Fearless Prediction: Go you good things. Tahs by 13
‘REFS ARE WRONG AGAIN, AREN’T THEY?’ – JUDICIARY.
Once again the SANZAAR judiciary has seemingly sunk the slipper into SRP match day officials, issuing Tahs prop Paddy Ryan an apology, bus fare reimbursement & $25 in McDonald’s vouchers before doing similar for 72 year old Kiwi & Western Force journeyman Richard Kahui with a $50 Bunnings voucher and the apologies of the committee.
In both cases the players were issued red cards for offences deemed to meet the red card threshold in their respective matches, yet in both cases both players ‘walked’ away without sanction after their judiciary hearings.
It’s interesting ain’t it. For mine (Tahs bias aside – if possible) there were so many moving parts to Ryan’s tackle: multiple tacklers, a ‘swivelling and lowering’ Barrett, I couldn’t see how it could possibly be a red. Kahui’s I thought the same, even though it was a ‘one-on-one’ tackle I didn’t see it as red card.
For the record, I am completely on the side of player welfare. But if contact with the head is a red card, regardless of ‘contributing or mitigating’ factors, then pack up the game and be done with it now, cause the code is done for. The collisions our game generates are at speed, with giant humans, often with multiple tacklers and with sudden change of directions, through either attacking players change of directions or other tacklers altering collision zones, that occasional head contact is and will forever be a by-product. By all means if the contact is reckless, deliberate, wilful or could be avoided then penalties and suspensions should be harsh and appropriate. However, where the contact is incidental and attributable to other factors, then surely there must be a degree of caution shown by match officials before reaching for the red. To that end I actually though BOK’s handling of a previous game, that of Tahs v Crusaders at Leichhardt, was first rate around ‘contact with the head’ decisions, that to me showed common sense and terrific rugby ‘situational awareness’ by him and his team. The first was a clash of heads where the Saders tackler had lowered their body height, the height and trajectory of the tackled player was impacted by other play, so therefore there were reasonable ‘mitigating’ circumstances. It was deemed a ‘rugby collision’, penalty, on we go. Now a few minutes later the same Saders players does not drop his body height, comes out of the line and clashes heads with Hooper – footage here. High posture from the defender, no contributing factors for mitigation from the other tackler who was low, clear red.
What I think we can all agree on is that there appears to be a ‘seismic’ disconnect between the written laws and intent as stated to match officials and the interpretations of the same by the judiciary. To give all parties some clarity, guidance and consistency I’d suggest starting at a lower threshold for a potential offence of:
- Penalty first
- Yellow Card second
- Red card last.
This would appear to allow scope for discussion and mitigation first while allowing MOs to discuss and ratchet up punishment accordingly, while relieving the pressure valve of starting at red first. Not once this season have I heard any match official talk the ref down from red, where a ref has initially started at a ‘red card’ position.
Not every referee decision is right, nor is every judiciary decision wrong, so therefore someone needs to better align these two levels of discipline so players, fans and stakeholders alike all get a better, more consistent outcome and the officials involved from match day to judiciary can make decisions in unity knowing they are all on the same page.
The Wallaroos have confirmed their 32-player squad for next month’s Pacific Four series in New Zealand.
The Wallaroos will open their account against world number two Black Ferns on June 6 in Tauranga, their first match-up against the Kiwis since 2019.
They will then travel to Waitakere to play the USA on June 12, before rounding out their tournament against Canada six days later in Whangārei.
I love the concept and everything about it. Would love to have had Fiji & Japan involved and make it a ‘Pacific 6 Nations’, but small steps first I guess.
With the Women’s RWC hitting our shores in 2029 I am really looking forward to watching the code and our girls grow in coming years go well Roos, go well.
FRIDAY’S GOSS WITH HOSS
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that Michael Cheika is a good coach with a proven record, especially when it comes to short periods and tournament play. So beware the FISMs with Cheika now adding Felipe Contepomi (attack) and David Kidwell (defence) to his coaching ranks. Put it this way, I expect the Argies to still be there long after the ‘Liptons’ sides of Ireland and Scotland have exited the Cup.
Cuicado con los pumas!
A lot of comments this week regarding Kiriffi’s one handed salute to some scumbags at Leichhardt taunting him along race & family grounds. Good read from the SMH on the matter & kudos to the Tahs management for their handling of this matter and their pro-active approach to both Du’Plessis and the Canes franchise & fans in general. It’s great to see the Tahs organisation walking the talk.
To those who may have witnessed the event I beseech you to remember:
‘the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing’
Australian-born, Japanese rugby consultant, English coach, Eddie ‘Dr Evil’ Jones, has thrown a Hail Mary and invited prodigious 19 yo talent Henry Arundell (if you haven’t yet seen that try check out Iain Payten’s SMH Article) into the English training squad. And it seems none other than our own Nick ‘The Bovine Sprinkler’ Phipps is suitably impressed. Not sure if that’s an endorsement or an indictment?
Won’t matter Eddie, we gotcha this time, 3 zip.
Kiwis change rules to suit themselves. Sun also sets in the west.
When is a Tongan-born and raised player allowed to play for the Nearlies? Well whenever it suits New Zealand. Derrrr.
More from stuff.co.nz
The good news keeps-a-comin‘.
Confirmation out of RA that the Oceania Under 20s tournament is to be hosted on the Sunshine Coast this July 1 – 10. More here from rugby.com.au
Which brings us to the most horrid, blatant infringing I have seen in an age here. The contact is high, off the ball, wilful and without mitigation of any kind, I’d describe the actual impact as ‘sickening’. Interesting to see the sanctions issued this Saturday, if any…..
Don’t forget to vote this weekend and remember “democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried.”
Hoss – out.