Welcome to Hump Day team. Weekend and finals rugby getting closer while we still manage to bask in the glory of the week just gone. Some big games last weekend and certainly my SuperBru competition had a couple of games where no points were scored by any of the participants as the results were way different to expected.
Not mentioned below but congratulations to the Australian men’s 7s on their latest win. They fought a good fight and never gave up. Well done.
Some quiet complaints against the Rebels not playing for the Force
In a post that seems to be just there for the bites it’ll receive Wayne Smith has suggested that the Rebels gave the Force a push in the face last weekend by not going for the extra points and thereby sending them to the finals instead of the Highlanders. He even managed to bring in the time when John Landy went back during a race to assist Ron Clarke as an example of sportsmanship that should have been followed.
Of course later in the article he starts being real again noting that the Rebels could have played on and lost and that would have been “devastating to fans and sponsors, particularly as the game was already won.” And this is the actual point.
Sure it would have been nice and if they’d tried and failed but still won then everything would have been OK and the Force would be happy. But the recriminations of trying to win, getting it wrong and having the Highlanders win, while not changing the finals outcome, would have had a serious repercussion for the Rebels, their fans and sponsors. This way they can still claim the win and have something positive out of what has been a poor season. The Rebels are a bit of a disaster, some good individual players in their lineup from day one but never really a serious contender for any titles. They seem to lack just something that prevents them from being as good as the sum of their players could be.
I think the decision to finish on a win was the right one and sorry, Perth, but if you want to be in the finals just win more games.
The Judiciary does it again as Kepu gets a 3 match ban while Matera avoids a citing.
Yet again the judiciary seems to be very selective in adjudicating on issues during the weekend. For Kepu the judiciary stated “With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 6 weeks due to the World Rugby instructions that dictate any incident of foul play involving contact with the head and/or neck must start at a mid-range level. Taking into account mitigating factors including the Player’s extensive playing career, remorse, and his acceptance of foul play, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 3 weeks. The player is therefore suspended for 3 weeks, up to and including 25 June 2022.”
Meanwhile, Matera will be free to play in Friday’s quarter-final against the Queensland Reds after his cleanout avoided any sanctioning. This does appear to be differing standards but in truth Petaia did land on his shoulder not head or neck and so under the guidelines it was the correct decision. I also think, although not 100% sure, that to be cited after a game, the opposition coaching team have to raise the issue. Maybe Thorn didn’t think it was worth it.
Personally I have a lot of issues with the judiciary. I think they are actually working against the guidelines of World Rugby and are bringing in points that it is not their game to view. I think there are 2 main issues.
Firstly, I would prohibit any lawyers from attending any hearings. It’s not a court of law and while there are sanctions imposed on players it’s not like they have a legally recognised sentences imposed. So in my mind the player and coach should be the only ones attending, state their case as to why it happened and then let the judiciary deal with it.
The 2nd issue is that in accordance with law 6.5.a. the referee is never wrong in his/her call. Under the laws of the game they are the only person who can judge fact and law during a game. Therefore, the role of the judiciary is not to decide on whether the ruling by the referee was correct or not as under law 6.5.a he/she can’t be wrong. The role of the judiciary should be just to decide the punishment for the ruling the referee made.
Now I know referees, like players, make mistakes but I think that is actually irrelevant in this case. I remember my first game as a referee and I was a tad nervous. I told my wife about the law and she laughed and said as an officer in the defence force I have lived by being right even when I was wrong and that this is no different so stop being a dick. She was 100% correct.
Waratahs buoyed by wins against NZ
According to Melissa Woods “Waratahs playmaker Tane Edmed says their recent taste of beating Kiwi teams has “humanised” their trans-Tasman rivals ahead of their sudden-death Super Rugby Pacific final against the Chiefs on Saturday.” After beating the Crusaders in Sydney and the Highlanders in Dunedin, Edmed says his team will head to Hamilton for the quarter-final confident they can match the Chiefs. “It humanises the Kiwis a little bit, we know that we can beat them over there,” said Edmed, who announced a two year contract extension on Tuesday.
Personally I think the signing of Edmed is great and he certainly has a long future if he continues to improve and develop a better kicking game. But I also think he may be getting ahead of himself a bit. It’s great to see the Tahs go so well this year, especially after the disaster that was 2021, and I think Coleman has done a great job in building the team’s culture and confidence and I hope this goes forward into the Wallabies.
However, I think the Waratahs will struggle moving past this stage in the same way that the Canes, Highlanders and Reds will struggle. I’m not sure a win against the Crusaders B team and the poorest team in NZ is a good basis for thinking they can beat the 3rd best team at home but I do admire his confidence.
At the same time as I’ve mentioned before; on their day any team can beat any other team if things go their way so let’s see how it goes.
How to adjudicate a Tackle/Ruck
So I thought I’d just go through the process a referee goes through during a contact in a game to show how they, or I, have to think. Now as before when I’ve posted referee things these are my thoughts only and in no way is an official referee endorsed post. Plus it’s after dinner, I’m a couple of red wines down and lets just see where this goes.
So a ball carrier running in the game makes contact with an opposition. Here are some of the thoughts and processes I follow
- Was the tackle legal? How high was the contact? Did it move up during the hit? Did the tackler use his arms and attempt to grab the ball carrier?
- Does the ball carrier go to ground (1 knee on the ground is all it takes)? When he does do the tacklers release him straight away?
- Does the person hitting him go to ground? If he does he’s officially a tackler, if not then he isn’t considered a tackler.
- If the defending player doesn’t go to ground does he clearly release the tackled player before going for the ball and is he approaching it from an on side position?
- Does the defender trying to jackle support himself on his feet and not his arms? He can place hands on the ground and then go for the ball but not elbows and not stay on the ground.
- If the tackler does go to ground, does he land in a position that enables him to roll clear? (This is the tackler’s responsibility. If he gets caught up and pinned blocking the ball he needs to change his technique or he gets penalised. Players hate this but meh!)
- Does the tackler immediately roll clear and does he do it sideways? (unlike the Brumbies rolling into the 9s space)
- Does the tackled player immediately place the ball and then release it? Does he try to clear out of the way? – again moving sideways.
- Does the first defender arrive before the ruck is formed? (one person from each side in contact over the ball)
- If he does arrive first, does he arrive from an onside position? Does he get hands on the ball and attempt to lift it? – can’t just hold the ball in must show intent to lift it out.
- Once a defender arrives the ruck is formed but if the jackle has his hands on the ball he can continue to try and gain possession even if he is driven off his feet by the arriving defenders.
- Is the defending player binding properly on the tackle or opposition? Not around the neck or head.
- Do the arriving players stay on their feet or are they diving onto the ruck to slow the ball?
- As players arrive do they bind from the last man and not move forward?
- Are the other players around the ruck on side and do they stay on side? Is the backline defending on side all the way to the wing or are they creeping up as the ruck develops?
- Are the blockers on side? (at the level of the last person and not moving into the way of a player coming through)
- Once the ball comes out the next player takes it into contact and we start again.
So that’s a small, a very small, part of the job. It’s probably not a wonder we get it wrong sometimes and remember depending on where I’m standing will depend on what I see and rule on. Plus I always have to consider the materiel effect of anything and does it warrant stopping the game for. All good fun and I love it.