Good morning fellow G&GRs it’s midweek, time to put last week’s disappointments behind us, or if you’re Eloise the successes, and look forward to what the weekend will bring. Yes things seem bad, but I woke up and got out of bed without falling over, the sun came up and life goes on. Now I’m not so much a “glass half full”, or “glass half empty” kind of person, as more of a “we can fill the glass up” person. As I sit here writing this with a nice glass of Ardbeg Anthology to help my clarity of thought, I’m thinking of all the other things going on in world rugby and so for something that is a bit different. Read on.
Wallaroos coach Jay Tregonning has confirmed a 30 player squad for the O’Reilly Cup and the inaugural WXV.
Reported here in Wallaroos rugby, 35 players have been named for the O’Reilly Cup and inaugural WXV. Wallaroos coach JayTregonning has named four debutants, including Reds back Mel Wilks along with Waratahs trio Brianna Hoy, Desiree Miller and Leilani Nathan.
“It was great to have the majority of the managed squad in camp during the first week of September at Ballymore, the new home for women’s rugby,” Tregonning said adding “We are excited to get back out there and to continue to test ourselves against the best teams in the world.” The Wallaroos face the Black Ferns in the O’Reilly Cup on September 30 followed by the WXV opener against England (October 20) before facing France (October 28) and Wales (November 3).
Wallaroos fullback Lori Cramer said “It’s exciting for everyone to get together as a big group so it was cool to see all the girls,” adding that “Some of us haven’t played footy since the Canada Test while there’s a large chunk who have been playing finals club footy so the standard was pretty good”
It’s great to see the women’s game coming into the news again. The girls play a really good brand of rugby and are getting better every year. I think the O’Reilly cup will be tough but I also certainly expect to see them put up a good show.
Wellington retain the Ranfurley Shield
Now this will be meaningless to most readers seeing as it is about the NZ Provincial Championship. But coming from Wellington and supporting them, and the Hurricanes, through thick and thin I’m pleased to see them continue on from last year and do the business against North Harbour.
Reported here in Stuff, Wellington clinched top spot on the NPC ladder with another impressive performance against North Harbour, mixing aggressive defence with some lethal moments in attack. With one round of the regular season remaining Wellington can’t be caught at the top of the ladder after their ninth successive win this season. Note: this is also their 18th in a row so pretty impressive. Midfield stars Peter Umaga-Jensen and Billy Proctor once again operating in tandem with Proctor scoring a clever try in the first half after a well-weighted kick by Umaga-Jensen in another example of the understanding between the Hurricanes pair.
I’m looking forward to Wellington going on and winning the NPC again and just hope some of this transfers over to the Hurricanes in Super Rugby next year. Also with Reuben Love coming on and working with Cam Riogard I don’t see too much of gap for Robinson with both Barrett and Mo’unga moving on.
Referee Corner – How BOK got it correct in the Springboks v Irish game.
Now like most of you I was absolutely enthralled with the Ireland v South Africa game last weekend. It was a huge game with some great rugby and a lot of that came down to an absolute winning display by Ben O’Keeffe. He allowed the game to flow, pulled up what was necessary and stopped the TMO from interfering. Did he make a few mistakes? Absolutely, but none of them changed the game and none had any real materiel affect on the game. Maybe Ox Nche was lucky he didn’t get pinged for stepping on Josh van der Flier’s fingers, but meh, that happens.
There were a couple of calls that people were questioning so I’ll just cover them to show where I think he was absolutely correct.
The first one is that last maul. The Boks won the lineout, took the ball in and proceeded to drive for the line. The Irish, as they had all game, contested the maul well and forced a number of small changes of direction as the Boks tried to move forward. The maul eventually collapsed and BOK quickly ran around looking for the ball and whether it was coming out. Of course just as he blew his whistle the ball did appear. However, it was the right call. The law that is applicable here is Law 16.17.d (Maul – Ending a maul) which states “The ball-carrier goes to ground and the ball is not immediately available”. The key here is the word immediately. There was almost 5 seconds between the maul going down and the ball coming out. That is not immediately and BOK got this one absolutely spot on.
Secondly for the Boks, in the 51st minute Manie Libbok, from about two metres behind the 5 metre line, passed a ball that ends up in the arms of winger Cheslin Kolbe a metre or so in front of the 5 metre line. How is this not a forward pass? Well there are two parts to this. Firstly a forward pass is not actually anywhere in the law books. The laws covering this is Law 11.6 which states “A throw forward may occur anywhere in the playing area. Sanction: Scrum” The adjudication of this is “the arms of the player passing the ball move forward.” This clearly did not occur, even in slow motion and confirmed by the TMO. The second part to this is plain boring physics. Once a ball leaves a players hand it is subject to many things; the forward motion of the player passing the ball, the spin of the ball, wind, the motion of the earth through space etc. etc. So the path of the ball once it leaves the hands of the player is totally irrelevant. What is important is the movement of the passer’s arms.
Both BOK and the AR, James Doleman were in line and clearly saw the pass. BOK clearly stated that he was happy with the pass, but also asked the TMO to confirm it was legal. Which he did.
I thought BOK was great. Teams were allowed to play the ball and unlike a lot of NH referees the defence wasn’t given any easy penalties. He had great control and made all the right calls. It says a lot when even Rassie Erasmus loses and compliments the referee on a good game. So well done that man.