New Breakdown Laws: ‘Matadors’ and ‘Sweepers’, no more ‘Jackal’
According to players in the Mitre 10 Cup the traditional openside role of the “Jackal” has all but gone because no-one, not even the tackler, can use their hands once a ruck has formed. Two new roles called “Matadors” and “Sweepers” have emerged in early rounds and players are not quite happy about them. We explain:
- The “Matador” is a defender who stands at a breakdown waiting to be cleaned out by the “bull” but he moves just as the player charges and causes them to be penalised for leaving their feet. Wellington Lions assistant coach Richard Watt explained it was frustrating “We go in scanning threats to move bodies and we go hissing in and all of a sudden we’ve got nothing to clean out. So physics says they’re going to go off their feet.
- The “Sweeper” is a defender who uses their feet to get as far into a breakdown as they can, and use foot like a broomstick to sweep the ball out, or at the very least make the halfback’s life very difficult. Brad Shields of the Wellington Lions said “If we’re a bit soft and don’t take [a sweeper] out properly then they’re going to hang around and they’re going to kick the ball.
- New breakdown laws explained here
Match of the Round
Auckland v Hawkes Bay (07 Sep)
It was Hawkes Bay who made all the early running at McLean Park in Napier with Blues first five Ihia West sparking a break and eventually crossing for a charge-down try while the TMO disallowed them a second to Ryan Tongia after a determined build up by Hawkes Bay forwards. Hawkes Bay repeatedly broke through and threatened the Auckland line, with Captain Ash Dixon (2) and his forward pack extremely quick to get to the breakdown and recycle possession. HT 11-3 Auckland started to make inroads up the middle in the second 40. But again it was Hawkes Bay who scored first when after a sweeping movement kept lock Mark Abbott was held up over the line on the left flank but crossed moments later near the posts after multiple phases of Hawkes Bay pressure. Simon Hickey was accurate with the boot to keep Auckland within touch at 18-12 Auckland and inside the final 15min hooker Pleasants-Tate took a midfield pop pass and showed a clean pair of heels to score in the corner. A brilliant bust by Auckland started by Akira Ioane from inside their own half was finished off by Vince Aso (12) in the corner to give Auckland their first lead with 10min remaining, 22-21. The lead see-sawed with penalties until with time out on the clock Ihia West had a chance to win it for Hawkes Bay with a penalty on the 22 but missed. Final Score Auckland 25-24 Hawkes Bay.
Taranaki v Southland (08 Sep)
Taranaki is known as a strong forward team and both teams played a tight forward orientated game that would please purists. Marty McKenzie was in impressive form with a perfect six out of six kicks for goal. Taranaki held a tight 13-9 lead at halftime after a charge down try to Sean Wainui. Early in the second Former Queensland Reds lock Ben Matwijow (4) – on loan from Canterbury – crashed over from close range to make it 20-9 from a patient build up from the Taranaki forward pack. A second Taranaki try from close range to Lachlan Boshier was answered by Southland in similar fashion for a final Score of Taranaki 30-14 Southland.
Bay of Plenty v Northland (09 Sep)
Bay of Plenty notched up their first win in the Championship division over the Taniwha who slumped to their fifth loss in a row in an entertaining game of rugby. From a half-time lead of 19-11, Bay of Plenty stretched their lead by full time scoring eight tries to three. Northland received two consecutive yellow cards which didn’t help their cause but they fought till the end and scored the final try of the game from a forward drive pick and drive close to the line. Winger Waisea Lawebuka scored two tries for Northland and flanker Jesse Parete also bagged a brace for the Bay. Full time Bay of Plenty 52-25 Northland.
Counties-Manukau v Wellington (09 Sep)
Counties Manukau and Wellington played for the Jonah Tali Lomu Memorial Trophy on Friday night while both teams needed wins to keep their play off hopes alive. Wellington scored first off a 5m lineout drive and Laulala (15) replied with two tries in either corner off sharp passes from Augustine Pulu (9) to lead at the break 20-11. The strangest incident of the night occurred when Vaea Fifita attempted to hurdle a Counties player and injured himself upon landing. Wellington mauled their way over the line from a lineout early to score but Counties could do one better and after impressive forward build-up prop Tuilava (3) dragged three Wellington players over the line to stretch the Counties lead to 27-18. Wellington then upped the intensity running the ball all over the park, finally Garden-Bashop (10) funning through a gaping hole near the posts and with Wellington a penalty on halfway to win the match. Garden-Bashop slotted it for a final score of: Wellington 28-27 Counties Manukau
Harbour v Manawatu (10 Sep)
North Harbour, playing in multi-club colours scored three early tries to Duffy and Tavita Li Harbour centre Vaenga (13) had a strong game while his opposite, Hurricanes centre Lauumape (13) scored two tries for Manawatu after a sweeping movement up the field. Michael Little (12) rounded out the midfield talent showcase in the first half with a try under the posts to take Harbour to a 17-12 half time lead. After the break Manawatu Hurricane prop Eaves (3) bowled over after some solid Manawatu forward pick and go. Both teams traded penalties and in a tense final quarter Harbour was able to stretch their lead out. Final Score North Harbour 29-25 Manawatu.
Otago v Tasman (10 Sep)
This was a battle of the South Island. Both teams play a free-flowing style. Otago attacked the Tasman line early and found their way over twice through Paul Grant (8) who burst through a ruck and Craig Millar (17) to take a 14-0 lead early. Tasman responded with two tries after their own period of pressure on the Otago line. The half-time score was Tasman 27-21 Otago. No tries were scored in the second half however, just three penalties to Fletcher Smith (10) to bring the final score to Otago 30-27 Tasman.
Canterbury v Hawkes Bay (11 Sep)
Canterbury scored a try early off a set-piece line out. Hawkes Bay scored next but it would be their only score of the day. Crusaders pivot Moanga had a good game and Scot Barrett, Beauden Barrett’s other brother also scored an early try. Canterbury, up 23-7 at half-time found width and space in the second running in six more unanswered tries to against a tired Hawkes Bay team which was backing up from playing Auckland the previous Wednesday evening. Final Score Canterbury 63-7 Hawkes Bay
Waikato v Auckland (11 Sep)
Waikato shot out to 15-0 lead early through tries to prop Loni Uhila “Tongan Bear” and 19-year-old wing Sevu Reece. Chiefs Tawera Kerr-Barlow (9) and Damian McKenzie (10) looked to play the game at pace. When Loni Uhila “Tongan Bear” was yellow-carded, Auckland crossed for two tries, one a solo effort by Gibson (7) and a second aided by a break from Akira Ioane (8) to make it 15-12. Waikato stretched their lead to 35-18 with tries to hooker Hame Faiva and a double to wing Illiesa Ratuva (14). A big deficit but Auckland didn’t give up and after some solid forward lead up work Gibson crossed for a second followed by Tuipulotu (5) moments later who broke through the line to set up a tense final 3 minutes with a score line of Waikato 35-32 Auckland. However Waikato defended strongly and that is how it remained.
Round 5 Fixtures
Wed 14 Counties Manukau v Taranaki Pukekohe 7:35pm
Thu 15 Southland v Hawke’s Bay Invercargill 7:35pm
Fri 16 Tasman v Northland Nelson 5:45pm
Fri 16 Wellington v Bay of Plenty Wellington 7:45pm
Sat 17 Otago v North Harbour Dunedin 2:35pm
Sat 17 Manawatu v Canterbury Palmerston North 4:35pm
Sun 18 Auckland v Counties Man Auckland 2:35pm
Sun 18 Waikato v Taranaki Hamilton 4:35pm