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The Crooked Feed No. 3

The Crooked Feed No. 3

The Crooked Feed is G&GR’s occasional column of rugby tidbits and trivia, compiled by Lee Grant. It’s based on the “Non-set pieces” thread in the Rugby Discussion Forum — a repository for things seen, heard, overheard and otherwise soon forgotten, gathered at the grounds, online and over the airwaves.

Players

  • Nathan Sharpe (Force v. Bulls) — did anybody else notice that the previously vaunted Bulls lineout, with Bakkies and Victor in it, opted out of the contest a few times on their throw? It owed some to the problematic throwing of Chilliboy, but bogeyman Sharpe must have scared them when they watched a tape of the Brumbies’ lineouts against the Force in Round 9.
  • Euan Murray doesn’t play on Sundays because of his religious beliefs and fair enough, but the big fella started for Newcastle away at Leicester on Good Friday. Just saying.
  • Murray left Northampton last December by mutual agreement because Brian Mujati was getting all the game time. He isn’t the only elite THP in Europe who has lost his mojo: Carl Hayman moved from Murray’s new club to Toulon this season but is playing behind Davit Kubriashvili of Georgia more often than not. Eurosports commentators say that he is getting belittling comments in the French press and mentioned that he is “… struggling come to terms with scrummaging in France. Referees interpret the scrums differently… He’s had people getting under him: he’s a tall man and in France they allow the props to get under and lift up – and he’s had problems with that.” Poor lamb, but they have a point: there are a lot of short-arsed LHPs in France. If he wants to change clubs and countries again though, we would keep a spot open for him at the Rats. Again, just saying.
  • Young Billy as an England U18 rep

    Viliami “Billy” Vunipola would be a handy acquisition for a Super team. He was born in Sydney, started for Wasps against Bath last weekend and ran over a few folks and smashed some others in tackles. Did I mention that he is 126kg but is agile and only 18 years old? He’s long odds because his family is in England now and his brother is in the England Under-20 team. You never know though; maybe somebody should ask.

    Forum member dobduff11 adds: “I played against Billy Vunipola this year and last year. The kid is a freak. He is 6ft-3 and as lee said about 130kg. Goes to Harrow on a scholarship and when we played them in a sevens tourney he was the star player. Great tries, touchline conversions and a massive hand-off. Gave my best mate a concussion with one of his monster stiff arms.”

  • Danny Cipriani – My Part in his Downfall: The international five-eighth’s late-night exploits on the Rebels’ recent trip to Sydney and the club’s subsequent disciplinary action have been widely covered in the press. Forum member #1 Tah (one of the stars of the Kurtley Beale Memorial Trophy game staged that day) reports this exchange after the Rebs–Tahs match:Me: “Hey Cips, you gonna hit up Kings Cross now?” Cipriani: “Nah, the Ivy.”When something important is going down in the rugby world, you can be sure GAGR will have a man on the spot.

Referees

  • Mark Lawrence (Force v. Bulls) asked the front rows to crouch “temple to temple”. I hope it becomes one of those ref-created sayings that are easily understood and observed (like “use it or lose it”) because it may get tall props who hinge down too much a bit closer before the crouch. LHPs Alexander and Oosthuizen, take note.
  • Marius Jonker (Lions v. Chiefs) said to the Chiefs’ promising Queensland-born LHP Toby Smith, after one scrum collapse too many: “You’re pulling your arse out and going down”. He was too; sometimes defensive LHPs bore in on the opponent hooker on their feed to bother them with their head, or to drive between the hooker and THP. But just as often they can’t take the pressure and relieve it by moving their bums out, ending up sideways and often as not on the deck.
  • Wayne Barnes (Wasps v. Bath) to Bath lock Ignazio Fernadez-Lobbe, a serial whinger: “The more you shout, the less I’ll give you; be quiet.” I hope that too catches on with refs.
  • André Watson has confirmed that some apparently bizarre maul rulings by Craig Joubert in the Bulls v. Chiefs game were correct. When the Chiefs peeled off some mauls leaving a “tank” of Bulls players only, Joubert did not invoke “truck and trailer” when the Chiefs opposed the tank from the front, notwithstanding that the ball was at the back. He penalised the Chiefs for opposing another tank from the side. Joubert mentioned that a maul vacated by defenders remains the original maul, provided that it’s kept its original line. This may seem to contradict the definition of a maul, but Joubert’s on-field rulings are consistent with the Games Management Guidelines for Community Level Rugby in Australia 2011 — which, no doubt, now apply to Super Rugby also. And we thought the maul was almost dead not too long ago.
  • I am reluctant to bag one of the amateur officials without whom our sport would be impossible. I won’t name him, but the TMO in the Gordon v. Parramatta Shute Shield Round 5 match (shown live on ABC1) had a real shocker. Matt McDougall of Gordon was tackled just short of the line in the corner, and his leg, then his hip, went well into touch before he grounded the ball, which he held at all times. Asked to review the action, the TMO advised the referee he may award the try. As commentator Brett Papworth mentioned: “The word ‘inexplicable’ comes to mind.” Perhaps, somehow, the TMO did not have access to the head-on shot, though why TV viewers got to see it twice, and he not once, is a mystery. And the touchie was on the spot, running apace not far behind McDougall… it’s hard to imagine how he missed it too.Later, when Gordon claimed a try from a chase for the loose ball, the referee asked the TMO for rulings on two points: was a try scored, and was a foul committed (by the defence) along the way? The TMO’s response: “I have a decision: knock forward green, about seven out.” That may be what happened, but it wasn’t what the referee asked.

Commentators

  • Brett Papworth again: during the Randwick v. Easts game, he said about Richard Stanford, who was in the Brumbies and Force stables and played too young: “Unfortunately in our development system if they haven’t made it by age 20 they banish you. But at age 24 and 25 they are at their best.” It would be nice to see them in an ARC-style comp at that age so they can be assessed as hard-headed senior players rather than as school-leavers, wouldn’t it Brett?
  • Greg Martin (Force v. Bulls) about the slowness of delivery of the ball: “We need a sundial to time this”. It was a night match being played under lights, Greg, but you made a good point nonetheless.
  • Andy Nichol (Glasgow v. Scarlets) giving advice to Glasgow No. 6 James Eddie, who was pinged for being a crawler. “He’ll say he’s not held but you cannot crawl along the ground like that… He’s looking like money’s been stolen out of his pocket… but you just can’t do that.” So much for the power of the innocent frown.
  • Nick Mullins (Newcastle v. Leicester) when the camera shifted to a dissatisfied-looking Tigers coach Richard Cockerill just before oranges: “Just formulating his half-time oratory, I suspect. It won’t contain many long words.”
  • Phil Steele, a popular after-dinner speaker in his spare time, also works for the BBC and does interviews with coaches during the game, as the French sometimes do. Yes Phil, we did notice as you interviewed Dai Young during the Dragons v. Cardiff Blues match that you said “the Dragons are on fire”.
  • Phil Kearns (of all people) said astutely: “It’s OK to be flat, but you have to be running onto the ball when you’re flat. You can’t be flat and stationary.” So true Kearnsy, but fancy an old hooker knowing that.
  • Kearns again, heard by #1 Tah: “Tommy Carter has just joined the rolling maul. We all know how much he likes shoving his head in there with some forwards’ arses.”

Quotes

  • Jack Rowell, England 1995 RWC coach, when asked by squad member Victor Ubogu (whom he had coached at Bath) “Why did you take an instant dislike to me?” answered “Because, Victor, it saved time”.
  • Andrew Hore, after the Hurricanes beat the Reds: “Hopefully we put a few smiles on the faces and we’ll get a few more people back on Friday and we can all go shoot a few ducks on the weekend.” The ducks wouldn’t have been smiling at that prospect. I doubt they ever do anyway, though once a duck went into his local chemist’s shop to buy a Chapstick – and asked the assistant to “put it on my bill”, so you never know. OK, that was a quap joke.

 

WORD PRESS EXERCISE

●  Tital fofew more people back on Friday and we can all go shoot a few ducks on the weekend.” The ducks wouldn’t have been smiling at that prospect. I d

 

●  Tital fofew more people back on Friday and we can all go shoot a few ducks on the weekend.” The ducks wouldn’t have been smiling at that prospect. I d

●  Tital fofew more people back on Friday and we can all go shoot a few ducks on the weekend.” The ducks wouldn’t have been smiling at that prospect. I d

 

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