The British and Irish Lions start their NZ tour with a pussycat meow

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    The bookmakers gave odds of $1 to $1.01 on a victory for the 2017 British and Irish Lions to win their first game of their New Zealand against a New Zealand Barbarians side made up of part-time professional rugby players who had never played together.

    The odds on the New Zealand Barbarians winning were $15 to $1.

    But the game ended with a scoreline of 13-7 to the Lions, and the New Zealand Barbarians pressing hard to score a try and a conversion to win the match.

    The tour was almost derailed at its onset by a totally unexpected outcome.

    From the first indications of the lacklustre, unimaginative, slow-witted play of the tourists, Warren Gatland’s team could become the first pride of Lions that meow rather than roar.

    If this seems to be too harsh an initial judgment, look at the opposition, reckoned by the bookmakers as impossibilities to even get close to a victory against the visitors.

    The Barbarians had players from 14 New Zealand provinces. Bryn Gatland, their star player and the son of the Lions’ coach, failed to win a full-time Super Rugby contract with the Crusaders or the Blues.

    Wales' head coach Warren Gatland

    (Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

    Aside from Gatland and 18-year-old Jack Stratton, the Barbarians halfback, none of the players have played first class rugby this season. The players came out of club rugby around New Zealand. One of the players had retired and was selected as a gesture to his long service to the Wanganui union.

    The captain of the side and one of the best players on the field, Sam Anderson-Heather, resumes his career today (Monday) at his property maintenance company.

    The point to note about all this is that this scratch side, with many of its players being in their early 20s, which turned down easy penalties in the Barbarians tradition (unlike the Lions), competed successfully with the grizzled might of British and Irish forward power in the set pieces and at the ruck and mauls.

    For me, this was the main trigger warning for Gatland’s Lions.

    A pack of star internationals, playing their traditional smash and grab game, could not overwhelm a collection of all-sorts players from the provinces of New Zealand.

    If the Lions can’t overpower their New Zealand opponents in the forwards, they are not going to win many games on this tour.

    Moreover, virtually all the ingenuity and skill in the back play came from these same all-sorts provincials against a backline studded with the great names of British and Irish rugby.

    As Gregor Paul pointed out in the New Zealand Herald: “The problems as they presented in Whangarei were significantly deeper than the (Lions) players not quite knowing each other. The real issue was that the Lions looked decidedly pedestrian in all that they did – not so much physically, but mentally.

    “They didn’t have the natural instincts to pounce on opportunities when they came. They didn’t have the alertness, that intensity of awareness that has come, among other things, to differentiate New Zealand sides from everyone else in Super Rugby.”

    For years – decades, in fact – I have been banging on about the virtues of the New Zealand all-court system of playing rugby (and between 1996-2003, Rod Macqueen’s Brumbies and Wallabies).

    I have argued that when the players get the fitness, both mental and physical, the skills and the understanding to play this all-court game, they have given themselves the best chance of winning most of their matches.

    Of course, sides playing the over-structured, forward obsessed, smash-up in the backs, kick the penalties game favoured by British and more recently, unfortunately, by Australian sides, will sometimes win.

    But you can’t build dynasties on the restricted game.

    You can build dynasties, as the All Blacks between 2011 and 2016 and the 1999-2003 Wallabies have proven, by playing the all-court game at speed, with bravery and with high skill.

    A case in point from this weekend’s Super Rugby round was the Force versus Hurricanes match at Perth.

    The home side tried lineout maul after lineout maul to score against the visitors. None of the mauls resulted in points.

    The Force finally scored early on in the second half when they rampaged with a maul and then followed up with a towering bomb to force a Hurricanes error on their own line for Dane Haylett-Petty to score the try. Finally, they tried some clever play and were duly rewarded.

    The Hurricanes, with Nehe Milner-Skudder on the field shortly after this, escalated the scoreline from 17-12 to 34-17, with three break-out tries, one of them from the kick-off.

    Hurricanes’ Nehe Milner Skudde

    (Credit:SNPA / Ross Setford)

    This is the advantage of the all-court game. You can score points quickly with bunches of tries.

    The Hurricanes had played defence for long periods of time with the rugby equivalent of baseline rallies (against the baseline rallies game of the Force) and then, when the opportunities opened up, they scored easy points by rushing to the net and putting away winning volleys.

    And earlier in the day, the Waratahs were put to the sword by the Chiefs (despite a short late-term resurgence by the visitors) 46-31, six tries to four. Again, it was the all-court game of the Chiefs that destroyed the one-dimensional game of the Waratahs

    The point about the variety involved in the all-court game is that it requires all the players to have high skills, from 1 to 15, and for the playmakers to take their skills to the highest level. This means that any time the team gets on a roll, they have the potential to score a try.

    Watching the Waratahs playing their one-dimensional game, can anyone in Australian rugby seriously make the case that Israel Folau, the highest paid Australian player, has improved his rugby in the last three years since the Lions tour of Australia in 2013?

    Can anyone seriously make the case that he is remotely close to, say, Damian McKenzie as a player who makes a significant influence on the outcome of matches he plays in?

    Even James Lowe, who is leaving New Zealand despite being only 23 because he can’t make the All Blacks squad, was better value to his side than Folau.

    The fact that excessively talented players in Australia (think Folau, Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale) do not kick on to greatness is one of the main weaknesses in the game in this country.

    Israel Folau Waratahs Super Rugby Union 2017

    (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

    The main reason for this is talented players like Folau are allowed to coast through matches, doing the occasional brilliant thing, but not taking control of the match like McKenzie, the Barretts, Ben Smith and all the other playmakers lighting up the New Zealand sides.

    Everyone involved with rugby in Australia, the Super Rugby franchises, the ARU, supporters, commentators and journalists, need to be more demanding of the coaches and the players in the Australian Conference.

    If we accept a mediocrity that occasionally rises to the brilliant, we will continue to get more mediocrity from our players.

    This is why I endorse Michael Cheika’s approach to selecting his Wallaby squad for the June Tests. He has discarded older players who have coasted and shown only occasional energy and passion in their game. He has brought a number of young players, the latest being Jake Gordon for the injured Nick Phipps, who have some fire in the belly and skills that stand up under pressure.

    Hopefully, Cheika is going to select his starting XV on what he has seen this season and at training about how the players are responding to his call for the Wallabies to go back to the hard and skilful running game and the abrasive forward play of the early 2000s when they reigned supreme in world rugby.

    If the Wallabies do not adopt the all-court New Zealand/Macqueen game this year, the major championships will continue to escape their grasp.

    Getting back to the Lions match, I was interested in a comment made by Justin Marshall that sums up for me how poor commentary is totally unhelpful to players needing to improve and for supporters wanting to their team to shape up against a combative opposition.

    I don’t want to make a habit of bagging Marshall. I did so last week about his penchant for making inaccurate judgments of refereeing rulings (Greg Martin is a serial offender, too).

    However, someone has to call out the influence of inaccurate media commentary and biased attitudes on players and coaches understanding what is going wrong with their performances.

    Towards the end of the match, Marshall was asked, as a former All Black halfback, how he thought the Lions halfback, Greig Laidlaw, had played.

    “Good,” Marshall replied. And then, possibly trying to ingratiate himself to British audiences watching the game, he added: “Very good.”

    What utter nonsense. Laidlaw stood over the rucked ball for an eternity while his forwards slowly lined up like ducks to be shot down, or tackled down, as easy targets.

    He rarely cleared the ball with any speed. He was pedestrian in his thinking about which runners to pass to and, in general, he was out-played by a kid with one first-class game to his credit.

    One of the main reasons why the Lions played like pussycats in the backs was because Laidlaw’s service from the rucks, lineouts and scrums was so slow and laboured.

    Marshall should have acknowledged this.

    Compare Laidlaw’s play with that of TG Perenara of the Hurricanes against the Force. To my mind, you had to go back to the glory days of Gareth Edwards to see a halfback with the passing, running, tackling skills that the Hurricanes captain showcased in Perth.

    TJ Perenara Hurricanes Super Rugby Rugby Union 2016

    (AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford)

    Perenara also turned over ball at rucks, something that the Great Gareth never did in his heydey.

    The all-court game requires a halfback with the energy and speed to get to every ruck and get rid of the ball quickly and accurately. The halfback, too, has to have an ice-cool judgment to pick out which runners to hit with flat passes and when to pass behind the first line to unleash the second line of attack.

    Laidlaw was totally at sea in fulfilling these requirements.

    A better judgment on Laidlaw’s play came from the old curmudgeon himself, Richard Loe, in his column in the New Zealand Herald: “If halfback (Greig Laidlaw) and fullback (Stuart Hogg) are the best Scottish rugby players, no wonder no others got picked.”

    Before the opening match of the tour, Warren Gatland said: “Hopefully the plan is to (shock and awe) New Zealand. I said to the players this morning, ‘If we’ve got a four-on-two on our goal-line, then you’ve got to move the ball and do something. I don’t want you to play by numbers.'”

    The only shock and awe that came out of the match was that felt by Lions supporters, and perhaps players, amazed at the performance of the New Zealand Barbarians and disappointed with the play of the Lions.

    Unfortunately, players who have only really played by numbers throughout their careers will continue to play the numbers even when advised not to.

    I was interested in the comments of Stephen Jones, the British rugby writer who resolutely espouses the “playing by numbers” game as a much better alternative to the expansive all-court game played by Rod Macqueen’s Wallabies and the All Blacks more recently.

    According to Jones, any criticism of the Lions is “preposterous” because of the imposition of a “dangerous shocker of an itinerary on the cream of British and Irish rugby.”

    Welcome to the world of Super Rugby, Mr Jones.

    The Blues travelling from Auckland and the Reds from Brisbane played a terrific match on Friday night, in a hot sauna bath atmosphere at Apia, with the Reds having four days to acclimatise themselves and the Blues only two days.

    The cream of British and Irish rugby should have been able to walk off the plane on landing in New Zealand and then thrashed the makeshift New Zealand Barbarians side.

    It will be interesting to see what the bookmaker odds are on the Lions for their match against the Blues on Wednesday.

    Another poor performance by the Lions won’t be able to be written off due to travel fatigue, as it will be the Blues who have done the travelling.

    Spiro Zavos
    Spiro Zavos

    Spiro Zavos, a founding writer on The Roar, was long time editorial writer on the Sydney Morning Herald, where he started a rugby column that has run for nearly 30 years. Spiro has written 12 books: fiction, biography, politics and histories of Australian, New Zealand, British and South African rugby. He is regarded as one of the foremost writers on rugby throughout the world.

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    The Crowd Says (142)

    • Roar Guru

      June 5th 2017 @ 7:45am
      Derm McCrum said | June 5th 2017 @ 7:45am | ! Report



      • Roar Guru

        June 5th 2017 @ 12:13pm
        Ralph said | June 5th 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

        Sometimes one wonders if the media feel point scoring off their other hemisphere compatriots isn’t the main aim of the game.

        As an AB’s fan, and before the media scrum gets worse, I would like to say – Thanks for coming Lion’s and your wonderful fans. Deeply appreciate it.

        • June 5th 2017 @ 12:34pm
          Akari said | June 5th 2017 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

          Doing a Marshall, Ralph?

          The Lions and their wonderful fans must already know that they are very much appreciated for making the journey of a life time for some.

          • Roar Guru

            June 5th 2017 @ 1:44pm
            Ralph said | June 5th 2017 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

            Heh, heh, true Akari, but this was my opportunity to add my good wishes. Which are quite genuine I can assure you.

            • June 5th 2017 @ 1:57pm
              Akari said | June 5th 2017 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

              Sorry but it was just too good an opportunity to let it slide by, Ralph. I know you were being genuine but this was not very well conveyed in the second line.

        • June 5th 2017 @ 12:55pm
          Michaelj said | June 5th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

          Well said Ralph. They’re entitled to one jet lag game to settle in.

        • June 5th 2017 @ 3:49pm
          dontcallmeshirley said | June 5th 2017 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

          Agreed Ralph. And as a NZ fan I would like to apologise to the BIL for being subjected to 157 haka in the first 3 days. I am very proud of the way mainstream NZ embraces Maori heritage, but sometimes it is a bit too much.

          • June 5th 2017 @ 5:14pm
            stainlesssteve said | June 5th 2017 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

            kiss their bottoms just for deigning to come, and apologise for the haka?
            put it back in your pants!
            This game was always set to be festival rugby, and the baabaas rose to the occasion, manifestly enjoyed themselves, and acquitted themselves more than honourably.
            no doubt the Lions will make themselves worthy of a word or two of praise or condemnation, sometime in the near future, but i have neither for them today. Well done for winning, i guess, jolly good show

            • June 6th 2017 @ 12:01am
              Wardad said | June 6th 2017 @ 12:01am | ! Report

              True about the Baa Baas playing in the spirit of the game Farrell killing time until the last 2 minutes were eaten up rather than actually playing was a prime example of this attitude .

          • June 5th 2017 @ 8:00pm
            Ray1973 said | June 5th 2017 @ 8:00pm | ! Report

            I so agree and Im a maori . Especially because were subjected to watching the ABs do it also . Probably should be left on the marae and not taken out to the rugby field . And Im being straight up about that , its a bloody rugby game not a battlefield or tangi or hui . Im all for the soldiers doing it overseas as there actually warriors but being subjected to it by our ABs is way over the top . Its a game lets sing the anthems and play some ruggers

          • June 6th 2017 @ 6:24pm
            In brief said | June 6th 2017 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

            well said

      • June 5th 2017 @ 3:12pm
        Michaelj said | June 5th 2017 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

        Spiro is usually better than that runaway verbal poo.

    • Roar Guru

      June 5th 2017 @ 8:21am
      Nick Turnbull said | June 5th 2017 @ 8:21am | ! Report

      G’day Spiro,

      On the topic of Greig Laidlaw I would suggest the lack of speed to deliver the ball is more of a Gatland issue than a Laidlaw issue per se’.

      I say this as when playing for his native Scotland under Vern Cotter Laidlaw was instrumental in getting quick service to allow the likes of Visser, Maitland, Seymour and Hogg that all important time and space.

      If you take the Scotland vs Ireland match in this years 6 Nations I think you will see what I’m talking about. I suggest that Laidlaw was playing as instructed.

      Bryn Gatland to Wales?

      • Roar Rookie

        June 5th 2017 @ 8:38am
        Shane D said | June 5th 2017 @ 8:38am | ! Report

        Don’t think that Bryn is eligible for Wales Nick.

      • June 5th 2017 @ 9:44am
        Whakaata said | June 5th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        I don’t think Bryn is interested in Wales, I believe he has All Black aspirations

      • Roar Guru

        June 5th 2017 @ 12:16pm
        Jokerman said | June 5th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

        Well said, Spiro! And awesome piece on your other historical piece – no easy feat there.

        ‘The three amigos’ that was true talent along with Genia and Folau. The amigos were rebellious in their behaviour but if I was the coach I would have worked with them because of their talent. They were young and flash and perhaps judged more harshly because of that.

        TJ just brilliant in the weekend. I found him to be a little immature a year or two ago. He would come on for the All Blacks with ten to go a bit young and hyper and didn’t contribute much. But that has changed. Mentally he’s matured and it shows in his perfomance. His defence has been outstanding, and his attack is a weapon. How it can change quite fast sometimes. He should be the All Blacks starting halfback, and if he has a good Lions series, he’ll be confirmed as the best 9 in the world.

        You did pick out TJ Perenara, Spiro a few years back as the future All Blacks starting 9; just as he was coming onto the scene.

        Damian McKenzie – brilliant! So much class.

        I felt some empathy for Gatland. He looked jet lagged, and also out of his depth.

        3-0 to the All Blacks with the Lions keeping it close for the first 40 of the first test then rapidly downhill from there.

        Skudz! Looking good! He’ll be there for the All Blacks as the starting wing. I Loved the step on the weekend. He really honors his wing position where he respects his opportunity and uses it. When he was in the clear he calmly went upfield and gave himself some room and options, and then delivered his magic.

        Justin Marshall…annoying. I did originally like him but he’s gone away from the simplicity that worked for him. I was watching a replay of the 2005 Lions second Test against the All Blacks. Murray Mexted with Grant Nisbett were perfect! Bring it back! Mexted was informed and calm and didn’t fake interest like Marshall often does.

        • June 5th 2017 @ 12:36pm
          Akari said | June 5th 2017 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

          didn’t fake interest like Marshall often does


        • Roar Guru

          June 5th 2017 @ 1:45pm
          Ralph said | June 5th 2017 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

          I loved Mexted, him and his psychic energy ..

          • June 5th 2017 @ 6:14pm
            Jacko said | June 5th 2017 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

            I loved Mexted as a player…No inch given and none expected…A very old school rugby hard man

      • June 5th 2017 @ 1:22pm
        Deano said | June 5th 2017 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

        No mate, Laidlaw is just as bad for Scotland. His great skill is turning quick ruck ball into slow ball. He is far and away the worst halfback currently in a test squad for any country.

        Whenever Laidlaw was subbed during the 6 Nations, the reserve halfback had the ball humming.

        • June 5th 2017 @ 8:24pm
          KiwiHaydn said | June 5th 2017 @ 8:24pm | ! Report

          Deano, lucky Phipps is injured. Otherwise your above point about Laidlaw would be totally unwarranted.

    • June 5th 2017 @ 8:28am
      Rhys Bosley said | June 5th 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      I’ve had my doubts that the Lions are up to the task in New Zealand and while this is just one game, it seems to be an early indicator that the prediction is playing out. The Lions have selected the coach who has performed worst of all from the Home Nations this year, and he has selected more of his worst performing team than he should have. Furthermore the inability of the best home nations team, England, to adapt on the field to the Italian no ruck tactic earlier this year was a huge wake up call. This suggests to me that the Lions won’t have the smarts required to adapt to a team that is as tactically agile as the All Blacks. I don’t think that the Lions will get a test win and I think they will be lucky to beat the Maori and the best of the NZ provinces.

      • June 5th 2017 @ 9:27am
        Boris said | June 5th 2017 @ 9:27am | ! Report

        But I heard that this was the strongest Lions squad in history. What gives?

        • Roar Guru

          June 5th 2017 @ 11:26am
          Derm McCrum said | June 5th 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

          That’s just the NZ media talking them up. The NH media thinks they haven’t a prayer – particularly with all the Welsh players in the squad and the English players who couldn’t work out the Italians, and the Irish players who were beaten by NZ in November. It’s the Scottish players to watch out for.

          • June 5th 2017 @ 2:22pm
            woodart said | June 5th 2017 @ 2:22pm | ! Report


          • June 5th 2017 @ 6:16pm
            Jacko said | June 5th 2017 @ 6:16pm | ! Report

            Pot I live in Aus and they have been saying strongest ever and i keep up on the English tabloids and they said strongest ever ( one of ) so its not just NZ media

            • June 5th 2017 @ 6:28pm
              adastra32 said | June 5th 2017 @ 6:28pm | ! Report

              Build ’em up to knock ’em down. Same rules of journalism apply wherever you are.

          • June 5th 2017 @ 7:41pm
            Quin said | June 5th 2017 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

            The whole media circus is just that a circus, no one countries media is any better than the other.

          • June 5th 2017 @ 8:28pm
            Patrick said | June 5th 2017 @ 8:28pm | ! Report

            Woodward made similar claims in 2005, always remember how Andrew Sheridan was going to single handedly destroy our scrum, all that flim flam Super Rugby would be shown up. Last thing I remember is Carl Hayman playing for the NZ Maori turning him inside out before he was substituted never to be seen on tour again. Lesson is believe half of what you see & none of what you hear when it comes to NH rugby “experts”

      • June 5th 2017 @ 8:09pm
        Ray1973 said | June 5th 2017 @ 8:09pm | ! Report

        I think Ian mcgeechan said that exact same thing . All NZ players at rep level and club level have rugby smarts but the elite boys are on another level . I think they will beat most teams barring the Canes and the Crusaders and the Maori will probably cause more injuries as they go hammer and tong .

    • June 5th 2017 @ 8:58am
      Jigbon said | June 5th 2017 @ 8:58am | ! Report

      I think it will be a slaughter. Most games too . The lions won’t know what hit them playing the canes or the saders etc.
      Too fast too smart too everything. The game on saturday was great and as spiro opined. Pedestrian lions game n thinking versus a keen , fast and skilled semi professional team. It was great. My wife saw the final score and said
      ‘ so the uk team will get smashed like the Aussie teams too. The blacks just seem unbeatable. ‘
      Hear hear I said. Yes it’s going to be a long night at the office …for the lions and the wallabies this year. While we still try to perfect our outdated 1995 style of game the gulf twixt us n the nuns just gets greater. …and greater.

    • June 5th 2017 @ 9:12am
      Daveski said | June 5th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      Spiro if you don’t think Stuart Hogg is a good player then with all respect, you and I are done here.

      The phrases “keeping your powder dry” and “pride before a fall” are going to prove rather apt in this series I think.

      • June 5th 2017 @ 10:58am
        Jameswm said | June 5th 2017 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        What about the phrase “deer in the headlights”?

      • June 5th 2017 @ 12:43pm
        Akari said | June 5th 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

        Stuart Hogg looked to me like he ate a pig before the game and played as if he was carrying too much weight around. This is a surprise as he was the FB in my 6N fantasy team.

        • June 5th 2017 @ 1:34pm
          ClarkeG said | June 5th 2017 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

          Not only was he in your fantasy team, he was named the 6 Nations player of the tournament for each of the past two seasons.

          • June 5th 2017 @ 1:59pm
            Akari said | June 5th 2017 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

            I didn’t know that, ClarkeG, and thank you.

      • June 5th 2017 @ 12:43pm
        moaman said | June 5th 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

        Daveski; Where did Spiro make any comment on Hogg’s play?
        He didn’t as far as I can see….but Hogg was sub-standard on Saturday so he would have been justified in any critique based on that match alone.Hogg is renowned for his attacking play and deemed fragile on defence in the North from what I have read.So a very good player but not a great I think it would be fair to say?

        Personally, I think it;s far too early to be making any calls on this Lions squad until we have seen them with a few games under their belts.A team of seasoned internationals must surely get better as the cohesion touring enables begins to bear fruit.
        The ABs are going to be under-strength and rusty first up so I won’t be writing the B& I side off any time soon.

        • Roar Guru

          June 5th 2017 @ 9:50pm
          taylorman said | June 5th 2017 @ 9:50pm | ! Report

          History typically writes them off and so far there’s nothing positive to change that thinking, other than the fact they won a match they were expected to walk.

          They need to show that they’re somehow different this time.

          We wait patiently for that…

    • June 5th 2017 @ 9:14am
      rugger said | June 5th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      Thoughts on DHP shown yellow card for standing his ground by of all people TMO?

      Talk about ruining the game as contest and for what someone wanting to come on TV and get tick against KPI’s from world rugby?

      7s rugby has best policy in terms of time wasting, why is world rugby not getting some of the learnings from 7s into XV’s.

      Too much time waste on re-set scrums, off-sides and mostly by NZ teams when opposition has momentum and refs just keep giving warnings.

      • June 5th 2017 @ 9:28am
        Boris said | June 5th 2017 @ 9:28am | ! Report

        Agree with all that. Takes about 2 mins for a scrum to be set and played out, even longer if it needs to be reset. It’s a joke

      • June 5th 2017 @ 9:41am
        Whakaata said | June 5th 2017 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        I hear you there rugger, the time wasted on scrum resets is frustrating.

        • June 5th 2017 @ 11:40am
          Fionn said | June 5th 2017 @ 11:40am | ! Report

          I don’t understand why the clock just isn’t stopped whenever the ball isn’t in play (scrums, ball out, penalties, conversions, etc). The current system makes no sense to me.

          • June 5th 2017 @ 12:04pm
            Whakaata said | June 5th 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

            I feel the same, the clock should be stopped until the ball is thrown in (lineout) and placed into the scrum. Are penalties and conversions not meant to be kicked within a specific time?

          • Roar Guru

            June 5th 2017 @ 4:44pm
            Simon said | June 5th 2017 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

            @Fionn, because the game would go on for as long as the an NFL game would.

            • June 5th 2017 @ 4:48pm
              Fionn said | June 5th 2017 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

              Simon, wouldn’t have an issue with that, mate, and have never personally felt that NRL games go on too long. I can imagine the broadcasters complaining as it is harder to ensure that they can broadcast every match. However, I have a much bigger issue with watching the clock run down during 5 mins of scrum resets or 2-3 mins of a penalty kick, especially if there is only a bit of time left on the clock or someone yellow carded. I find it sooo frustrating.

      • Roar Guru

        June 5th 2017 @ 1:41pm
        Jokerman said | June 5th 2017 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

        It wasn’t helped by the ref deciding to take away the TMO’s presence. The ref wouldn’t wait for the TMO’s verdict, the ref simply jumped in after the replay and stated his opinion. No need for a TMO then? The TMO decided to have a say about that.

        Earlier it could have been a yellow card when a tackle slipped up and went around the Hurricanes head. He may have gone off for a concussion test (I can’t be sure)? Certainly a penalty and possibly a yellow under the new strict rules. What the TMO was going to say we will never know. The ref jumped in and told him how it was, and the tackle was deemed fine. It would have been awkward for the TMO to give a yellow from there, or contradict the ref. The second time around with DHP the TMO was having nothing of it. But yeah probably should have been a penalty at best. But it made up for the previous decision.

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