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After all the distractions, it’s a welcome 1 v 2 Super Rugby final

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

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    It honestly couldn’t have come at a better time. There’s been so much confusion, angst, dunderheadedness, indecision, procrastination, and annoying silence in rugby this season that the Super Rugby Final delivering the best two teams all season was a very welcome gift.

    And that’s not at all to say the Hurricanes wouldn’t have been deserved finalists, had they gone on from their 22-3 lead late in the first half. Their three tries inside half an hour silenced the Ellis Park crowd, and it was pretty quiet on my couch at the time, too, with some serious thinking under way about yet another tip going south.

    I still can’t quite pinpoint the exact turning point in the second semi-final, but I do recall thinking after a long Ruan Combrinck kick downfield early in the second half, followed a few minutes later by an equally long Andries Coetzee kick downfield, that the Lions were starting to pin the Hurricanes down in their own half – something I can’t really recall happening too much in 2017.

    That the Lions were able to storm home as they did says something for half time sprays. Johan Ackermann was measured when he spoke to local broadcasters Supersport after the halftime break, but I’m pretty sure there was a hint of neck vein still pulsing angrily.

    It also says something for coming home with a wet sail. For all the talk about the Hurricanes’ record season in attack, the Lions scored only six points fewer across the regular season. Noted second-half finishers, they were always going to come home strongly, and that, coupled with the Hurricanes playing at altitude meant that the threat of a second half run-down was always a threat.

    The ‘Canes needed a big lead early, and you sensed that was going to be the Chiefs best chance of toppling the Chiefs as well.

    And it’s not like they didn’t have plenty of ball; upwards of 70 per cent of possession in the first half, as the Crusaders from the opening minutes showed that they were more than happy to tackle their way into the Final.

    Would the result have been the same if Tim Nanai-Williams didn’t lose control of the ball while grounding it over the line? We’ll never know. But what we do know is that from that point it would be another 57 minutes before the Chiefs broke through the red-and-black wall in front of them.

    They had chances, for sure, and looked seemingly certain to score on a couple of occasions. But they couldn’t, and that kind of reflected their season in the New Zealand conference too; they threatened numerous times, but they were never able to stand out as the top team over the ditch.

    The Lions’ second halves this season have been something to behold. Even just since the June International break, their record after halftime is 127 points to just 21 points and three tries conceded; and average second forty of 31-5. And like they were against the Hurricanes in the Semi-Final, the Lions also trailed the Sharks in the Qualifying Final.

    They were always going to be a fast-finishing side. The ‘Canes even forced plenty of mistakes, but were let down by uncharacteristic execution errors, and their decision-making at times failing under pressure. The Lions missed every third tackle they attempted, yet through sheer weight of possession and territory, it didn’t matter.

    Crusaders Israel Dagg runs after the ball

    (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

    Traveling to South Africa was going to be a mere detail for the Hurricanes, some sections of the Kiwi media were insisting upon us last week. Those same sections were blowing up deluxe on Sunday, not because an on-field official got a decision right, but because an on-field official made an immediate and decisive – and correct – decision on his own. In a day and age where we deplore the game being unnecessarily held up by TMO referrals, the New Zealand Herald insisted “a more considered approach might have been appropriate”.

    That more considered approach would’ve come up with the same result, of course, but never mind. Also, you know, home town refs. That old chestnut. No-one bring up the inconvenient point of who blew the whistle in last year’s final in Wellington.

    The neutral refereeing argument comes up at this time of year every year, and even if you subscribe to the theory that professional referees’ livelihoods and future employment rests on their impartiality – and I do – it’s certainly true that SANZAAR brought this upon themselves the day they went away from appointing neutral referees. Regardless, it shouldn’t be an issue this weekend, with Australian ref Angus Gardner widely tipped to get what would be a well-deserved nod for the Final.

    But then again, we have rather astonishingly learned in the last week that ‘four weeks’ actually means something closer to seven weeks, despite numerous examples in recent years of a ‘week’ within a suspension including no games at all. And never mind that ‘matches’ was clarified to become ‘weeks’ a few years ago after the Wallabies somehow argued that Michael Hooper was always going to make a rare-as-hen’s-teeth appearance for his club side Manly during a Rugby Championship bye week.

    Nope, now ‘weeks’ means ‘matches’ again, and Sonny Bill Williams’ fourth ‘match’ of his suspension will come nearly two months after he was sent off against the British and Irish Lions.

    Honestly, if I wasn’t so used to rugby at the top level only refraining from shooting itself in the foot when forced to reload, it would all be quite laughable.

    And that’s why a first versus second final is one to be celebrated.

    After the season Super Rugby has had in 2017, it’s actually quite remarkable that like always seems to be the case, the best teams in the comp will again face off on the last weekend of the competition. And thank goodness for that.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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    The Crowd Says (274)

    • August 1st 2017 @ 7:20am
      Dan said | August 1st 2017 @ 7:20am | ! Report


      I think the turning point was Beaden’s yellow card. Which appeared to be harsh. A warning would have been more appropriate in my view as it was the Canes first real offence in the red zone.

      Earlier in the match there was what appeared to be a shoulder charge in the ruck that may have made contact with the head of a Canes player. Unfortunately, the broadcasters replayed this incident once. Coles motioned to Peyper to have it rechecked.

      Then there was neck roll which was penalised but should have also been looked at by the TMO. Do you get carded for neck rolls?

      Selective replays in the Republic have always been an issue for me.

      • August 1st 2017 @ 8:06am
        Fionn said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:06am | ! Report

        If Barrett hadn’t cynically killed the ball (and, yes, I do fall on the side of thinking that he did it on purpose) the Lions were almost sure to score at that point, and then the two teams are back at parity and the Lions have all the momentum.

        • August 1st 2017 @ 9:30am
          Muzzo said | August 1st 2017 @ 9:30am | ! Report

          Fionn, if you care to check out the replay carefully, on the Barrett incident, you will clearly see it was accidental, but even that being the case Peyper, was still correct in what he did, as it is the ruling.

          • August 1st 2017 @ 9:34am
            Fionn said | August 1st 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

            Just re-watched it, as Biltongbek says below ‘Perhaps there was no intent to drag the ball back’. I’ll agree that there was no clear evidence that it was on purpose, so BB should get the benefit of the doubt on that perhaps. That being said, BB was looking at the ball and it got caught between his legs.

            Whatever the case though, agree it was a YC.

            • August 1st 2017 @ 3:05pm
              The Sheriff said | August 1st 2017 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

              ‘No intent to drag the ball back’!
              Well, if there wasn’t, why did he do it?
              It was cynical and deserving of a yellow card.

            • August 1st 2017 @ 5:11pm
              timber said | August 1st 2017 @ 5:11pm | ! Report

              Wow, NZ dominance has really wormed its way into the heads of some fans.
              BB was doing his best to remove himself from the ruck, the ball was placed on his leg, he inadvertently carried it back.
              Not much else to see unless to want to play victim to the big bad AB.

            • August 1st 2017 @ 6:58pm
              soapit said | August 1st 2017 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

              on my single look at replays he did the old classic pull yourself immediately in the way but then try and get out straight. you will look like youre making an effort but it will be hard to get out and in the meantime you’ll slow down the ball considerably. watch immediately after the tackle there an inital move towards the lions player.

              it was bad luck that he collected the ball on the way through but if he’d rolled away as his first movement theres no problem and lions were hot on attack so fair card for me.

              unless what ive said above is wrong on future viewings of course.

            • August 1st 2017 @ 8:05pm
              Rugby Tragic said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:05pm | ! Report

              So many divided opinions of the YC for Barrett …. Nick Mallett for Supersport TV in SA and Naas Botha felt it was a tough call but it was the right call because Peyper said it was and he was the ‘boss in the middle’…

              • August 1st 2017 @ 9:01pm
                ClarkeG said | August 1st 2017 @ 9:01pm | ! Report

                I thought it was particularly interesting what he (Peyper) said to the Coles.

                “…whatever influence he has I have to penalise him.”

                Gee…the ABs might like to have heard that sort of input a few weeks back.

      • August 1st 2017 @ 8:10am
        Bill said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:10am | ! Report

        I don’t think the Republic are on their own with that one, our friends across the ditch are pretty selective as well

      • Columnist

        August 1st 2017 @ 8:23am
        Brett McKay said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        “ was the Canes first real offence in the red zone.”

        Dan, didn’t Peyper tell Perenara there’d been too many infringements on their own line only a few minutes earlier?

        Also, good point you raise. I should’ve mentioned home town tv directors too… ?

        • August 1st 2017 @ 8:43am
          Dan said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:43am | ! Report

          Man I didn’t hear the earlier warnings by Peyper. But if so, then the card was justified.

          Historically it don’t look pretty for the Crusaders, with the exception being that final against the Brumbies in Canberra.

          I can’t really remember that game but didn’t Ron Cribb toe the ball forward then regather and score the crucial try?

          Think the Crusaders will require something similar to take this one out!

      • Roar Guru

        August 1st 2017 @ 8:28am
        biltongbek said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

        Dan I am going to repeat my comment from another article, but first, yes you do get carded from a neck roll.

        When you look at Beauden barret’s movement, eye line and leg positioning the following is clear.

        1. He cannot “roll away to the side”.
        2. Hence he needs to make an alternative plan to make the ball available.
        3. He is in fact looking down towards his legs and the positioning of the ball.
        4. Option 1, lie still with legs flat in an attempt not to block access to the ball.
        5. Option 2, crawl to an onside position without dragging the ball with him.
        6. He selects option 2, look at his legs, he doesn’t point his feet to drag his feet past the ball, he in fact cradles the ball between calves.
        7. His demeaner suggests “look I am trying to get away, but don’t look at the ball hooked between my legs”

        I think in the heat of the moment with momentum at that stage going towrd the tryline and quick ball most likely to bring some points, Peyper reacts that it was cynical.

        Perhaps there was no intent to drag the ball back, perhpas the card could be seen as harsh. However the action by Peyper was not biased or that untoward.

        I have seen cards being dished out for less.

        • August 1st 2017 @ 9:07am
          Dan said | August 1st 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

          Thank you Biltongbek re cards for a neck roll. I do not like checking the “subscribe” box because my inbox gets really flooded with related comments.

          • August 1st 2017 @ 9:07pm
            ClarkeG said | August 1st 2017 @ 9:07pm | ! Report

            Not all neck rolls result in YCds.

            • Roar Guru

              August 2nd 2017 @ 12:15am
              biltongbek said | August 2nd 2017 @ 12:15am | ! Report

              Not all foul play results in yellow cards either. But it should

              • August 2nd 2017 @ 1:48am
                ClarkeG said | August 2nd 2017 @ 1:48am | ! Report

                Lots of extra sideline seats needed then and extra time keepers – can’t expect one to do it all.

                Less security staff needed though….less spectators.

        • August 1st 2017 @ 2:15pm
          cuw said | August 1st 2017 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

          u also get carded for deliberate knock downs – which Peyper indicated but only gave a penalty. he was quick with Barrett card. i just wonder what would have happened if he did not move – for arguement sake , coz Brrett gets out very fast , considering the time most take time to roll away. ( it is very fast even in slo-mo 🙂 ).

          also very early in the match the Lions were penalized for off side play , after a break by Hurricanes. at that point few lions were still trying to get on side .

          going by the argument he gave re Barrett – ” there is a clear line break and i have no other option ” , he shud have carded a lions player , one of few who were off side.

          also he did not card Hurricanes hooker – maybe becoz a try was scoreD?

          regarding the no shoulders charge at a ruck early in the game , i think Peyper said something like ” yes i was it and it was not dangeros”.

          i beg to differ with BM on TMO referrals. there were 2 trys that needed more careful view the one before end of first half and the one off a rolling maul when Rastaman said it was clearly grounded. both looked short to me.

          if the technology is available – u must use it . however i find it quite surprising that for a super rugger semi , u dont have more than 2 angles ( re the ricatelli charge near the line) . u cant be serios !!! so will it be same in the final too , that for some play or some location in the ground , u have no adequate tv cover?

          sorry BB , but this is what i find very biased in south africa. when they want to make a mountain out of a mole hill , there are 10 tv angles , but when they want to hide something , then things are missing. perhaps its like the country’s politics ……

          • Roar Guru

            August 1st 2017 @ 2:51pm
            biltongbek said | August 1st 2017 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

            Cuw, it has become a go to comment in the past years “South African referees are biased”

            I don’t buy it, it is BS. SA referees are no more biased than any other nation’s refrees.

            • Roar Guru

              August 1st 2017 @ 3:02pm
              Machooka said | August 1st 2017 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

              Correct… total BS.

              And frankly says more about the person saying so…

            • August 1st 2017 @ 3:05pm
              cuw said | August 1st 2017 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

              well i say its 50:50

              ur top refs – peyper joubert rastaman , they have been very good. i have said this before and will say again . in fact i said yesterday that crusaders will like peyper more than anyone else.

              but then u also have had guys like Strawberry – who were clearly rubbish and biased. i think the notion of bias comes up becoz they are rubbish. the logic being – if he refs 2 saffa teams , he is rubbish BUT if he refs a saffa team against another country , then he is biased.

              this is a self inflicted wound , like so many sanzaaaar seem to enjoy. why cant they appoint neutrals – if not the whole tournament , at least in finals round??? as i said below , maybe they are going by the proverb ” any publicity is good publicity ” .

              but my biggest issue is with the way the TV is manipulated. how can u air a super rugger semi final and then tell the ref ” i have only those 2 angles??? ” in such a situ even Nigel owens will be screwed !!!

              • August 1st 2017 @ 9:50pm
                ClarkeG said | August 1st 2017 @ 9:50pm | ! Report

                They need designated fixed cameras. Until they go down this road it can only ever be a hit-or-miss type process.

            • August 1st 2017 @ 5:21pm
              timber said | August 1st 2017 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

              • Roar Guru

                August 1st 2017 @ 5:42pm
                biltongbek said | August 1st 2017 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

                Timber, becuase some guy throws out some stats with no source of data doesn’t make it fact

              • August 1st 2017 @ 6:15pm
                timber said | August 1st 2017 @ 6:15pm | ! Report

                The game data is out there, he’s used which clearly lists the number of penalties and referees who dished them out for every game since at least 2012.
                If you don’t want to verify his data then so be it, but it can be easily found.

              • August 1st 2017 @ 7:20pm
                Highlander said | August 1st 2017 @ 7:20pm | ! Report

                Just WOW

          • August 1st 2017 @ 9:38pm
            ClarkeG said | August 1st 2017 @ 9:38pm | ! Report

            Until such time as the TMO process has complete control over the video to be considered then there will always be the perception of broadcasters playing silly games.

            I do agree with the idea however that if the referee or his assistants are sure then I’m more than happy for them to call it right away.

            The Marx try looked ok. It looks short initially but Rastaman was sure. It appeared from the in-goal view that he pushed the ball onto the line…just.

            I was not however convinced about the penalty leading up to that try…offside it was. Can’t see how any Hurricanes player was offside at the point where he awarded the penalty.

            • August 2nd 2017 @ 6:40pm
              cuw said | August 2nd 2017 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

              yes the “PUSH” is what im wondering about.

              if u recall there was a simillar try by crusaders , where it seemed the prop ( was it moody?) had initially landed short , but then pushed the ball over in the ensuing mele’.

              i have no indepth knowledge of the Laws , but i thought shuch pushes were considered as double movement or what ever they call it , once upon a time.

              also i am of the view that when ever there is too much happening near the try line , it is best to use technology – unless it is 200% clear cut. for eg the TNW try was almost given , only for the tv to show the ko.

              there was one fantastic tv referell in the INDIA v SRI LANKA test match. Upul Thranga was hammering away to a run a ball fifty , when he stepped out to drive. the silly mid off caught the ball and flicked it to the keeper who took bails off. Tharanga dived back.

              the leg ump referred it to tv ump. the first replay showed in normal speed he was well inside and Indians went back to their fielding positions. the next slo-mo showed that while Tharanga got his bat inside the popping crease, it had jumped up at the time bails came off. so although the bat was well inside the crease , at the moment bail is lifted there is nothing touching the ground – AND OUT !!! that is the beauty of tv slomo. that is why i say refer it unless it is clear cut.

        • August 1st 2017 @ 3:07pm
          The Sheriff said | August 1st 2017 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

          That is what I saw, too!

        • August 1st 2017 @ 5:26pm
          ozinsa said | August 1st 2017 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

          Good summary. Referees need to ensure sides aren’t able to kill momentum by players “accidentally” slowing down ball after teams get behind them. I favour more YC to get this outcome.

      • August 1st 2017 @ 8:39am
        Hannes said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:39am | ! Report

        Peyer would have prepared for this game and would have realised that this is something that Barett did before. I reviewed this incident several times and believe it was the right call as this was cynical. There were other incidents as well in the Canes red zone that could have deserved a yellow card as well that was not given which you fail to mention. Can you please point out the section in the Laws that require that a referee must give multiple warnings before a card is shown? I think these warnings encourage negative play.
        The momentum changed with van Rooyen’s try just before half time or just before that when Mostert won two consecutive line-outs on the Canes throw when the Canes were camping in the Lions 22. When the second half started the Lions were already on top on all the stats, lifted the tempo of the game and building momentum to close the gap on the scoreboard. Barrett’s yellow card, his 3rd this season in the red zone, opened the flood gates.

        • August 1st 2017 @ 10:05pm
          ClarkeG said | August 1st 2017 @ 10:05pm | ! Report

          “…other incidents as well in the Canes red zone that could have deserved a yellow card…” I’ve noticed you have pushed this point quite a bit over the last couple of days but have given no examples as far as I am aware.

          The Riccitelli offiside would be one – but the Lions scored there anyways. The others are?

        • August 2nd 2017 @ 11:26am
          zhenry said | August 2nd 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

          What about infringements in the red zone by the Lions.
          Don’t even mention it.
          I have not checked what the Lions did when they were in their own 25, but at least one Commenter on here has observed they got away with a yellow card and a penalty, and again ‘timber’s’ evidence by ‘planet rugby’ re neutral refs; indisputable, except to SA’s.
          Of course Gardiner should have the super final, and re gardless of Jackson last year (NZ refs don’t er as much as SA refs – re ‘timber’ above) Peyper’s performance last week favored the Lions, even though arguments can be mounted against, if Peyper had been consistent with both teams the outcome would have been different.

          • August 2nd 2017 @ 11:38am
            zhenry said | August 2nd 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

            Correction Lions got penalty but got away wth yellow card – that’s one instance only.
            Have to say the NZ response to Peyper refing final, is a typical ‘wet limp rag’ NZ response: Your not that good NZ, your not so far ahead of the pack, wake up NZ, start confronting NZ you are never going to play perfect; sure review what you could have done better but confront discrepencies by others as well.

      • August 1st 2017 @ 9:02am
        rebel said | August 1st 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report

        Yes it was harsh and I don’t believe it was deliberate, however Peyper correctly said he was left with no choice due to the situation.
        The only thing we can hope for is consistency with this type of ruling.

        • August 1st 2017 @ 10:13pm
          ClarkeG said | August 1st 2017 @ 10:13pm | ! Report

          What Peyper said was “…whatever influence he has I have to penalise him…”. Peyper went further than what he said he had to do.

          A referee always has a choice regards YCding for this type of infringement unless of course he is of the opinion it has prevented a probable try.

      • August 1st 2017 @ 9:41am
        Bakkies said | August 1st 2017 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        ‘ A warning would have been more appropriate in my view as it was the Canes first real offence in the red zone.’

        Barrett’s infringement cost the Lions possession after a line break so you can’t blame Peyper for dishing out a card.

      • August 1st 2017 @ 2:23pm
        cuw said | August 1st 2017 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

        @ Dan

        ” think the turning point was Beaden’s yellow card. ”

        nope BM is correct – it was the kicking duel that was won by Lions that turned it. i think TJP and JB tried a quickie and again lost the ball ; the lions then off the lineout worked their way up and just before end of the half scored ….. which shud have been properly looked at imo.

        around 35 minute mark , the saffa commentary says that the hurricanes are slowing down . perhaps , the travel and height was taking effect.

        also it looked as if hurricanes were somehow not sure / accurate with their kicking at heights. the lions easily won the kicking battle – understandable it is thier ground. they had a few 20 to 20 kicks.

        • August 1st 2017 @ 10:34pm
          ClarkeG said | August 1st 2017 @ 10:34pm | ! Report

          I made a note at 28m that the Hurricanes were letting the Lions off the hook. The Hurricanes had to be out of sight on the scoreboard because a resurgence by the Lions in the second half was inevitable.

          I felt the turning point was at 35m when Milner-Skudder carried the ball from a lineout past the Lions 10m mark and was penalised for not releasing.

          From that point the Lions went on one of those revolving advantages until they scored.

      • August 1st 2017 @ 11:26pm
        Really? said | August 1st 2017 @ 11:26pm | ! Report

        1 and 2 to play the grandfinal Brett? The Lions haven’t played any Kiwi teams away from home this year. They may have breezed through Oz… but no way in hell would they have toured a few games in NZ and go home undefeated. Nuf said…

      • August 2nd 2017 @ 8:42am
        Winston said | August 2nd 2017 @ 8:42am | ! Report


    • Roar Guru

      August 1st 2017 @ 7:51am
      Machooka said | August 1st 2017 @ 7:51am | ! Report

      Thanks Brett… and I also think the two best teams are deservedly contesting the Final of what has been one of the most bizarre seasons of SR ever. And from a pure rugby perspective this Final should be an absolute cracker. A complete contrast of styles/ game-plans, with two teams whose players have bought into their respective systems and trust in them. I’m very much looking forward to this game.

      As to the suspension thingy… can we just say ‘matches’ instead of ‘weeks’?

      • August 1st 2017 @ 8:03am
        Rugby Tragic said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:03am | ! Report

        Chook, then what if there is an eligible mid week match? (as there were with the BIL’s), so effectively 2 matches in the week?

        • August 1st 2017 @ 8:07am
          Fionn said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

          I’d have no problem with them both counting (the Blues and the All Blacks), but it would only be if the Blues were actually playing their other All Blacks so it wasn’t a silly excuse, and the matches should be “meaningful” as much as possible.

          With that criteria fulfilled, I see no problem with both matches counting.

          • August 1st 2017 @ 7:04pm
            soapit said | August 1st 2017 @ 7:04pm | ! Report

            yep me too. if he has played for the team regularly in the past and its a competitive match then count it.

          • August 1st 2017 @ 10:53pm
            ClarkeG said | August 1st 2017 @ 10:53pm | ! Report

            Not sure the status of other players should come into the reckoning.

        • August 1st 2017 @ 8:13pm
          cuw said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:13pm | ! Report

          @ Rugby Tragic

          i dont know how accurate it is , but in british press it is reported as 2 practice matches of 40 minutes each.

      • Columnist

        August 1st 2017 @ 8:25am
        Brett McKay said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:25am | ! Report

        We were saying matches until only a few years ago, Chookman.

        And then teams suddenly decided – by sheer coincidence, obviously – that pro players needed game time with their clubs during bye weeks!!

        • Roar Guru

          August 1st 2017 @ 8:53am
          Machooka said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

          Yep… so at the time of the hearing, and let’s face it most know whether they’re gonna get done or not, have the hearing nominate what is meaningful as to what matches are to be affected or not.

          Hence, if the accused and their co effectively dictate they need the player to play ‘mid week’ or ‘club’ fixtures, then what was a four week ban is in reality a six week ban. Or just make it a four match suspension. And if the player found guilty is done in an international or SR game then it those type of matches that should count. For mine this seems appropriate. As to bye weeks… bye bye.

          Just cut the nonsense out and get on with it… seriously!

          • August 1st 2017 @ 5:22pm
            ozinsa said | August 1st 2017 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

            Let’s make it simple. The judiciary simply says he is suspended until this date. Broaches no argument or cute Hooper-style diversions

            • Columnist

              August 1st 2017 @ 5:50pm
              Brett McKay said | August 1st 2017 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

              Until this very case, there were saying ‘Player X is suspended from all rugby up to and including ‘. They were saying exactly that.

              NZR even, when they put out the press release, stated, “Sonny Bill Williams is suspended four weeks...”

              Somehow, some time since then, four weeks became four matches…

            • August 1st 2017 @ 7:11pm
              soapit said | August 1st 2017 @ 7:11pm | ! Report

              you dont get the appearance of consistency across offences then tho, harder for the plebs to get a feel for the system.

              simplest is just ban them for matches but they can only count teams theyve played in regularly before. make it they had to have appeared in the previous match they were available for not (playing for higher teams) if you like. that would be nice and simple

              • August 1st 2017 @ 11:06pm
                ClarkeG said | August 1st 2017 @ 11:06pm | ! Report

                It can not be any simpler than it is presently.

                All matches are deemed equal.

              • August 2nd 2017 @ 6:53am
                soapit said | August 2nd 2017 @ 6:53am | ! Report

                perhaps, maximum simplicity while maintaining a good sense of integrity in the system should be the goal tho.

              • August 2nd 2017 @ 12:58pm
                ClarkeG said | August 2nd 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

                Could be argued that there is very much a good sense of integrity in the concept that all matches are equal.

              • August 2nd 2017 @ 7:50pm
                soapit said | August 2nd 2017 @ 7:50pm | ! Report

                anything can be argued. wouldnt think most would see much quality in an argument that counting a theoretical appearance for a team that someone hasnt turned out for in 12 months or more as equal enhances the integrity of the penalty system.

                no doubt some would try for a variety of potential reasons.

              • August 2nd 2017 @ 11:34pm
                ClarkeG said | August 2nd 2017 @ 11:34pm | ! Report

                Yes anything can be argued – something to do with human nature I guess – but I’m not discussing the quality of any argument about theoretical match appearances counting towards any player suspension.

                The point that I made is that there is integrity in the concept on which the foul play regulations are presently based i.e that all matches are equal.

            • August 1st 2017 @ 10:57pm
              ClarkeG said | August 1st 2017 @ 10:57pm | ! Report

              They usually do specify a date.

      • August 1st 2017 @ 8:50am
        Hannes said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:50am | ! Report

        My view is that if someone gets a card in a test that the ban should be applied to tests. E.g. SBW should have been bannes for four consecutive tests and he would not be able to play in any competition untill the ban is lifted.

        • August 1st 2017 @ 11:44am
          Wallsy said | August 1st 2017 @ 11:44am | ! Report

          So if a player is banned in the last week of the November internationals for a “mild” one week offence they can’t play in any competition until June?
          Doesn’t seem that reasonable to me…

          • August 1st 2017 @ 12:23pm
            Hannes said | August 1st 2017 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

            The duration of the bans will be adjusted to align with the fact that the ban is for test matches. Players get bans for doing things that could end another player’s career or life, I do not think we should be lenient on these transgression. If you and I do something at our workplace to endangers the life or career of our colleagues we will be fired, prosecuted and some will even have to change their careers.

            • August 1st 2017 @ 2:27pm
              Rugby Tragic said | August 1st 2017 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

              Not sure how that could work… the same indiscretion say in a club game by a perpetrator, where the victim suffers from the same indiscretion (maybe even with a worse outcome) gets off lighter than as in this case, a player in a test.

              The ‘club player’ serves his four games over the next four weeks yet in Wallsy’s example the test player is ousted for 8 months.

      • August 1st 2017 @ 10:46pm
        ClarkeG said | August 1st 2017 @ 10:46pm | ! Report

        Chook why can’t we just say “matches – dash – weeks”. One is the other in the context of the regulations.

        They are the same thing. Did I miss something in the past month or two. When did this become confusing because apparently there are many people who seem confused.

    • August 1st 2017 @ 8:08am
      Fionn said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      Brett, I think the tide really turned around the time of the first try before half time. The Lions scored right after half time again, and then never really gave the momentum back.

      The dual line-out steals were huge as well. That Mostert guy is a Monster in the line out.

      • Columnist

        August 1st 2017 @ 8:27am
        Brett McKay said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

        Fionn, this just underlines my point about the exact turning point being difficult to pin down!

        • August 1st 2017 @ 8:31am
          Fionn said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:31am | ! Report

          Yeah… When I started writing the comment I intended on pointing out that it was CLEARLY the first try.

          Then I remembered the line-out steals..

          Anyway, should be a great match on the weekend,

          • August 1st 2017 @ 10:18am
            stainlesssteve said | August 1st 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

            the Lions’ first try, just before the break, is my pick for the turning point. Listening on the radio, i felt strongly that this was the turn of the tide. The Canes’ lead came from helter-skelter play, on the back of their frenetic pace-based plan. Altitude took that away even before half time. Perhaps they could have changed gear at that point, but the Lions’ pack were always going to be penetrating in the second half.
            I think Beauden’s card was harsh, but not the game-changer, and a second yellow was overlooked, which balanced that pretty well. Williams’ try was a beauty, and i would have given it to either side. After watching the highlights, the Lions were very strong. Not unhappy to say they had the edge, and i believe oxygen was the real joker in the pack

            • August 1st 2017 @ 12:52pm
              Fionn said | August 1st 2017 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

              Steve, you might be right.

              I am actually interested in watching a replay of the match.

        • August 1st 2017 @ 2:26pm
          cuw said | August 1st 2017 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

          @Brett McKay

          if u watch the match again – listen to saffa commentary around 35 minute mark ( i think it is somewhere there)> they say the Hurricanes are slowing down and looking to rest a till end of half , or something like that.

          i thik after that only those kicks happen and then the try at the end of half.

      • Roar Rookie

        August 1st 2017 @ 1:14pm
        eeds said | August 1st 2017 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

        Agreed re mostert – the boks looking like they will have a belter of a second row for years to come when you factor in du toit, de jagger and of course etzabeth

      • August 1st 2017 @ 9:39pm
        Sylvester said | August 1st 2017 @ 9:39pm | ! Report

        The Canes set piece disintegrated in the second half – that cost them any chance to apply pressure. Coupled with their (many) run of play errors, it was curtains.

    • August 1st 2017 @ 8:17am
      Bill said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:17am | ! Report

      Nice summary Brett. On reflection though I thought the on field play in 2017 was in most parts fantastic. All teams at certain times played wonderful rugby with the NZ teams being the most consistent throughout the season. Despite the doom and gloom around OZ at times all 5 teams played exceedingly well unfortunately they were unable to maintain this throughout the full 80 mins let alone 16 rounds.

      Michael Hoopers comment early in the season about how well they were playing on the training paddock was surely the quote of the season.

      • August 1st 2017 @ 10:20am
        stainlesssteve said | August 1st 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

        That’s the big headline for me, too, Bill.
        The rugby has been beautiful

      • Columnist

        August 1st 2017 @ 12:44pm
        Brett McKay said | August 1st 2017 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

        ha, great point Bill. Arguably the highlight of the Tahs season, too..

    • August 1st 2017 @ 8:25am
      Luke Ringland said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:25am | ! Report

      I for one thought the yellow card was justified. You will hear me complain all day long about soft yellow cards in general play around the park, but the red zone is a whole other story. A team under pressure who kills the oppositions opportunity to score in way that is once-off blatantly illegal, or repeatedly tip-toes on the rules, should pay the penalty of the card.

      Much is made of Barret’s “intent”, the sound of which is so very funny in a Kiwi accent, but I don’t think matters in this case. Take Barret’s illegal play out of the equation, and the Lions are a big chance of scoring. And the thing about intent is that it can be hard to judge, especially if players know that feigning innocence may help them avoid sanction. In this case I don’t believe Barret did it on purpose, but who really knows?

      And so more important than intent, is “how illegal was it?”, or to put it another way, how close to a legitimate play was it? By this reckoning, it was VERY illegal, and no where near a legitimate play.

      • Roar Guru

        August 1st 2017 @ 3:13pm
        Timbo (L) said | August 1st 2017 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

        Soft Yellow, Sure.
        It was either that or a Penalty try.

        • August 1st 2017 @ 11:29pm
          ClarkeG said | August 1st 2017 @ 11:29pm | ! Report

          If it was a penalty try ( but never could it be in this instance) then it is a YC as well.

          The referee must temporarily suspend a player when a penalty try is awarded.

    • August 1st 2017 @ 8:34am
      Jigbon said | August 1st 2017 @ 8:34am | ! Report

      Great game great outcome no matter the winner/ loser… great for rugby. And to this week. The same.

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