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The Wrap: All of the winners and losers from ‘Super Saturday’

Geoff Parkes Columnist

By Geoff Parkes, Geoff Parkes is a Roar Expert

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    The first weekend of what is, depending on which direction water swirls down the plughole, known as either the ‘autumn internationals’ or the ‘end of year tours’ promised plenty.

    In the process, it delivered an array of winners, losers and talking points that will keep fans well occupied until next weekend.

    Broadcaster beIN Sports led the confusion, adopting a “northern hemisphere versus southern hemisphere” scorecard that surprised viewers who weren’t aware this was actually some kind of tournament. Their tally of three wins to the north versus two to the south seemed like a convenient contrivance, including Samoa as a representative of the south, although this downplayed the efforts of Italy who, if their 17-10 win over Fiji was included, actually made it four wins to the north.

    As for Georgia’s 54-22 thumping of Canada? Heck, if we’re going to make stuff up, why not call it Europe versus the rest and make it five wins?

    While we’re at it, beIN Sports’ ‘live sports desk’ approach might work well in the local market for fans happy to flit in and out of the coverage to get an overall picture, but it played havoc with those of us taping concurrent matches who naively expected to be able to tune in without being told what was happening elsewhere.

    What wasn’t a surprise was Wales employing a defensive line that rushed up at breakneck speed on the Wallabies’ ball players. Bernard Foley was well prepared, however, twice kicking judiciously into the corner from where his pack mauled and rumbled across for an easy try, and then again for Will Genia to send Adam Coleman over.

    Whether Wales’ apparent shift in emphasis to a ball-in-hand game will pay dividends in the long run or not, their signalling of such came across as tactically naïve. One fine team try resulted, but with their handling skills and option-taking not matching their ambition, they merely invited the Wallabies to play far too much rugby in their defensive half, with Michael Hooper squeezing over for a try right on halftime for a 22-13 lead.

    Michael Hooper

    (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

    What couldn’t be faulted was the home side’s effort, and they hung in during a tough third quarter, only to be undone by a strip, bobble and stroll to the line by Kurtley Beale, where it seemed like he was the only person at the stadium who knew what had actually happened.

    The Wallabies then successfully negotiated a tricky final stanza with Hooper in the sin bin, and while they may have lost cohesion in attack, and paid for a lack of discipline all night, here was another pleasing sign that this is a side continuing to mature under coach Michael Cheika.

    Cheika has an intriguing selection dilemma ahead of him for next week, with the ‘twin towers’ midfield of Samu Kerevi and Tevita Kuridrani not quite gelling. There is also the thought that Eddie Jones will more adeptly exploit Marika Koroibete, whose ability to tackle is not yet matched by his positional understanding and defensive decision-making.

    What Cheika does have in his kit-bag, however, is Will Genia, currently completely on top of his game, passing crisply from the floor and mopping up decisively in the second line of defence.

    England may not have been overly impressive in their 20-8 victory against Argentina, but they will be better for the run and will carry no fear into what is clearly shaping as the match of next weekend. Who knows, perhaps beIN Sports might even allocate this match double points on their table?

    It seems unlikely that Warren Gatland will be phoning Sean O’Brien for advice on anything, but if they were on speaking terms O’Brien might be able to help explain why Ireland were far more ready for, and respectful of, the requirements of Test rugby than Wales – and indeed their opponent South Africa – were.

    Whenever Ireland strikes the right blend of red-mist intensity, calm decision-making and skills execution, they are a handful for all sides. At the very least, opponents must know that they cannot hide or pretend that the physical and mental challenge isn’t upon them.

    By conceding the breakdown contest South Africa did just that, and was duly punished 38-3, in the process deflating all of the goodwill gained in their honourable losing performance against the All Blacks in Cape Town.

    For as long as coach Allister Coetzee persists in playing a ‘crab’ at halfback – the curiously re-named Ross Cron-gee – any thoughts of incisive backline play must be set aside. But even so, to see a sizeable Springbok pack manhandled in this manner by the Irish must be devastating for Bok supporters.

    As for the genius who determined that kitting Ireland out in some blue/green hybrid army fatigue outfit would enhance the viewing experience, the mind boggles.

    The mind boggled too in Paris, as Sonny Bill Williams – enjoying his best Test match of the year – momentarily thought he was back in a Roosters jersey and batted a kick over the dead-ball line instead of catching it cleanly. He rightfully paid a heavy price – a yellow card – but what on earth referee Angus Gardner was thinking by extrapolating that into a penalty try, heaven knows.

    Sonny Bill Williams New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Union 2017

    (AAP Image/Dean Pemberton)

    Treat any post-match talk of considering the offending player ‘invisible’ with caution. The relevant law does not make any such reference, and it is only the most extravagant interpretation – such as Gardner appeared to talk himself into – that could take precedence over common-sense application.

    Steve Hansen might consider himself a winner on two counts – firstly that his team restored confidence in attack with some lovely first-half tries, and then dug in, in the face of a spirited French attack in the second, to slug out what in the end was a hard-fought but well-earned win.

    Impatient fans and doubters might disagree, but Vaea Fifita playing a full 80 minutes in a tight, wet, physical contest, with Keiran Read off the field for much of the second half, will pay more dividends in the long run than him than romping around in support of long-range tries – which is what seemed on the cards at half-time.

    France were certainly good value in the second stanza, and Toulouse’s Antione Dupont showed precisely why he has been preferred to the talented Baptiste Serin at halfback, exhibiting a full range of skills and a competitive temperament perfectly suited for Test rugby. This is genuine depth at halfback that other countries would kill for.

    If the beIN Sports scoreboard had included the NRC final in their tally it would have shown another win for the north – Queensland Country steaming home in the second half to overcome the Canberra Vikings 42-28.

    In what had been billed as a contest between Canberra’s Rob Valetini and Country’s Duncan Paia’aua for the competition’s ‘Most Valuable Player’, the cream rose to the top, with Valetini imposing himself on the match in the first half. Paia’aua showed nice touches throughout before dominating the second half and ensuring his side’s incredible rise from wooden spooners to champions in 12 months.

    In the end, both players missed out, the award going to an equally deserving Caleb Timu, while try-scoring honours on the night went to winger Filipo Daugunu, who scorched over for a hat-trick, spectacularly just missing out on a fourth try.

    If Paia’aua was disappointed in being overlooked for the Wallabies tour, he can take solace in what is a far superior outcome. Instead of holding up tackle bags in Cardiff he now goes into next year’s Super Rugby having starred in a high-quality grand final, being the name on everybody’s lips.

    As an added bonus, Paia’aua also gets his hands on what appears to be the world’s most over-engineered toast rack, aka the NRC trophy.

    The match officials did their best to spoil the party – Paia’aua inexplicably shown a yellow card for a tackle that was perfectly fair – but in the end it was left to the master of understatement, coach Brad Thorn, to whisper his way through an interview where, predictably, he deflected credit in all directions other than himself.

    Queensland Country NRC Grand FInal

    (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

    Coaching a high-level professional rugby side today involves all manner of complications and eventualities, but what was noteworthy about Thorn’s contribution was his preparedness to leave players on the field who were doing a job for him and who he knew would finish strongly, rather than resorting to wholesale, pre-determined substitutions.

    This was a worthy final, Canberra certainly playing their part too in front of a healthy looking crowd – another measure of progress from previous seasons. Growing belief in the competition is certainly evident from the players and coaches, the broadcaster Fox Sports, and, in slowly increasing numbers, local fans.

    For 2018, let’s hope that the missing pieces are addressed. State rugby unions must accept responsibility to more effectively engage their clubs with the NRC – thus helping grow the competition from the ground up – and Rugby Australia must discover the will and wherewithal to provide funding and promotion commensurate with a flagship national domestic competition.

    The NRC is a winner – it’s high time the game’s governing bodies treated it like one.

    Geoff Parkes
    Geoff Parkes

    Geoff is a Melbourne-based sports fanatic and writer who started contributing to The Roar in 2012 under the pen name Allanthus. His first book, A World in Union Conflict; The Global Battle For Rugby Supremacy, was released in December 2017 to critical acclaim. For details on the book visit Meanwhile, his twin goals of achieving a single figure golf handicap and owning a fast racehorse remain tantalisingly out of reach.

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    The Crowd Says (240)

    • Roar Guru

      November 13th 2017 @ 7:18am
      Diggercane said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:18am | ! Report

      Great wrap Geoff, thank you.

      Irelands jersey sure was an interesting one, surely less of a clash with the emerald green I would have thought and Bundee certainly made the most of his starting chance.

      As for the Boks, disappointingly passive, they really need to sort their halves out and find some size in their backline. Or perhaps just pick the best players?

      Still waiting for that ’80’ minute performance from our mob, Scotland are great spoilers so could be a frustrating match coming up and the Wallabies are looking better and better, hope they can get up this weekend but given Eddie Jones reactions in the box, I expect a pretty fired up English side this weekend!

      • November 13th 2017 @ 7:38am
        nickbrisbane said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:38am | ! Report

        SA think they are that good that they can leave Kwagga Smith at home.

        This is what SA Supersport thought of their effort – Boks have nowhere to hide

        • Roar Guru

          November 13th 2017 @ 8:49am
          Diggercane said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:49am | ! Report

          No, they don’t and its a shame as I do believe the players are there.

        • November 14th 2017 @ 9:57am
          nickbrisbane said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

          Watch the highlight clip of Bishops school from Cape Town playing on this site – Some South Africans can play good rugby

      • Columnist

        November 13th 2017 @ 8:13am
        Geoff Parkes said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

        Cheers Digger. Shocking news about Coles, looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of Aumua sooner than expected!

        • Roar Guru

          November 13th 2017 @ 8:48am
          Diggercane said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

          Not such a bad thing at all but feel for the bloke, had a rubbish year. Hopefully the extended break will help clear up any lingering concussion concerns as well.

      • November 13th 2017 @ 8:14am
        Jerry said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:14am | ! Report

        Over on Planet Rugby someone made the joke that Ireland were kindly providing a test debut for Aki in a black jersey like he’d grown up dreaming of….

      • November 13th 2017 @ 9:24am
        Bakkies said | November 13th 2017 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        Oosthuizen is due for a scan according to reports it appears to be his medial.

        • Columnist

          November 13th 2017 @ 10:09am
          Geoff Parkes said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

          Yes, to be fair, although good sides overcome adversity, nobody expects to be losing their starting prop right at the beginning of the match.

          • November 13th 2017 @ 4:29pm
            Cuw said | November 13th 2017 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

            @ Geoff Parkes

            do u have any idea why all these matches are scheduled overlapping on one day , when there is another day called Sunday and not a single match??

            it seems very poor planning – i mean isnt the idea to spread the gospel and let more people see matches?

            or do they think that only peeps with direct affiliations to each country matter , so they will watch just the one they have a direct interest in?

            and tomorrow NZ play French Babarians – CHEERS

            New Zealand:

            15 David Havili, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Seta Tamanivalu, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow,

            8 Luke Whitelock (c), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Tim Perry


            16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Dillon Hunt, 22 Mitch Drummond, 23 Richie Mo’unga

            Date: Tuesday, November 14
            Venue: Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon
            Kick-off: 19:30 local (18:30 GMT)

            • Columnist

              November 13th 2017 @ 6:12pm
              Geoff Parkes said | November 13th 2017 @ 6:12pm | ! Report

              Hi Cuw

              It’s a combination of things. Each touring side prefers to play Saturday to Saturday, so that they get a full recovery/preparation in.

              Also, it’s not a tournament organised by a single, central body, so each host nation has the ability to schedule their matches at a time that best suits them and maximises their potential revenue for their own match. It’s no surprise that this results in everyone wanting to play at a similar time.

              There is a small amount of communication/co-operation between the unions and some input from the broadcaster but mostly it’s every man for himself. Which – unfortunately – isn’t atypical for rugby in the professional era.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 6:53pm
                Cuw said | November 13th 2017 @ 6:53pm | ! Report

                if they put their heads together , am sure they can make more money .

                the gate may not change if it is Saturday or Sunday , but the TV income will for sure.

                funny how they are so fussy about one extra day , when at world cup they have to sacrifice 2 days at times.

                this is one of the biggest issues with rugger – the fans are the least important….

              • November 13th 2017 @ 11:01pm
                Bakkies said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:01pm | ! Report

                Why would you play on a Sunday when it will be broadcast in Australia, NZ, Samoa, Fiji, Japan, etc early on a Monday morning when people are sleeping before going to work? It’s up there with the ARU earning more rights money off European broadcasters and scheduling June tests in the afternoon when it is 6am in the morning in Europe.

                It’s also an awful day for people to travel to a game when you are travelling to a match from outside where the matches are held (fans that travel to Not the Heineken Cup sponsored Heineken and Six Nations matches hate Sunday games for that reason). Timetables are reduced and flights are late.

                There is no live televised Football in the UK between 2:45 and 5:15 so it makes sense that Scotland, England and Wales utilise that time-slot when more viewing eyes are available. Ireland also have Skysports sharing the AI rights with RTÉ so it suits them too.

              • November 14th 2017 @ 6:27pm
                Cuw said | November 14th 2017 @ 6:27pm | ! Report

                i guess the footy explanation is the thing – which i did not think of.

                TV channels in Europe pay a lot for the footy and basically dictate terms to the scheduling.

                i think there is an ongoing fight between Liverpool and the rulers , as they are supposed to play on Christmas day !!

    • November 13th 2017 @ 7:26am
      Bluesfan said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:26am | ! Report

      Whilst the AB and Wallabies win were to be expected, the sad part of the weekend was watching SA fall away further.

      Their back line did not even look Super level quality and that their pack was handled with ease by Ireland, which was a sad reflection on how far their game has fallen.

      How Coetzee keeps his job is beyond me but I guess that’s the challenge SA face in regards facing requirements that a certain % of the team need to be coloured and being able to put out a competitive team that can win matches.

    • Roar Guru

      November 13th 2017 @ 7:28am
      Wally James said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:28am | ! Report

      Cheers Geoff. Well said regarding the penalty try.

      The Law says nothing about acting as if the offending player was non-existent. All it says is that a penalty try should be awarded if a try would probably have been scored but for foul play of the defending team Law 22.4(h). It is the foul play which must be considered the reason the try was not scored, not the existence of the player who committed it.

      Another furphy from weekend’s commentary is that downward pressure is needed for a try. Sometimes it is and sometimes not. If the ball is in possession of the player, all he need do is touch the ground with it. Downward pressure is specifically not required. (Law 22.1(a) If the ball is loose, then a player must press the ball down with his hands arms or front of the body including waist to neck. (Law 22.1(b)).

      If only players commentators and coaches (not to mention refs) were accurate (as you always are) there would be less spreading of bad law!

      Much like SBW and his batting the ball dead. A reversion to old days for him poor fella.

      • November 13th 2017 @ 7:49am
        Fionn said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        What is more important than the black letter of the law is how they’re traditionally interpreted.

        To me it seems a pretty strange rule to award a penalty try for the reasons Geoff elucidates above, but if that is the way the law is meant to be interpreted then that is the way the law is meant to be interpreted. It would just be nice if World Rugby issued a statement after all of those controversial decisions and stated what the correct ruling was for future reference.

        If (and it is a big if) Gardner and the TMO were correct in their decision then all the articles pillorying them are misguided. If they got it wrong then both then future refs need to know so that the same mistake isn’t made again in the future.

        • Roar Guru

          November 13th 2017 @ 8:02am
          Wally James said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:02am | ! Report

          Agreed Fonn. Errors need to be pointed out by the IRB as well as the decisions which were spot on. How else can the public understand them?

          Can I tell you that as a ref for 38 years, that is the first I have ever heard of the law as to penalty try expressed in that way.

          • November 13th 2017 @ 12:04pm
            ClarkeG said | November 13th 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

            Sorry Wally. I have to ask. What error in this instance needs to be pointed out by World Rugby.

            The referee explained the decision which I’m pretty sure falls into line with the relevant law.

            The only point of debate as I see it is whether or not we agree with the match officials conclusion that a try would probably have been scored.

            • November 13th 2017 @ 4:51pm
              Cuw said | November 13th 2017 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

              @ ClarkeG

              the bone of contention in this case is that Gardener was happy to give a yellow and go on – untill the TMO got in his ear and explained the ” Invisible man” theory.

              the issue is that a lot of people were confused about the penalty try ( and not the card for deliberately slapping the ball beyond dead ball line).

              the commentary did not know and apparently Hansen did not know.

              if the idea is to spread the gospel – then maybe someone needs to explain that ruling to viewers like me , who is not aware of all the fineprint in the Law book.

              as i said in another post – i saw Naiyarovoro do the same thing in his first match for Waratahs . he copped a card but as far as i can remember , there was no penalty try.

              also , WR shud be concerned – becoz one of its test ref panel was not aware of the “fineprint” !!!

              • November 13th 2017 @ 8:02pm
                ClarkeG said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:02pm | ! Report

                I’m of course not privy to the discussion between the match officials including the TMO so I only know what I heard from the match coverage.

                Is is true that following further consideration the referee did change his mind regards the penalty try.

                It is also true that the explanation the referee gave in no way made reference to anything about an invisible man thingee. It simply fell into line with the relevant law although I accept that whether or not a probable try would have resulted but for the offence, is up for debate.

                Again it is also true that the relevant law does not say anything about the invisible man thingee.

                So is it fair to say that the referee was not aware of some part of the law. Well it would be if there was some specific directive given to referees on how the law is to be applied in these instances and he did not know of that directive. Is there such a directive or guideline?

                Also on Naiyaravoro yes you are right…here is the clip. Note the referee. And the very firm advice he was given by his assistant.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 8:13pm
                Cuw said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:13pm | ! Report

                u can infer from the things Gardener said , which was heard on commentary , that he was considering the ” invisible man” thingy.

                he said some thing like ” if not for the slap , the trajectory of the ball would have ended up in Huget’s hands ” .

                so when he talks of a trajectory , i infer that

                1. it is what the TMO tells him , becoz he is repeating something.

                2. he is assuming if not for the slap , no other action was possible – hence Invisible man.

                3. and everything the winger does will lead to a try ( in the sense he will catch it , he will stay inside the goal , he will ground it properly).

                and as for TN case, maybe ur video will show the stern advice izzy Folau gives him LOL

          • November 13th 2017 @ 1:33pm
            Bill said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

            On Sat nite on by sheer chance I caught 5 minutes of a Reds v Tahs game from a few years back (Phil Waugh was playing) Any way Ben Mowen ( Tahs) and Will Genia were going for the ball with Genia having the inside running, it was going to be either a try or touch in goal. Mowen reached under genia and swiped the ball away over the deadfall line. Joubert was the ref, and he awarded a penalty try

        • Columnist

          November 13th 2017 @ 8:17am
          Geoff Parkes said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:17am | ! Report

          That’s a good point Fionn. Gardner’s ruling seemed to defy any common sense interpretation of the law as it is written. Yet we have people claiming afterwards that his interpretation was correct.

          This isn’t a subjective 50/50 call situation, what happened was clear and obvious to all, so this is definitely a situation that could benefit from clarification from WR.

          • November 13th 2017 @ 8:30am
            Jerry said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:30am | ! Report

            I have heard that interpretation a bunch of times, but for the life of me I can’t see why it’s necessary.

            In most cases it’d be fine to say “What if the offence didn’t happen”?

            • November 13th 2017 @ 8:32am
              Fionn said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:32am | ! Report

              I presume that – if indeed a correct ruling – it is meant to be an added incentive to dissuade others from doing the same in the future. The equivalent of punitive damages in our legal system, while the yellow card was the equivalent of compensatory damages.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 8:39am
                Jerry said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:39am | ! Report

                I don’t think the lawmakers in rugby are that deep – the reality is that the laws are badly drafted and often badly interpreted. There’s no need for the test to remove the offender, all it does is create a probable try when it clearly wasn’t probable.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 9:24am
                Jameswm said | November 13th 2017 @ 9:24am | ! Report

                Guys as far as I know you take the defender out for foul play only. Not for a SBW type example.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 9:33am
                Jerry said | November 13th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

                Intentional offending (which this was, hence the yellow card) is covered under Law 10 Foul Play.

              • Roar Guru

                November 13th 2017 @ 9:35am
                PeterK said | November 13th 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

                Jameswm – You have the defninition of foul play wrong then, a lot think it is only for the dangerous type of foul play.

                However things like obstruction and holding back is foul play.

                In this case
                10 Foul Play
                10.2 Unfair play
                (a) Intentionally Offending. A player must not intentionally infringe any Law of the Game, or play unfairly. The player who intentionally offends must be either admonished, or cautioned that a send off will result if the offence or a similar offence is committed, or sent off.
                Sanction: Penalty kick

                A penalty try must be awarded if the offence prevents a try that would probably otherwise have been scored. A player who prevents a try being scored through foul play must either be cautioned and temporarily suspended or sent off.

                (c) Throwing into touch. A player must not intentionally knock, place, push or throw the ball with his arm or hand into touch, touch-in-goal, or over the dead ball line.
                Sanction: Penalty kick on the 15-metre line if the offence is between the 15-metre line and the touchline, or, at the place of infringement if the offence occured elsewhere in the field of play, or, 5 metres from the goal line and at least 15 metres from the touchline if the infringement occured in in-goal.

                A penalty try must be awarded if the offence prevents a try that would probably otherwise have been scored

              • Roar Guru

                November 13th 2017 @ 9:38am
                PeterK said | November 13th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

                Jerry – Actually no it is specifically for throwing the ball into touch 10.2.c which is also foul play

              • November 13th 2017 @ 9:40am
                Jerry said | November 13th 2017 @ 9:40am | ! Report

                Cheers PK.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 12:27pm
                ClarkeG said | November 13th 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

                What have I missed. When did the match officials say they removed the defender from the equation when coming to the conclusion that a probable try would have been scored.

            • Columnist

              November 13th 2017 @ 8:36am
              Geoff Parkes said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:36am | ! Report

              Exactly Jerry. And in this case, if SBW doesn’t commit the foul play, and assuming that he isn’t required to make himself invisible, there are really only 3 possible alternative outcomes.

              1. he catches it
              2. he attempts to catch it but fumbles it over the dead ball line
              3. he does nothing and lets the ball sail past him and the French winger Huget potentially catches it.

              To suggest that 3. is a more probable outcome than 1. or 2. is fanciful.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 8:44am
                Jerry said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:44am | ! Report

                Even if he did 3, I don’t think it’s a probable try is my real issue.

                I don’t think you need to start imagining him doing other proactive legal actions to prevent the try – otherwise you could say a player who high tackles on the line could have made a legal tackle – but once you have to remove him entirely to meet the probable test, the law has gone wrong.

                I’d also point out that the law as written “A penalty try must be awarded if the offence prevents a try that would probably otherwise have been scored.” would suggest that the test should be ‘what if the offence didn’t occur’ rather than ‘what if the offender wasn’t there’. But again, the laws are badly drafted so strict statutory interpretation is a waste of time in this case.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 1:11pm
                Dave_S said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

                Jerry, I agree. I have worked for a number of years in an area of law that regularly struggles to apply the “but for” test – the greatest legal minds in the country, right up to the High Court, openly acknowledge it is far from simple to apply it to real life examples, especially, as you say, multiple alternative scenarios are in play.

                This suggests that the penalty try samction should be very sparingly used. Other strong sanctions, like a red card, are already available.

                I haven’t seen the SBW case, but from the descriptions above, it seems to be at or beyond the boundary of good decision making.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 10:10am
                robbo999 said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report


                4, He fumbles it and the French players falls on it and scores.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 10:25am
                Jacko said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:25am | ! Report

                Robbo that would make it a possible try not a probable try so no penalty try

              • November 13th 2017 @ 12:58pm
                ClarkeG said | November 13th 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

                Geoff – The only other possible outcome the referee is required to, and should consider, is whether or not a try would probably have been scored.

                Anything else Williams might have done is irrelevant. It only matters what he did.

              • Roar Rookie

                November 13th 2017 @ 1:17pm
                piru said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

                Whether you think it possible or probable is really irrelevant.

                The referee thought it was a probable try

                Therefore, as the sole judge of fact and law, a probable try it was.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 3:41pm
                Mapu said | November 13th 2017 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

                Laymans terms eh brudda
                Gotta love love the game

              • November 13th 2017 @ 1:31pm
                Jerry said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

                We’re actually giving Gardner the benefit of the doubt.

                If he applied the test of ‘remove the offender from play’ – though not really an equitable outcome, in some people’s view – it’s an understandable decision and a correct interpretation.

                If he actually thought it was was a probable try with Williams still there….well that’s just a terrible call and made worse by the fact that he only looked at one angle which didn’t really show how close the French player could have got.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 5:00pm
                Cuw said | November 13th 2017 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

                @ JERRY

                i think from the little of the convo i heard , gardener imagined a situation where SBW is not there.

                he said something like ” if not for the slap the trajectory of the ball will have been in the path of the French player ..” or something like that.

                so i think that is why Hansen and Foster came up with the ” invisible man” theory.

                basically Gardener assumes either SBW is not there OR he is there but does nothing to stop the ball getting to Huget.

            • November 13th 2017 @ 8:47am
              Bakkies said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:47am | ! Report

              That’s how the Liam Williams/Cornall Hendricks incident was ruled.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 9:17am
                Jerry said | November 13th 2017 @ 9:17am | ! Report

                Didn’t need to be though, just apply ‘What if the offence didn’t occur’ and you get a probable try.

                That one did raise an issue though, in that in ultra slow mo, Williams other hand knocked the ball loose a few frames before his shoulder hit the head. So you could argue the try was no longer probable at that point. In reality though, you can’t expect that kind of frame by frame analysis and you have to treat the whole tackle as one incident.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 1:29pm
                ClarkeG said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

                Yes Jerry. Referees do tend to make things more complicated than they need to be. And Steve Walsh certainly did that in the Williams/Hendricks incident.

                It was simply a question of … but for the illegal tackle by Williams would Hendricks have probably have scored – yes or no.

                I recall having this discussion with a referee in this forum a few years back. He explained that as referees they were told to remove the offending player from the equation.

                It’s just an unnecessary complication in my view. It’s not the responsibility of the referee to guess what else the offending player might have done other than what he in fact did.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 1:37pm
                Jerry said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

                The thing is, what other situation (other than something like SBW) would you need to remove the offender entirely.

                You don’t need to for a high/late/illegal tackle.
                You don’t need to for a deliberate knock down/slap out in many cases.
                You don’t need to for offside play.

                In about 99.9% of cases it’d be enough to simply say ‘what if the offender didn’t offend?’

                You wouldn’t have to consider if they could have done a legal action, merely imagine that if they were there and did nothing, what would happen? If Williams is there and doesn’t attempt a tackle, Hendricks scores. If an offside player 1m from his line doesn’t interfere, the ball carrier scores etc.

                I honestly can’t really think of a reason why the current interpretation is necessary.

            • November 13th 2017 @ 8:16pm
              soapit said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:16pm | ! Report

              jerry pretty sure i had a discussion with you once where a kiwi player got collected high by a waratah in diving for the line and it was yellow and penalty try. thats the first time i came across the invisble man thing. ring a bell? cant recall any more details myself

              • November 14th 2017 @ 2:03pm
                Jerry said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

                Sounds like that one in the 2015 playoffs? A Highlander got hit high (well, not high – was about 18 inches off the ground, but on the chin) by JackPot and it was a PT & card. But again, in cases like that it wouldn’t be necessary to remove the offender – just the offence. So you say What if JackPot were there but didn’t make a tackle? And I can’t for the life of me think why removing the offender is ever required?

          • November 13th 2017 @ 10:33am
            scrum said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:33am | ! Report

            Geoff- the application of the Law has been defined by World Rugby. If a player commits an illegal act that interferes with a possible Try the Referee then makes his decision on whether a Try was probable on the premise that the offending player is “taken out of play”. In other words the decision Gardiner made was correct in accordance with World Rugby guidelines. Whether you agree with the guidelines is a seperate issue. Likewise when a Referee decides on a “deliberate knock down” the question he has to ask himself is whether the player had a realistic chance of catching the ball. If not the Ref is to rule “deliberate knock down”. Once again you may disagree with the guidelines but individual Refs should adhere to guidelines. While these may seem harsh they are designed to discourage negative or dangerous play and change player behaviour. The harsh penalties for tackling players in the air or lifting tackles have been very successful in significantly reducing these incidents.

            • Columnist

              November 13th 2017 @ 11:35am
              Geoff Parkes said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:35am | ! Report

              scrum – happy for you to point us to that guideline. It’s certainly not part of the laws as listed on WR’s own site.

              If it is as you suggest, and SBW, as the offending player is deemed invisible or out of play, then the ruling would in fact be correct.

              That would seem to me to be totally illogical, but I understand what you’re saying in that it’s a separate issue.

              • Columnist

                November 13th 2017 @ 11:43am
                Geoff Parkes said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:43am | ! Report

                By correct – that’s assuming scrum that Huget could have caught the ball and got it down before going over the dead ball line. Which isn’t at all certain either, or even probable.

            • November 13th 2017 @ 1:53pm
              ClarkeG said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

              I would be interested in reading that World Rugby guideline Scrum if you have a link for it as I have been unable to find it.

              But anyhow that premise that the offending player be “taken out of play” is not the premise on which the referee based his decision. He did not actually say anything about that when explaining his decision.

              And something I have not mentioned for a while so may as well do so today. There is no such offence as a deliberate knock down. The offence is a deliberate knock on or knock forward.

              It is not an offence to knock the ball down.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 5:05pm
                Cuw said | November 13th 2017 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

                @ ClarkeG

                ” I would be interested in reading that World Rugby guideline Scrum if you have a link for it as I have been unable to find it. ”

                this happens to be one of the biggest issues with rugger – that there are private guidelines to refs which people like me who watch have no idea about.

                for eg. in European rugger the commentary said that the refs have been told to let go lineout crooked throws , UNLESS the defending team contest.

                also that any tackle above the shoulder is a penalty and any head contact is a card – irrespective of circumstances.

                why do they have to complicate life – these LAWS are already too complicated and jumbled.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 8:22pm
                ClarkeG said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

                Oh I agree there is a whole lot of issues with how the game is refereed and the guidance they come under.

                Gee…you only need to view the WR Referee Manager, Alain Rolland, in the you tube video giving an explanation of the new ruck/offside line to know there is a problem.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 11:09pm
                Bakkies said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:09pm | ! Report

                The referees are still allowing crooked scrum feeds after successive directives going back about 6 years now when they started re-assess scrums to tell them to crack down on it.

              • November 14th 2017 @ 2:54pm
                Cuw said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

                i think Owens gave a penalty in the NZ v Babaa game against Ellis for crooked feed.

                then there was a nice back n forth between them where Ellis says ” if i feed straight they are going to hook it”

                and Owens says ” that is what is called a fair contest , so if ur going to cheat , cheat fairly “.

              • Roar Guru

                November 14th 2017 @ 9:01pm
                Handles said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:01pm | ! Report

                ” in European rugger the commentary said that the refs have been told to let go lineout crooked throws , UNLESS the defending team contest.”

                Goddamn I am smart. I suggested this on the Roar about 5 years ago, and if memory serves me correctly Brett had a whole list of reasons that it was a dumb idea!

    • November 13th 2017 @ 7:41am
      Buk said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:41am | ! Report

      The usual quality writing Geoff, thanks.

      • Columnist

        November 13th 2017 @ 8:23am
        Geoff Parkes said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        Cheers Buk

        • November 13th 2017 @ 5:08pm
          Cuw said | November 13th 2017 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

          @ Geoff Parkes

          do u have any idea why the SH sides are not playing 4 matches against the europeans?

          a while back , i recall , they played 4 tests.

          seems the value of test rugger is going down over time.

          as Trump would say ” SAD”

          • Columnist

            November 13th 2017 @ 6:20pm
            Geoff Parkes said | November 13th 2017 @ 6:20pm | ! Report

            It’s true CUW that international rugby at this time of year suffers a bit now because of the prescribed windows. But we shouldn’t forget that this hasn’t been forced on them by the clubs, it is something that the unions have agreed to, in the lengthy discussions re a global calendar.

            There is also a factor that the travelling unions don’t want to set up a ‘grand slam’ scenario every year they tour. It would cheapen things a bit, plus be a huge ask on their players. So that’s why we’ll continue to see Australia and NZ pick out a couple of the major nations, maybe a third, then add in another game or two for money – eg Ireland in Chicago, Japan, or the Barbarians. With perhaps a grand slam tour every now and again.

            • November 13th 2017 @ 7:03pm
              Cuw said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

              i do not agree ” we shouldn’t forget that this hasn’t been forced on them by the clubs, it is something that the unions have agreed to, in the lengthy discussions..”

              it seems the club matches are getting more and tests are reduced. there is still a plan to increase Aviva matches – with a lot of resistance from players.

              super rugger went on an expansion spree – then realized quantity is not equal to quality. pro 12 became pro 14 and bought into the conference thingy.

              the main issue the way i see it is the money in the club game – which is turning rugger into the same kind of thing seen in footy.

              it seems countries are not doing enuf or are not capable of marketing the game as well as clubs.

              we were wondering how many watched the Wales v Auzzy game ( capacity 82k i think) , coz Twickers was almost full.

            • November 13th 2017 @ 11:14pm
              Bakkies said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:14pm | ! Report

              Some nations like Wales schedule a fourth test that goes in to December. The English club body PRL has fined their clubs that have actually released players for these tests so Wales have gone without key players. I question the need for Wales to play Australia in every AI series. A lot of those tests haven’t sold out.

              Lets also not forget that the back to back Not the Heineken Cup sponsored by Heineken weekends are in the middle of December which is key for the clubs as you need to win in those matches to qualify for the Quarter Finals.

    • November 13th 2017 @ 7:42am
      Galatzo said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:42am | ! Report

      Excellent, Geoff. Test jerseys are becoming a point of contention. Time was when the host team changed their strip, but the French stuck to their drab dark blue (changed several seasons back from Mediterranean blue to look more like the ABs) so on Saturday the All Blacks turned into the black and whites. This is dead wrong. France, go stand in the corner.
      Angus Gardner gave a truly boring performance. If he wants a gap so much he should get a bus to Watson’s Bay.
      The NH won the weekend 4 to 2. It’s a great shame the ABs aren’t playing Ireland on this trip. If Ireland prevailed, and that would be a real possibility, and with an English victory almost certainly coming up on Saturday, and with Saffer rugby deep in the doldrums, the north would indeed be king of the rugby world.

      • November 13th 2017 @ 8:02am
        bigbaz said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:02am | ! Report

        What is it with the gap and rugby these days?

      • Columnist

        November 13th 2017 @ 8:31am
        Geoff Parkes said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:31am | ! Report

        Hi Galatzo, I think NZ and France was ok, it’s been that way for a while now between them. Most nations don’t seem to have too much trouble sorting who wears the change strip.

        But recently, between England’s puce, South Africa’s tangerine and now Ireland’s contribution, it does seem to be proving more difficult than it should be to actually come up with sensible outcomes?

      • November 13th 2017 @ 8:48am
        Bakkies said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        ‘This is dead wrong. France, go stand in the corner.’

        They’ve done nothing wrong. Ireland’s green is a lot darker these days.

        • November 13th 2017 @ 9:10am
          Jerry said | November 13th 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

          They have, they’ve been saddled with a much uglier jersey than before. The old jersey had tradition and reflected their flag, the new ones suck.

          • November 13th 2017 @ 9:17am
            Bakkies said | November 13th 2017 @ 9:17am | ! Report

            Jerry they don’t consider the AB’s neediness when releasing a jersey.

            • November 13th 2017 @ 10:07am
              Fionn said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

              I don’t like Ireland’s new green, France’s new blue or Australia’s new “gold” (yellow).

              I suspect it is coming from marketing gurus thinking that change is needed for the sake of change, rather like Australian rugby’s new logo.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 5:28pm
                Stuart Bywater said | November 13th 2017 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

                Perhaps the WBs could permanently wear the indigenous strip used for Bledisloe 3

            • November 13th 2017 @ 10:23am
              Jerry said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

              I didn’t mention NZ, can you read?

              The fact that it creates more colour clashes than the old one (previously, Italy & Samoa – now SA, NZ & Scotland) is a further reason why it’s a bad choice but not the main reason. It’s a bad choice cause France had a great iconic jersey and the new jersey isn’t either.

            • Roar Rookie

              November 13th 2017 @ 10:24am
              Paulo said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:24am | ! Report

              No, but the French, England, and Ireland kit are all looking very All Blackish these days. Imitation is the best form of flattery I guess haha

        • Roar Rookie

          November 14th 2017 @ 1:01am
          ChrisG said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:01am | ! Report

          I think the point was that the “home” team traditionally change their strip when there is a potential conflict. Therefore France were wrong!

      • November 13th 2017 @ 8:53am
        Highlander said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        France won the toss for jerseys in the 2011 final but still let NZ wear black for their home event.

        For mine, they can do what they like with their jerseys forever after that call.

        • November 13th 2017 @ 10:14am
          Jacko said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

          I dont mind the alternate strip idea and it probably sells some merchandise but I only want to see it when it is needed…not just for the sake of it as it seems a few teams from the UK have now changed their jerseys to a darker colouring

          • Roar Guru

            November 13th 2017 @ 11:46am
            Derm McCrum said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

            Which teams from the U.K. have changed their alternate jerseys to a darker colouring?

            • November 13th 2017 @ 12:14pm
              Jerry said | November 13th 2017 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

              Wales & England have both worn Black alternate strips at times. Plus Ireland which is just part of England anyway…..(obvious bait is obvious).

              • November 13th 2017 @ 5:30pm
                zenn said | November 13th 2017 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

                Don’t be ridiculous…that’s like saying Tasmania is part of Australia

            • November 13th 2017 @ 5:15pm
              Cuw said | November 13th 2017 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

              @ Poth Ale

              do u know , if there is a protocol regarding who wears what strip on the home and away basis?

              i know footy teams have such a protocol or code ; away team has to wear an alternate strip if the colors clash. does rugger also have such a thing??

              this came up becoz i was watching the England match with English peeps AND they wondered why England did not play in white and ask the argies to change their strip ?

              it happened in the France v NZ match.

              • Roar Guru

                November 13th 2017 @ 9:03pm
                Derm McCrum said | November 13th 2017 @ 9:03pm | ! Report

                Yes. Tradition dictates the away team keeps its jersey in a color clash.

              • November 14th 2017 @ 6:19am
                Jerry said | November 14th 2017 @ 6:19am | ! Report

                Yeah, but people haven’t been following that tradition for the last decade at least.

            • Columnist

              November 13th 2017 @ 9:35pm
              Geoff Parkes said | November 13th 2017 @ 9:35pm | ! Report

              PA, have you seen what Wales will be wearing next weekend against Georgia?

              All black. With just a tiny dash of red around some of the trim.

      • Roar Rookie

        November 13th 2017 @ 11:58am
        piru said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:58am | ! Report

        I actually agree on this.

        Used to be teams had their own colours, the only time I ever remember there being a clash when I was a kid was NZ v Scotland or Fiji v England.

        Now everyone seems to want to wear black.

        France and NZ never clashed til the 07 World Cup, England now have a black strip – why? Their colours are white and red, where does black come into at all?

        Can you imagine NZ (or Australia or SA for that matter) deciding they needed a red alt strip?
        SA going with a flouro green or Aussie deciding that they’d wear a predominantly green strip instead of the gold?

        It may be a marketing ploy – but it annoys me and I can’t help but think there’s someone in the background who thinks they gain some slight edge by forcing the ABs into their alt strip.

    • November 13th 2017 @ 7:50am
      Highlander said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      Excellent wrap Geoff

      The single biggest highlight of the weekend was the Beale effort at joining the scrum, hilarious – how did he not think, I wonder why there is a big gap in front of me, never seen that before.
      Or why did his second rower not tell him to sod

      • Columnist

        November 13th 2017 @ 8:22am
        Geoff Parkes said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:22am | ! Report

        If the Wallabies forwards are worth their salt Highlander they should be humiliating Beale for that for the rest of the tour.

        • November 13th 2017 @ 5:35pm
          Stuart Bywater said | November 13th 2017 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

          Three acts from KB made this Test more memorable. Stripping the ball for his try, stripped of his senses when joining a scrum, and strippping to his budgies for his photograph with Prince William.

          • Roar Rookie

            November 14th 2017 @ 1:05am
            ChrisG said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:05am | ! Report

            LOL. Great comment!

        • November 13th 2017 @ 7:07pm
          JohnB said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

          He just thought they were packing 3-2-3. Well-merited jokes aside, that used to be a thing, back in the dark ages (greatly favoured by the Scots when “foot rushes” were also a tactic), and you occasionally saw 3-3-2 (with one of the flankers packing next to the no 8) in more recent times when there was a back row move being planned. Laws on wheeling probably affected that a bit and possibly laws regarding staying bound. Also the more pressure in the scrum the more the prop needs the flanker scrumming on them – so you’d need a pretty dominant scrum before the flanker should try to emulate Kurtley.

        • November 13th 2017 @ 11:17pm
          Bakkies said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:17pm | ! Report

          It’s not a big deal as backs often cover for backrowers that are carded (which Hooper was in this match).

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