Why an analyst needs a long memory: The Reds and the Tahs restore the faith

Nicholas Bishop Columnist

By Nicholas Bishop, Nicholas Bishop is a Roar Expert

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    Good rugby analysts, like the proverbial elephant, need a long memory – and photographic recall for detail. That’s how they discover relationships between what they see now and what has gone before; as well as improvements from one game, and one season, to another.

    A promising bloom of good form has recently blessed the efforts of Australian Super Rugby franchises against their deadly rivals from across the Tasman.

    A significant part of that form is the amount of relevant information they are remembering.

    It is enabling them to compete, and in the case of the Waratahs against the Highlanders, overcome previous unconquerable opponents. The 40-match drought has at last come to an end.

    All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has talked about the need to go ‘bone deep’ in their analysis of France, who will be touring the country in June. That means excavating a past the vast majority of spectators will have long forgotten.

    I suspect this is exactly the journey both the Reds and the Waratahs undertook in their preparation for their games against (respectively) the Hurricanes and Highlanders last weekend.

    Just over one year ago, I wrote an article detailing the profound impact of the Hurricanes’ halfback TJ Perenara on the same fixture. One major aspect discussed in the article was his outstanding ability to read the attacking intentions of the opponent:

    “Perhaps the single most impressive aspect of Perenara’s game is his ability to read and anticipate the play a couple of steps ahead of time, both with ball in support, and without it in defence.”

    That ability enabled him to make an interception and run away to score when defending around the end of the lineout:

    From a short lineout won by Rob Simmons, the Reds ran a rather obvious in-pass play telegraphed from first receiver Jake McIntyre back to right wing Chris Kuridrani. The first defender around the end of the line, and ‘highest’ defender upfield was the Canes’ redoubtable halfback and captain.

    Instead of sitting off and preparing to tackle Kuridrani, Perenara went all-in, breaking in the gap between the two Reds players and on to the intended pass. The result was an intercept which TJ ran all the way back for a score at the other end of the field.

    Now let’s cycle forward just over 13 months and look at how Queensland responded:

    Instead of just giving up on attacks around the tail of the lineout, the Reds’ staff designed a play to flip on its head Perenara’s ability to read play, and act on it aggressively – turning his strength into a weakness.

    Let’s take a look at the scoring sequence and break down the key moments.

    The first requirement is to drag TJ upfield and give him the smell of an opportunity he thinks may still be there from 2017:

    The bait is there in the shape of No.14 Filipo Daugunu, who looks as though he may offer the same in-pass threat off first receiver as Kuridrani the season before.

    As soon as a bit of instinctive memory rises to the surface from 2017 and Perenara bites down on the threat, the Reds’ true intent is unveiled.

    Instead of the ball going inside to Daugunu, it goes flat – very flat – outside to Samu Kerevi, and we can see what TJ’s early jump has done to the defensive structure:

    The halfback is fatally too far ahead of the defender inside, Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen, and outside him, Reed Prinsep.

    Kerevi’s angle takes him past Perenara and his power and momentum takes him through the arm tackle of Prinsep:

    Another task of the good analyst is to assess improvements over and above the core positional requirements. Who is helping to redefine the position where he plays?

    Michael Cheika is fortunate that, in the shape of the Reds’ Taniela Tupou, he has a new-generation tight-head prop to take the place of the old. Tupou’s sensational second-half run and try-assist (at 2:54 on the reel) recalled Kepu’s spectacular 60-metre run against the Chiefs last year:

    Those are two tight-head props who are able to play in the outside channels, and either score or assist in scores in that zone. I cannot think of any other No.3 on the planet who would be able to do what Kepu and Tupou do. Food for thought.

    But close though they came, Brad Thorn’s men didn’t beat the Hurricanes.

    It was the Waratahs who finally broke the Kiwi curse.

    One of my first articles for The Roar chose as its topic the formula the Highlanders had worked out to beat Michael Cheika’s Tahs.

    The key part of the summary read:

    With Michael Cheika, Nathan Grey and Mario Ledesma all directly involved in the Waratahs’ coaching set-up in 2015, there was and is every chance that the Highlanders’ formula for beating the Tahs may become someone else’s formula for beating the Wallabies.”

    The three main themes of the plan were:

    • Kick for position to keep the Waratahs in their ‘exit strategy’
    • High kicking game in midfield to pressure the Tahs’ backfield
    • Pressure on the NSW lineout throw

    Daryl Gibson’s 2018 version took all three points and turned them upside down.

    Under Rob Simmons’ leadership, the Waratahs’ lineout won 100 per cent of its own ball and three of the Highlanders’ ten throws.

    From a Simmons lineout steal, in the 18th minute, Jake Gordon’s well-weighted box-kick led to the key moment of the game:

    The most obvious plus for NSW is that the receiver, Tevita Nabura, kicks the first chaser, Cam Clark, in the face and was sent off permanently for his troubles. But the Tahs win all the mini-contests going in the sequence too.

    When Clark gets the boot, he has already done his primary job – denying Nabura access to the side-line and forcing him infield:

    ‘Infield’ means back into towards two of the best NSW on-ballers, Michael Hooper and Tom Robertson, who are converging from the middle of the field:

    Hooper cleverly attracts the first cleanout player (Elliott Dixon) in support, leaving Robertson with a free shot at the ball on the ground. So from one good kick by Gordon, the Waratahs harvested a red card on one of their opponents, a penalty, and an attacking position on the Highlanders’ goal-line – not bad for ten seconds worth of accurate work in the kicking game!

    The kicking game not only pressured the Highlanders’ backfield successfully, it also kept the Landers in exit situations with their one man deficit:

    Here the ball is moved wide to Kurtley Beale, and he puts in a superbly-placed kick down the outside channel, leaving Waisake Naholo no option but to take the ball into touch only metres from his own goal-line.

    The Tahs won the lineout and scored from the subsequent drive, only to be pulled back by the referee for a technical foul.

    Summary
    The Australian franchises are finally showing signs of life against their New Zealand counterparts. The Crusaders only barely clawed back the Waratahs 29-0 head-start in Christchurch in Round 13, the Reds never lost touch with the Canes in Wellington in a tight 38-34 loss, and the Tahs finally tipped over the Highlanders in Sydney to break the spell.

    Hopefully the pattern of tense, equally-contested games will continue in the Chiefs-Waratahs and Reds-Highlanders matches this upcoming weekend. SANZAAR badly needs more of them in order to support its case for an improved broadcasting deal after the current agreement comes to an end in 2019.

    At the heart of Australian success last weekend was excellent preparation. The Reds remembered the damage TJ Perenara had inflicted on them in 2017 from defensive set-pieces, and their coaches came up with a plan to tempt TJ to overplay his hand. It worked.

    In Sydney, the Waratahs overturned the strategy the Highlanders have adopted for winning matches between the two teams since 2015. Their Rob Simmons-led lineout is one of the strongest in the tournament, despite the selection of dual opensides in Will Miller and Michael Hooper. This is the same model Michael Cheika will probably utilise for the Wallaby Test series in June.

    The Landers have tortured NSW backfields for years, but on Saturday the situation was turned around completely and it was the Tahs’ own kicking game that dished out the pain.

    Meanwhile, Taniela Tupou is fast emerging as an x-factor tight-head prop, just like the man he will probably understudy against Ireland, Sekope Kepu. Their ability to run, pass and offload in the wide-attacking zones will have the Wallaby coaches licking their lips about how best to utilise their range of talents.

    The future of SANZAAR as a whole may be in question, but at least the Australian Super Rugby franchises are standing up to be counted, and a few green shoots of growth in the four-team structure are pushing above ground.

    It’s a start, and if they can win three of their four games in Round 15, that progress will be confirmed.

    Nicholas Bishop
    Nicholas Bishop

    Nick Bishop has worked as a rugby analyst and advisor to Graham Henry (1999-2003), Mike Ruddock (2004-2005) and most recently Stuart Lancaster (2011-2015). He also worked on the 2001 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia and produced his first rugby book with Graham Henry at the end of the tour. Three more rugby books have followed, all of which of have either been nominated for or won national sports book awards. Nick's latest is a biography of Phil Larder, the first top Rugby League coach to successfully transfer over to Union, entitled The Iron Curtain. He is currently writing articles for The Roar and The Rugby Site, and working as a strategy consultant to Stuart Lancaster and the Leinster coaching staff for their European matches.

    New South Wales have won the 2018 State of Origin series with an 18-14 win in an absolutely outstanding Game 2 at ANZ Stadium. See how the action unfolded with our NSW vs QLD Origin 2 scores, highlights and blog.

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    The Crowd Says (399)

    • May 23rd 2018 @ 4:57am
      Galatzo said | May 23rd 2018 @ 4:57am | ! Report

      Hi Nicholas. Aussie rugby was about to be taken behind the bunkhouse and shot and then the old dog gets a reprieve. If it eats its Pedigree Chum it could continue being frisky. Perenara has quite an influence. Re the difference between he and Smith, which would you play against which opponent?

      • Columnist

        May 23rd 2018 @ 8:56am
        Nicholas Bishop said | May 23rd 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        I like the analogue G, being a connoisseur of dog chow! At international level I think I’d take Aarron Smith in most cases, although T.J would start for the majority of international sides 🙂

      • Roar Guru

        May 23rd 2018 @ 2:18pm
        pformagg said | May 23rd 2018 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

        Smith passing is equal to none. That makes a huge difference for the team.

        • Columnist

          May 23rd 2018 @ 3:42pm
          Nicholas Bishop said | May 23rd 2018 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

          It’s a great choice to have because of the contrast in styles – T.J is more physical, good value in defence and support and even work at the breakdown. Aaron Smith has the greater passing and kicking variety and is a good defensive communicator etc.

    • May 23rd 2018 @ 5:09am
      soapit said | May 23rd 2018 @ 5:09am | ! Report

      another interesting read nich. cheers.

      so didi the highlanders forget what worked for them last year then (pinning nsw in the their end specifically)? simmons made a difference to the lineout obviously but why werent they able to implement the rest? a case of nsw taking the initiative perhaps? (didnt see the game myslef)

      • Columnist

        May 23rd 2018 @ 8:58am
        Nicholas Bishop said | May 23rd 2018 @ 8:58am | ! Report

        Obv the red card threw a big spanner in the works Soap – but there have been a lot of improvements in the Tahs own kicking game (witness the Rebels game) so the formula is not as effective as it once was…

        • Roar Guru

          May 23rd 2018 @ 9:42am
          PeterK said | May 23rd 2018 @ 9:42am | ! Report

          One of the big improvements is folau has improved his kicking. The improvements have been in length, accuracy and time taken to kick. Under pressure he kicked a good kick downfield.

          He is averaging 43 metres on his kicks the most f any f/b.

          The only thing he needs to do is kick more often.

          • Columnist

            May 23rd 2018 @ 3:43pm
            Nicholas Bishop said | May 23rd 2018 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

            He is averaging 43 metres on his kicks the most f any f/b.

            Nice stat thanks Peter 🙂

          • Roar Rookie

            May 23rd 2018 @ 4:12pm
            piru said | May 23rd 2018 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

            He is averaging 43 metres on his kicks the most f any f/b.

            I’d be interested as to how many kicks that average is taken from

          • Roar Guru

            May 24th 2018 @ 1:53am
            Harry Jones said | May 24th 2018 @ 1:53am | ! Report

            @PeterK

            I saw that.

            I think he is dropping the ball lower on to his boot, now.

            He used to catch it too high, and did not get the full pendulum swing.

            • May 24th 2018 @ 2:35am
              Carlos The Argie said | May 24th 2018 @ 2:35am | ! Report

              We do need a physics of kicking lesson around here. I learnt to kick with the ball going like a “zeppelin” and curving in air. A few years ago, I tried to get my nephew, who was an extraordinary kicker for his club in BA, to teach me to kick what was once called “punt”, kicking the ball at the tip and making it turn end to end like they do nowadays. For this old dog, it wasn’t that easy. But my nephew was impressed I could kick the ball my style. It was harder for him.

              We agreed that we both had our strengths. Though my weaknesses were more prevalent and important.

              • Roar Guru

                May 24th 2018 @ 10:05am
                Wal said | May 24th 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

                The good old torpedo punt, It’s a bit like a golf swing, get it right and there is no better feeling, watching the ball curve its way 20 metres further than expected.
                But get it wrong and it is ugly and curse-inducing

                I’m like you I can get the right action to kick off the point of the ball, my leg action has that ingrained curve for spinning the ball.

              • Columnist

                May 24th 2018 @ 4:12pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | May 24th 2018 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

                The only player who seems to use the spiral punt regularly now is Stuart Hogg (the Scotland F/B) Carlos. It is true the flight of the ball is more unpredictable, though length tends to be greater.

              • May 25th 2018 @ 1:36am
                Carlos The Argie said | May 25th 2018 @ 1:36am | ! Report

                Ah! Spiral punt! I can only recall the term “zeppelin” that we used in Argie Spanish. Somehow, just like the kicking itself, I can only recall the word I first learned.

              • Columnist

                May 25th 2018 @ 3:31pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | May 25th 2018 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

                Ah, the zeppelin Carlos! Hopefully the spiral punts all moved considerably faster than that old bird 😀

        • May 23rd 2018 @ 2:16pm
          cuw said | May 23rd 2018 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

          @ Nicholas Bishop

          while the red card was a problem – the line out of Highlanders has been rubbish all season.

          i forget the match when they had like 3 lineouts in the last 5 minutes inside their opponents 25 , which they could have used to win the match failed miserably.

          am sure Highlander will agree with me – that while their unstructured / open play attack and defence is very good , thier set piece play is poor and fails at crucial moments.

          BTW – any idea how long |Nambura is banned for?

    • May 23rd 2018 @ 5:23am
      John said | May 23rd 2018 @ 5:23am | ! Report

      Hi Nick, insightful as always. The two items I take from today’s musings – kicking and coaching – seem to be two of the bains of Australian rugby.

      Regarding kicking, we’ve seen the box kick used so effectively so many times, just not by Australian teams. Was this game an aberration, do you disagree with my starting point, or was it just blind luck?

      Regarding the TJP game plan, what an elegant analyst you are to have noticed. So what does that tell us about Australian coaching generally or Reds coaching specifically? Anything? Nothing? The planning must be there yet with all these losses it just seems to be nonexistent or ineffective.

      • May 23rd 2018 @ 5:42am
        Ken Catchpole’s Other Leg said | May 23rd 2018 @ 5:42am | ! Report

        Good question, John re coach plans.
        I am not sure. Who is sure? No coach seems willing to divulge their approach.

        Kerevi outsmarting TJ?
        Gordon box kicking on counter to nail Nabura close to the sideline?

        Nicholas I would love to believe that Thorn and Gibson planned both. If so, OZ Super rugby has hope.
        For now.
        Thanks Nic, once again.

      • Columnist

        May 23rd 2018 @ 9:02am
        Nicholas Bishop said | May 23rd 2018 @ 9:02am | ! Report

        Some of the Aussie kicking (esp by the Tahs) has become noticeable better this season John, and I’d be surprised not to see Gordon the bench for Ireland now…

        Let’s hope the moves and plans were as well-strategised as I believe they are eh? 😀

        • May 23rd 2018 @ 9:07pm
          Boonzie said | May 23rd 2018 @ 9:07pm | ! Report

          Certainly hope Gordon gets on the bench.

    • Roar Guru

      May 23rd 2018 @ 5:44am
      Machpants said | May 23rd 2018 @ 5:44am | ! Report

      The not straight line out throw and forward pass helped defeat tj, too. 😉

      But yeah that was a great move, I didn’t realise it was planned off tj defensive reactions. It’s great to see the super rugby competition tightening up. I say that cos the canes still won 😀

      Thanks for the analysis

      • May 23rd 2018 @ 6:00am
        Moaman said | May 23rd 2018 @ 6:00am | ! Report

        You will note that Nick euphemistically stressed the word ‘flat’ here ( i suspect because he wanted to keep us on track although he was naughty enough to provide an excellent still of that particular pass!)
        The real point is the strategy involved and Perenara’s memory….

        • May 23rd 2018 @ 6:24am
          Cynical Play said | May 23rd 2018 @ 6:24am | ! Report

          backwards out of the hands surely

          • May 23rd 2018 @ 6:42am
            soapit said | May 23rd 2018 @ 6:42am | ! Report

            nup, forwards in every sense, he was drfting back slightly if anything so the out of the hands thing actually makes it worse

            • May 23rd 2018 @ 6:53am
              Cynical Play said | May 23rd 2018 @ 6:53am | ! Report

              But you didn’t watch the game

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 7:07am
                soapit said | May 23rd 2018 @ 7:07am | ! Report

                correct,

                the pass has been on the highlights package not to mention on nic article above thereby allowing me to witness it.

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 8:44am
                Dave_S said | May 23rd 2018 @ 8:44am | ! Report

                Definitely forward, but otherwise good play.

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 10:00am
                jameswm said | May 23rd 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

                Nah flat I reckon. Not forwards out of the hand. The passer ran backwards which makes it look worse.

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 10:08am
                Fionn said | May 23rd 2018 @ 10:08am | ! Report

                I thought it was 100% forward, and should have at least been reviewed.

                That said, it didn’t impact the result in the end, and the Kiwis benefit as much as anyone from these sorts of calls. Swings and roundabouts. Really good play from the Reds.

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 10:19am
                Jerry said | May 23rd 2018 @ 10:19am | ! Report

                Nah James, it was clearly forward out of the hands It travels forward and the passer has almost no forward momentum to impart on the ball so it’s almost entirely the passing action making it go forward.

                But it didn’t actually create the break, the receiver was far enough away from the defensive line that they should have been able to react.

              • Roar Guru

                May 23rd 2018 @ 10:26am
                PeterK said | May 23rd 2018 @ 10:26am | ! Report

                imo it was forwards , and a similar one by the canes was missed as well.

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 11:35am
                jameswm said | May 23rd 2018 @ 11:35am | ! Report

                Look at the picture up top. The halfback is only just behind Kerevi when he catches it. Reference the lines on the field. The halfback passed it with his hands in front of him and is clearly running backwards. How can it be forward?

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 11:57am
                Jerry said | May 23rd 2018 @ 11:57am | ! Report

                That’s because the halfback doesn’t actually go backwards. He goes lateral and very slightly forwards. He takes one step that is entirely lateral just after passing but other than that every step he takes is moving towards the Canes try line.

                https://78.media.tumblr.com/bb797117a6c89c2a085f5fc09ce06368/tumblr_p8y8uxzE5F1sg3nzko3_400.jpg

                https://78.media.tumblr.com/d0a6ba8712a60cb895a2ac4cccbb653e/tumblr_p8y8uxzE5F1sg3nzko2_400.jpg

                Look at the initial direction of his hands and the ball relative to the passer and the halfway line.

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 1:59pm
                jameswm said | May 23rd 2018 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

                Still not clear to me Jerry. Look at the markings on the ground for where the halfback passed from (on your photos) and where Kerevi caught it (up top).

                It’s very tight. Not worth overruling on a video replay. I haven’t found a video clip to watch though.

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 3:52pm
                RebelRanger said | May 23rd 2018 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

                @jameswm looking where he passed it and where it was caught is a poor way to decide if it was a forward pass.

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 8:56pm
                Jameswm said | May 23rd 2018 @ 8:56pm | ! Report

                It’s the only evidence I can see

              • Roar Rookie

                May 23rd 2018 @ 2:04pm
                piru said | May 23rd 2018 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

                Definitely (though marginally) forward – irrelevant though, a flat pass would have had the same result

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 2:11pm
                Jerry said | May 23rd 2018 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

                There’s a video highlight package linked on this very page!

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 2:23pm
                cuw said | May 23rd 2018 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

                @ Piru

                remember my issues with the “assistant refs ” ??

                this is what i was implying.

                they have the powers and responsibilities but rarely engage.

                how many crooked throws do they call – despite having the best view?

                how many forward passes do they see? this one shud have been seen by AR as he has better view than ref who is on the opposite side.

                especially when a try was scored he could have at least asked for a check .

                that is my issue – that ARs are not contributing enough , even when they can.

            • May 23rd 2018 @ 5:14pm
              The Sheriff said | May 23rd 2018 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

              Have a look at the game, then decide!

      • May 23rd 2018 @ 6:25am
        Carlos The Argie said | May 23rd 2018 @ 6:25am | ! Report

        Although I obviously agree with NB that they took advantage of TJ’s tendencies, they also had to know that there would be poor defensive coverage in that channel. That to me is the biggest surprise. It wasn’t a hole, it was a crater.

        Also, the Highlanders probably saw as well what a bad idea it was to kick to Folau after the Crusaders 20 minutes debacle, so they were probably timid in trying to kick.

        A friend of mine, emeritus professor of neurology and psychiatry from London always says that if you ignore the literature you will discover new things. This is a parallel to “having a good memory and an eye for detail”. Good job, Nick!

        • Columnist

          May 23rd 2018 @ 9:06am
          Nicholas Bishop said | May 23rd 2018 @ 9:06am | ! Report

          That to me is the biggest surprise. It wasn’t a hole, it was a crater.

          The Canes prob didn’t rate the Reds ability to plan and execute well enough to expose the hole Carlos! At least for this once, they were wrong 🙂

          • May 24th 2018 @ 12:59am
            Carlos The Argie said | May 24th 2018 @ 12:59am | ! Report

            But it is a big back row issue, or whoever was supposed to be covering the 9-10 axis in the line-out. If 9 goes forward, who takes the hole? It becomes a line-out-9 axis. Someone had to be paying attention (and didn’t).

            Apparently a few “not-mes” were around.

            • Columnist

              May 24th 2018 @ 2:01am
              Nicholas Bishop said | May 24th 2018 @ 2:01am | ! Report

              • Columnist

                May 24th 2018 @ 2:03am
                Nicholas Bishop said | May 24th 2018 @ 2:03am | ! Report

                It’s basically the responsibility of the defensive receiver or tail-gunner, usually either the 9 or 2. But I guess Prinsep could still have made the tackle.

      • Columnist

        May 23rd 2018 @ 9:04am
        Nicholas Bishop said | May 23rd 2018 @ 9:04am | ! Report

        Let’s call it a lineball and be charitable, MP and Moa! The tighter results can only be a relief to all concerned with SANZAAR. Let’s hope they continue this weekend.

    • May 23rd 2018 @ 6:04am
      Moaman said | May 23rd 2018 @ 6:04am | ! Report

      Nick.
      A literary dish of loaves and fishes for a starving crowd: just what the doctor ordered because it’s been pretty gloomy here lately beside Aussie rugby’s deathbed.
      Perhaps reports of his demise were premature?😉

      • Columnist

        May 23rd 2018 @ 9:09am
        Nicholas Bishop said | May 23rd 2018 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        Yep hope the hope’s not misplaced Moa – consistency is what’s needed, no just good one-offs… Now that the monkey’s off their back, maybe the NZ sides will play more freely and I think we’ll see some excellent trans-Tasman games this weekend. Looking forward to it.

        • May 24th 2018 @ 8:34am
          Buk said | May 24th 2018 @ 8:34am | ! Report

          I am hoping my hope in your hoping Moa’s hope is not misplaced, is also not misplaced 🙂

    • May 23rd 2018 @ 6:16am
      Ken Catchpole’s Other Leg said | May 23rd 2018 @ 6:16am | ! Report

      Moa, hope it hasn’t been too depressing living ‘beside Aussie rugby’s deathbed.’.

      I’ve noticed some of your countrymen drowning their sorrows with champagne, humour, and a few drops of condescension.
      Everyone’s handles grief differently I suppose. 🤨

      Anyhoo, as terminal,as we may be, we are all still at training three nights a week.

      • May 23rd 2018 @ 6:53am
        Moaman said | May 23rd 2018 @ 6:53am | ! Report

        Hiya Ken
        It has made the Roar a less attractive forum for me personally mate of late when people dump their negativity constantly.
        I am as guilty as the next man when it comes to enjoying a tingle of schadenfreude or zwei but in the main what I have always liked about this place is a bringing together of (relatively)like-minded individuals from far-flung places who all share a love for the game.
        Sometimes we forget that and get bogged down in pettyness.
        Anyway….it appears we can postpone the Last Rites for a little while!

        • Roar Guru

          May 23rd 2018 @ 7:41am
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 23rd 2018 @ 7:41am | ! Report

          I find myself being in agreement with you again Moa.
          You have nailed what makes the Roar such a special place at the bone.

          • May 23rd 2018 @ 8:18am
            moaman said | May 23rd 2018 @ 8:18am | ! Report

            Settle down NV! That’s twice in a month!

            • Roar Guru

              May 23rd 2018 @ 12:30pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 23rd 2018 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

              Well if you stop making so much sense and showing off your humble and gracious side it would be so much easier moaman 😉

          • Columnist

            May 23rd 2018 @ 9:10am
            Nicholas Bishop said | May 23rd 2018 @ 9:10am | ! Report

            Yes stop being nice to Kiwis NV. What’s got into you man? 😀

            • Roar Guru

              May 23rd 2018 @ 12:32pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 23rd 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

              I forgot to take my ” Kiwi Tough Love Pills” this morning 😉

              • Columnist

                May 23rd 2018 @ 3:45pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | May 23rd 2018 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

                “Always take your medication”.

              • May 24th 2018 @ 1:00am
                Carlos The Argie said | May 24th 2018 @ 1:00am | ! Report

                It’s called lithium.

          • Roar Rookie

            May 23rd 2018 @ 10:30am
            eeds said | May 23rd 2018 @ 10:30am | ! Report

            As special as the guardian comment section NV?
            Your name change in those parts doesn’t fool me 😉

            • Roar Guru

              May 23rd 2018 @ 12:28pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 23rd 2018 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

              What are you on about mate? I use the same name on the Guardian’s comment section (minus “neutral” hence the Guardian don’t allow enough characters in the username so I had to cut out “neutral”).
              I use the same name at Rugby365 also (another website with an active and pretty good comment section). The only place I comment on regularly and use a different name is on YouTube (Dusty Pink).

              My real name is Hermann and there are a fair few regular Roarers who communicate with me privately also.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 23rd 2018 @ 12:53pm
                piru said | May 23rd 2018 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

                What are you on about mate?

                NV I think you are nearing mastery of the Australian / New Zealand form of the English language – that was the perfect response

              • Roar Guru

                May 23rd 2018 @ 1:23pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 23rd 2018 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

                Thanks mate. I have many good teachers here at Roar.

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 2:00pm
                jameswm said | May 23rd 2018 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

                The Hermanator…

              • Roar Rookie

                May 23rd 2018 @ 2:05pm
                piru said | May 23rd 2018 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

                I have to admit I often read your comments with an Arnie / Skyrim type accent in my head

              • Roar Guru

                May 23rd 2018 @ 3:04pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 23rd 2018 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

                LOL!

                I guess I should be happy as long as people don’t read my comments with the chef from The Muppet Show voice in their head.

                I actually participate in a Kiwi YouTube/Podcast show about rugby sometimes. I would like to link to it, but I have gotten a handful from the viewers/listeners that my microphone is terrible so I will wait to promote that show until I have sorted a better microphone.

                But soon enough everyone who is interested will know both what I look and sound like.

                Long-term I hope I can suggest/persuade some Roarer’s to come on to the YouTube/Podcast show as guests also. It is good fun every time.

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 3:09pm
                moaman said | May 23rd 2018 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

                @ piru
                I can imagine NV “taking an arrow to the knee” also mate!

              • Roar Rookie

                May 23rd 2018 @ 3:15pm
                eeds said | May 23rd 2018 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

                Hah sorry if it came across the wrong way. Or just sounded plain weird…

                My job involves me staying up all night and leaves me very little to do except read anything rugby related I can find.

                I saw the view from Sweden going gangbusters over on the guardian comments section earlier, and then the neutral view from Sweden doing the same over here and thought to myself there is no way someone has enough time to sift through all these rugby related comment sections the way I do.

                How wrong I was….

                I promise to refrain from making (admittedly terrible) jokes until I’ve got a solid 8 hours sleep under under my belt in the future. Have a good one!

              • Roar Guru

                May 23rd 2018 @ 3:28pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 23rd 2018 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

                No worries mate.

                I work as a freelance journalist – reporting foreign news to Sweden mainly – and spend long hours in front of the computer. Chatting and commenting on rugby is one of my little “break routines” to get out of the loop from time to time.

                Admittedly I have lost the plot – and my senses – both here at the Roar and at the Guardian many times.

              • Columnist

                May 23rd 2018 @ 3:47pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | May 23rd 2018 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

                Nice to see someone who has only one identity and prepared to back it to the hilt NV – good on yer!

              • Roar Guru

                May 23rd 2018 @ 4:20pm
                Ralph said | May 23rd 2018 @ 4:20pm | ! Report

                Dusty Pink you say ..

              • Roar Guru

                May 23rd 2018 @ 4:26pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 23rd 2018 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

                Yeah, that is me Ralphie.

              • Columnist

                May 23rd 2018 @ 4:45pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | May 23rd 2018 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

                Highly suspect – you don’t visit Amsterdam regularly do you Neutral? 🙂

              • Roar Guru

                May 23rd 2018 @ 5:17pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 23rd 2018 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

                There are enough “late night districts” in Chiang Mai, no need to go to Amsterdam to make a couple of extra dollars 😉

              • Columnist

                May 23rd 2018 @ 7:12pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | May 23rd 2018 @ 7:12pm | ! Report

                Oh!

              • Roar Rookie

                May 23rd 2018 @ 4:26pm
                piru said | May 23rd 2018 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

                My cousin is off fighting dragons and what do I get?

                roar duty

        • May 23rd 2018 @ 8:17am
          Ken Catchpole’s Other Leg said | May 23rd 2018 @ 8:17am | ! Report

          Yes, Moa I track my own moods through these pages and see impatience, frustration, aggression and occasionally more noble sentiments.
          When the stakes are high volcanoes tend to erupt.
          And after cooling down the lava sometimes makes pretty granite.
          Thanks for your gracious response.

        • May 23rd 2018 @ 10:26am
          moaman said | May 23rd 2018 @ 10:26am | ! Report

          *pettiness
          Gawd…….my alter-ego Mrs.Bradbury is not happy!

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