The Wrap: Test success marks another win for Super Rugby

Geoff Parkes Columnist

By Geoff Parkes, Geoff Parkes is a Roar Expert

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    A common refrain in recent years is that Super Rugby form is not transferable to the Test arena. As such, pundits lined up before this weekend’s matches to make the point that Australia in particular, was vulnerable to a Test match hardened Ireland team enjoying a 12-match winning streak.

    Former Irish test lock Donal Lenihan told the Sydney Morning Herald “there’s a feeling that it (Super Rugby) doesn’t prepare people for Test rugby”, while in The Australian Mark Ella described last week’s pulsating Waratahs versus Reds match as “fairy floss rugby”, and the headline to Alan Jones’ weekly column boldly exclaimed, “Soft Super Rugby failing to deliver Test-ready Wallabies”.

    Jones and Ella were kings of the rugby world in 1984; Lenihan’s stellar 52-cap Test career spanned 1981-1992. All have outstanding rugby legacies, but the game has changed markedly since those amateur times and, as the Wallabies showed in their impressive 18-9 win, it is a dangerous pursuit to be making predictions based on a faulty premise.

    While Test rugby remains attritional, and is the ultimate examination of the strength of mind and body, evolutionary law changes, and the improved skills and athletic development of players are such that attacking rugby is rewarded, and the number of arm-wrestle, slug-fest matches decided by a penalty goal or drop kick has been dramatically reduced.

    This is something that New Zealand rugby worked out a long time ago – while defence will always be critically important, you don’t have to keep the opposition scoreless, you just need to score more points than them.

    In truth, the Super Rugby analogy applies more correctly to the Rugby Championships, where – particularly in a World Cup year – the winning sides in Super Rugby have not necessarily aligned with national team results in the Test series. But critics and fans who rushed to dismiss last week’s derby in Brisbane because of brittle defence, and extrapolated this further, missed some important points.

    Under the current laws, when teams play with pace and positive intent, and passes stick, the ball can be recycled too quickly for defences to get set properly. And with players finding themselves fatigued and/or caught out of position, tries accrue. This is what happened last week in Brisbane, but it never meant that a focused Wallabies were going to go AWOL in defence against Ireland.

    The second factor missed by many was the rising confidence levels of leading Wallabies players as a result of improved Super Rugby performances this season.

    Despite Nick Bishop expertly spelling out this improvement last week, and Brett McKay a day earlier reasoning that this improvement would likely flow into the Wallabies, many people clearly weren’t ready to shift from the negative mindset that has beset Australian rugby in recent years.

    While this is only one win, what is surely obvious is how the quality of ball movement shown by the Waratahs against the Chiefs and Reds, the starchy professionalism shown by the Rebels against the Blues, the developing scrum strength shown by the Reds, and the resilience shown by the Brumbies against the Bulls all fed into this Wallabies performance.

    Wallabies generic

    (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

    Everybody who plays and coaches in Super Rugby knows how difficult the competition is, with four New Zealand franchises the testing material for any rugby side, attritional contests in South Africa and the demands of travel other major imposts. To suggest that somehow Super Rugby is “soft” is simply ignorant, or deliberately inflammatory, or both.

    Further, with New Zealand Super Rugby franchises regularly racking up high scores, nobody has been claiming that the All Blacks aren’t well prepared for Test rugby. It is only churlish to suggest that Australia can’t claim the same.

    The sting in the Wallabies defence throughout spoke to this, and Michael Cheika’s task this week will be to ensure that the same level of intensity, organization and accuracy is applied consistently throughout this series, and beyond.

    A third factor missed was too much weight being ascribed to the Wallabies abject performance against Scotland to end 2017, and it is here where an interesting parallel can be drawn to all of the current northern hemisphere touring sides.

    Scotland are a side on the ascendancy, who enjoyed one of their finest hours in their 53-24 win over the Wallabies at Murrayfield. But the Wallabies that day were a spent force, mentally and physically, at the rump end of their season.

    Can the same be said now for Ireland, France and England? It is reasonable to expect all three sides to hit back hard next week – Ireland in particular, whose pride will be hurt, and who will look to strengthen their personnel.

    But with too much rugby being played and player fatigue a problem that nobody in the rugby world seems to be able to do anything about, it will be a huge task from here for tired bodies to turn a 0-1 deficit into a 2-1 series win.

    Joe Schmidt will no doubt believe it possible, noting the Wallabies’ disinclination to kick long to clear their defensive quarter – a recurring theme in Cheika’s side – that allowed Ireland to dominate territory and the run of play in the third quarter.

    It will only take a little more purpose and daring in attack – and perhaps CJ Stander improving his peripheral vision – to convert that dominance into points.

    More width in defence is another work-on, but Schmidt will find likely less room to move at the scrum, with the Wallabies finding a solid edge all night, offsetting their uncertain lineout.

    He (and a returning Jonathan Sexton) will also know that it is pointless to kick the ball away to Israel Folau and Dane Haylett-Petty, Folau providing another ‘wow moment’ with a superb overhead catch that ultimately led to a penalty and lineout play from where Will Genia picked up David Pocock on an angled run – the game’s crucial score.

    Genia also played a small but key role in Bernard Foley’s first half try – watch how after Samu Kerevi carries the play forward after Haylett-Petty’s run and a quick ruck is created, Genia passes to an in-motion Foley directly off the floor.

    So close to the try line, with the defence fractured, many players would have been tempted to have a snipe themselves, but if Genia had picked the ball up or taken even a single step before passing, Foley would have been taken out in the corner.

    For his trouble, Genia was voted ‘man-of-the-match’ by Ten Network viewers which seemed to downplay the impact that Kurtley Beale and especially, David Pocock, had on the match.

    Nevertheless, considering it was a popular vote, in a Brisbane home Test, perhaps the real surprise was that Quade Cooper didn’t win the award!

    While both Wallabies’ tries were expertly taken, they were denied a third, to a flying Folau, courtesy of a curious intervention by TMO Ben Skeen, who drew attention to an indiscretion by Adam Coleman several phases prior.

    Adam Coleman

    (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

    It was bad enough that the incident happened so far back it was nearly in the warm-up, but where referee Marius van der Westhuizen and Skeen drew the ire of fans was that Coleman’s actual transgression did not warrant the intervention.

    The laws do provide for such sanction, but common sense suggests that if the game demands consistency, and doesn’t want don’t a rash of similar TMO interventions every time a try is scored, such a ruling should only apply where the act is dangerous and/or plays a contributing role in the try.

    English referee Luke Pearce also found himself in the firing line in Auckland, issuing a yellow card to French lock Paul Gabrillagues for a tackle that he no doubt realized afterwards, should have examined further before reaching to his pocket.

    While the French were still well in the game on the scoreboard, the All Blacks had begun to assert control and if the card was the straw that broke the camel’s back, there were multiple stress fractures already evident.

    It is to rugby’s credit that the culture of the sport dictates that players accept the referee’s decision.

    Despite his unjustified send-off, Gabrillagues took his medicine without complaint and won plenty of admiration and respect in the process.

    As did van der Westhuizen and Pearce for marching Aaron Smith and Conor Murray for – as is the want of any halfback worth his salt – offering unsolicited advice.

    This result – and the second half performance – would have exceeded coach Steve Hanson’s expectations, particularly with France offering plenty early on, and with his best forward, Brodie Retallick, running water bottles. Retallick’s absence provided an opportunity for Scott Barrett to step into the role of midfield distributor, which he handled with aplomb.

    Once the All Blacks found their rhythm there was no way for the pitiless French to stem the flow, the introduction of Damien McKenzie and a rampaging Ngani Laumape only upping the ante.

    Rieko Ioane (showing the benefits of his pre-match sparring session with Blues teammate Blake Gibson) was all class, exceeded only by fellow winger Codie Taylor, who taught Teddy Thomas a lesson on the benefits of wanting the ball more than your opponent.

    The match highlight however was ex-bouncer Karl Tu’inukuafe making his Test debut from the bench, instantly powering through the French front row, and a TV camera capturing the normally expressionless Hanson allowing himself a momentary look of, ‘yeah we got that one right.’

    As it so often does, Ellis Park, Johannesburg delivered a Test match for the ages, an expansive England taking advantage of the Springbok centres and wingers losing contact with each other in the defensive line, and racing the clock to a 24-3 lead.

    The home side eventually found its feet, began to recycle quickly and reaped reward for employing Aphiwe Dyantyi and S’busiso Nkosi on the same wing and the rampaging RG Snyman in centrefield.

    England lost its shape and discipline and, despite a sweeping counter-attacking try to Jonny May giving them a final sniff, South Africa held on to win 42-39, a result that after 20 minutes no-one would have thought possible.

    As New Zealand and Australia had done before them, South Africa employed another tactic straight out of the Super Rugby playbook – turning down kickable penalty goals in favour of maintaining possession and pressure on the defensive goal-line.

    It is further evidence of how Test rugby is evolving – although the sight of Eliot Daly landing an early penalty goal from 60.5m was a wonder to behold.

    With Japan disposing of Italy 34-17 it was only Argentina, of the Super Rugby brethren, who faltered, at home to Wales, by 23-10.

    For years fans have scratched their heads trying to figure why Argentina’s players haven’t been able to transfer their international form (semi-finalists at the last World Cup) to Super Rugby.

    Last year, talismatic hooker Agustin Creevy talked to me about “two different essences” and the difficulty in wearing two different jerseys. Today’s question might well be how it is that they can’t transfer their winning Jaguares mentality to the Test arena?

    The beauty for coach Daniel Hourcade is that Argentina gets another chance next weekend – as do France, Ireland and England – and lovers of Test rugby get another opportunity to ponder why there are some people in the game who would see these great contests diminished in favour of club competitions.

    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 www.geoffparkes.com. 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 (321)

    • Roar Guru

      June 11th 2018 @ 7:47am
      Diggercane said | June 11th 2018 @ 7:47am | ! Report

      Thank you Geoff, great wrap again.

      All halfback jokes aside, it was good to see players marched, have felt it has been getting out of hand in recent seasons so a positive definitely.

      Certainly something to ponder, if the TMO can bring attention to incidents the ref has missed, perhaps they can bring attention to decisions that are ill informed, such as the French YC? Discussed on talk sport this morning, why not?

      and lovers of Test rugby get another opportunity to ponder why there are some people in the game who would see these great contests diminished in favour of club competitions. Yes, a real shame.

      • Columnist

        June 11th 2018 @ 8:30am
        Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:30am | ! Report

        Morning Digger. Halfback jokes? Is there such a thing?

        The TMO situation is a tough one. I think most people want to see the correct decisions made, whatever the process.
        But they also don’t want to see the game stopped frequently for reviews, which may or may not be justified. Particularly when there is often a lot of standing around waiting for the correct camera angle, if there is in fact one at all.

        That example at the end of the Ireland v Aust match is case in point, repeated viewings of what appeared to be no Irish knock on, until the TMO says words to the effect… ‘I have another view, that for some reason I can’t share with you, that definitely shows a knock on, just trust me’. WTF was that about?

        In Perace’s case he was so quick to go to the card, the player was off before the TMO would even have had a look. Should he have been allowed to come back on? IMO the best outcome is for referees to judge better when to go to the TMO before flashing cards, and for everyone to accept that mistakes happen occasionally. eg, even with TMO involvement, (or because of TMO involvement?) NZ fans would argue that the wrong decision was made at the end of the Lions series.

        But that said, do we want referees to become like cricket umpires? When is the last time you saw an umpire rule on a run out? They know the technology is there so they fall back on it every time. That might be fine in a game with lots of gaps in between the action, but rugby is a fluid, continuous sport. Great discussion point.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 9:08am
          Old Bugger said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:08am | ! Report

          GP

          Yep, another great read.

          A quick mention of Mr Pearce – I really thought that he was going to turn the AB/France game, into another Mr Barnes exhibition, what with all of the stop/starts and errors that both sides were committing. And then, to see in hindsight his call on the YC – well, even I admit that he should’ve gone upstairs. However, if there is one positive to come from this game, it was the fact that Mr Ayoub, did not follow in the footsteps of Mr Skeen. It is not a pity then, that the latter’s initials are BS.

          I enjoyed all 3 tests that I saw, not so much for their scorelines but more importantly, for the manner in which all SH sides eventually found their game plans and strategies, to overcome their opposition. Especially the WBs who really weren’t fancied, at all. I would suggest that similar game-plans next weekend will continue to extend the NH teams provided the discipline from all SH teams, is managed more precisely.

          I thought the raw brutality of the SBs pack combined with playing in J’burg and the bench swaps, became too much for the Rosies, to try to halt the momentum building – and of course, FdK who I thought played a blinder. The WBs added more starch to their pack and I wasn’t surprised considering Schmidt, started with his 2nd XV front row. Now for both NH sides, the ball is firmly in their court, to balance the ledger with a winning game-plan strategy.

          As I mentioned earlier, an unfortunate circumstance around the YC which in essence, turned the game on its head however, their can be no excuse to allow the game to run away like it did, when a full compliment of players, was available. Bastareau (sic) may be a monster but, his speed dial was left searching for horse-power when Macca, was added to the game. I couldn’t believe how easy DM found himself slicing inside and past MB. I think the pace of the game, definitely caught some french players out especially when considering that 5 of the AB’s pack starters, were short of game time themselves. Heck Sam W, played a full match after being out for HIA this past month – that’s no easy feat when your next match, is a test against the best defensive team, in the NH.

          A good start to the test season down under and IMO, great confidence builder for both the SBs and WBs – well done.

          • Columnist

            June 11th 2018 @ 9:40am
            Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:40am | ! Report

            Hi OB

            Good point about the losing coaches now having to take the initiative.
            I’m assuming you don’t think France can turn it around – but do you think Ireland and England can?

            • June 11th 2018 @ 6:11pm
              Muzzo said | June 11th 2018 @ 6:11pm | ! Report

              Hi Geoff,
              Yep it would be stupidity, to say the likes of Joe Schmidt, can’t turn it around, as if we like to look & see as to what he has done with Irish rugby, during his time in the Emerald Isle’s, is something worth noting. I realise he’s without, the likes of Ringrose, & a few others, but Irish rugby is really on a high. Even in Seven’s, they finished in the Bronze medal position, at Twickenham, & the team isn’t a core team. They were invited into the tournament.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 10:31am
          AJ said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:31am | ! Report

          The Coleman thing was just cruel, but fault there lies with a deficient rule doesn’t it. A genuine decoy runner should be able to be treated as though he has the ball, surely.

          • June 11th 2018 @ 11:45am
            Phil said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

            Yes,AJ,after all they are called decoy runners.Surely if they are a genuine decoy they are occasionally going to be tackled.I would have thought being tackled means they have done their job well.
            A shame such a beautiful try was disallowed because of that.

            • Roar Rookie

              June 11th 2018 @ 11:55am
              piru said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:55am | ! Report

              This comes up in the NFL a lot with QBs pretending they still have the ball or faking a hand off – I looked up the rule:

              Any offensive player who pretends to possess the ball or to whom a teammate pretends to give the ball may be tackled provided he is crossing his scrimmage line between the ends of a normal tight offensive line.

              Basically if you run into the trenches pretending to have the ball you can be thumped, but if you are being fancy in the back field you can’t.

              Maybe rugby could clarify this law.

          • June 11th 2018 @ 12:40pm
            ClarkeG said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

            Cruel yes but not quite sure how allowing defenders to tackle players who don’t have possession of the ball is going to improve our game.

            Just opens up another area for debate and extra problem for the referees – was that player a decoy or not a decoy?

            I think common sense should always be given an opportunity to prevail. I consider the tackle by Coleman on the lower end of the foul play scale so the try should have been allowed to stand and Coleman cautioned.

            • Roar Guru

              June 11th 2018 @ 2:24pm
              PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

              The question then needs to be asked why didn’t the TMO bring up all the other times, and there were many, that decoy runners were tackled?

              A total lack of consistency.

              When tackling decoy runners does not affect play (i.e taking away a legitimate support runner) and is not dangerous they need to be ignored.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 11th 2018 @ 2:30pm
                piru said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

                Not a fan of the TMO interjecting unasked at any point.

                I think Coleman’s attracted attention because it was still going on some time after the pass, but his initial contact timing was nothing out of the ordinary.

                I say TMO stays out of it unless the ref or AR’s bid him get involved

              • June 11th 2018 @ 2:39pm
                cuw said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

                well – noone was complaining when Whitelock got penalized for pushing Beale out of the way in the 75th minute

                that was until Foley missed the kick at goal ( crusaders v waratahs )

                he wasnt even a dummy runner – he was standing in front of the ball 😀

                at least Ryan was a real option – i thought he saw Adam and let it go .

              • June 11th 2018 @ 2:44pm
                Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

                Piru, I think in cases of real foul play it is warranted. Say, a neck role off the ball or a player attempts a punch and the referee misses it.

                For me the issue was that there was so little in what Coleman did. Under the letter of the law it should have been a penalty to Ireland but that sort of thing happens so often and is missed. I don’t think it affected the try at all.

              • Roar Guru

                June 11th 2018 @ 6:55pm
                Jokerman said | June 11th 2018 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

                I think once Coleman had committed himself like he had, he had to remove himself fast. He didn’t and appeared to continue the tackle. Silly.

                The guy didn’t have the ball. Just can’t tackle him eh? And he drove him back a bit too. All good? Nah, in gridiron perhaps.

                Just remember if you niggle (from the ego) there will be a consequence.

                Oh the rebel without a cause…if only. No accept the consequences.

                Well done on the victory though. Brought Ireland back to the pack a bit felt whilst the All Blacks glided higher. So fine start by the All Blacks. For a first test it was pretty epic.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 11th 2018 @ 2:50pm
                piru said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

                Fionn I think we need to accept that either not everything will be picked up, or that minor offences will have major consequences.

                If both ARs have missed something (and don’t forget it’s their job to be picking up off the ball foul play) then I think it’s play on. Now maybe after the match something the TMO has picked up can be reviewed and sanctions applied later (as with Moody v Beale).

                My feeling (today anyway) is that the TMO being too intrusive takes away from the ref being the man in charge – I can only imagine what it’s like having someone watching you from above and every now and then popping into your ear saying “well, actually…”

              • June 11th 2018 @ 2:55pm
                Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

                Imagine an issue of biting or eye gouging or something off the ball that the ARs miss?

                I would want that sort of thing picked up during the match and now just punished afterwards. Although I agree with you that the TMO is getting a little too intrusive at times.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 11th 2018 @ 3:00pm
                piru said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

                Like I said

                We need to either accept that some things will be missed, or expect constant interruptions.

                Does biting and eye gouging happen often enough that we need to have that facility?

                I don’t think it does – and if it does occur can be dealt with after the fact – the hefty penalties for that sort of thing already exist.

              • June 11th 2018 @ 3:01pm
                Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

                Perhaps, but I like Peter’s suggestion that the TMO only intrudes in the case of dangerous foul play (as opposed to foul play without any real danger like Coleman’s) and when illegal play causes/prevents a score.

              • June 11th 2018 @ 3:08pm
                cuw said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

                given the rubbish TV coverage in the recent past – even serious fouls may not be seen or adjudicated.

                i remember there was a complaint of a bite that was never seen close up.

                then there is the Savea punch that never hit anything.

                just 2 i can recall – maybe there is more.

                given the fluidity of rugger – it may be very hard to have proper TV coverage – like in cricket or athletics or tennis or footy…..

              • Roar Guru

                June 11th 2018 @ 3:36pm
                PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

                piru – dangerous play doesn’t happen often perhaps because it is now picked up more.

                So if it doesn’t happen often then no harm in the tmo intervening.

                Also since a lot of kiwis believe (and players systematically take advantage of) only what refs see and punish is illegal I am not surprised you are against the TMO being used for illegality that materially prevents or helps tries be scored.

              • June 11th 2018 @ 4:37pm
                adam smith said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

                It use to annoy me, the kiwi chip on your shoulder, PeterK. Now I just think it’s sad, & that maybe you do indeed need urgent psychological help.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 11th 2018 @ 4:00pm
                piru said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

                That’s a pretty low and undeserved shot Peter, it’s not at all what I was getting at.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 11th 2018 @ 4:03pm
                piru said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

                The game was originally intended to be refereed by the players themselves, and then by a sole referee.

                The laws aren’t designed for refereeing by committee as there are far too many judgement / subjective calls that can be made – you end up with this kind of silliness.

              • June 11th 2018 @ 5:11pm
                Dave_S said | June 11th 2018 @ 5:11pm | ! Report

                Agree piru, that’s the nub of it for me – once you have the feeling that someone is constantly scruitinising your decisions and impinging on your authority, it almost inevitably affects your decision-making, and usually for the worst in my experience.

                If it were just about keeping referees (and players) accountable, I’m all for it. But we have moved on from that, into a less-optimal territory.

              • Roar Guru

                June 11th 2018 @ 6:51pm
                PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 6:51pm | ! Report

                Piru – I was just harking back to direct comments you have made re ref being sole judge so if he doesn’t deem it illegal (including never seeing it) it means it wasn’t illegal. So no low blow at all.

                I have never said the TMO makes the judgement, he brings things up for the ref to review and make a decision on.

                So it is still the one person being the final judge.

                Once again only if dangerous play or materially impact try scoring.

                I am all for eliminating dangerous play and cyncial play, the more preventive measures the better.

              • June 11th 2018 @ 9:09pm
                ClarkeG said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:09pm | ! Report

                Consistency? – well to be fair I think there was consistency in this particular match.

                There was the Coleman penalty when he went on to completely tackle the opponent and then there was the penalty against Kerevi at the end which was more of a hold away from the ball from memory.

                There was another by Koroibete on Kearny which was unnecessary but minimal and went unpenalised.

                Of several other decoy runners in the match there were a few that involved minimal nudges or blocks both ways but as per your suggestion they were ignored.

                But in this match I don’t think there were many other tackles made on decoy runners as you have said – I mean not to the extent of Coleman’s tackle that is.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 12th 2018 @ 10:46am
                piru said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

                No Peter, you felt the need to interrupt what was a reasonable discussion with a shot at kiwis in general.

                I didn’t say the tmo shouldn’t be involved, I said he should wait till he’s asked to be.

                Again, for the umpteenth time – we either accept that things will get missed, or we accept that there will be interruptions for seemingly minor things.

                I prefer option 1

          • Roar Guru

            June 11th 2018 @ 5:26pm
            Jokerman said | June 11th 2018 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

            Ya just can’t go and tackle people without the ball, AJ. I know you would like to. Take anyone down with a valid excuse.

            Smash baby Genia perhaps off the ball: “Sorry sir (ref) I really did think baby Genia was about to receive his bottle…um I mean the ball”

            “Baby down, but play on!”

            Yeah, Nah.

            Great try though and unfortunate it went back so far to pick up a discrepancy, that was small.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 12:22pm
          Noodles said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

          There is a very great hazard in the way refs are being set up. It’s clear that they get edicts on issues from time to time. This affects their judgment and has a big effect on the game. Adding in the TMO as an intrusive judge is making matters worse.
          The onus needs to go back to ref alone. The ref should decide when to ask for advice. That way we can all hang on to the idea of the game, which is that stuff happens, people make mistakes and imperfection is what makes it all a good human experience.
          I was especially take by one decision on Pocock “diving in the pool” penalty when all the guy had done is change direction rapidly and get himself over the ball, on his feet for a fair turnover. I still don’t get the Ireland “knock on” decision of the TMO. Nor the Coleman “foul”.
          This stuff in an 8-6 game is a huge intrusion by officials who are at their best we they go unnoticed.

          • Roar Guru

            June 11th 2018 @ 2:27pm
            PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

            The tmo unsolicited should only bring up dangerous play, or if a try is score illegal play that materially affects the try being scored, or conversely illegal play that stops a probable try.

            • Columnist

              June 11th 2018 @ 2:45pm
              Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

              Agree Peter. The definition of ‘foul play’ when applied in these circumstances is too broad.

              Limit it to dangerous play and/or if it has an impact on the try being scored or not scored.

            • Roar Rookie

              June 11th 2018 @ 3:49pm
              Shane D said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

              Completely agree. I believe that’s what the TMO’s were originally given the ability to contact the ref for (foul play). Don’t know when it became ok for the TMO to contact the referee for anything & everything.

            • June 11th 2018 @ 4:01pm
              Noodles said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

              The refs have to be sole judge and make it clear. No one expects them to be perfect.

            • June 11th 2018 @ 4:02pm
              Jacko said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

              Sorry but he committed a foul …therefore it is foul play…its not dangerous…..its not dirty…but it is foul play and got dealt with accordingly……as foul play

              • June 11th 2018 @ 5:47pm
                Noodles said | June 11th 2018 @ 5:47pm | ! Report

                Jacko: the pointpenalising interference is to stop the cheats who take out players. Coleman tackled a guy who I suggest had the ball as far as Coleman is concerned. If this is a foul then so is the practice of holding down players at the ruck, something that happened to pocock throughout this match.

      • June 11th 2018 @ 10:48am
        ClarkeG said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:48am | ! Report

        Haven’t heard the discussion on talk sport Digger but absolutely why not.

        This very point come up for discussion amongst the group I watched the match with when it became obvious that the YC was rather harsh.

        I don’t see any problem with a player being reinstated to the match following TMO review.

        In the 2014 match Wales v Scotland Stuart Hogg was YCd by referee Garces for a charge on Dan Biggar. Before play restarted Garces summoned Hogg over and presented him with a RC.

        So if sanction can be upgraded then why can’t we allow the match officials to downgrade if circumstances warrant it.

        • Columnist

          June 11th 2018 @ 11:48am
          Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

          That would seem to be perfectly sensible Clarke.

          Same could have applied for Bismarck DP and other cases where it is clear and obvious that contact was not where the ref originally thought it was. It’s not like this sort of thing happens often.

        • Roar Guru

          June 11th 2018 @ 4:52pm
          Diggercane said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

          I don’t really have an issue with it Clarke, cricket for example reviews potential no balls from a wicket, I think the issue would come down to the operation and time taken with the TMO.

          Geoff touched on it above but a big part of the problem is the pursuit of perfection, its near impossible to achieve even with tech and what’s more we expect it from the officials, arguably the hardest role within the game. Of course we need to get the clangers right but we do tend to over complicate things. We have had contentious decisions since Deans back in 1905 and we will continue to have them well into the future, part of the drama of sport.

    • June 11th 2018 @ 8:01am
      Rob said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:01am | ! Report

      Great article. I think there will be a few Irish boys who are pretty sore and not wanting their press to bait up next time! And their scrum (when the Lions props were on) got owned. So, as you say, the Alan Jones/Lenihan theory belongs to another age.

      I do think the Irish are entitled to be tired at the end of a very long season, and playing away is always hard – same as our tours there.

      The state of the pitch makes for a different style of rugby. Our Super season and our pitches favour the razzle-dazzle. The Irish had a ton of good ball, but compared to us way less backline speed, skill and moves. But this cuts both ways, if it’s pissing down in Melbourne next week my money will be on the Irish. Their structured forward play, long kicking and popping 3s aren’t pretty, but damn effective; whereas we often look pretty pathetic in those conditions.

      • Columnist

        June 11th 2018 @ 8:39am
        Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:39am | ! Report

        Hi Rob

        It seems clear that some (many?) of the loudest critics of Super Rugby don’t actually watch it.
        If they did they would have seen that Wallabies performance coming, seen the improving form and rising confidence levels of key players, and not taken the lazy option of bagging the competition and their prospects.

        I just heard the forecast for the rest of this week – steady rain for Friday and Saturday. The pitch will be excellent regardless, but it will be interesting to see if there is a change in tactics. Dinky cross kicks from the Wallabies 22 might be better replaced by Reece Hodge thumping it 60m?

        • June 11th 2018 @ 10:36am
          Rob said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

          Geoff, any chance we can swap AAMI park for the roof at Eithad?
          Well, I sincerely hope we do take the Hodge option and practice our lineout all week.
          Let’s not fall for the trap of not showing the Irish respect for their game, which I have a nasty feeling will be much better suited in Melbourne.

          • Columnist

            June 11th 2018 @ 10:45am
            Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:45am | ! Report

            The long range forecast is poor Rob, and people who don’t live in Melbourne like to bag the weather, but the truth is it doesn’t actually rain very much here at all.

            It would be very unlucky if we got a downpour on Saturday night.

            • Roar Guru

              June 11th 2018 @ 2:31pm
              PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

              interesting the weather forecast I looked at has showers from Thursday through to and including Sunday.

            • Roar Guru

              June 11th 2018 @ 2:41pm
              Ralph said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

              Not really what we in the South Island of NZ would call ‘wet weather rugby‘ then.

              We mean, torrential rain, 6 degrees with 5 degrees of wind chill and a 35k biting southerly that cuts to the bone.

          • Roar Guru

            June 11th 2018 @ 3:23pm
            Mark Richmond said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

            Etihad is an appalling place to watch rugby. Saw the Bledisloe there a number of years ago, from the expensive seats, you cannot see the player’s lower leg when they’re on the far side of the field, due to the curvature of the field………and as for watching scrums, just forget it😏

            • Roar Rookie

              June 11th 2018 @ 3:50pm
              Shane D said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

              Maybe put the tall flags you put on kids bikes on the players so you can spot them over the hill!

            • Columnist

              June 11th 2018 @ 4:33pm
              Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

              I’m with you Mark. It’s not built for rugby and it’s an inferior experience compared to AAMI.
              Even if it ends up costing RA in foregone gate money it’s hard to argue against playing it there.

    • June 11th 2018 @ 8:06am
      Cynical Play said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:06am | ! Report

      Good stuff GP. A Jones hates Cheika and talks down the WBs at every opportunity. He is a very little yesterday man.

      I’d start Hodge for DHP and Rona for Kerevi. Long kicks to their 22 and then challenge for the pill. This backline is most potent from 30 out. Plays or bombs will yield many tries if this is the plan. No point popping a kick to Folau in our half. But it’s a try every time at their goal. Folau needs to again be used in the restarts. I’d start Samu. Yep 3 7’s. Sampooper. Otherwise. More of the same.

      • Columnist

        June 11th 2018 @ 8:41am
        Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        Hi CP, yes it will be tempting to play Hodge, but on the other hand DHP had an excellent Test, running strongly and catching securely. It’s nice for Cheika to have tough selection dilemmas.

        • Roar Guru

          June 11th 2018 @ 2:35pm
          PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

          I would play both.

          Hodge and DHP add more value than Koroiebete against Ireland in the wet.

          Also I would drop Hooper to the bench and play another lineout proficient player like Tui so there is a greater chance of winning your own lineouts if ireland kick to the corners.

          I would keep Kerevi at 13. With a heavy ground his defence will be less challenged and he did well against Ireland in defence, his attack in heavy conditions is better than other contenders.

      • Roar Rookie

        June 11th 2018 @ 9:32am
        Paul D said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        “A Jones hates Cheika and talks down the WBs at every opportunity”

        There are more than a few roarers who share that mentality.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 10:11am
          Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

          We’ve been burned too many times over 2016 and 2017. Cheika, Larkham, Grey and the players all deserve a huge round of applause. And if we continue to see powerful, skilled and above all intelligent rugby from the team Cheika will have turned it around and proved us all wrong.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 11th 2018 @ 10:38am
            Paul D said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:38am | ! Report

            There are many far worse than you Fionn, but since your ears were burning I’ll respond. But note the response is directed more widely like my previous post.

            Like Geoffs article highlights, some understanding of the whole picture is far more informed than the “its all Cheikas fault” mantra. 2016 and 2017 had their low points sure, but that needs to be balanced that we just entered a new RWC cycle and rebuilding was needed with the end game in 2019. Couple with that we faced a seriously hot England in June who were second only to NZ. I dont care what their ranking was at the start of the series. I’m talking about their form. They might have “become” No. 2 after the series, but they were already in all but ranking.

            In 2017, the state of the Super teams in both fitness and morale was terrible. Yet we still held judgement over Cheika and him alone for the poor preparation. He played his part, sure. But the issues ran far deeper. And despite that, after he had hold of the squad for a while we came closer to winning the Bledisloe than we had been for probabaly over a decade. I cannot comment on End of year tests as i was traveling through Vietnam and a long way from internet for the most part.

            This year, Super Rugby us humming along nicely (by comparison), the collaboration by all accounts is good. And despite the months of “Ireland will flog 3-0”, “defence seems optional for the Wallabies”, “cheika has no tactics”. We find ourselves 1 up, tackling at 90% and playing with a pre arranged game plan based on the opposition that was well executed.

            But just as I dont think Cheika is solely to blame for the last 2 years, he isn’t entitled to full credit now either. There has been a much better effort of collaberation across Australia and building of depth in the squad which may finally be bearing fruit. We’re not done yet though. The big show is yet to come.

            • June 11th 2018 @ 10:46am
              Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

              Maybe, but a 0-3 series loss at home was still inexcusable, as was the lack of changing in tactics and strategy during the series that continued from 2016-17.

              These issues continued in 2016 when we were annihilated thrice by New Zealand, had a narrow win against a horrific Springboks side and then lost to them when they were at their nadir.

              In 2017 the teams were poor, no doubt, and it was not all Cheika’s fault, but we had the asme issues with selection that everyone noted at the start of the year (Hanigan being the centre piece of this) and the same issue with one-note stupid rugby with no changes in tactics. Blown away by Scotland a week before they lost to Fiji and then blown away against to Scotland on the Spring Tour. Failed to beat the same horrific Boks side.

              We can make excuses for some of the results, but Cheika needs to take a responsibility for a lot of them. We lost the same exact match to England 5 times in a row.

              Every country entered a new World Cup cycle. Some coaches handled the transition better than others.

              Luckily, Saturday demonstrated a real change in tactics and strategy, and it was a joy to watch the Wallabies. Hopefully Cheika sticks with the new team ethos and the Wallabies can pull out an unlikely series victory and really have something to build on. If the Wallabies win the series then Cheika will have gone a long way to silence us critics. Ditto with Larkham and Grey.

            • Roar Guru

              June 11th 2018 @ 10:50am
              Ralph said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:50am | ! Report

              Some good points Paul. Limited power but ultimate responsibility – who would be rugby coach?

      • June 11th 2018 @ 10:01am
        Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:01am | ! Report

        Why start Hodge and Rona?

        Kerevi and DHP did nothing wrong. Kerevi defended splendidly and shot out of the line a couple of times to shut down Ireland’s attack before it started, and even though he didn’t get many opportunities in attack in the first half he had a couple of good runs in the second. We know Kerevi is our best 13 in attack and he defended like a champion. He obviously stays.

        DHP doesn’t offer the same running threat Hodge does but he was sublime in the air and made good decisions.

        Backline stays the same. It functioned well, no need to change.

        • Columnist

          June 11th 2018 @ 10:48am
          Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:48am | ! Report

          That’s the way I read it Fionn. I’d be very surprised if there are any changes.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 10:53am
          Cynical Play said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:53am | ! Report

          Was pretty obvious when Hodge was on that the field position and clearance from penalties was better. His boot means he starts. He is a better attacking option than DHP who is medium paced and not a hole runner. He would come close to matching the aerial defensive capabilities though DHP May have a slight edge there.

          The backline did not fire like the Tahs have been. SK did nothing wrong and defended fine. But… he was almost invisible in attack. He is s 12 playing 13 and has not the well honed instinctive 13 play of Rona outside Beale and Foley. Rona adds a lot to the shape that has scored a lot of SR tries in recent weeks and is as good a defender as Kerevi.

          Cheika won’t throw the same dice in test 2. Neither would I.

          • June 11th 2018 @ 11:00am
            Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

            I disagree the backline didn’t hum. They were playing the number 2 side in the world , they scored 2 tries, could have had a third but for the disallowed Folau try and made plenty of breaks. Fewer tries are scored in test rugby than Super Rugby. If you put the Tahs’ backline at international level of course they won’t look at potent as in a lower level of competition.

            Kerevi has played most of his tests at 13, scored a bunch of tries and has played half the Super Rugby season at 13 and is statistically one of the top attackers in all of Super Rugby…. But you want to drop him because he had one match where he didn’t offer a huge amount in attack (even though he did have some good runs) against one of the best defensive teams in the world? Maybe the ball didn’t come to him much? Maybe he was cut out by Beale a lot? It would be insane to replace him with Rona.

            Even when Samu doesn’t make breaks himself he creates space for his outside backs as he is marked so closely by the defence as he is such a threat in attack.

            Anyway, I seriously don’t get the Rona love. He is massively inferior to Kerevi in attack and not really any better in defence as far as I’ve seen. He’s playing in a SR backline with Beale and Folau, of course he is going to look good in attack.

            Hodge vs DHP is more questionable. Would be happy with either, but DHP was top class under the high ball, while Hodge is not in the same class. DHP and Folau working in tandem really shut down Murray’s kicking, and DHP has a huge boot himself that is more accurate than Hodge’s.

            Don’t change a winning formula.

            • June 11th 2018 @ 11:16am
              Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:16am | ! Report

              I also think Cheika will run the same dice in at least the backs, if not the forwards. As he should. – the more matches the same team plays together the more the team will improve as the players get used to each other. I would not be at all surprised to see exactly the same team announced this week.

              • Roar Guru

                June 11th 2018 @ 2:41pm
                PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

                Cheika should consider the weather.

                Forecast rain from Thursday through to Sunday.

                I would have Hodge replace Koroiebte and Hopper benched (I know that won’t happen).

                Have both all 3 back 3 have a big boot to be able to kick it back deep in the wet.

                Forwards the lineout needs to be looked at and possibly some changes.

            • June 11th 2018 @ 11:33am
              Cynical Play said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:33am | ! Report

              “Massively inferior”. …???

              Get a grip on your exaggerations there son. You do realise Rona is in the squad. Cheika clearly doesn’t see him as massively inferior. Wouldn’t surprise me if he gets the 13 at some point in this series. You under rate him.

              • June 11th 2018 @ 11:36am
                Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:36am | ! Report

                Other than maybe Laumape I doubt there is any other centre in Super Rugby that can hold a candle to Kerevi with ball in hand in attack. After Folau he is definitely our most dangerous player with ball in hand. Raw stats don’t prove everything but the raw stats prove he is far and away our best attacking centre with ball in hand.

                How do you know Cheika doesn’t see him as massively inferior to Kerevi in attack? He’s in the squad as you need multiple 13s. Kuridrani is in the squad too and he is massively inferior to Kerevi in attack also.

            • June 11th 2018 @ 6:55pm
              BuffaloTheorist said | June 11th 2018 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

              Also watch Rona run his winger out of space/pass too early instead of draw/pass in the Waratahs win over the Reds. I’m not sold on him yet.

          • Roar Guru

            June 11th 2018 @ 2:42pm
            PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

            CP – DHP is a lot better under the highball than Hodge, just not as good as Folau but easily second in the wallaby squad.

        • Roar Pro

          June 11th 2018 @ 11:13am
          Andy Thompson said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:13am | ! Report

          Kerevi’s run in the first half set up that try. He took the ball well, angled inside a bit and took out 3 Irish defenders allowing Foley to score in the corner. Honestly thought it was his best game in the gold jersey.

          • June 11th 2018 @ 11:14am
            Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

            Yeah, it was a very good outing. Kerevi is one of those guys who just cannot really please. Luckily Cheik sees what he offers,

            • June 11th 2018 @ 11:38am
              Cynical Play said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:38am | ! Report

              Kerevi pleases, but can he offload?

              • June 11th 2018 @ 11:43am
                Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:43am | ! Report

                Yes, he actually has a really high quality offload…

                Are you joking with that question?

              • June 11th 2018 @ 11:59am
                Cynical Play said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:59am | ! Report

                No.
                He played OK. My point is, i think there’s more tries in the backline with Rona outside Beale and Foley. I hope we get to find out.

                On Sat Kerevi averaged about 5 metres a run (11 runs for 55m), threw no offloads (ie no passes), conceded 2 turnovers (from 11 runs), and gave away 2 penalties (same as Pocock and Coleman who are ruck-monkies).

              • June 11th 2018 @ 12:02pm
                Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

                Really don’t think so. In a far worse attacking team Kerevi busts more tackles, makes more meters with the ball in hand and has a better passing game.

                Rona just plays in a better attacking team, and of course the Tah backline looks better at Super Rugby level (where scores are high) than at international level where defences are better.

                Actually, he had a really good run that set up Foley’s first try when he made good meters before he cut back infield creating space on the wing, set the ball extremely quickly to create the fast ruck ball necessary for Foley’s try. He was also behind the tackle that created the turnover for Folau’s try, and it was a powerful run by him in which he clattered into the defence and again set the ball super quickly that allowed Genia to chip it over the heads of the defence before it was set.

                But yeah, he didn’t throw any offloads in one test so I guess that means we should ignore all the offloads and passes he throws in Super Rugby and assume he can’t do it…

                Pocock only gave away one penalty – the other was for Hooper not rolling away. Since when is Coleman a ruck monkey?

              • June 11th 2018 @ 12:10pm
                Cynical play said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

                ESPN have Pocock with 2 penalties conceded. As always you know better. Point is K gave away the most penalties of any Oz player without being the most involved in rucks. Poor reads?

              • June 11th 2018 @ 12:12pm
                Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

                I just watched the match instead of just reading stats.

                I don’t see your point regarding penalties? I’m not going to say that it’s good he conceded two penalties, but he actually does get really involved as rucks (as any good centre should). He had a very good game defensively and also contributed a lot in attack. He played well, if not spectacularly.

              • June 11th 2018 @ 12:52pm
                Jacko said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

                Kerevi has been the stand-out centre for Aus rugby in the SR games right from the first match where he was at 12. When he went to 13 he took it to another level. Rona is playing great but not as good as Kerevi from what I have watched.

          • Columnist

            June 11th 2018 @ 11:53am
            Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:53am | ! Report

            It was also Kerevi’s spot tackle that caused a spill in midfield that led to Folau’s try (non-try)

            • June 11th 2018 @ 11:58am
              Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

              Indeed. Really good analysis of it here, Geoff.

              http://www.the42.ie/analysis-wallabies-brilliance-brisbane-4063025-Jun2018/?amp=1&__twitter_impression=true

              As Andy says it was also his good run that set up Foley’s true, and another good run in the second half off turnover ball (in which he crashed into the defender) that allowed Genia to go for the kick that Koroibete and co chased for a penalty against Kearney. Didn’t that lead to another try also, or was that a penalty that time?

              • Columnist

                June 11th 2018 @ 12:51pm
                Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

                Thanks Fionn, that’s really comprehensive analysis.

                The moment stood out for me during the match (not for the try reversal, but the tackle and turnover), but it’s enlightening to see the reaction of Sexton captured like that, when he would have been expecting to be running a nice inside support line.

          • Roar Guru

            June 11th 2018 @ 2:47pm
            PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

            Andy – I thought Kerevi played well, however on the eoyt in 2016 he played better IMO esepcially against Wales.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 1:04pm
          jameswm said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

          Agreed on Kerevi Fionn. DHP did nothing wrong. I’d have started Hodge initially and still would, but I won’t be complaining too loudly if DHP keeps his place.

          • June 11th 2018 @ 1:20pm
            Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

            I won’t complain if Cheika decides to pick Hodge ahead of DHP, but it would seem a bit harsh given that DHP played well.

      • June 11th 2018 @ 4:02pm
        Akari said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

        or Pooperamu; Poopersam; Poopersamu, CP???

    • June 11th 2018 @ 8:20am
      robbo999 said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:20am | ! Report

      Thanks Geoff – summed it all up. I really enjoyed the rugby this weekend (I even stayed up to watch the Force v Rebels waterpolo game) with one exception – the second half in Auckland. While the YC against France was egregious, the failure to send off Sam Cane was criminal and against everything we have been told about how contact with the head would be policed from now on. I agree that the ABs were going to win but it took the enjoyment of the game out of it for me.

      Thank goodness for the Wallabies v Ireland. I’m really looking forward to the match next Saturday now. In my distant youth, the Irish were always the best 5 Nations guests in Edinburgh for a week (or more) only closely followed by the Welsh. Bring on the Irish – the pubs of Richmond will be licking their lips in anticipation.

      • June 11th 2018 @ 8:47am
        Rugby Tragic said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

        robbo, did you see a replay of the Cane episode? … If I saw it right, do not believe there will be a citing even though the French Winger has a fractured cheek bone.

        Cane’s (imo) tackle was barely high (started just below shoulder and slid up, no contact to the head that I saw (I know even though tackle started below shoulder and slid up is still to be sanctioned by a penalty. The damage was done by Ofa’s shoulder connecting the head of the frenchman.

        Definitely Gabrillagues’ YC was not warranted

        • June 11th 2018 @ 9:00am
          Ozinsa said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:00am | ! Report

          If we’re serious about protecting the head of players it’s hard to imagine we won’t look closely at a tackle where a players’ face is fractured. Cane hit him high and the shoulder made contact with the head. Both need to be reviewed

        • Roar Guru

          June 11th 2018 @ 12:12pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

          RT. there some pretty disturbing pictures that clearly show that Cane swinging arm hit the French player in the face.

          Ffs pic.twitter.com/jonqzhPCru— Brynt (@JohnBrynt) June 9, 2018

          There are pictures showing Ofa shoulder hits the same player right in the face also.

          Seat belt tackle followed by a shoulder to the face.More leniency by referees towards the ABs?#NZLvFRA pic.twitter.com/P4JKLeP1S8— rugby (@theblitzdefence) June 9, 2018

          • Columnist

            June 11th 2018 @ 12:57pm
            Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

            Just for balance NV, there’s also a pic from behind which shows the falling player, with Cane’s arm around his neck, about to make contact with Ofa’s shoulder.

            It’s very difficult looking at that to suggest that the use of the shoulder was in any way deliberate, and his right arm is also swinging around in a wrapping motion.

            It’s also interesting to note that the French coach is quoted today as now having seen this pic and accepted that the injury from shoulder contact was accidental.

            I do agree however that Cane’s tackle was high and was borderline YC – noting that this is not what caused the injury.

            • Roar Guru

              June 11th 2018 @ 1:32pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

              It’s also interesting to note that the French coach is quoted today as now having seen this pic and accepted that the injury from shoulder contact was accidental.

              You see no “politics” or “tactics” in that statement? Why give the AB’s some extra fuel?

              • Columnist

                June 11th 2018 @ 4:36pm
                Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

                Too many conspiracy theories mate 🙂
                Maybe he said it because that’s what he believes?

                I very much doubt the AB’s need to feed off external motivating factors.

              • Roar Guru

                June 11th 2018 @ 4:44pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

                Have you forgotten that the AB’s used the BOD spear and the accusations they got being a dirty team fired them up for the next Test? It is pretty well covered.

                But I guess anything goes for you in order play down the incident as “nothing happened”. You can’t even come straight saying Cane deserved a yellow, you need that little prefix “borderline”.

              • June 11th 2018 @ 5:08pm
                Jacko said | June 11th 2018 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

                I think it was a “borderline” yellow….But the french yellow was not a yellow…….But Neutral Tana retired years ago so whats this bringing up the BOD tackle stuff? you get up me for mentioning the Lions tour yet you bring up a Lions tour from way way back…remember that will you next time you have a go at me

              • Roar Guru

                June 11th 2018 @ 5:13pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 11th 2018 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

                You don’t see the context I brought the BOD-gate into, Jacko? GP went all out All Blacks PR-department, so I just had to remind him a little about something he probably already know about.

              • June 11th 2018 @ 5:14pm
                Jacko said | June 11th 2018 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

                Neutral….I think it was a “borderline” yellow….But the french yellow was not a yellow…….But Neutral Tana retired years ago so whats this bringing up the BOD tackle stuff? you get up me for mentioning the Lions tour yet you bring up a Lions tour from way way back…remember that will you next time you have a go at me

              • Roar Guru

                June 11th 2018 @ 5:22pm
                Diggercane said | June 11th 2018 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

                There is no question in todays game both were lucky to not be pulled up for the incident in the game but I have a question, what was Ofa supposed to do there?

              • Roar Guru

                June 11th 2018 @ 5:29pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 11th 2018 @ 5:29pm | ! Report

                Honestly, I have no idea exactly what he should have done. It would just be speculation to try to guess where Ofa’s mind and thoughts were at that moment.
                Most of us who have done sports at a higher level knows that a lot of what is done is done through instinct, there is very little time to think things through.

              • Columnist

                June 11th 2018 @ 6:13pm
                Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 6:13pm | ! Report

                The AB’s certainly don’t need me to wave the flag for them NV.

                It’s simply a matter of individual interpretation. Cane’s tackle is clearly high but is it worthy of a YC or not? For some refs on some days yes, and that would be fair enough, and on other days with other refs, like this one a penalty only would be fair enough too. But happy for you or anybody to be on the YC side, it’s just a different opinion.

                I do note though that many of the calls for Cane to get a YC were only in response to the french card. That was simply a wrong decision, and there is no ‘square up’ rule in rugby.

                As for Ofa’s shoulder, if the French coach is happy to call it an accident and the citing commissioner sees no issue, then I reckon that’s enough for everyone to move on.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 11th 2018 @ 1:24pm
            Shane D said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

            Still pictures don’t show the movement NV. It’s like taking a snippet of a conversation out of context.

            • Roar Guru

              June 11th 2018 @ 1:35pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

              Those links are not showing still pictures, those are videos.
              The movement of Cane’s arm and Ofa’s shoulder is very easy to see.

            • Roar Guru

              June 11th 2018 @ 3:01pm
              PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

              it is video , it shows movement

              • Roar Rookie

                June 11th 2018 @ 3:53pm
                Shane D said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

                Couldn’t open the link so was going off NV’s commentary.

          • June 11th 2018 @ 9:46pm
            Rugby Tragic said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:46pm | ! Report

            Neutral, if that is the case, Cane will be cited … if it is not the case, he should not be .. I’ll accept the ‘Citing Squad’s” decision either way, what I stated was as I saw it.

            Definitely big Ofa’s noggin connected and it is interesting to note that it was Ofa who apologised to the Frenchman suggesting he never had any intent to hurt Grosso.

            • June 11th 2018 @ 10:37pm
              Taylorman said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:37pm | ! Report

              Yes but once again, look who only wants to go on and on about the AB negatives. And the only one doing it. No insights to the actual rugby, since we are so disappointed the ABs ran away, lets focus on the negative. Cited, or not, who cares.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 10:29am
                ClarkeG said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:29am | ! Report

                Yep

        • Roar Guru

          June 12th 2018 @ 2:24am
          ThugbyFan said | June 12th 2018 @ 2:24am | ! Report

          G’day RT, great game by the MIB and tbh I don’t think the wrongful YC against the French player made much difference to who was going to win this match. However sadly I think you are wrong here. Take a look at the 1st video of Neutral’s below you (12.12pm) and you clearly see the Frog winger’s head flying back as Cane’s arm hits him flush on the jaw, prior to his face meeting the AB prop’s shoulder (who, from all the cards I have seen dished out this year, should also have been in card territory). You cannot see a front on view so one cannot tell where Cane’s arm initially struck but from this side the first contact is Cane’s arm on the bloke’s chin. Looks definitely a yellow card to Sam Cane, but then look at the 2nd video and you cannot see Cane’s arm hitting his chin at all. From what I know Cane was not cited by the citing committee, the two videos seem contradictory for Cane but sheesh looks bad for the AB prop.

          You look at that footage and you can see where the conspiracy theorists (easier run for ABs) are coming from. Honestly mate, my green and gold eyes see yellow and even possibly red cards here. I think the two AB players were very very lucky. 🙂

          • June 12th 2018 @ 8:11am
            Rugby Tragic said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:11am | ! Report

            Thanks Thugby, your conclusion is fair enough but as mentioned previously, I’ll accept the citing commissioner’s decision either way, it is what I saw (or believe I saw … if I am wrong, it wouldn’t be the first time lol).

            The injury was very unfortunate caused by Ofa (unwittingly). But what was he supposed to do .. there were 3 involved and all of them had head clashes and it happened in millieseconds. Grosso’s head/face was exposed as he was dropping and the shoulder of Ofa smashed into it causing the major damage. Cane himself had a HIA (I think ordered by the ref).

            As for Cane I thought initially his arm connected with Grosso just below the shoulder and slid up. Yes this was possibly a YC sanction but I could not seeing it as a RC. The ref and I think TMO Ayoub confirmed it was a penalty and the citing commissioner also concurred with no further sanctions. All of these officials had the benefit of replays, so what is one to think?

            BTW, congrats on a very good Wallabies victory… good and intense match to watch too.

            • Roar Guru

              June 12th 2018 @ 2:52pm
              ThugbyFan said | June 12th 2018 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

              Hi RT and True, its always a hard case when you just see one video. I found the videos of Cane interesting, from one angle its almost a red card as all you see is his arm hitting the french blokes chin, on the other angle you don’t really see it there at all. In the end, common sense held and it was deemed an unfortunate accident. I wish more head clashes had some common sense applied instead of the auto-card dished out. Anyways, the Boyz in Black looked pretty good, and that’s without some heavy artillery to return to the fray.

              Who would want to be a referee? Damned no matter what you do. LoL

              Was reading about the French referee for the 3rd test here. His name is Pascal Gaüzère, he was the referee for your beloved Blues vs BIL last year, so I guess that you have an opinion of him. ( 🙂 ) Apparently, in French Rugby its common at serious disciplinary hearings that the offender is given a choice: a long ban from playing rugby OR a shorter period of time acting as a referee. Pascal Gaüzère had such a choice and in the end gave up playing rugby to be a full time ref. https://www.rugby365.com/latest-news/referee-gauzere-in-salta-this-time/

              • June 13th 2018 @ 4:41pm
                Rugby Tragic said | June 13th 2018 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

                Thanks for the link Thugby,…. very interesting..

      • Columnist

        June 11th 2018 @ 8:53am
        Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        Hi robbo

        Yes it felt a bit weird watching the Rebels v Force after such a gripping Test match. No disrespect to those players, and the conditions were difficult, but it was a few steps down. Nevertheless, good to see some of the Rebels’ fringe squad guys like Adams, Hutchison, Goddard, Jeffries etc get some tough game time. And yes, good to see the Force too.

        The coverage didn’t really enhance things. Scott Fava congratulating the Force bench players for showing enthusiasm by rushing in to join a goal-line fracas was a particular lowlight. The on-field ‘interviews’ were an embarrassment.

        And I got sick of the banging on about WSR’s ‘innovations’, where teams only have a minute to complete a scrum or get the ball into a lineout. There were two scrums that were reset multiple times and took over a minute, but nothing happened. And as for taking more than a minute to throw in to a lineout? Who takes that long anyway?

        • Roar Rookie

          June 11th 2018 @ 12:36pm
          piru said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

          You have to view the commentary as comedic sideshow Geoff, if you take it too seriously it will make you angry.

          I’m going to head down to NIB for the next match and see if they’ll give me a run in the commentary box – I mean I know what a scrum is so I’m already ahead of the game.

          • Columnist

            June 11th 2018 @ 1:02pm
            Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

            Yes fair point mate, I shouldn’t be reading so much into it.
            Although I got the distinct impression that they were taking it seriously…

            I enjoyed the running niggle through the game between Stander and Cottrell. Hopefully everyone drank up heartily afterwards, but there was certainly no love lost during the match – as it should be!

            • Roar Rookie

              June 11th 2018 @ 1:49pm
              piru said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

              They are really intended for non rugby people, and particularly the AFL people of WA.

              Meakes was the surprise package for me, the Force were cheering a try and he decided to run into the middle of them. Maybe he forgot what team he was on for a second.

    • June 11th 2018 @ 8:32am
      Carlos The Argie said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:32am | ! Report

      Oh what a weekend it was!

      The only predictable thing was the Pumas playing like the Pumas of 2017 and 2016 instead of the Jaguares of 2018. Hourcade is singlehandedly demolishing the Pumas mystique. I’ve commented on other places on the Roar, but it is utterly frustrating to see a team playing with so little confidence, so little smarts, so little heart. Even Lavanini was back to his dunderhead days instead of the almost smart lock from SR.

      Even my wife, while watching the Pumas, was asking why they kept doing the exact same move after a 5 meter lineout when it was clear that the previous 6 or 7 times they tried it didn’t work. Of course, it is better to keep quiet.

      Boks were great, France was very good defending, as the French league has been showing in the European Championship already. And Itoje was a thug. An over rated player.

      And Ireland has trouble scoring tries. Leinster was having this in Europe too. Maybe Nick needs to look into this.

      • June 11th 2018 @ 8:56am
        Highlander said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        Itoje is not a thug – he is however a giant pudding – yet another performance devoid of any real physicality.

        Three individual errors from him in the lead up to each of SAs first three tries, the miss on Faf dK should have made a lock too embarrassed to go back into the shed at halftime.

        Felt sorry for Isiekwe, although struggling to get into the game to get pulled before the break is disheartening.
        He is now the 5th lock moved or dropped to try to fix Englands second row issues.
        Well done eddie for identifiying Englands lock issues, but seems you are not getting any warmer in identiying the real cause.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 10:09am
          Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

          Itoje has not been good this year. But let’s not beat around the bush, in 2016 and 2017 he was world class.

          Conversely, Faf de Klerk was an absolute dud at international level in 2016, missing tackles, making bad decisions and screaming at the ref doing a Conor Murray impression – jeez, how much has he turned it around? In a weekend when a lot of very good halfbacks played, he was surely the best.

          Finally, while I actually think Sexton is the best 10 in the world (Barrett might be the best back, but I think Sexton is the best pure ’10’) I’ve never really understood the hype around Conor Murray, and he was a non-event on the weekend. I mean, it doesn’t help that his box kick is one of his best skills and he was unfortunately box kicking against Israel Folau, but his passing always seems so much slower than the other great 9s, and he doesn’t seem to offer the same running threat.

          • June 11th 2018 @ 1:16pm
            double agent said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

            I agree. Apart from the box kick I don’t think Murray offers much.

            I’ve never seen Faf play so well. I was stunned!

            • Columnist

              June 11th 2018 @ 4:37pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

              I’ve never seen Faf play so well.

              Improvement generated by the NH leagues, DA. They certainly can improve the tactical awareness of the halves!

              • Roar Guru

                June 11th 2018 @ 5:24pm
                Diggercane said | June 11th 2018 @ 5:24pm | ! Report

                That was the best I can remember him playing personally Nick, Willie too. I remember Willie having the odd clanger in his game but he was focused and controlled at the back.

                First to admit I was no fan of overseas players being bought in and seen a few come back shadows of themselves but those two seem much better players for the experience.

          • Roar Guru

            June 11th 2018 @ 3:48pm
            Corne Van Vuuren said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

            Folau did make Murray’s kicks look average. But then we all knew Folau has great aerial skills, his positional play was also great. A shame for Murray he didn’t know that to begin with.

            • Roar Guru

              June 11th 2018 @ 3:57pm
              PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

              agree, too many say folau has poor positional play but ignore it when he is spot on like this game, they also ignore obvious instructions to be on the wing on certain situations and someone else moves in to f/b.

              • Roar Guru

                June 12th 2018 @ 2:55am
                taylorman said | June 12th 2018 @ 2:55am | ! Report

                No they dont, its not like hes always going to be positionally poor, hes gonna get it right sometimes, but other times hes terrible. Thats how this all works.

      • Columnist

        June 11th 2018 @ 8:58am
        Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:58am | ! Report

        Hi Carlos

        Itoje didn’t strike me as being thuggish Carlos, more just a bit lazy or not fully switched on to the occasion. His ‘defence’ when Faf scored his try was pretty embarrassing.

        Who would have imagined an England locking combination of Itoje and Brad Shields? Far too small to be taking on the Boks’ tall timber, particularly with the form Snyman is in.

        Hopefully the Pumas use this week productively…

        • June 11th 2018 @ 9:19am
          Carlos The Argie said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

          What? They will bring Ledesma? Fat chance.

          • Columnist

            June 11th 2018 @ 9:42am
            Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:42am | ! Report

            Yes, one thing about this season and this result is that Ledesma’s reputation grows by the day.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 10:19am
          Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:19am | ! Report

          Geoff, who do you think will be South Africa’s first choice locking combination with everyone fit?

          Between Snyman, de Jager, PSDT, Etzebeth and Mostert they’re in a pretty enviable position.

          Could is be possible that Mostert starts at flank? Could it be possible that Etzebeth misses out on the starting 15, or even the match-day 23?

          de Jager and Snyman is a pretty scary proposition as a locking combination – especially if Mostert is playing at flank. How is that for a defensive line out and ball-runners?

          • Columnist

            June 11th 2018 @ 10:55am
            Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

            PSTD and Mostert can both be used on the side, but of course you have to consider too that the captain has one of those spots – which would make du Preez the one vulnerable to missing out.

            I think Etzebeth has to go in my side, he’s the best line-out forward in the world (just nosing Sam Whitelock) and on this years’ form I’d pair him with Snyman.

            However you work it it’s an embarrassment of riches and a massive headache for Eddie Jones (and Brad Shields as it turned out) 🙂

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 9:05am
        Derm McCrum said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        Carlos – Ireland has trouble scoring tries? And Leinster has too?

        True that Ireland were held tryless by the French in the first Six Nations match, but given they scored 20 tries and had 3 bonus points in the tournament, I don’t think that holds up.

        Equally, Leinster didn’t score a try against Racing in the final but they did score 22 tries in the pool stages and 8 in the knockout stages.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 9:18am
          Carlos The Argie said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:18am | ! Report

          I only meant that lately, of course. In the latter months they have been found wanting regarding scoring tries in “final” matches.

          • Roar Guru

            June 11th 2018 @ 9:46am
            Derm McCrum said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

            The European final against Racing was on 12 May. They scored 5 tries against Scarlets in winning the PRO14 final on 28th May.

            • June 11th 2018 @ 11:21am
              Carlos the Argie said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:21am | ! Report

              I stand corrected. I just was unlucky to watch the matches where they didn’t score many tries. Last week I also said that Calamari hadn’t been playing very well for Munster. So, I had a hint.

              And of course, I wanted Australia to win anyway.

              • Columnist

                June 11th 2018 @ 4:39pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

                Last week I also said that Calamari hadn’t been playing very well for Munster.

                Stop giving him that Mediterranean feel Carlos!

              • June 12th 2018 @ 3:08am
                Carlos the Argie said | June 12th 2018 @ 3:08am | ! Report

                That wasn’t me who baptized him with that name. It was during the BIL tour when listening to the TV announcers at low volume his name sounded like Calamari.

                Irish are passionate like Italians and most of them speak English, so maybe the nickname is relevant!

                🙂

        • June 11th 2018 @ 9:46am
          Highlander said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

          Ireland number 2 in the world now Derm
          Using averages that include the likes of Italy is not a measure of how your side is going
          Mindset change needed with your new world leader like status- how do you do against the big guns needsto be the benchmark, and is it not fair to say Irelandstruggle to score tries against the best sides – 5 in Chicago being the last outlier prob.

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 3:50pm
        Corne Van Vuuren said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

        Hi Carlos, I feel your frustration, the Jaguares have shown what passion, commitment and skill does to them. This weekend there was none of that.

      • Columnist

        June 11th 2018 @ 4:35pm
        Nicholas Bishop said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

        Yeah, Leinster only scored 29 tries in their nine European games this season Carlos (plus another five in the Pro 14 final for good measure) – truly awful 😀

        But you’re right about the Pumas-Jaguares dynamic, and it’s something I think we’ve discussed before. Just picking exactly the same team at international level (esp when it’s not as well coached) does not work. Guys like Figallo, Herrera, Galarza, Isa, Patricio Fernandez, Cordero, Imhoff et al. deserve to be there. They have earned the right.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 3:13am
          Carlos the Argie said | June 12th 2018 @ 3:13am | ! Report

          It was just a friendly nudge to you, nothing serious. It is just a coincidence that the last few Irish games I watched, they didn’t score many tries. I do not watch a lot of NH rugby, as I allocate my TV time with other activities. Riding bikes is very time inefficient, plus work and being a supportive spouse, I elect what games to watch. It is only that. This is why I refrain from providing a lot of my insight into games. I watch to enjoy and not to analyze.

          By the way, the Pumas/Jaguares issue is truly serious. Hourcade/Creevy comments to the press after the ame indicate serious problems with the team.

          The Pumas record since 2015 is appalling.

    • June 11th 2018 @ 8:38am
      Rugby Tragic said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:38am | ! Report

      Thanks once again Geoff, a very enjoyable weekend of “Test Rugby” …

      Though I have to take you to task though on a point…

      “Everybody who plays and coaches in Super Rugby knows how difficult the competition is, with four New Zealand franchises the testing material for any rugby side, ….”

      Now I know the Blues are having a down period (a longish one at that!) but they, are the FIFTH franchise in NZ, the second most successful franchise since the inaugural competitions started, and one of only two Super Rugby sides to defeat the British and Irish Lions last year, (Highlanders the other) .. The Mighty Crusaders could not, the Chiefs got hammered and the vaunted Hurricanes came away with a draw only. It is discrimination to leave the Blues out … *S*

      The game of the weekend for me was Boks v Poms … That was a game that would not be so interesting to watch knowing the result. After 15 – 20 mins, I was wondering why I was sitting up in the middle of the night on my own watching ‘this rubbish’… I must say I was feeling a bit for some South African supporters, in particular after their reserves got beaten by a 2nd rate Welsh side in Canada … then the tide turned … my interest renewed and I started to marvel at the play of little Faf de Klerk, Snyman (where do SA find all these locks from!), Willie Le Roux, and big Duane Vermuelan (sp?).

      I went to bed thinking about the Boks this year … fear was a motivation to stay awake .. the Boks are back … and that’s scary! There won’t be any 57 point thrashings of the Boks in 2018!

      The earlier AB game was enjoyable, though annoying that the simple mistakes keep France in the game early. By the 25 min or thereabouts, I felt comfortable that the French challenge would be repelled. I too saw that the French beast was wounded, I saw too “… there were multiple stress fractures already evident.” and believed it was only a matter of time .. (arrogant huh?). When the bench was used, geez the pace sort of increased markedly, those detractors of the ‘jack in the box’ MacKenzie, I’m sure will be rather quiet this morning, even though he had an error of judgment in option taking, the pace he injected was way too much for the French. I think the AB’s will be better for that run!

      One other point in that game was the chase of Thomas of Rieko Ioane in scoring that 75 metre try. I am not sure Ioane didn’t take his foot off the pedal as he approached the tryline … replays showed him glance either side of him and early in that run the gap between he and Thomas was not closing that much until last 20 metres … but if that was the case, he could have butchered that try …

      Aussie v Ireland was another good game, fantastic defence from the Wallabies to keep Ireland scoreless. On the live blog, Roarers were scathing in judgement of the Irish attack as being one dimensional etc, maybe, maybe not, we will see next weekend. Its the old … “if it ain’t broke why fix it?” As for Genia being voted MOTM …the fans who voted that way can ill afford to criticise ref’s decisions … Pocock was man of the match by miles… he was a serial pest on both defence and attack .. he was everywhere ..

      We have to go through all this again next weekend…woe is me…

      • Columnist

        June 11th 2018 @ 9:05am
        Geoff Parkes said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        Thanks RT, and good on you for sticking up for the Blues – someone has to 🙂

        Yeah it was great to watch Pocock – great on both sides of the ball.
        Ireland actually claimed three early turnover penalties, and dominated possession for long periods in the middle quarters, but struggled to cope once Australia got more possession and shifted the point of attack around – which suited Pocock’s mobility.

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