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The Roar

Geoff Parkes

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Joined October 2012

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Geoff is a Melbourne based sports fanatic and writer, who started contributing to The Roar in 2012, originally under the pen name Allanthus. His first book, A World in Conflict; the Global Battle For Rugby Supremacy was released in Dec 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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Thanks, understand that distinction.

I do like how WR has been proactive on this. It’s clearly a difficult issue because they don’t want to antagonise ‘old school’ rugby followers, but of course the game has evolved and the size and strength of athletes has evolved quickly.

It makes for difficult situations along the way, as new guidelines are put into place and some players get caught up in the confusion, but far better they act proactively than be like Gridiron, who were in denial and cover-up mode for so long, or Rugby League, which to date has mostly paid lip service to head contact.

Imperfect bonus point win the perfect Wallabies RWC start

Get where you’re coming from Rob. And if Hodge is suspended he’ll be unlucky.

At the same time, I’m sure you know that equating this to concussion injuries when making a tackle is not relevant. World Rugby can’t make the game 100% free from head injuries, but they can reduce the incidences by lowering tackle height. They are doing this supported by overwhelming evidence based research.

In this case Hodge elected to stay upright when entering contact. Once a player does that, then he opens himself up (even if inadvertently) to a potential outcome of high contact on the ball carrier. Which is exactly what happened here, he wasn’t well positioned to make a classic tackle and so ended up trying to block Yato in whatever way he could.

It was nothing malicious or intentionally foul on Hodge’s part, but it’s something that every player at this level has been warned about.

Imperfect bonus point win the perfect Wallabies RWC start

Agree that it’s not clear. But given that there was high contact and a concussion outcome, it’s understandable that it’s before the judiciary.

Imperfect bonus point win the perfect Wallabies RWC start

You need to stop listening to Kearnsie, Mick.
There’s no witch hunt going on – either against Hodge or the PI teams.

Imperfect bonus point win the perfect Wallabies RWC start

Welcome to Mondays mate, I hope it treats you well!

A quick straw poll around our press table up here yesterday came to pretty much the same conclusion about Hodge. A lot of ‘not sure’.

Yato was obviously concussed as a result of contact by Hodge’s shoulder. So there is definitely something to be looked at. It would have been a very tough one for the TMO and ref to handle live, but the fact that the TMO did not even stop to consider it will be a black mark against him.

In Hodge’s favour, usually you get a feel or sense around the intent and/or recklessness of the action. In this case he got himself into an awkward position and put his body on the line to stop a try, as opposed to making an effort to lay a tackle with intent to hurt.

So that’s in his favour, and also, he might get away with claiming medium, as opposed to high force.

But at the end of the day, a suspension wouldn’t surprise because, intent or not, the outcome of the tackle was high contact to the head, enough to force the player off the field.

Imperfect bonus point win the perfect Wallabies RWC start

It’s a good point Blacktown, there’s real potential there for replacements to get involved with disappointed and angry defenders and a nasty incident to occur.

There are two solutions – allow players to warm up in the in goal but ban them from being involved with other players (with real, heavy sanctions if this happens), or switch the ends the players warm up at.

I’ve never understood why replacements always warm up at the attacking end. Swapping the ends gets rid of this problem instantly.

Five talking points from All Blacks vs Springboks

He’s too high up for me to be that bigbaz, but I also get where you’re coming from.

I definitely went through each country carefully, to ensure that I wasn’t leaving any player out because their country might not have done so well over the years.

I get that to some people that might look a bit tokenistic, but by the end of the process I was happy that guys like Lima, Nakarawa, Goromaru, Charvis, Wood, Quesada etc… made the list on merit.

The Roar’s 50 greatest Rugby World Cup players wrap-up: Who voted for who, team of the top 50, plus best countries and positions

Everyone ranked Hastings, but I was the highest, so I’ll have a go Stin…

The fact that Scotland has no titles is a tick for him rather than a cross. He played in the first three cups and in my view was ahead of the curve – similar to how the 87 All Blacks understood what the World Cup was about before everyone else, and got the jump on them.

He scored 225 World Cup points, now second on the all-time list. Average of 18 per match. Plenty of tries included. In a team that never made it past the quarter finals.

He’s not close to being the best fullback in the game, he’s not even the best Scottish fullback I’ve seen play (Irvine), but before Lomu came along in 95, he was probably the player I looked at and thought, this is what the World Cup is all about, in terms of associating an individual with the concept of the World Cup.

I understand that many people will disagree, but whether they saw him play or not, or remember those early cups well or not, that’s perfectly fine.

The Roar’s 50 greatest Rugby World Cup players wrap-up: Who voted for who, team of the top 50, plus best countries and positions

Interesting point AP, I had Quesada on my list and recall his performances and influences clearly. Contempomi only just missed out, and Hernandez was just behind him.

I take Carlos’ point about recency bias, I opted for Sanchez because I thought he played brilliantly last time, but accept that my memory of that was fresher than that of the other guys.

The Roar’s 50 greatest Rugby World Cup players wrap-up: Who voted for who, team of the top 50, plus best countries and positions

I had Larkham very close. I actually opted for Adam Ashley-Cooper ahead of him, valuing his overall World Cup record slightly higher.

He’s obviously a significant omission – he, Whitelock and Contempomi were the three that I was most uncomfortable about leaving out.

In mitigation, you should also have noticed that I left Merhtens out as well… 🙂

The Roar’s 50 greatest Rugby World Cup players wrap-up: Who voted for who, team of the top 50, plus best countries and positions

Cheers Corne. As you say, a very challenging exercise in two ways;

1. it was relatively easy to get it down to 60-65 players, but very difficult to cut the bottom 10-15.
2. it was very difficult to rank players from 20-50. Because this was essentially a subjective assessment, with no quantitative way to line up players across positions, winning and losing teams, different eras etc…

People come to this with different ways of assessing too. For example, I’m in Tokyo, there’s a real buzz about the Cup starting tonight and I put a lot of that down to Japan doing so well in 2015, and Goromaru being the figurehead of that. So in my book, he’s a significant World Cup figure. Does that mean he’s a better player than Brooke or Kearns or Wyn-Jones etc who didn’t make my list? Of course not, but that’s not the criteria I used.

Same applies to Chester Williams. Not the best winger who played in a World Cup, but someone who transcended just rugby, a figurehead in the most iconic World Cup ever, and an inspiration to many of the black players who will wear the Springbok jersey tomorrow.

So the outcome is that we get players ranked highly on some lists and not even on other lists, and people upset that some players have been ‘snubbed’, whereas the reality is that the margins are incredibly fine. You simply can’t pick everybody.

Another way of looking at it, is if we inserted the names of all the players that various readers have put forward, (+/- another 20 players) we’d end up those people happier, but a different bunch of people upset about the 20 who are forced out.

Which really is where the fun of this exercise lies.

The Roar’s 50 greatest Rugby World Cup players wrap-up: Who voted for who, team of the top 50, plus best countries and positions

Cheers Nick, you make a compelling argument for Wales. I don’t have them on the top line because I perceive their depth to be relatively weaker than the other main contenders, although I accept that even if this is true, we are talking fine margins.

While I’m fascinated to see what happens between the Wallabies and Wales, I’m really looking forward to seeing what Fiji can do to disrupt their defensive structure.

How will the Wallabies unravel Warren Gatland’s Welsh web?

Can’t speak for the rest of the panel mate, but I’ve had a couple of goes at explaining some of the criteria I used, and how everybody – panel and readers – approached it differently, because it was, after all, a subjective task. I don’t think that’s being ‘defensive’, more just a courtesy.

Apologies if this is obvious, but the readers who seem to be upset about the rankings, largely differ in their assessment, and the players they would like to see included. Let’s say they were added to the panel, what would happen is what has happened already – their rankings would also be averaged out, and you’d end up with a pretty similar outcome.

I’ve had plenty of arguments over a drink with people about who should have won what, why a ref got something wrong, who’s the greatest and so on. This list, both the difference in the panellist’s picks, and those of the readers, is no more or less than that.

At the end of the day we are sometimes swayed by what another person teaches us, or we agree to disagree. But we keep our shirts on. That’s the beauty of us being rugby fans.

The Roar’s 50 greatest players in Rugby World Cup history: 10-6

You forgot to mention blatant cheats who never stand behind the line when throwing in to the line out.

Whereas, give me one example of where a halfback might have fed the scrum crooked? Thought so, it just doesn’t happen.

The Roar’s 50 greatest players in Rugby World Cup history: 10-6

Can you tell us about Shane Williams again mate?
Not sure you’ve got that one across…

The Roar’s 50 greatest players in Rugby World Cup history: 10-6

Not at all. It’s very fine margins Pilferer. Other guys have posted above why Wilkinson should be rated about Carter, and others have posted why Carter should be rated above Wilkinson.

All good arguments on both sides, and not everyone is going to come down on the same side.

The Roar’s 50 greatest players in Rugby World Cup history: 10-6

Jacko, if you think that Simon Culhane and Marc Ellis deserve to be in the top 50 World Cup players then good luck to you mate.

And if you need it explained why not, then even more good luck to you.

The Roar’s 50 greatest players in Rugby World Cup history: 10-6

Don’t know about ‘relegated’ T-man. We’re talking very fine margins between a host of players, with a lot of subjectivity thrown in.

For every player that gets shifted up the ranking, another worthy one goes down, and a different set of fans arc up about that! 🙂

The Roar’s 50 greatest players in Rugby World Cup history: 10-6

Yeah, whatever….

The Roar’s 50 greatest players in Rugby World Cup history: 10-6

The margins are obviously fine guys, but in a number of cases, some of us have given greater weighting for certain events or moments.

For example, Stransky kicked a drop goal to win the final, as did Wilkinson. These are the iconic acts which so many fans around the world remember and identify with (Lomu v England in 95 is another obvious one, Campese v NZ in 91, another)

Carter nailed a superb drop kick in the final that in my view was better than both Wilkinson’s and Stransky. It was important obviously, but it wasn’t the crowning moment of the final. There’s more to ranking them than that of course, but hopefully that provides an insight into how each of us approach the exercise from a slightly different perspective.

The Roar’s 50 greatest players in Rugby World Cup history: 10-6

Good stuff, Carrick. All five points, on the money.

Five reasons to get excited about the NRC

That’s it KH. He was an apprentice inside centre in 2003, the team got punted in the quarters in 2007, he was injured in 2011 and he finally got his crowning glory in 2015, where he was great in the big matches.
A fantastic achievement, worthy of top ten, but his World Cup record doesn’t match up to his whole career.

The Roar’s 50 greatest players in Rugby World Cup history: 10-6

Is that you, Jacko? 🙂

The Roar’s 50 greatest players in Rugby World Cup history: 10-6

Just read that Derm. Given his high profile as an important part of Gatland’s team, with the Lions too, it’s potentially a major story – albeit the first of many sidetracks the media will wander down in the next six weeks.

Let’s hope he isn’t found to have put a quiet wager on Fiji and Australia getting out of their pool…

The Wrap: The seven factors that will decide the World Cup

I was hot on Argentina earlier in the year Homer, but I just don’t see how they’ve had enough time to get their scrum fixed. They were really bad against SA.

If it isn’t solid, they’re going to give away plenty of penalties and field position and even the bipolar France are good enough to deal with them. But sure, if they can get parity in the scrum, then they’re good enough to go through.

The Wrap: The seven factors that will decide the World Cup