The Roar
The Roar

Oliver Matthews

Roar Guru

Joined September 2013

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Olly is one third of the sports podcast team from "All About The Balls" - bit.ly/AATBpod . He loves to chat about all sorts of sport including rugby, NRL, AFL, cricket and basically anything with a ball! https://twitter.com/AATB_podcast

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Sorry – I wasn’t clear. I meant that it wasn’t as if the Tahs penalty count was well out of wack with the Chiefs. So while both teams will want to improve their discipline, it wasn’t as if you can point to a big difference in penalty count to help explain why the Tahs got torn to pieces in the second half. While discipline can improve for sure there are bigger, more fundamental issues that I think they need to look at and that will continue to cause them to have a very rough 2020.

Super Rugby: Five talking points from Round 6

nah just enjoying the linguistic slap stick of deliberately misunderstanding words.

What was your personal highlight/low light from the weekend’s rugby?

Super Rugby: Five talking points from Round 5

Very true – it’s a big achievement and does feed into that idea that the comp feels more competitive and unpredictable than in recent years.

Round 8 and 10 will be a big step up for them – Brumbies and Crusaders. Will be interesting to see how they stack up against both of those teams.

Super Rugby: Five talking points from Round 5

you kid doctors do such great work

Super Rugby: Five talking points from Round 5

Is that a type of dinosaur?

Super Rugby: Five talking points from Round 5

Not disagreeing with anything you’re saying – just don’t regard it as impressive when, like you say, the improvements are combined with regressions in other important areas and the end result is a loss.

There’s only so long that people can say that the Reds are improving without actually improving their win/loss record before it should be acknowledged that they are not improving enough in the areas that matter.

Six talking points from Round 1 Super Rugby

What was impressive about a team that loses again against domestic rivals in the third year under the same coach where there has been zero improvement?

Reds won 6 games in 2018 and 6 games in 2019. There wasn’t anything in the Reds performance on Saturday that suggests they are going to be any different this year.

Six talking points from Round 1 Super Rugby

“essentially planned to suck the life from opposition not outplay them” – I’d argue that that is a shift in strategy from the older style of Welsh play. I agree that was their game plan and that it worked well against teams like Ireland and England in the 6 Nations and led them to the Grand Slam. And it was a different style of play to previous Welsh teams.

Six talking points from Round 1 Super Rugby

Totally agree with you about the importance of good quality kicking. I think one of the issues for Wales (and SA too to be fair) was that they lacked the balance. Wales kicked 36 times, ran for 182 metres and beat 11 defenders – England kicked basically the same amount (32 times), ran for over 400 metres and beat 20 defenders.

To be fair as well – kicking is just one part of it too. If it’s not combined with a good chase then there’s no pressure on the catcher or the defender coming out of their own 22.

Think Pollard actually put in a few nice territorial kicks but too often it felt like both sides seemed to kick because they had run out of ideas/patience with their ball in hand attack.

Seven talking points from Wales vs Springboks

Totally agree with you about the importance of good kicking. I think the issue for Wales (and SA to be fair) was that the balance wasn’t there. Wales kicked 36 times, ran 182 metres and beat 11 defenders – England kicked 32 times, ran over 400m and beat 20 defenders.

To be fair it’s not just the kicking either – the chasing has to be there as well to either compete for the catch or pressure the defender who is looking to kick.

There were some nice territory kicks from Pollard and de Allende put in a nice grubber once too but think Faf had an average day with the boot and SA will need better from him next weekend.

Seven talking points from Wales vs Springboks

Haha cheers Ralph!

Six talking points from Wallabies vs Wales

Realise it? Yes
Believe it makes a difference to Cheika’s decision? No

Seven talking points from Super Rugby Round 18

It’s an interesting one re Hooper isn’t it?

On the one hand he always puts in the effort but the Tahs rely upon him so SO much that I think it actually hinders them. Their back row needs more power and their pack as a whole needs to really become much scarier.

I also get frustrated with Hooper sometimes as I think he doesn’t focus enough on where the Tahs really need him. Thinking back to 2015 when the Wallabies were at their recent best – I don’t think Hooper has improved or developed as a player since then.

On that same theme – I don’t think many of the Wallabies have become better players since that 2015 World Cup Final.

That’s a very, very bad sign

Seven talking points from Super Rugby Round 11

The more I hear Folau talk about his faith there are a two thoughts in my mind:
– his faith seems to becoming more intense
– he seems to becoming more of a preacher than just a believer

Now that isn’t necessarily a problem but it also seems that he is focusing more and more on criticising those who do not agree with his faith. When faced with a choice on how to communicate his faith with the public he seems to choose inflammatory, disrespectful language instead of focusing on the love and compassion that he says his Lord is all about.

This trend – if it is actually a trend – seems to be pulling him further and further out of alignment with the high profile rugby world and so it’s hard to see how he could serve his God and yet still be a key part of the professional rugby world. They just don’t seem to fit hand in hand for him any longer.

If he is so sure and stringent about his faith that he calmly calls out homosexuals and drunks for being evil, then how much longer can he also take a lot of money from an organisation and sport that are comfortable with serving beer at many occasions, positively welcoming and encouraging people of all sexual groups to participate and who encourage PR and marketing activities that make players stand out as heroes/idols to the public.

This all seems very confused to me and I can’t really see how Izzy can not leave rugby in the next week or so.

Folau speaks for the first time since sacking announcement

It’s not his religious beliefs that RA have an issue with. It’s the way in which he has chosen to communicate those beliefs that they have an issue with.
They raised these concerns with him last year and again when they negotiated his recent contract.
They are not saying that he can’t be Christian, or be openly Christian or talk about his faith. They are saying that if he wants to be a prestigious and well played employee of RA then he needs to avoid certain language in the way in which he talks about his faith.
He willingly signed up to that agreement.
This isn’t about his religious views or freedom of speech. It’s about him choosing to break the terms of an employment contract that he willingly signed.

Israel Folau does not deserve the sack

There would have been a moment just before Izzy hit the POST button where he knew in his mind that what he was about to do was against the agreement (perhaps also the actual contract) that he had struck with his employer recently.

He would have known that there would be significant fall out. He would have known that he would offend people including potentially people in his own team. People he’s asking to trust him on the field.

He could have posted something else about God or his faith but instead he deliberately chose an image that he knew would be offensive to many and would stir up a whole hornet’s nest all over again at a time when his employers and team mates need some stability and focus on playing not PR disasters.

He didn’t talk about the compassion of his faith or the message of love that so many believe are at the core of Christianity. He chose to pick on specific groups of people and tell them that what they are doing is evil in his eyes and they would pay an eternal price if they didn’t ask for forgiveness.

He either didn’t realise what he was doing – not very likely especially considering last year’s storm – or he didn’t care that it would cause the fall out that it has.

Either way – is that really someone you want in your organisation and being regarded as an ambassador for your brand and culture?

Folau slammed over anti-gay comments

Sorry should have made it clearer. I mean he’s an obvious first choice as in no one would be surprised if Cheika picked him at 12 because he’s done it loads before even if KB’s form hasn’t deserved it.

I definitely don’t think he should be first choice and I really think that the Wallabies need to change their centre pairing.

Eight talking points from Super Rugby Round 6

Sadly I think it could be very likely but I certainly don’t think it’s a good idea – hence the reason I’m raising the talking point about other combos that don’t even include Beale in the centres. I think he’s kinda similar in a way to Damian McKenzie who can play #10 but is far better at #15. Beale can play #12 and the idea of two playmakers at fly half and inside centre has been obviously tempting to Cheika but I think Beale is going to be of more impact at full back compared to centre.

Eight talking points from Super Rugby Round 6

Tough for it to be click bait when there is no link to click but the point I’m trying to make is that one of the things the Rebels needed against the Lions was some wise heads to grab hold of the team, get back control of the game and take the momentum out of the Lions come back. Will Genia has shown that he has those sorts of smarts before but the Rebels can’t just rely upon him every time they get into a tricky situation.

Six talking points from Super Rugby Round 5

I think the relegation discussion is a good one to extend to the RC too. I would say that while the Argentinians have struggled to be a consistent threat in the RC, they have beaten both Australia and South Africa and in the 2015 World Cup they made the semi finals. They’ve also only been in the RC since 2012 where as Italy have been in the 6 Nations since 2000.

You could also see that at club level, the Jaguares are getting better – they made the Finals for the first time last year since joining in 2016.

I think a really interesting discussion though is this – if someone is going to be relegated then where do they get relegated to? Is there a well organised second tier tournament in both hemispheres that can cope with teams being relegated into them and promoted from them each year?

Seven talking points from Six Nations Round 4

It’s almost like a Moneyball situation – the traditional stat of Number of Missed Tackles by a player is commonly used to judge a player’s contribution to a match. But it’s potentially very misleading.

Although I imagine that it’s mainly a media stat that is discussed at the fan level a lot rather than used at the coach level. You’d assume/hope that the pro coaches are looking at far more nuanced stats and analysis.

That being said – it’s important that Farrell doesn’t repeat those two instances from the Spring Tour against the Boks and Wallabies where he could have given away points and gotten a yellow card. England can’t afford that in crunch matches.

Seven talking points from Six Nations Round 2

Yeah it’s a fair point – there’s been lots of debate around Owen Farrell over in UK and whether he’s a defensive liability cause he misses a large number of tackles. But if his role in the defensive system is to rush up and try and make the big hit/force play a specific way then you have to accept that he’s more likely to miss tackles.

Missing tackles is not the full story – we need to know what happens as a result of that missed tackle. Is there a genuine gain for the attacking side or not?

Seven talking points from Six Nations Round 2

I quite like the idea of this mainly because Italy frustrate me with how uncompetitive they are and how it feels as though other countries (Georgia for example) are being held back from their shot at the big time.

Of course though the reality is that something like this could have some unfortunate impacts:
– it would lead to a team from the current world top 10 having to play against teams a long way below them. That’s not going to make that relegated team any better at the international level and the likelihood is that the other teams from Group B would be absolutely spanked by the Group A relegated team. Not sure that’s useful for those Group B sides and their development either.
– say it’s Scotland who get relegated, or France – what is that going to do to their domestic game? Having their national side relegated is going to lead to a decline in interest in rugby in that country quite possibly which means clubs getting less support and the Union generating less revenue.
– if you only include 5 teams in the groups then the likelihood is that you end up with Italy being the team that bounces back and forth between Group A and Group B. So you’re not actually going to give any of the Group B sides a chance at the top league.

I think that there does need to be something done about Italy but the answer feels like it is more to do with investing in their domestic teams and how they perform than changing things at the international level.

Seven talking points from Six Nations Round 2

Appreciate the feedback and will double check my spelling in future. Simple slip up this time. One thing though – if you are going to criticise passionately someone’s ability to write then it’s best to check your own wording in that critique. “ABs captains name” should probably have at least one apostrophe in there surely?

In terms of the yellow card decision – I do think that it was an over reaction from the referee. I think it is perfectly justifiable decision from the ref and that it sits within an acceptable interpretation of the rules. However I also believe that rugby is a complex game where there is a great deal of nuance to the rules and the way they are policed.

I think that the ref could have pulled Latu and Hopper (jokes – Hooper) to one side and said if this sort of thing happens again with any of your players then they are off. The game wasn’t out of control at the time, a statement didn’t need to be made from the ref, it wasn’t a big dust up. It was a big of pushing and shoving. I’m not at all suggesting that we allow punching or kicking or chicken winging as has crept into NRL. But I think the referee didn’t need to send Latu to the bin for this. The range of incidents which result in yellow and red cards is just too broad in my opinion.

Fortunately in this instance the yellow card didn’t really impact the result of the game but, like I say, in my opinion, the push from Latu didn’t warrant a yellow.

To say that allowing Latu to go un yellow carded is the same as allowing players to kick and punch might perhaps be a bit of an exaggeration but hey, this site is all about opinions.

Different country, same result: All Blacks sweep Bledisloe Game 3

But isn’t that the point – the rules are not capable of covering all nuance of a situation and so we look to the refs to make a judgement. There are subtleties to many rugby situations where refs have to weigh up a range of factors and make a decision. I’m saying that in this situation I feel that it was the wrong call to yellow card a player for that situation. I’m not saying that the ref’s decision wasn’t justified by the rules but I’m saying that there is enough grey within those rules for the ref to make a more nuanced decision.

Seven talking points from Bledisloe Game 3