Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Midweek Madness - James So'oialo and the odd shaped balls

One of the biggest talking points of the Springboks vs Samoa game on Saturday was the indecent ball handling by James So'oialo. The Samoan fullback appeared to get to grips with the South African hooker, but he was later cleared of any wrongdoing.

As mentioned previously, it was a turbulant game with a lot of big contact, but things crossed the line - or went below the belt - when So'oialo grabbed Adriaan Strauss in the nether regions.

Unsurprisingly, hooker Strauss reacted angrily, chasing after the Samoan fullback and calling him what looked like a 'Fokken poes' [ask the nearest South African for a translation].

After the TMO had a look and described the offence as grabbing a player in an 'indecent manner', we might have expected a card to be shown, but So'oialo was only penalised.

A citing and disciplinary followed though, and after being charged under Law 10.4(m), committing an act contrary to good sportsmanship, the citing was dismissed after Judge Jeff Blackett (RFU) decided that the contact was accidental. 

"If I am to uphold this citing I must conclude that the Player has lied to me," said Judge Blackett.

"My assessment of the Player is that he is honest: he immediately accepted that he had grabbed an opponent’s testicles – he did not attempt to dispute that fact – and he said that there is no room in the game for insidious acts. Further there was no attempt to weaken the evidence given by Strauss who himself accepted that there was probably no malicious intention. 

"In those circumstances I determine on the balance of probabilities that the Player did not intend to squeeze Strauss's testicles, nor were his actions reckless. 

"In the dynamic situation of a ruck in which he was attempting to clear out an opponent he attempted to grab hold of his shorts and accidentally grabbed his testicles," he concluded.

It was difficult to see on camera at first, as the comical nature of the whole situation was compounded by the fact that players seemed to get in the way at exactly the right moment.

The reaction from Strauss explained a lot though, and the way the South African's handled it was quite funny to see, as they targeted a high ball on So'oialo directly afterwards.

Luckily for him, perhaps deliberately, he dropped it. He left the field a few minutes later.

Posted by Rugbydump at 9:08 am | View Comments (19)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 19 comments

Monty June 26, 2013 2:50 pm

Hahaha the air punch is cracking me up!

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No9scrum June 26, 2013 3:09 pm

Only bad thing about the tournament was that there were no inpartial TMO's i watched 2 games against SA and both times the TMO was south african

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cheyanqui June 26, 2013 3:21 pm

Back, and to the left
Back, and to the left
Back, and to the left
Back, and to the left

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DrG June 26, 2013 3:50 pm

One of the funniest things I have seen in a long time on this site.

What is perhaps even more amusing is how they felt the ball grab was unintentional!

I noticed the Samoan 15 has "stuff" on his fingers and thumbs, can only assume this is supposedly grippy stuff. Out of interest what has happened to "grip mitts" they were worn by nearly all the England team a few years ago, BOD had some, Gregan too, some NZ'ers etc but I haven't seen them in years. I hadn't thought too much about it until now seeing the Samoan 15's hands...

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CCosta June 27, 2013 10:31 pm

You try playing with rugby mits and then you'll find out why they disappeared. If it rains they get too heavy and slippy and u wont grab anything, and in either case, it takes a lot of finger sensibility out. they just suck. and maybe rugby balls are better now then they used to.

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stroudos June 29, 2013 2:47 am

They also make you look like a debauched sexual deviant.
And that's without squeezing opponents' bollocks.

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Matt June 26, 2013 3:51 pm

I really don't buy the "it's a fluid ruck situation" excuse: Strauss and So'oialo were basically stationary at the time and - although the slow-motion replay exaggerates this - it seems like So'oialo's hand was reaching around there for quite a while. Difficult to see how he accidentally grabbed the wrong bit of Strauss. This seems pretty different to one of those situations where you hit a ruck and just grab whatever is closest in order to move the player out of the way.

Also, notice that So'oialo makes no effort after "binding" to lift the leg of the player, as you would expect had he actually been attempting to clear the player out of the way.

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DrG June 26, 2013 4:43 pm

One of the other things is if you watch So'oialo himself, whilst he is actually "doing the deed" he appears to be looking straight at the referee. Of course an explanation could just be that he was checking to see if the referee was going to tell him he was offside etc...

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fantasticbarnsmell June 26, 2013 4:01 pm

"Further there was no attempt to weaken the evidence given by Strauss who himself accepted that there was probably no malicious intention." Was rather sporting of Strauss to not make a big deal of it afterwards, even though he looked a bit ruffled directly afterwards...

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DanKnapp June 26, 2013 5:28 pm

That's the second incident in that match where we've seen the South Africans respond in EXACTLY the right way. Kudos.

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Benny June 26, 2013 5:49 pm

Haha, I love the way the players keep getting in the way of the camera just at the wrong moment. It reminds me of the scene in Austin Powers with fruit!

View Video

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EatMyRugbyShorts June 27, 2013 7:20 pm

That is pretty funny. You keep thinking this angle's brilliant and then a player's knee gets in the way.

Sure I remember a try TMO referral some years ago where every camera angle was blocked in a similar fashion - most amusingly this included the 'top of the stands' view where someone in the crowd cheered the try and their raised arm covered the critical part of the picture.

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Facepalm June 26, 2013 6:22 pm

Strauss hates prostate exams even more than Karl Pilkington.

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RugbyNutts June 26, 2013 8:20 pm

oh nutts ... that was a good one.

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Xenophile June 26, 2013 11:50 pm

The strapping on So'oialo's hands certainly did assist in his handling during the game as seen in this clip. It's truly shameful that he wasn't punished for his reach-around on Strauss.

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Gav June 27, 2013 5:53 pm

Foken poes means f****n c**t in afrikaans

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EatMyRugbyShorts June 27, 2013 7:05 pm

Doesn't look accidental to me. Wouldn't you pull your arm back pretty quick as soon as you realised what body part you'd accidentally grabbed?

Some good puns from the commentator though. Also didn't notice at first how enthusiastically Strauss chases the subsequent high kick aimed at the 'indecent offender'.

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Texas June 27, 2013 7:36 pm

Strauss definitely milk that for a penalty hahaha! Unless that Samoan guy can fold his fingers backward :D

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stroudos June 29, 2013 3:02 am

Well, let's just say he'll be wearing his balls as earrings for the next five minutes Tony.

"Bill Lawrie"
(13th Man, Billly Birmingham)

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