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Super Rugby teams face emotional cut with another restructure

Truth be told, I thought expanding to 18 teams was a mistake. Adding teams in Argentina and Japan is worthwhile experiment (I'd love a PI team, but financially the rationale isn't there) but adding the teams should have involved axing teams to keep the number around 15.

Adding the Kings was a terrible idea, and in fact chopping a SA team would have made sense at the time instead of adding a team.

Australian Super Rugby teams could benefit from a cull - the Rebels have never really been competitive on the pitch, and the Force and Reds have been rather hit-or-miss.

In both Aus and SA, pick the team(s) in the weakest market (worst attendance figures, lowest apparel and spin-off sales) and chop'em. Have a draft at which the remaining teams take it in turns to pick players - start with the team with the worst record in the last two seasons and take it in turns. That will make sure the financially viable teams stick around, and the talent from the axed teams gets selected to surviving teams in a way that helps increase the overall competition.

If SANZAR wants to do right by the players, it will have to take it on the chin and pay out the contracts of the players affected - I'd like to see a deal in place where players have the option of terminating their contract early in order to sign with an overseas club or where they can remain with a Super Rugby club and SANZAR picks up the tab for whatever is left on their contract. That way, guys who are fringe/substitute/training squad-type players have financial security for the remainder of their contract and the clubs aren't stuck footing the bill for a larger number of players that they need. It also allows flexibility for players who find themselves superfluous to their team's needs to active pursue foreign contracts without penalty.

1 Year, 2 Months ago

Taqele Naiyaravoro leaves a trail of destruction on his way to a try

It drives me nuts to see poor tackling like this. A textbook tackle right at the line of the shorts, with a good strong wrap of the arms would have done the trick. At the risk of sounding like an old fart, time was that a textbook tackle was the bread-and-butter of any rugby player worth his salt.

This guy doesn't even seem to have much pace. Remember when wingers were quick?

1 Year, 2 Months ago

Jonathan Faauli suspended for 4 weeks for big tackle

Whaddya reckon gents? Dick level of 6 for a swinging arm to the chin, plus an initial dick level of at least 2 for the dead rodent on his head, minus a dick level for acknowledging he's been a bit of a dick quotient of 7?

Is the ban in line with the crime, or has the judiciary once again 'cocked up'?

1 Year, 2 Months ago

Ed Quirk lashes out with elbow and knee after being held off the ball

All this to say, Quirk was a dick and should be punished. Whether or not it was dangerous, some things just aren't cool.

1 Year, 2 Months ago

Ed Quirk lashes out with elbow and knee after being held off the ball

One of my favourite things about rugby is that generally people acting like dicks are sorted out on the field until the "dick level" is balanced. Add to that the fact that if the "dick level" exceeds a certain total, the ref gets involved and it's simple and straightforward. Take for example this simple formula:

- Chiefs lock holds Sunwolves flanker = he's a category 3 dick, and dick level is 0-3.
- Sunwolves flanker rubs his elbow in Chiefs lock's face = category 4 dick move, dick level is 4-3 (total of 7)
- Sunwolves flanker knees lock = upgrade him to category 7 dick, dick level is 7-3.

At this point, things can go three ways:
- nothing further happens (unlikely) and Quirk goes on his merry way as a category 7 dick. This is bad for rugby as a whole, because he'll be a cocky dick because he got away with it. No-one likes a cocky dick.
- a Sunwolves player delivers a late hit or "gives him the bidness" in the shadowy depth of some ruck, thus bringing the dick level closer to balance (likely around 7-7, plus or minus 1). Games continues on, Quirk recognizes that being a dick has consequences and saves his prickishness for when it's absolutely necessary.
- the referee decides that at 7-3, the total dick quotient for the game has exceeded the level he's comfortable with. He issues a penalty (-1 dick level), a yellow (-4 dick level), or a red (-total dick level of carded player). This brings the dick score of the game to an acceptable level, and theoretically moves it closer to balance.

1 Year, 2 Months ago

That brutal 30 seconds of collisions between Wales and Ireland

There's a whole lot of poor tackling technique on display...

1 Year, 3 Months ago

Italy ruck tactics bemuse England and agitate coach Eddie Jones

Hit enter too soon...
Poite's interpretation of a ruck was not "a very non-common sense application of the rules" it was a literal interpretation and application of the ruck law. In any other game, a ref calling a cleanout on a prone player a ruck would be incorrect.

1 Year, 3 Months ago

Italy ruck tactics bemuse England and agitate coach Eddie Jones

Disagree with your last point. A ruck, by definition in the law book, is "a phase of play where one or more players from each team, who are on their feet, in physical contact, close around the ball on the ground."

Clearing out a tackler who is not on his feet does not form a ruck, it just clears the tackle area.

1 Year, 3 Months ago

France's Caroline Boujard cited after reckless mid-air tackle

I agree with Guy - there's no way you can blame this on the jumper. She's doing what she's been coached to do for her entire rugby-playing life. The only way that the approaching French player could be surprised by the jump would be if she had been living under a rock for the past 40 years and only just crawled out in time to go onto the pitch...everyone (wingers especially) know that people typically jump for kicks that are landing anywhere near everybody else. The French winger should have been expecting at least the possibility of the English player jumping; instead, she's either charged in recklessly or deliberately targeted a player in the air (I choose to believe the first option).

I also agree that the suggestion that the English player be penalized for jumping into a tackle to be preposterous, both for the reason Guy mentions (not in possession of the ball and therefore not eligible to be tackled) but also because no-one has ever been penalized for such an act even though jumping for the ball takes places several times in every game at pretty much every level of the sport.

No matter how you slice it, this type of challenge was penalty (and likely card-worthy) well before the recent directives from World Rugby.

1 Year, 4 Months ago

Francois Steyn red carded for attempting to take Johnny Sexton's head off

If you're putting your shoulder into someone's chest, and your head hits their head, then you're in a really awkward position and I'd love to know how you ever thought you'd make a tackle like that. I'd also love to know how you thought you would be able to wrap the guy you're tackling (unless you have arms like Matfield).

I think the slippery slope in terms of high tackles also applies to wrapping - time was, you had to remember three things when making a tackle: spine in line, cheek to 'cheek', and bands of steel. Slowly over the years it's become "get all up in his grill with as much force as possible, and if you can throw an arm more or less around him."

1 Year, 5 Months ago