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England maintain Calcutta Cup winning streak with victory over Scotland

I think Stroudos means competing for the ball after making the tackle. In my playing days (mostly on the wing and at 13) I won quite a few turnovers chasing up kicks or chasing down linebreaks...put in the hit, get to your feet faster than the other guy, and take the ball from him. It's unbelievable how much pressure that can apply (when chasing kicks) or relieve (when defending linebreaks).

6 Months, 2 Weeks ago

New Zealand snatch 7s victory with 8 men on the field

The post-game ruling was that Australia could choose to take a win for that game. Australia declined, because finishing second gave them a better draw for the playoffs - effectively avoiding facing NZ in the semis, and instead meeting them in the final.

6 Months, 2 Weeks ago

Friday Funnies: Awkward RWC 2015 press conference proves Scotland's South African born prop does not play the bagpipes!

Heh. I think the French journalist was trying to wind him up...teasing him a little about the fact that he is playing for Scotland, despite having grown up in South Africa (judging by his accent!).

Does anyone else get the feeling that WP Nel didn't want or was told not to say outright that he was a South African playing for Scotland? The whole "awkwardness" could have been avoided if he had said something like "well I grew up in South Africa, and we never had bagpipes in the stands when I played for school but I can see how the fans in my adopted country might find it upsetting that they can't continue their traditions of playing bagpipes in the stands". Next question.

8 Months, 3 Days ago

Crunching tackle plants fullback into the ground in Florida, USA

The Good-Payne incident (sounds very scientific) is a tricky one indeed - had Payne been competing for the ball, almost any contact and outcome would have been considered an accidental part of aerial rugby. Instead, Payne was surprised by a posterior to the proboscis, and was penalized for taking out Goode's legs in a dangerous way, causing him to land horribly. I personally believe that Garc├Ęs got it wrong - there was no attempt to tackle so it can't be a dangerous tackle. If Goode hadn't got to the ball first, it would have landed in Payne's arms, so Payne wasn't acting recklessly. I think that incident was a case of Goode had to go up to make sure that Payne didn't get the ball, and Payne couldn't have gotten far enough to field the ball had he jumped. Both players were heading for the ball, doing their best to field it. Stop the play to deal with the injury, and manage the situation by talking to the captains. No penalty, play continues with a scrum to Saracens.

Good-Payne was a situation where the outcome was dangerous, but the actions weren't illegal per se. I guess the referee decided that Payne running into Goode's lower half could be considered "tapping" the foot or feet. If Goode hadn't jumped, they would have bashed into each other, and the game would have continued. Goode jumped, so I guess the ref decided that Payne had some responsibility to avoid his legs.

I disagree with the referee in the case of Goode-Payne, but that's me. Goode took a risk going up, and it didn't work out for him.

8 Months, 3 Days ago

Crunching tackle plants fullback into the ground in Florida, USA

I read an interesting novel once. It was set in a futuristic world that had a giant computer system that ran games as part of a tournament, including one that the main character played in that simulated American Football (a historical game played by the ancients). In that game, the main character won because the referee (a robot) was programmed to occasionally make a mistake, so as to better replicate the reality of the game as it was played.

I think that's the best way to approach rugby - occasionally, the referee will make a mistake and that's part of the game. No TMO necessary, people just accept the call on the field and move on.

The role of the judiciary is one that's up for debate - I think they should only be involved in suspendable offences and should make a real effort to be more consistent - maybe include one judicial officer, one former player, and a referee or something like that.

8 Months, 3 Days ago

Crunching tackle plants fullback into the ground in Florida, USA

DrG, I share your frustration. Part of the problem is that people tend to get emotional where foul play (or perceived foul play) is concerned. If there is an injury, then proceedings become even more emotional - where there is a victim, we tend to need to find a villain.

Legally speaking, it's nearly impossible to prove intent in the course of a game unless the action is specifically outlawed (ie: punching someone in the face is almost exclusively "intent to injure" since there are very few other reasons to dummy a bloke in the chops). In the case of a high tackle or a lifting tip tackle, it is easy to prove that it broke the laws of the game, but very hard to prove that it was done with the intent of causing harm, and not just out of clumsiness or poor technique.

As a result, referees in most sports are typically asked to assess the impact the action had on the game, and not the thoughts running through a player's head prior to an infraction. In the example you provided (BOD missing a punch), there should be no sanction because there was no tangible effect resulting from the swing. As a referee, I might be inclined to penalize him for general poor sportsmanship [10.4 (m)].

In another example that happens all the time, a player ducks into a tackle and gets smashed in the face. You might say that the tackler didn't intend to hit high, but the fact remains he did and it's a penalty. This has been controversial in the past, but it's against the law as it's written.

Unfortunately not all referees (even at the top level) follow the law consistently, and it's even rarer that the judicial committee applies the law consistently. Us plebs are left scratching our heads and wondering what just happened!

8 Months, 4 Days ago

Crunching tackle plants fullback into the ground in Florida, USA

To echo what's posted in reply already and to bring the relevant law into the discussion:

Law 10.4 (j) deals specifically with tip-tackles - "Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player's feet are still off the ground such that the player's head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play."

There are two parts to this law; we'll deal with the second first because it is what most people are reacting to. The tackled player has been dropped/driven into the ground in such a way as to land on his head/upper body. This tackle contravenes the second part of the law.

HOWEVER, the second part of the law is conditional on the first clause of the law - this means that the part about landing on the head only applies if the first part is true, and that is that the tackler lifts the ball carrier. This has not happened in this case, so whether or not the tackled player lands on his head is irrelevant.

To sum up: in order to be sanctioned under the tip tackle law 10.4 (j), an action must satisfy two conditions (lift, and drive/drop onto head/upper body). Since the tackle in this video only fulfills one of the two conditions, it's play on.

Of course, the ref appears to be doing the right thing and penalizing the guy for lying all over his victim...

8 Months, 4 Days ago

Sublime Fiji skills light up Dubai 7s on the way to another title

Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor.

8 Months, 2 Weeks ago

George Ford questions referee decision only to get a sarcastic response

I am a ref, but I'm not clever enough to come up with Carley's kind of response off the cuff...I tend to take what I have now dubbed the "stroudos-lite" approach: I'd tell him that I made the call, and should he choose to challenge like that again I would penalize him. With the guys I have the pleasure of refereeing, that's usually enough but the few times that someone continues to argue, I go "full-stroudos". I have no qualms following through on a promise to penalize!

9 Months, 2 Weeks ago

George Ford questions referee decision only to get a sarcastic response

Except Ford didn't "ask" the ref anything - He went up and told the ref "my hands were there". A proper, respectful way of asking would start with an apology for flailing his arms around and reacting poorly to a call, then be followed up with something with containing a question mark and a please, eg: "Sorry sir, I got frustrated. Could you please let me know why you ruled that pass forward? I thought I had released it backwards".

Of course, for something as simple and straightforward as a forward pass, there's no point even asking, because the ref will just tell you he saw you throw the ball forward - even if he uses more words. I could justify asking for a law interpretation after a breakdown penalty or something that actually requires clarification, but after a forward pass or a knock-on there's no value in asking for clarification.

Ford is a professional and should know better.

9 Months, 2 Weeks ago