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Irish hearts broken by All Blacks' last gasp converted try

I've followed the All Blacks all my life but this game made the ancestral Irish blood from both sides of my family stir in the veins. I was glad the ABs won but I could've handled this loss OK, if that's the way it had turned out. The best I've seen Ireland play and although they didn't score the points when it mattered, they somehow didn't deserve to come second either.
Looking at the last AB attack, it seems as if they put everything they had learned in the previous 80 minutes to full use. Smith had been clobbered behind the ruck a couple of times so he just grabbed the ball as soon as he arrived at the breakdown and went with his first decision. Nonu had dropped passes and fallen over, but he was not going to drop another ball, Cruden was not going to pop another kick over the top. The breakdown, as always, had been reffed unpredictably so they didn't risk anything and got out of the way asap. And with all that control they trusted their skills so that when the final break was needed, the riskier long pass came and it stuck, with the hooker, who drew the tackle and passed.. if he'd passed too soon Crotty was covered and would probably not have made it.
Also, Reid's lone chase down on the third Irish try resulted in a missed conversion from an angle. You just never know when that extra effort is going to pay off.
A great game.

1 Year, 9 Months ago

The Dimitri Yachvili stamp on Racing Metro's Henry Chavancy

test post

1 Year, 9 Months ago

All Blacks take the lead in opening Bledisloe Cup clash vs Wallabies

I have never suggested that another teams' indiscretions should be copied just because they commit them. My general point is that all teams are indiscrete at times (and that's putting it mildly in some cases) but many people can only ever see one side's sins when they're playing certain teams. And it gets so ridiculous sometimes that even a mild-mannered student of the game like me feels like trying to restore some sort of balance.

Eggman said: "On rugbydump most people were fairly gracious in defeat and victory though ;)".
I said: "I agree with your comment about RD". So no problem there. But I do read a lot of other rugby sites and comments sections of newspaper reports. Allowing for a little exaggeration to make my point I stand by my impressions regarding the complaints about the refereeing, especially early in the tours.

As for this weekend.. no matter what the current form of the teams, or the venue, state of the comp. etc there aren't many rivalries that so consistently feel like 50/50 propositions as Bledisloe Cup matches when the teams run out. I pick NZ by a healthy margin but nothing would surprise me.

3 Years, 1 Week ago

Best Tries of the Top 14 - 2011/2012 Season

Yep.. love this game!

3 Years, 1 Week ago

All Blacks take the lead in opening Bledisloe Cup clash vs Wallabies

@Eggman
I was mainly referring to fans on rugby sites rather than management or columnists. In fact I think the press covered those tours pretty well in general. But the number of times I read during the Irish and Welsh series "we played better and should've won if the ref hadn't done this or had done that." or "Aust/NZ didn't deserve to win, the ref gave them the game" etc. Then you look at the stats and the winners had more possession, more territory, more turnovers, ran with the ball hundreds of metres more etc etc ... and I'm thinking it looks like the best side did win and would've been unlucky to lose.
I agree with your comment about RD, although I sometimes miss a bit of the whacky element of the old days I don't miss the racist and other stuff that used to slip through. It's a great site.

@Pretzel. I've got to smile a little when you talk about "the shadowy nature of NZ play" .. presumably this is compared to the glowing purity and virtue of the French forward pack, on that day or any other! :)

3 Years, 1 Week ago

All Blacks take the lead in opening Bledisloe Cup clash vs Wallabies

I'm gonna move on Lb but first:
1) If you didn't get any of the whining about the reffing during the southern tours then we must be reading different sites and blogs.
2) As I've been saying, you only see one team pushing the limits of the law, I see all top teams doing it and if the loosies aren't going for every advantage they can get, I don't care what team they're on, then they're not doing their job.
3) Nobody "lives constantly offside", even in the 6N, so there's not much I can say about that.
4) Every single team uses dummy runners but you seem to be saying that NZ is somehow cheating... in fact I don't know what your saying. They were penalized for crossing once on Saturday but nobody including the Oz players (they would've appealed for sure), the commentators, the crowd, me, the guy I was watching it with or anybody else could figure out what it was for, except old Allain. I think he just got a bit confused. The only other thing you could possibly be referring to is during Cory Jane's try when Nonu took off in the completely opposite direction to the ball and a defender followed him and bumped into him. Neither player was anywhere near the ball and the defender wasn't within a bull's roar of being a potential tackler. Rolland got that right by ignoring it, so you see I don't think he was all bad.

3 Years, 1 Week ago

All Blacks take the lead in opening Bledisloe Cup clash vs Wallabies

This old chestnut, thanks I've seen it. A perfect example of "let's look at all the places where NZ might have infringed and pretend that they are the only side pushing their luck". For the record the Frenchman who went offside then part way back, then immediately got involved in the play, it makes a difference.
Anyway, I was more interested in the French rugby site (and I'm damned if I can remember it's name but it was linked on several comments sections a couple of days after the final) where a whole bunch of incidents involving both sides was examined by a French panel and they decided that both sides got about the same leniency, and although it was a lax reffing performance neither side was favoured. That's pretty much how I saw the game too. The French played out of their skins and all credit to them, it was reffed leniently like finals are in all codes (Soccer WC anyone!?), both teams took advantage of that and the ABs won but only just. I stand by my earlier comments.
Jeez, some people go on about NZ (or Oz) fans but all I heard during the recent SH tours by 6N sides is wall-to-wall whingeing from up north about refs and favouritism and how unfair it all is, even when the refs were NH. And now nonsense like this video is still being put up as serious analysis! Oh well, there's always the footy, roll on the weekend, whoever wins.

3 Years, 1 Week ago

All Blacks take the lead in opening Bledisloe Cup clash vs Wallabies

I understand what you're saying Jon and I think I have a reasonable grasp of the laws on this. My point is that if the ball has already clearly been won and is a couple of metres behind the point where the ruck collapses, and the collapse had has nothing to do with either winning or sealing off the ball, then I say play-on. Blowing ruck penalties without having any regard for these factors is just being pedantic and leads to a stop-start game. I think we all know that a high percentage of rucks in every game has got a smorgasbord of infringements that the ref can choose from .. good refs know the ones that matter and, IMO, Rolland got it wrong a few times in this game, not just at rucks but scrums as well.

And as for this common opinion that the ABs get away with sealing off more than other sides, I can only disagree completely. I often think the opposite is the case. A while back, after reading a comment about how the ABs got away with murder during the second Irish test I actually watched a replay of about 20 minutes of the game and just about every ruck had green jerseys lying around all over place trying desperately to stop quick ball, which is the impression I had got watching the game in the first place. The problem was that NZ were clearing the ball away so quickly that they couldn't do anything about it. I often wonder if we have all watched the same game when I read some of this stuff, but maybe most of us feel that way. If you're only looking for one team's infringements then you'll only see one team's infringements.

3 Years, 1 Week ago

All Blacks take the lead in opening Bledisloe Cup clash vs Wallabies

It's good that you identify the fact that the ABs counter rucking was so effective. The problem is that Rolland, like yourself, didn't take into account that NZ weren't going over to seal off, the Oz forwards were just buckling in front of them. By the time the Oz side of the ruck collapsed the ball was already cleanly on the AB side and it should have been play-on. You say that "Interpretation like that would have seen France lift the World cup" .. when in fact interpretation like that would've kept any strong rucking side out of the final altogether.

3 Years, 1 Week ago

Rugby Club Plays of the Week 2012 - Double Dose with Morty, Morty scorin

Why try to bring it back up?
For a bit of a laugh, that's why. What people keep missing about POTW is that it's supposed to be fun, and Oz and NZ have had fun niggling each other about anything and everything since Moses played halfback for the Hebrews, probably earlier.

3 Years, 3 Weeks ago