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The most controversial moments from All Blacks vs Lions 2nd Test

In my opinion the intent is clear in the replay, anyway. O'Brien struck him across the head with his forearm. His hand, open or closed, was not going at the ball. O'Brien told the panel that he didn't know he'd hit Naholo until the next morning. The way he connected and then immediately backed off… he knew.

11 Months, 1 Week ago

The most controversial moments from All Blacks vs Lions 2nd Test

O'Brien swings his arm into the tackle and strikes his opponent full across the side of the head. Naholo goes to ground, leaves the field for concussion assessment and doesn't return. After the game the incident is judged by the Citing Commissioner to have met the threshold for a red card and was therefore worthy of a judicial hearing. After all, we're repeatedly told that the outcome rather than the intention is so important where a strike to the head is concerned.
The judicial panel looks at it for over three and a half hours and concludes… "unfortunate". O'Brien says he didn't even know he'd hit Naholo's head. And the panel says that he had his hand open at the time anyway!
O'Brien got a week's ban in the World Cup when he struck Pape, and tried to get off that time by also saying his hand was open. It didn't fool them then, but apparently it did on Sunday.
You gotta laugh.

11 Months, 1 Week ago

HIGHLIGHTS: British & Irish Lions beat All Blacks to keep series alive

"For every example that you want to cite for one team getting the rub, there are as many examples pointing the other way. I think you're choosing not to see them though." Exactly, and of course Larry chooses not to see them. Larry himself admits on here to "personally, being someone who doesn't like the All Blacks" and unfortunately all his comments on NZ rugby flow from there.

11 Months, 2 Weeks ago

British and Irish Lions outclassed as silky Blues inflict first tour defeat

"Defo a knock on for the SBW try"
The video clearly shows Nowell batting the ball back with both hands. The video does not clearly show any Blues player touching the ball. The TMO was correct. A legitimate and well taken try.

1 Year, 1 Week ago

A closer look at how Professionalism has changed Rugby

The problems for professional rugby are many and difficult, we all know that. But if the game had not gone professional in the 1990s we would now be about twenty years into a situation where elite international rugby is split irrevocably into amateur and professional camps. A professional game, cut loose from the traditional union administrations, would be tarting itself up to be more "appealing" in ways that are maybe best not contemplated. It would be luring the best talent and dominating media exposure because it would be travelling hand-in-hand with highly cashed-up media interests. If you suspect that today's game is influenced a little too much by those who see it mainly as a media product, we only have to contemplate this other scenario to imagine how bad it could be. Meanwhile the amateur game would wither into irrelevance at the international level. I played rugby for many years and have been watching it for many more, and believe it's in good shape in most of the ways that are important. I can't speak from the point of view of a player anymore, but I love to watch rugby probably more than is healthy. OK, the scrums need fixing, they're better than they were 5 years back, but they're much worse than they were 25 years back. I hate the music played at grounds during stoppages, I'm not interested in microphones on players and other bits of nonsense, but I have no doubt things could have been a whole lot worse.

1 Year, 2 Months ago

The peculiar Vannes vs Narbonne 'no maul' stand off

"in this case, the jumper still has the ball in his hands"
Is this clear? Does the jumper still have the ball or was it passed back to #19. If the jumper still has it then presumably the white team could drive forward through the yawning gap that red has left in the lineout, and gain a few easy metres. If #19 white has the ball then a maul has formed, and red players can run round and tackle him.
But it seems to me that both the jumper and #19 have the ball, which leaves us in a sort of rugby laws twilight zone, stranded between a lineout and a maul. I think the ref should call "use it", wait a reasonable amount of time (as for an unresolved ruck or maul) and then order a scrum. If neither team is moving forward, which is clearly the case here, then the put-in should go to the attacking side, again as per an unsuccessful ruck or maul. Maybe that's what happened here.

1 Year, 2 Months ago

New directives under fire once more as Brice Dulin gets carded for challenge

An opponent gets winded through no illegal or even reckless act of yours, and you get a yellow card! The ridiculousness of this decision is obvious, and the criticisms have already been well stated on here. So I'm just adding my vote to the "Sort it out, World Rugby!" demand. Otherwise the fair contest for an up-and-under will be legislated out of the game, and the game will be the lesser for it.

1 Year, 5 Months ago

Are the All Blacks a dirty team? Fans divided after battle in Dublin

* "a surprisingly meagre total" … it bears repeating anyway.

1 Year, 6 Months ago

Are the All Blacks a dirty team? Fans divided after battle in Dublin

"I don't think we're whinging at all. I think the facts speak for themselves. He (the citing officer) actually picked out 12 different incidents, of which 11 of them involved New Zealand, and one involved Ireland, which we've subsequently been cleared of."

Yes, that is commonly known as whinging. Nobody disputes the unacceptability of the Fekitoa tackle, however nine of the reviews were cleared and the Cane incident was eventually and rightly considered dealt with. If Kearney is happy to accept the clearance of the single Irish incident (an surprisingly meagre total to say the least) then he has to accept the clearance of the other reviews from the same UK panel.
So we are left with the Fekitoa red card and an already punished clash called 'accidental'. On that basis Kearney seems to be admitting that despite being deemed within the laws of the game, all those other instances of NZ vigour in this top tier international rugby test match, are just not acceptable for his Irish boys to have to face. Is that what he's saying? I hope not, but then why did he go on about it?. I'm pretty sure his players don't feel that way, and I'm pleased to see that they appear to be disowning this nonsense.
There's a fairly lively strain of Irish blood in my family and like a lot of Antipodeans I favour the green among the 6N sides. Apart from a brief period of grumpiness, I was fine with the Chicago result. In Dublin the ABs won a tough and enthralling "test" in the full sense of the word, and deserved it on the day. I like to think that Irishmen who know their rugby will recognise the respect for the Irish game that the NZ intensity represented.

1 Year, 6 Months ago

IRPA Try of the Year 2016 Nominees announced

There's an almost surgical precision about the All Blacks' try that appeals, and it was also their third try in about 5 minutes. But I think the gong will go to one of the other two and I can't really split 'em.

The pass to Sexton at about 22 seconds should be studied by all those who think they are doing a service to the game by harping on about lines on the field indicating a forward pass. Although the ball is clearly passed legitimately from the man outside him, Sexton catches it past the point at which it was let go. And yet who would claim a forward pass? No player, official, or commentator shows the slightest interest, and rightly so. A perfect example of how the law is (and in my opinion, should be) interpreted.

1 Year, 7 Months ago