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Meanwhile in New Zealand advert

Monday, February 27, 2012

France leave Murrayfield victorious after Scotland scare

Scotland scored two tries as they looked to upset World Cup finalists France at Murrayfield, but couldn't hang on for a win as the visitors came away 23-17 victors, keeping their hopes of a Grand Slam alive. 

Scotland produced one of their better performances in recent times but the stats say that this was their fifth straight defeat, and third in a row in the Six Nations. They can however take a lot of positives from a game in which they scored two tries.

Had it not been for injuries to Rory Lamont, Greig Laidlaw, and Mike Blair, the Scots could well have sprung a surprise win over the French, who admitted later that they were caught off guard.

"We were taken aback by by the rhythm and dynamism of the Scots in the opening 15 minutes," said captain Thiery Dusautoir. "We got back into it little by little and found our own rhythm and gradually asserted ourselves on the match against a really good Scottish side."

Coach Philippe Saint-Andre echoed the sentiment, saying that it won't be long before Scotland come good on all their promise.

"The difference between winning and losing is in small details. When you look at Scotland's last four games, in the World Cup they lost in the last minute to Argentina and the try by England (in New Zealand) was in the 77th minute," explained Saint-Andre.

"Against England again in the Six Nations, Scotland created four or five opportunities but one turnover and England won the game. And against Wales they had control of the first half and then they had a yellow card and Wales scored two tries.

"We just said 'we're worried, we hope it wouldn't be us'. I'm sure Scotland will very soon beat a fantastic team because they have some fantastic players," he added.

France will need to win their next two games if they hope to have a Grand Slam finale showdown with Wales in Cardiff. It's a an uphill battle though with Ireland, England, and then Wales the three sides they face over the next three weekends.

Do you think France, with their classy backs and experienced pack, can go all the way? 

Posted at 7:35 am | 54 comments

Viewing 54 comments

moddeur February 27, 2012 9:41 am

Scotland has been losing major games by a few points only even before the world cup, but this year you can tell they've become a formidable force. The French were lucky on a few bounces, and it's only when the forward packs started changeing that France reasserted itself in the front 8.
I dare to say that the 1st French try comes from a forward flick-pass from Clerc to Fofana. I also don't understand how the 2nd Scottish try was allowed. Jones tackles, a ruck is then formed, but he just picks the ball up from the French side of the ruck where he finds himself ater his tackle and then goes and scores? If that's allowed then all teams should do it. Tackle, wait a bit for opposing defenders to commit themselves, pick the ball and up and score (and later argue that you're not offside since you're the tackler).

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stroudos February 27, 2012 10:26 am

Clerc's pass to Fofana looked fine to me.

Second Scotland try was an outrageous offside. The IRB clarified this a while ago: where previously as the tackler you could immediately contest for the ball, now you have to release the tackled player and get to your feet before going for the ball. This incident was nowhere near even that - Barclay's still lying on the ground when he picks the ball up! Can't believe Wayne Barnes didn't call this, he had a perfect view.

By the way, what's the deal with these selfless flankers? Vernon was home and dry when he gave that pass and Ferris the other day was practically over the line when he passed to Bowe (who it has to be said is hardly in need of charity to score tries!).

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Pretzel February 27, 2012 10:39 am

Not 100% sure on your claim that Barclay was lying down... I didn't think it was a problem at the time, and from the angles in the video here I can't see clearly when he picks it up...

Never had any doubt of Clerc's pass, but now when I watch it back I am not too sure... it's made more difficult to judge by the tackle on Clerc... brilliantly worked try however!

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stroudos February 27, 2012 11:11 am

Mate, it's not "my claim", it's a fact! Barclay's not allowed to contest that ball until he's released Clerc and got back to his feet.

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Pretzel February 27, 2012 12:43 pm

Yes I understand that he is not allowed to contest unfortunately I don't feel I am able to pinpoint where Barclay actually picks up the ball...

I'm not trying to argue, I just can't see it personally... if you want to convince me then give me a time on the video where you see him lying down and picking up the ball, because as far as I can see Barclay makes the tackle and Clerc places the ball back towards his team and that is the only backward movement until Barclay is on both feet and picks it up...

I might be missing an camera angle somewhere, but to me it doesn't look like he plays the ball until he is on his feet...

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Guest February 27, 2012 4:06 pm

But what about that "clearout" by Rougerie on Morrison right after the Trindhuc Laidlaw tackle in the buildup for the first try.
Greame Morrison could have contested for the ball if Rougerie had not taken him out off the ball!!... and then it wouldn't have been such fast ball! (Vincent claire pass fine)
I just think the refs have to whatch out for such dirty play and Rougerie involved in another try buildup situation(illegally) : On the turnover he clearly doesn't come thorugh the gate in a "real" ruck (so in from the side) and doesn't get penalised!! this cannot be serious, top class reffing....
I think the refs are getting away with murder lately(last 2 years) and that should really change ( but it won't because the Kiwis profit from it and we all know whos head if the IRB)
Anyway my thoughts and if anyone read the John Beattie Blog on the game or heard the Andi Robinson Interview you might just agree eith them after those two situations...

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Scotty the Ref February 27, 2012 2:42 pm

Gents, I feel you need to bone up on the laws....the definition of a ruck is one or more players from each team bound over the ball. If you look the 2 French guards just step over the tackle and wait (2:07). Not one Scottish player binds onto them! Therefore no ruck, therefore no offside line! Barkley is also on his feet before he picks up the ball, what is the definition off off your feet? One knee on the ground would suffice, he has both off the ground and is just crouched down.

At the end of the day the 2nd Try was all about if there was a ruck formed and there was not so no offside line.

Just my thoughts.

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bib160 February 27, 2012 2:50 pm

If what you're saying is true, the defending team should never commit into a ruck.
That way there would never be any offside line, that would make the defense so much easier...

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Guest February 27, 2012 3:03 pm

But then refs like Wayne barns would not know the rules and call everything offside.....
And also its a player reflex to contest for the ball and if you contest there is more chance of getting it.... you can defend as much as you like but they will always be moving forward.

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Theobit February 27, 2012 3:50 pm

Sometimes, in a match you can see players of both team on the ground (not on their feet). And one or two guards on or feet! So there's no ruck?!
But if a defender comes to contest the ball, it's offside line, no?

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stroudos February 27, 2012 4:54 pm

I wish I'd never mentioned the word "offside" now! Didn't mean to actually, that was a mistake. 

The offence is competing illegally for the ball.

Law 15.4 (b): the tackler must immediately get up or move away from the tackled player and from the ball at once.

Barclay did no such thing, he stayed on the ground and as a consequence stopped Clerc from presenting the ball and impeded Parra from getting to the ball. 

Law 15.4 (c): the tackler must get up before playing the ball and then may play the ball from any direction.

Barclay was still on the ground when he played the ball.

Sanction for either/both of these infringements= penalty France.

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Pretzel February 28, 2012 5:01 pm

Stroudos are you saying Barclay was lying on the ground when he played the ball?

I can't really see him playing it so early, although I think I might be able to see him having a knee on the ground when he first grabs the ball... again, not 100% on that as I think a French player is slightly in the way.

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max25591 February 27, 2012 9:52 am

the scottish 2nd try was allowed as after the tackle, the tackles can come form wherever they like, even offside and play the ball.

Althought at first I thought it looked really odd.

I think stuart barnes had a shocker though the whole game, from both sides.

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stroudos February 27, 2012 10:18 am

Referee is Wayne Barnes, who I agree did not have a particularly good day at the office. Stuart Barnes is the tit on Sky Sports who always has a shocker.

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proptank February 27, 2012 12:40 pm

Whilst I think Barnes had a bit of a mare yesterday I was so pleased to hear him speaking in French. It's ridiculously unfair how most refs don't bother trying to speak French. It's no wonder the French have had discipline problems. Imagine a French ref only speaking French in a Australia vs England game - there would be carnage.

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Pretzel February 27, 2012 12:47 pm

LOL, now that would be amusing...

I do agree though it is nice hearing him try and explain, or just using French terms...

I suppose that is the issue with having a single body governing a collection of different nationality people... Think of the Japanese, the Russians... or the poor Americans XD (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

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Oliver February 27, 2012 9:57 am

ok gotta get this off my chest....
I'm a Frenchie but I switched over to the BBC at the end cause I like their analysis.
Quote from Jeremy Guscott: "England arent' worried about this lot"
(speaking about the French team).
Seriously Jeremy? Ever heard of the word "humbleness"??
We just beat you fair and square in the WC a few months ago!

anyways.....great game.

And Moddeur: totally agree about 2nd scottish try.

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stroudos February 27, 2012 10:12 am

Guscott is an arrogant twat. Always has been. Decent player in his day and I think a pretty competent analyst on BBC coverage, but his misplaced sense of arrogance is a fucking embarrassment.

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Pretzel February 27, 2012 10:43 am

Calm down people...

Whilst Guscott is an arrogant tool, he was referring to how the French played... I think we all know the dangerous French side when they turn up! However the fumbling bumbling French side which we saw initially is who Guscott was referring too...

That being said because Scotland have been the underdogs for so long it's hard to tell whether they played really well or France played really badly....

I think the former personally..

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Reality February 27, 2012 5:08 pm

Oliver, he probably hasn't heard of the word 'humbleness' because it doesn't exist. I doubt he's heard of 'humility' either. He's one of those England supporters who lives in the past and thinks that England are the best team ever and can beat anyone. At least Brian Moore - who is painfully English - admits when England are bad, and praises other teams when they play well.

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Reality February 29, 2012 12:12 am

Actually Oliver I didn't read your comment properly and so I didn't realise you weren't a native English-speaker. So, sorry for being so rude with my 'humbleness' comment.

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Oliver February 29, 2012 8:49 am

well....
no offense taken....but you should check a dictionnary!

Cheers.

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stroudos February 27, 2012 10:11 am

I get a real sense of enjoyment from reading such magnaminous praise from Dusautoir and Saint-Andre. Apart from the fact they are stating the truth, it shows a lot of class and epitomises the old values of the sport.

Unfortunate again for Scotland, who really played some nice rugby, especially in the first half. But you could see the class of the French side in the way they never looked like they were panicking and kept their composure. Their ability to hit back seemingly every time Scotland got ahead must have had a huge effect on both sides' morale.

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Theobit February 27, 2012 10:39 am

To watch the 2nd scottish try, there's no ruck, so no offline. It's totally valid even i'm french and i was frustrated front to my tv!!!
Andy Robinson said the 2nd french one, wasn't valid too! Do you know why he said that, because i didn't see hypothetic faults...

Beautifull team of Scotland....

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Pretzel February 27, 2012 10:45 am

I am not completely sure but I think Robinson has been referring to Rougerie who appeared to have trouble staying on his feet during the match...Which in all honesty, I do somewhat agree, there were quite a few French players diving over the top...

Then again.. The Scots were no saints either...

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Oliver February 27, 2012 10:50 am

you're right, I just watched it again, there's no ruck, as there are no scottish players involved. It's pretty unnerving though and Parra looks quite dumbstruck!

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Guest February 27, 2012 2:31 pm

I thought that on the french turn over before the second french try rougerie clears out from the side leaving the ball open for vontest which ultimately lead to the try....
So i think i can understand Robinsons frustration and also JOhn Beattie because those were the seven points that cost scotland the win!!...
Also clear high tackle on Duncan Weir just ignored.... and with Weirs kicking skills it surely would have been level scores.... so i can understand John Beattie if he says that ref decisions (as much as i hate whining about it) cost scotland the game.
And the second scottish try was legit the question is if it was on purpouse that the scots didnt contest?! :D

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Guest February 27, 2012 2:56 pm

On second viewing it clearly was from the side by Rougerie!!!
He was not coming through the gate!!
And Wayne was in a very good position to see that....
just because they are pros doesn't mean they are angels and defo not rougerie (great player though!!)

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stroudos February 27, 2012 11:21 am

"Offside" is irrelevant. (I realise I used that word earlier, that was a mistake). The offence is contesting the ball without releasing the tackled player and getting to feet first. I'll have a look for the IRB ruling, it'll be online somewhere.

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proptank February 27, 2012 12:44 pm

Barclay must have released the tackler as he was picking up and passing the ball - how do you pick the ball up and pass it without releasing the tackled player? He was also on his feet as demonstrated by the fact that he was running away from the tackle. Great piece of play from Barclay.

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stroudos February 27, 2012 3:25 pm

Great piece of play in as much as he got away with it, so fair play to him. But he could not legitimately contest that ball.

Anyway, who gives a shit? Didn't change the overall result and made for a more exciting game.

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Colombes February 27, 2012 10:48 am

Victory of the experience

Scotland is an "in -progress" team, as st andré said, i'm pretty sure they will crush big teams in 1 or 2 years. but for the moment, the young bloods just can win battles but not war. with a better pack and a "lethal" spirit, they will go far.
France without doing very much and being lazy, did the job without paniking too much. they were ready for an hard beginning and weren't disappointed. fortunately for them, an huge pack and their strong individualities in the backs brought back them in the match. this team is searching for automatics.

as for wayne barnes performance, i found him very permissive for both sides in the rucks. 2 big mistakes: the 2nd scottish try comes from a blatant offside from barclay... and papé tackling high a scottish prop without being sanctionned

concerning guscott and bbc, hey, what did u expect? ;) if i was an english fan, i would be more worried on england unhability to create a wining action than France defence lazyness.

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Guy February 27, 2012 11:00 am

A few points:

1) impressed by the Scotts for such an entertaining game. This team might actually be going places.

2) impressed by the French: I believe they can play a lot better than this but still didn't look like loosing anytime during the match.

3) dissapointed by the attitude of some of the French players. Parra holding the shirt of (I believe) Jacobsen, getting a shove in return and falling to the ground immediately, trying to get him sent of.
And almost every time I saw a close up of Trinh Duc, he was waving his arms in the air, complaining over something.

Really poor attitude. I was verrrryyyy impressed by the French forwards though.

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Ruggernut February 27, 2012 1:53 pm

Very very enjoyable game.

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ROB February 27, 2012 2:30 pm

Barclay made the tackle, released the player, got to his feet, was not cleared out, picked up the ball legally and played it. Absolute nonsense to say this was offside or illegal - it was just a flanker doing his job and poor play by the French not securing the ball. If you want to see illegal ruck play, watch the French at every single ruck coming in off their feet and from the side - this is what won them the game and Scotland should have realised Barnes was not reffing the rucks and done the same.

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stroudos February 27, 2012 6:48 pm

"It was just a flanker doing his job" is correct, in that flankers have to play on the edge of the laws and maximise any possible advantage that presents itself at the breakdown.

"Poor play by the French" is also fair as he should have been properly cleared out. Oh for a return to those halcyon days when a flanker lying about on the wrong side like this would have been given a thorough shoeing.

But is was illegal:

Law 15.4 (b): the tackler must immediately get up or move away from the tackled player and from the ball at once.

Barclay did no such thing, he stayed on the ground and as a consequence stopped Clerc from presenting the ball and impeded Parra from getting to the ball.

Law 15.4 (c): the tackler must get up before playing the ball and then may play the ball from any direction.

Barclay was still on the ground when he played the ball. He got to his feet AFTER collecting the ball.

Sanction for either/both of these infringements= penalty France.

As you say though, lots of breakdown infringements from both sides went unpunished. You could find a direct correlation between the time in the match the French started to properly take a hold of the game and the time that the French started to notice that Barnesy wasn't really bothered about any breakdown shenanigans.

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t0t0 February 27, 2012 3:54 pm

For the second scotish's try, at 2"13, don't you think that it's a forward pass?

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Pipo February 27, 2012 4:26 pm

Why can't Scotland play like this against England? They so should have won that game, especially if they had played the rugby the played against France. I don't think they'll get anywhere if they just keep on producing "great" performances but still loosing, they have to take their chances and they didn't against England.

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stroudos February 27, 2012 6:52 pm

Not true. Scotland always go up about three gears for England and that was no different this year: they just couldn't put away their chances in that game. Playing some nice enterprising rugby these days and it seems only a matter of time before it all clicks into place.

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Pretzel February 27, 2012 7:14 pm

I think the fact that they took their chances against france was the one thing that made me sit back and not mind that Scotland lost this game....

Against England it was a case of "so close yet so far" with knock ons, missed kicks etc...

This game Scotland took every opportunity given to them (I think) and more! yet were fairly beaten which in some ways is more relieving than the usual feeling of "what if" when I watch them play..

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patedelievre February 27, 2012 9:05 pm

Am I mistaken into thinking that we are having a pretty decent -though surprising Tournament so far? the so-called "favorites", 1st Wales then 2nd faves France, are actually quite lucky to get their victories, while sides such as Scotland and England show great pace!
now, THAT is something really nice to see! The Scots seem to have a raging new generation with Denton, Gray and Hoggs...
Anyway, about the game, I thought the French really lacked of pace, but I guess that's what happens when you do not play for 3 weeks in a row.
They ought not to be called "favorites" after that game, which showed that they really need more time off the clubs to get back to form.
Also, I'd like to see Lionel Beauxis and Dupuy a bit earlier: Saint André seems to make them come at the very last minute...

bad news for Medard who's out of the Tournament, but EXCELLENT news for Italy (who show amazing courage and dedication) who'll get Castro back...from what we've seen on sunday, the scots should be quite worried as the Italians are some amazing scrummaging warriors...
anyway, keep on NH, you're doing good! (last but not least: amazed by the influence that prick Tuilagi had on his team. If only he was as smart as he's good...and thumbs up to the new England n°10: seems like Cipriani had no reason to come back from Oz and play for Sale next season after all....)

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Stoojay February 28, 2012 12:26 am

Thoughts from a guy who was at Murrayfield:

1.) French supporters were phenomenal - Always in excellent voice, seriously loads of them and it felt like a bit of an away game for me us Scots' supporters at times! Good atmosphere at Murrayfield.

2.) Game was close, French looked a bit stunned at the start but never looked like panicking - I guess quality shows.

3.) Scotland definately are improving - fewer silly knock-ons, less miracle-passes, more patience and composure. Still got some way to go to be a finished product.

4.) Dussutoir - some player. Always looks classy in everthing he does. Disappointed with Trihn-Duc though.

5.) I can see Richie Gray in a Lion's shirt.

5.) France totally dominated scrum-time. Especially when Servat came on (to be fair, the Scots were all burnt out by about an hour though).

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moddeur February 28, 2012 5:42 pm

1) My brother, clad in part-French part-Scottish gear, was at Murrayfield next to a Scottish buddy with a French girlfriend, he said the atmosphere was incredible and a million times better than at the Stade de France, which compared to smaller stadiums in France (like the ones in Toulouse or Clermont), is said to be a bit snotty and boring.

2) I don't think the French were stunned, it looked more as though it were the Scotts who were just on a total rampage.

3) Scotland and Wales have a definite advantage over France and Ireland for upcoming tournaments: age

4) Trinh-Duc complained a few times about late tackles, still a bit immature compared to Wilko or Carter who'll just absorb a dozen late tackles per match

5) I think members of the Scottish third-row might even make the Lions before Richie Gray (Denton & Rennie in particular)

6) I don't know what happened when Servat and Debaty entered, but they are both known to be explosive players, so if you have them come on at the 60th minute mark, they are bound to do some damage.

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kadova February 28, 2012 1:11 am

French fan here having watched the match on the BBC.
@Stoojay: happy you liked the French fans in Murrayfield :) The Flowers of Scotland a capella was magnificent, even when heard on TV. In the stadium, should be unforgettable !
There was no ruck for the second Scottish try, even the french TV said it, Parra was stunned, but after watching it again, i think the try is ok.
Some mistakes made by referee Warnes, nobody is perfect.
I didn't like Robinson complaining, French national coaches don't complain about referees (at least the last ones).
Francois Trinh Duc lacks some maturity, he will stop complaining like that when he grows up a little more. Give him time...
France captain Dussautoir is a model, always there in engagement, prolific tackler...
French need to get into the match before the first 20 min, or we'll have problems against Ireland/England/Wales. But the coach is aware of that. I'm still confident we can go to Cardiff unbeaten.
Very sad for Medard, but at least it's less serious than first thought, no tear of the ligaments. Should be 2 months off instead of 6 months.

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Frenchie February 28, 2012 3:41 am

On the Guscott comment:
The man is probably not humble but i think he said that England should not worry too much of the French if they play the way they play against Scotland, and to be fair i think he's right. i thought the French were rusty (loads of the players haven't played in the last 2/3 weeks) clumsy, they dropped a lot of balls, were disorganised; Malzieu left his wing on the 1st Scottish try, on the 2nd try they didn't protect the ball in the ruck (or not?) , their line out was poor...
Some good points? The French were good in the scrum, especially in 2nd half thanks to the subs, good attacking line given the number of balls they had to play.

The French need to improve their game against England, it's going to be tough.

A bit gutted for Scotland cause there was definitively space for a victory. What's going wrong with them??? Your thoughts? I thought they missed Blair for that game, who is better than Cussiter i believe.

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Oliver February 28, 2012 10:06 am

Frenchie : ok, les Français parlent aux Français. ;-)


Sérieusement, tu imagines un ancien joueur français dire "on n'a pas de soucis à se faire" ? C'est juste de l'arrogance à l'état pur.
Ok, les Français ont des progrès à faire mais les Anglais aussi... On peut pas dire qu'ils survolent la compétition et le match sera ouvert !

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Frenchie February 29, 2012 1:37 am

Les Anglais m'ont fort impressionné contre le PdG et je ne m'attendais pas à ça. Certes ils ne sont pas exceptionnels mais ils ont trés bien joué, fort en défense, rapide en attaque. Les Français devront ameliorer leur défense et alterné en attaque, ça va être dur de passer Tuilagi et Barritt.

Yes match ouvert, 50-50 pour moi.

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dstew February 28, 2012 4:36 am

The Barclay tackle/poach didn't seem right when it happened live and certainly does not look right upon review. The tackler must roll away from the tackled player AND the ball. Instead, Barclay tackles, prevents Clerc from presenting the ball by hovering over him instead of rolling away, handles the ball while one knee is on the ground and preventing Parra from quick possession even though a ruck had formed by two french players in a bind over the tackled player. The fact that Scottish players had not countered the ruck does not somehow mean there was no infringment.

Even McCaw would raise an eyebrow.

Notice also that as Pape tackles Barclay afterwards, Barclay makes a forward pass in the offload as he is hauled sideways in the tackle. There are two infringements here that should never have led to a try.

As far as Rougerie's perceived in-at-the-side clearing out, he actually starts with his feet behind the tackled player and rucks the man out falling sideways. perhaps he's off his feet by the end of the ruck but he began the ruck from an onside position.
In any event, the Scots got away with one and the French may have as well. It's a wash.

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themull February 28, 2012 3:12 pm

Barclay had released the player and gotten to his feet before he played the ball..Also, the tackler doesn't not have to come back in through the gate after releasing the player so it looks completely fine, albeit highly unusual, to me...

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Frenchie February 29, 2012 1:39 am

I read that at the end of the game the Scottish team, via its captain, offered a gift to Nicolas Mas (French prop) who was for them the best player of the day...
Class act Scotland!!

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Pretzel February 29, 2012 3:03 pm

Any idea what it was? A pint of beer with 8 shots of vodka? i.e A gift of a headache :)

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moddeur February 29, 2012 4:21 pm

According to lindépendant.fr, at the post-match dinner, Ford (Scottish captain) gave Mas a "taste-vin", which is a recipient designed to taste wine. According to Jo Maso, manager of the French squad since the 90s, this is a first time occurrence in French rugby!
Very cool gesture from the Scotts. Ahhh, the Auld Alliance ...

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Pretzel February 29, 2012 6:21 pm

Very nice, I am glad to hear that they behave in a civilised manner after what is in reality just a GAME.. :) Makes me smile to think that the old saying "what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch" is still alive.

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Jonny February 29, 2012 7:21 pm

@ dstew

It's almost impossible to ascertain whether or not the pass from Barclay to De Luca was forward or not, so you have to assume it was dead straight. As for the legality of the steal, that is still in question!

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