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Sunday, December 01, 2013

Wallabies end tour on a high with victory over Wales in Cardiff

Wales coach Warren Gatland has suggested that referee Wayne Barnes is partly to blame for his team's 30-26 loss to the Wallabies at the Millennium Stadium. The visitors scored a try through Joe Tomane that Gatland said shouldn't have been allowed.

The Autumn Internationals concluded with a brilliant game of rugby that thrilled from start to finish in Cardiff. George North scored within a few minutes to set the tone, but the Wallabies came back and with Quade Cooper looking back to his best, they stretched their lead and looked out of sight.

Cooper, playing his 50th Test, was quite controversially yellow carded for what Barnes deemed to be an early tackle, but Australia held on for the win despite plenty of pressure from the Welsh.

An unbelievable statistic from the match is that there was not a single scrum in the first half.

Barnes has come under fire though, particularly for the decision to allow the Tomane try from a flat Israel Folau pass. He sought the help of the TMO, but after watching it on the big screen himself, ruled that it wasn't clear and obviously forward (hands not travelling forward), so gave it.

Gatland suggested that if it were New Zealand played, Barnes wouldn't have made the call. "It looked forward to me. In games as close as this you need things like that to go your way.

"The referee made the decision himself, without the TMO. I doubt he would have made that decision himself if it was the All Blacks playing."

Gatland added that he hadn't spoken to Barnes about it, as it wasn't going to change the result. He also hinted that when Cooper was yellow carded, it could have been a penalty try.

As for the Tomane try, Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie said: "We've had five or six of those denied during the year. As far as I know, the pass has come out of the hands backwards and that's it.

"I think there has been a lot of discussion in the refereeing group and from what I saw that's exactly the way they adjudicated that, so that the circumstances around that are quite clear."

Despite being rated by some as the best team in the Northen Hemisphere, this was Wales' ninth loss in succession to the Wallabies, who themselves haven't had the best of years but appear to be on an upward curve after a satisfying overseas tour where they only lost once, to England.

Posted at 8:10 pm | 58 comments

Viewing 58 comments

Juggernauter December 01, 2013 8:28 pm

Pretty pathetic comments from Gatland IMO. He wasn't there to chase the referee after Phillips played that quick lineout with a "new" ball and scored a try back in that 6N game against Ireland, was he? He should look no further than McKenzie to see how pro rugby coaches should deal with controversial referee calls -remember the feet in touch by Brown or the block by Hartley on the Eng-Aus game (which led to a lost excellent attacking oportunity for Aus, and a try for Eng, respectively), and how McKenzie said that he would'nt blame the ref for their loss, even though both calls were clearly wrong. The referee makes the calls and that's it, there's no point complaining, you note it and then move on. The respect for the refs job is paramount in rugby and we can't afford to lose that.

On a side note, what a hoodoo the welsh have with SH opposition. They can be kings of Europe but just seem to be missing the ability to make that final blow. Hope they get it before 2015!

Cheers.

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matt December 02, 2013 10:23 am

I have to say I disagree a bit, I like when Wales are losing, but I prefer it more when referees get called out on idiotic decisions because I think it is the only way that they will improve. The difference for me between this and the Aus v Eng match is that the ref and touchie were 50 metres away from Brown when he was in touch, and so a mistake like that can be understood, and the blocking on Moore was probably illegal, but falls firmly into the category of debatable. But, in that instance the ref asked the TMO and the TMO looked at the replays and gave his judgement. What I can't understand is for Barnes to ask the TMO for his opinion, and then cut him off before having heard it. We will never know what the TMO was going to give, and it could have had a huge impact.

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vsmash December 02, 2013 1:01 pm

I totally agree with Juggernauter, and partially agree with matt:
I think it stinks when ref's get it wrong. Whatever the sides playing. Especially when they are obvious turning points. However with the England match they were definitely turning points and the line referee is paid to watch the line. It's his primary job and he was staring directly at the foot on the line in the still shot. The Ireland six nations game was ref'd by Caplan who was such a megalomaniac that he told O'Driscoll to wait a moment, but then blew the whistle anyway.
Caplan's stats overall are drastically different to his stats reffing Wallabies or Waratahs and drastically different to his stats reffing the home team.
Rant rant rant rant. On the whole I reckon the wobs rarely get the rub of the green and this is a rare occasion.

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Cheis December 01, 2013 8:35 pm

Epic match!!

And cmon, Gatland, don't be a sore loser..

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Cheis December 01, 2013 8:45 pm

Marshall, that australian commentator was very good too!!
Especially when the english (first) commentator suggested a late tackle, when there was nothing really on (just a little push right after boxkick), and marshall replied: cmon, it's a contact sport, not racketball, nothing going on! love it!!

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BLues December 01, 2013 10:28 pm

Marshall is from N.Z he's an ex-All Black, but I too noticed Marshall was telling it like it was through out the game and the other two commentators were just plain biased and at times had no clue and overreacted.

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Canadian content December 01, 2013 11:21 pm

Agreed except as a proud all black he'd probably be angry with u for calling him an Ozzie.

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Cheis December 02, 2013 3:09 pm

haha, sorry, my bad!! :)

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Mont December 03, 2013 1:34 am

Not sure what Eddie Butler (as a proud Welshman) would say if he heard you calling him English either! Haha

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Cheis December 03, 2013 6:59 pm

... man, i was on fire

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Juggernauter December 01, 2013 9:05 pm

Forgot to say... the Cooper yellow card was a joke, not even a penalty. Of course if you are chasing a guy and the ball is passed to him you tackle him as fast as you can. Ball was already in Williams's fingertips when Quade grabbed him. Weird call IMO.

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DrG December 02, 2013 3:23 am

Disagree completely, it is at least a penalty. You cannot tackle someone early because you "thought" they had the ball, just the same as you cannot tackle someone LATE because you "thought" they still had the ball...

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Miler December 02, 2013 9:01 am

Perhaps .. the ref should have called advantage , the following play would have resulted in North under the posts ..

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Eggman December 02, 2013 9:20 am

He couldn't call advantage because there was a knock on. Also the only reason North scored was because the Aussies (Hooper and Folau) stopped playing after they saw the ball being knocked on

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Jake December 02, 2013 9:20 am

If you need six super slow-mo replays to prove a tackle was a split second early, is it really worth a yellow card?

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Juggernauter December 02, 2013 12:33 pm

That's exactly my point, and it's that technology and TMo's can backfire a bit, when you are looking for any sign of a penalty, anything at all. Of course penalties should be fully sanctioned but when you are in a situation like that I'd say play on... In a contact sport like rugby, this kind of things happen, and if it's not dangerous I'd say play on.

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proptank December 01, 2013 9:28 pm

Gatland's always been a bit of a sore loser, looking to blame the ref - could be a good trait in a coach but best to keep his comments to himself. I've always thought Eddie Butler to be incredibly biased when commentating on Wales and he was completely wrong with the Cooper yellow - definitely a penalty, not a yellow and no chance of a penalty try. As for the Tomane try i thought the hands went flat/backwards on the pass and therefore not a forward pass.

As for Barnes making the call himself, he often does this, gets the incident up on big screen and makes his own decision. Strong refereeing - used to dislike him but now a fan, up there with Nigel Owens and Poite for best refs imo.

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matt December 02, 2013 10:26 am

I like barnes because he is confident and goes with what he believes is right everytime and doesn't bottle the big calls. But, I cannot understand why you would rush into a decision that is that marginal and important without waiting 4 or 5 seconds for confirmation from the guy sat inches away from the monitors.

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SamTheHammerHopkins December 02, 2013 1:37 pm

I would also put Barnes up there with Nigel Owens as one of the best refs out there, not afraid to make the big calls. As a welshman I think the yellow was pretty harsh as its a split second timing issue, but the Folau pass was forward IMO. Ball came out of his right hand as last point of contact when passing to the right and most of his momentum was going sideways or diagonal at that point and the ball travelled in the same direction he was running for the entire pass. Great game though, very disappointed we kicked it away at the end as still had the chance to win it.

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Jamie Dorman December 05, 2013 11:29 am

loool Poite, you serious? :) I normally dislike Barnes as I think he prevents the game flowing. However, I think the TMO would have given the same decision with the current interpretations and that's that. Don't see why he should wait for the TMO's opinion when it is clearly up on the big screen - he's the ref, it's his call.

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WelshOsprey December 01, 2013 9:44 pm

Really don't rate Warburton as a captain. AWJ was there at every fight settling things down, where the hell was Warburton?
Great game anyway, hopefully Wales experiment with Tipuric/Warburton against Italy because Lydiate had another average game.

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dave December 02, 2013 3:38 am

doesn't matter what wales does, they're also average

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WelshOsprey December 02, 2013 10:48 am

Still manage to clean the six nations up every year though.

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Computer says no December 02, 2013 11:59 am

Victory against average opponents doesn't mean all that much, does it? NH teams looking very dull at the moment. Maybe they'll get better with time like a fine wine or stinky cheese.

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DrG December 05, 2013 11:52 am

Not entirely sure how the 6 Nation teams can be called average. Does that mean that NZ, SA, AUS are the top teams, 6N teams are average and the rest of the world is so unbelievably shit that they might as well just give up because they're wasting space in the rugby universe? Because that is how arrogant and soccer styled that comment is.

Ireland have been playing some of their poorest rugby for a long time and still nearly claimed a victory against NZ. Last world cup one of those average 6N teams was in the final and should have won if not for petrified refereeing. Aus; a great team, lost against one of the average 6 Nations teams this tour. In fact if I recall correctly none of the "big three" thrashed anyone apart from Scotland...

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al_woody7 December 02, 2013 11:13 pm

HA what a complete rookie comment. Who dropped the ball ten metres from the try line on 75 mins, four points behind, last attacking chance, because he poo pooed himself? Captains don't do that I'm afraid. Wales are lucky to have two of the three world class players left in the home nations, one of them being Warburton.

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NotAWelshDavies December 01, 2013 9:53 pm

A complete advert for rugby union, especially when compared to the competition of the league final yesterday. (Having said that, I do love league) Skill levels were exceptionally high, and I think we're all glad that Quade Cooper has found form again.

I can't help but think Barnes often gives too many penalties and prevents the game from flowing. The yellow card was almost certainly wrong, however, the call to give the forward pass I would say he got correct, as the build up play deserved a try.

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Jimothy December 01, 2013 10:20 pm

Interesting that Gatland blames the ref and not his own players for the loss! Australia were down to 14 men for the final ten minutes. They were one short in their back line with QC being in the bin. Not sure that the right call was to go for that stupid line out option rather than using North (who was amazing by the way) as a massive decoy runner to open up the field for the other talented Welsh backs! But hey, maybe Barnes told Warburton to make that call and it really is all his fault!!!

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Jamie Dorman December 05, 2013 11:34 am

I disagree about North mate. Watching the game although he scored a wicked try and put some big hits in, his defensive awareness and positioning was poor, really gifting two Oz tries. I know everyone bigs up the lead up play by QC which was brilliant with the flick offloads, the fact is if he hadn't come in and defended as a winger should - staying on his man, there shouldn't have been those 2 tries.

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TotesMcGoates December 01, 2013 10:42 pm

Great game, North and Cooper were immense!

Most people seem to be agreeing about the validity of Tomane's try; even though the ball certainly traveled forward it seems pretty clear that it went backwards out of Folau's hands.

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Canadian content December 01, 2013 11:11 pm

Whata whiner. I for one do not think this does any good for his team, blaming the game on the ref. it may make your boys feel better but I don't think it speaks to the reality of the game that they were just barely in that game. Heroic defence and some wallaby mistakes were the only things keeping this game from being blown completely wide open (I actually think they're conditioning makes a huge difference, I gotta go to Poland). Wallabies seem to be back to their confident barnstorming selves, good for rugby

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PiratesRugby December 02, 2013 12:58 am

No doubt Gatland will complain about Williams' pass to North for the first try at about 1:03? Or will he reserve his strongest comments for Phillips' stamping on Cooper's hand? No, his team's loss was the ref's fault. It couldn't be his players kicking the ball away almost on full time? Again. They were a man up after Cooper's ridiculous sending off. It took 4 replays to show that he contacted Williams a fraction of a second before the ball arrived. Cooper was tackling from behind so he could hardly be said to have acted cynically. It would be a bit rough to award a knock on against Wales in that case but a penalty would have been punishment enough.
What a great game. Cooper, North, Folau, Halfpenny, Faletau, Moore, AWJ, Hooper, Hibbard, Fardy ... you could just about name every man on the pitch as contributing to a great spectacle. I can't wait for the RWC in 2015!
Gatland should try praising his players and the opposition for the great contest. Unlikely.

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Chris December 03, 2013 10:04 am

For those in the UK, Scrum V talked about that stamp: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/25180079

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getitout December 02, 2013 1:01 am

At this rate, England, Wales and Australia could be such a tough group, any 3 of them could potentially miss out. Going to be very exciting. As an Englishman I'd be lying if said I wasn't a little bit nervous.

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PiratesRugby December 02, 2013 1:03 am

Don't forget Fiji. The best game of the RWC2007 was Fiji v Springboks.
It is the toughest group.

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dave December 02, 2013 3:30 am

rusty england beat australia! rusty england beat australia!
wales lost again! wales lost again!

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DrG December 02, 2013 3:32 am

Got to echo everyone with their comments regarding Gatland being a bit sour, as someone said it's mad Gatland could blame anyone but his own lads, 14 men against 15, man missing in the Aussie backline and Wales decide to try and chip the ball through?!?!?! I'm sorry but if anyone is to blame it's the Welsh composure.

Already made my comments about Phillips needing to concentrate on playing the fooking game on the previous Wales video. Cooper recently has really matured so it appears Phillips attempts to make get a reaction didn't work too well..

QC on 50 caps already?!?! Geez, good man!

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mal james December 02, 2013 9:13 am

Cooper was the aussie game player we never had one ,he controlled the game so well and was so quick at what he done in the game ,we were slow

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joe December 02, 2013 3:55 am

I find wales defends from too deep, and it's a bad idea especially against sh sides
it's said oz was terrible against england but I think a lot of that has to do with england's rush defence not giving the wallabies any space ,every other home nation was guilty of giving oz too much space
and the wallabies aren't smart enough to kick it behind the rush defence like the ab's do

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Mort December 02, 2013 8:43 am

Marshall is an ex All Black...not an aussie mate

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Cheis December 02, 2013 3:13 pm

haha, yeah sorry, my bad!! :)

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Mort December 02, 2013 8:51 am

cmon Gats...if the Quad sin binning was a penalty try to Wales then so was the Dan Biggar sin binning a penalty try to Aussie...fairs fair...so stop ya whinning your starting to sound like a pom !!

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mal james December 02, 2013 9:10 am

Come on Gatland no good finding fault with the ref this is not even a good Aussie side and still we failed to beat them. England played negative rugby but beat them sometime it's best to follow the leader on how to beat them.

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Mark T December 02, 2013 9:37 am

Really hope something happens towards Phillips regarding stamping on Cooper. His little boy behaviour just needs to stop!

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IHC December 02, 2013 10:00 am

As long as Gatland keeps on pointing the finger of blame to the referees (Penalty try!?! Give me a break) he will not be of any help in the Welsh ever attaining that little something extra of which he spoke after the Irish defeat to the All Blacks. It's about sustained execution and self-belief and not about hoping that the Deus Ex Machina helps things along your way.

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theo December 02, 2013 10:17 am

That is an coach with no plans no more!!! ! Now he runs around like a headless chicken. Cooper did not even make contact before the player caught the ball if you look in slow mo. ALL Blacks did not even play and gets blame.!!! His team clearly dont have BMT. And you have to blame Gatland.

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Ben December 02, 2013 11:19 am

Wallies Vs Wobblies is very much my new favourite fixture. Both teams were great with ball in hand, some of the worlds best backs strutting their stuff. Due to the mounting pressure from wales, theres always a great intensity about these games. Well done to Aus, cant be easy to take on the Lions, compete in the RC and then take on the busiest european tour schedule. Great stamina and as always, good show!

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andyr December 02, 2013 12:55 pm

Gatland is a sore loser.

As an Englishman, not looking forward to playing North again. That guy is now one of the best wingers in the world - immense player.

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Matthew December 02, 2013 1:25 pm

As an Englishman from Northampton, I'm very pleased we're getting him back for club duty now!

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AndyBoy December 02, 2013 10:20 pm

Well, what a great game of Rugby, especially the first half!

I thought that Australia were awesome in attack and very sharp at the breakdown. A team not quite as fit or defensively schooled as Wales would have gone down by 50 points, in my opinion.

The difference in the two teams was the flair of Quade Cooper (which Wales didn't have), the attacking potency of the Aussie backline (Wales didn't offer much until North moved into the centre) and not making mistakes or choosing the wrong option at crucial times (Hibbard was great in defence but continually lost the ball in contact going forward, AWJ knocked on in front of the Aussie try line and Liam Williams should have passed to North to score after a great line break).

Barnes performance as referee? I thought Gatland's comments were farcical (in my opinion, his nepotistic decision to take mostly Wales players on the Lions Aussie tour only just came off); the forward pass was 50/50 (though the silence of the TMO when Barnes made his own mind up seemed to indicate that he was going for "no try") and the Cooper yellow card was harsh. Aside from that, a good refereeing performance.

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Icy December 02, 2013 11:53 pm

For me regardless of IRB laws you either rule in both the Tomane & first North tries or ping for scrums.

The Williams to North pass goes further forward but was a longer pass. Neither Williams nor Folau are travelling at pace when passing, and the ball travels from their hands to nearer the opposition try line, BUT if either continued at the same pace in the same direction they would be about level with where the ball was caught by North/Tomane. My understanding of the accepted version of the rulebook by all international referees we've seen recently is that this constitutes a legal pass.

I do think this needs to be better communicated to fans and commentators to stop this debate.

My concern is that at some point a back running 20mph is going to fling a lateral (momentum adjusted) pass 20 metres across the pitch which ends a long way (I can't be bothered to to the maths on it) forwards. We'd either have a fairly flat attacking line breezing through a defensive line at pace while the ball flies overhead or an unfairly adjudged forward pass.

Even a TMO with HD3DSLoMo isn't going to be able to judge the direction of the hands on release in a case like that. They'll all need speedometers & wind gauges along with lessons on trigonometry, form drag etc. to justify themselves to Warren Gatland and the casual rugby commenter.

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DrG December 03, 2013 5:16 pm

Yeup, I totally agree. A long pass could result in the ball travelling OVER the defensive line..

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EatMyRugbyShorts December 03, 2013 12:45 am

Some great hands from Tomane there:
- Try 1 holding on to Cooper's offload behind and above his head while running at full pace
- Try 3 picking up Folau's pass off his toes
Both could so easily have been dropped.

Other thoughts:
- Wales did well to come back from 30-16 down
- Everything Quade Cooper tried came off in that game - it won't always work out like that
- Both Folau & North are unstoppable at times
- Last few mins Wales at 4 points down kick the ball away - twice. Why??
- Phillips is lucky to get away with that stamp - but as Cooper got away with kneeing McCaw a couple of years ago I'm inclined to say what goes around comes around
- AUS deserved the win. Great team performance - they created quick ball then attacked (and scored) at pace out wide. Wales' ruck speed looked slow in comparison.

Moment of the match: Justin Marshall - "BOOMFAH!". Surely got to go in the Friday Funnies section.

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Wanderer December 03, 2013 8:08 am

Referees should be scrutinised. I thought Barnes made an array of poor calls. At ruck time, the scrum and especially the passage where Cooper got yellowed. If the Aussie pass previously discussed was a try I can not see why he didn't allow play to continue when North crossed. He could of the referred it to the TMO. The ball went back in my opinion so try. Never a good day for Wales when you see the cheating Alain Rowland anywhere near anything. Wales were hard done by.

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Jimothy December 03, 2013 2:19 pm

Gatland? Is that you?????

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dk December 04, 2013 3:02 am

I felt the moment wales lost the game was when they went for the conversion from half instead of going for the line out/try
they got the conversion but it seemed like wales should have gone for the throat in the first half being up 10-3 possibly going for 17-3 and it could have maybe given them some fluency attacking the aussie 22 and denied the aussies from coming back into the game

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Alesana December 04, 2013 7:18 pm

They should've not gone to the TMO the referee & touch judge were right there to make the call. The officials aren't always going to be 100%, part of the challenge of life is to accept difficult decisions & move on. I personally learned this growing up watching sport without video reviews. Foul play aside, big decisions should be left on field & people should respect the decisions made by the officials.

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