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

That's complete bull. An extra man on the field in 7s makes a huge difference, there's no way this can go unpunished. In future, it should result in disqualification from a competition - no ifs or buts, the impact of this type of "mistake" on the game is immense.

I'm not sure if it's the ref or one of his assistants who is responsible for monitoring substitutions, that has to be looked at too; but it is the team, foremost, that is to blame, and there really isn't an acceptable excuse.

7 Hours, 9 Minutes ago

England maintain Calcutta Cup winning streak with victory over Scotland

I'm not sure I'd call England "clinical in attack". They didn't do a whole lot of attacking, and really only the Nowell try counted as a clinical finish.

But it was a disciplined performance (fancy that, after all the harrumphing about Hartley's appointment), and I sort of feel that it was just what Eddie Jones wanted in terms of his key message to the players. That if England play the way he wants them to, they're going to win.

But he clearly also wants to see more against Italy, be interesting to see what he gets.

7 Hours, 34 Minutes ago

Dramatic finish to Japanese Top League final as result goes down to last conversion kick

SH players head to France as well (as well as anywhere else in Europe that will take them).

The Japan outlet is pretty interesting in that South Africa believes that guys like Schalk Burger and Fourie du Preez have extended their careers by playing in the J-League. They are almost ready to encourage our best players to spend a season or two in Japan, where the rugby is less physically demanding, between world cups.

It pays well too - until Carter headed to France, Jaque Fourie was rumoured to be the best paid rugby player in the world.

2 Weeks, 9 Hours ago

Clermont flanker Viktor Kolelishvili shoves referee Wayne Barnes

"players simply cannot place their hands on the referees at any stage of a match"

I know what you mean, but there are plenty of us who have to "move" a referee out of a defensive channel. There are ways to do it, with the minimum of force and a polite "excuse me, sir", and no-one minds. This though is ridiculous - it's like he's trying to put Barnes on the ground.

But anyway, I give Barnes a lot of credit here. Players and refs generally get along fine, there's a healthy mutual respect, and Barnes by reacting how he did ensured he didn't create a nasty flashpoint because of an idiot. It's for the ERC to sort out punishment, and I'm glad it was a hefty one. The mutual respect is a good thing we have in our game, be a great shame if we lost it.

2 Weeks, 5 Days ago

Brixham rugby player dives short of tryline then celebrates!

Happened to me a school game. Opponents got a breakaway, and their winger did a textbook slide over the 22-metre line. Can't really remember what happened next, most of us were laughing pretty hard.

3 Weeks, 6 Days ago

Comparing the Jared Payne and Michael Rhodes cards for similar incidents

Not sure there are many ifs and buts here...

Jared Payne was red-carded for running into space where he should have known a defender was likely to be contesting for the ball in the air, and failing to see a defender doing just that.

That's it.

There's a general principle (what a "reasonable" person should have known) at work that could, I agree, be over-broadly applied in a high-intensity collision-sport like rugby. But I don't think it is. I mean, apart from the high-ball situation, is there any other example of where players are held similarly responsible?

1 Month, 3 Weeks ago

Comparing the Jared Payne and Michael Rhodes cards for similar incidents

I think the only "duty of care" imposed in the game's rulebook is when a tackler lifts an opponent. Then you have a duty to bring the tackled player back to earth safely.

The ball in the air situation is more one of "use common sense" - when an up-and-under is kicked, we are all expected to know that a defender is likely to be contesting for the ball in the air. So if you run around like a speedboat without a driver and collide with a bloke while in the air trying to catch the ball, you're at fault.

And you can be carded for this - a red if the ref thinks it's serious enough. To me, the Payne incident wasn't smart at all, a borderline yellow/red call, and the red was a fair enough decision.

Ps. You've also got the onus of who's responsible for his own safety backwards. You can't hold a player responsible for his own safety when he's playing within the laws and the risk he's running is that he's a victim of foul play. That would be an absurd standard to apply.

1 Month, 3 Weeks ago

Comparing the Jared Payne and Michael Rhodes cards for similar incidents

My first question would be if World Rugby has come out with new directives on these types of tackle incidents.

While I thought the Payne red-card was harsh, I was also pretty convinced that under the letter of the law, it was the correct decision. Recklessly running into a bloke challenging in the air for the ball is a red-card offence.

By the same token, I suppose Rhodes could have been red-carded here. But clearly what's different is that Rhodes wasn't reckless here - it was a very deliberate tackle, just fractionally mistimed. He also did not take Trimble through the horizontal; whether that was deliberate or not, I'm not sure, but it usually means the tackle looks less serious.

But unless World Rugby has changed their rules or directives, he is still a bit lucky. Trimble was in the air, and fair or not those can be red-cards.

1 Month, 3 Weeks ago

Emotional Hakas farewell Jonah Lomu at final public memorial

Did not expect to cry as much as that. Heart-wrenching, yet beautiful. Well done New Zealand

2 Months, 1 Week ago

New England coach Eddie Jones apologises to Stormers fans for leaving

Agreed, fair play to him for apologizing. It's a raw deal for the Stormers to have a find a coach now, in time for the next Super rugby season, but this can't have caught them completely by surprise. I hope though they got a bit of compensation from the RFU.

I think a foreign coach would be no bad thing - they don't come cheap... but if they could get him, how about Robbie Deans?

2 Months, 2 Weeks ago