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David Pocock's Turnover Masterclass against the Blues

The relevant question is: which referees would agree with your interpretation? I'd reckon that some refs would have pinged him on a couple of these. On the other hand, he does have a deserved reputation for being lightning quick on the jackal, so maybe that earns him a bit more leniency than others might get.

2 Days, 17 Hours ago

David Pocock's Turnover Masterclass against the Blues

I'd be surprised if Cheika doesn't play them both.

Hooper on the openside, and Pocock - who is good enough to play any position in the back-row - on the blindside. You complete the trio with a ball-carrier like Palu or Higginbotham.

As for the arguing here about Pocock not releasing properly etc, that's for the ref to sort out. Any loosie worth his money will tell you, you sail as close to the wind at the breakdown as possible. He's a heckuva player, and he's a damn good bloke too, very pleased he seems to have made such a good recovery from his last knee injury.

2 Days, 22 Hours ago

Could Matt Giteau hold the key to Australian World Cup success?

Sorry, the "leading up to the world cup" criterion is a bit of a red herring in what I wrote. All I was saying is that timing-wise, the politicians have chosen a window where SARU would probably find this target most easy to meet.

From what I understood, the requirement is 7 black players in every 23-man match-day squad. The horrific aspect is how "black" is being defined. Literally, a guy like Elton Jantjies who probably is going to get called up at some point, might need a melanin/dna test to see where he fits in. It's appalling, it's a throwback to apartheid where things like the infamous "pencil test" were invented.

I hope someone sees some sense.

1 Week, 15 Hours ago

Could Matt Giteau hold the key to Australian World Cup success?

I'm not against quote systems per se (long story, would be a boring diversion here), but this latest announcement had one aspect that deeply disappointed me.

One thing to read carefully about it however is that it is 7 non-whites in every squad in the lead up to the world cup. We all know that most of this year, SA will be playing weakened teams ahead of the world cup, managing player workloads etc, so this is in a way a pretty soft SARU request, and probably would be met even without an official requirement.

The thing that is not good however is the sense that mixed race people don't count toward the quota. I'm sorry, but apartheid, the legacy of which is being countered here, was equally discriminatory against all non-whites. Whether you are 1/2, 1/4 or 95% black is irrelevant. And who the heck decides if someone is sufficiently black to count toward the quota? I swear the logical endpoint of this system is apartheid era bogus-science tests to determine if say, Brian Habana, is non-white enough (apparently he isn't) to be quota-eligible. This is a very bad road to head down.

So I'm watching this space pretty closely though to see how it plays out. I actually believe overall, SARU has done ok in managing this political process, but if they head into the "are-you-black-enough?" business, that will lead to a fiasco.

1 Week, 1 Day ago

Could Matt Giteau hold the key to Australian World Cup success?

I'd be shocked if the ARU relaxed their overseas policy for this world cup. I rate Giteau very highly too, but he covers positions where Australia have some depth already, so the rugby need is not quite as pressing as it could be in other positions.

But more than that, if they do relax the policy now, you can only imagine that the floodgates will open with players signing to play in Europe. Genia is already on his way, they aren't happy about that downunder, they aren't going to offer extra incentives to others.

That all said, I wonder if Aus and NZ will decide at some point to take the path that SA now takes - where basically it expects players to establish themselves domestically to gain Bok selection, but after that will select purely on merit. There's even a growing belief that playing in certain leagues - eg Japan - could help prolong careers.

Certainly think that if SA wins the next world cup, such a policy switch becomes quite likely.

1 Week, 2 Days ago

Jean Deysel suspended for seven weeks for kneeing Crusaders player

It's a good question re. Deysel, because I am very certain he had an almost clean disciplinary record until last year.

Aside from any off-field issues, the Sharks form has been average, maybe that's contributed. But the whole team needs to sort itself out. Bismarck, Frans Steyn and now Deysel are all suspended, Lambie injured... their SuperXV season could go down the drain very quickly unless their players, and there are plenty of Bokke among them, step up.

1 Week, 2 Days ago

How Valuable is Manu Tuilagi To England's World Cup Ambitions?

So long as he's fit, I'd have Tuilagi in the squad. But unless he proves himself in partnership with one of the other centres, he's an impact sub. Joseph and Burrell clear front-runners now to be the WC starters.

1 Week, 4 Days ago

Get Excited For The Rugby World Cup, Less Than Six Months To Go

No-one, certainly not us Bok supporters, needed a reminder of the Bryce Lawrence horror show.

1 Week, 4 Days ago

Julian Savea and Eben Etsebeth slap one another while smiling

Etsebeth is a pain in the ass, but he's also a darn good player and has learned his trade very young. He's not a Bakkies however; he seems far more aware of which lines not to cross. And he wasn't a million miles from winding Savea up completely, which is the other half of his job.

1 Week, 4 Days ago

Three Kiwis banned for punching or striking in Round 2 of Super Rugby

In terms of provocation, that's what the TMO actually looked for at the time, but couldn't see anything conclusive.

I think the general principle, esp with red cards, is that the judicial guys look at it as part of your punishment when considering the ban. So if you did something red-card worthy, but got away with it at the time, you'll get an extra couple of weeks ban.

I agree though, it is a little weird.

1 Month, 2 Weeks ago