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George North knocked out again as Nathan Hughes gets red card for knee

Obviously Hughes didn't intend to make contact with his head, but if you manage to kick someone in the head when your foot has no business being near his head, then you should be punished for recklessness. I wouldn't ban Hughes (at least not harshly) but you simply cannot kick players in the head when they score tries and then just say it was an unfortunate, unavoidable accident.

I don't know if I'm the only one here that sees it this way, but rather than Hughes doing what he can to slow himself and avoid contact, I see him trying to kick the ball out of North's hands and missing and getting him in the head. Considering that kicking the ball out of someone's hands isn't allowed, there's no justification whatsoever.

19 Hours, 28 Minutes ago

Wales dash Ireland's Grand Slams hopes in epic Cardiff battle

Well, when I say I loved it I mean that the difference in treatment was absolutely ridiculous and Craig Joubert-like.

But in reference to your point about Barnes, I actually find it funny how he congratulates players. At scrum time it's fine, because each referee might expect a different thing and the players need to know if they're doing what's expected. Getting out of the way in rucks is just the basics of rugby though, and thanking players for it just weakens his image as an authority figure, in my opinion.

1 Week, 5 Days ago

Wales dash Ireland's Grand Slams hopes in epic Cardiff battle

Personally, I loved the way he continued to penalise Irish players who got caught on the wrong sides of rucks (rightly or wrongly, depending on your opinion) and then when Dan Lydiate did it he just said, "He did everything he could to get out of the way" and didn't penalise him, even though in that instance he really was obstructing the exit of the ball from the ruck.

1 Week, 6 Days ago

France ease to comfortable victory over Italy at wet Stadio Olimpico

Italy really, really need to get a better kicking coach, or better kickers. They're not a team that will score loads of tries, so they simply must capitalise on their kicking opportunities. It nearly cost them the match against Scotland, and it cost them any hope they had against what turned out to be a pretty decent French team. If Italy had gone 6-0 up at the beginning like they should have, it could have been a very different game. Kelly Tuscany Haimona is very poor at kicking (even if he didn't play yesterday), and is a centre rather than an outhalf, so they need to stick to Allan and whoever else there might be. It's the single biggest factor in Italy's losses, and should be made top priority by all the stakeholders.

On another note, matches like these really show how important a factor the weather can be in matches. I think on a dry day that could have been an excellent match, and not the knock-on fest it turned out to be.

Well done to France though. I don't know if they've turned a corner (I doubt it) but they were pretty impressive.

2 Weeks, 23 Hours ago

Wales dash Ireland's Grand Slams hopes in epic Cardiff battle

Very true about the predictability of the Irish attack. I don't understand why they didn't try taking the ball at pace from rucks. Standing still while receiving the ball and having the defence immediately on top of you is simply not good enough, especially at international level.

2 Weeks, 23 Hours ago

Wales dash Ireland's Grand Slams hopes in epic Cardiff battle

I think the main reason Ireland lost was that they were crap and not because of the referee, but having said that, I think Barnes did screw Ireland over a few times.

They were loads of small things like in the first half when Halfpenny took a high ball, clearly held on when SOB contested the ball, and then the support all dived in off their feet. The fact that it ended up resulting in a penalty for Wales which put them two scores ahead was just beyond belief, but whatever. Then there's the penalty try minus the yellow card. Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought a penalty try for collapsing a maul was generally accompanied by a yellow. Again, whatever.

What really annoyed me though was how Barnes just refused to referee the scrum. It was Ireland's only area of clear dominance and he just refused to actually referee it. Crooked feeds all day from the Welsh scrumhalves and no penalties when they collapsed the scrum. The one in the last play was just unbelievable - worthy of Craig Joubert. So obviously not straight, Ireland still win it against the head, and then a penalty against Ireland? I'm not saying Ireland would have gotten a try, but I wouldn't have betted against it.

Aside from the referee though, I thought Rob Kearney was absolutely terrible. Can someone not tell him to run at space when he counterattacks rather than running at the nearest defender? The Welsh counterattack was light-years ahead of Ireland's.

2 Weeks, 1 Day ago

British and Irish Lions 2017 team if they were to face the All Blacks tomorrow

Half decent selection, but if there really was a Lions tour and Gatland was the coach as he is in the photo, then realistically, among the players picked there would be Mike Phillips, Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies and possibly Alex Cuthbert.

Also, am I the only one to think that Devin Toner has been outstanding?

2 Weeks, 3 Days ago

Johnny Sexton stars in All it Takes short film that tracks his rise to the top

What does Ireland's away record to the big 3 have to do with how good Sexton is? Sergio Parisse has never beaten the big 3 at home or away but it doesn't mean he's not an extraordinary player.

And the less said about your Wales - 10 losses in a row to Australia - team point, the better.

3 Weeks, 3 Days ago

Six of the Best Hits and Tackles from Round 3 of the Six Nations

Great to see a compilation of good, legal tackles. It's a rarity.

Surely Allan at number three should be Simone Favaro though? Allan just kind of stood there while Favaro was the one who smashed the player to the ground.

3 Weeks, 4 Days ago

Ireland stay on track with victory over England in Dublin

In my case there's just a shiny e where the video should be.

3 Weeks, 5 Days ago