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Recap on two South African sides joining expanded PRO12 for new season

I have to say that I see the glass as being half empty here. Adding the two teams that were essentially kicked out of Super Rugby because not good enough to the Pro 12 doesn't seem like a recipe for success. It devalues the Pro 12, if anything, in my opinion. Not to mention the logistical difficulties in going from a competition in Western Europe to a competition in Western Europe and South Africa, ten thousand kilometres away.

And the schedule for the Pro 12 is already a bit under pressure without the addition of an extra 4 fixtures in the calendar.

3 Weeks, 3 Days ago

Series drawn as All Blacks and British & Irish Lions decider ends in stalemate

Was I the only one that thought at first that the penalty was for Ben Teo running into Read's path and obstructing him from competing for the ball?

In any case, a massive cop out from Poite in the end. Reminds me of Joubert in the World Cup final versus France. Too afraid to make any decision that could decide the match, so he just let everything go.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

The most controversial moments from All Blacks vs Lions 2nd Test

I'm going to interpret this post as ironic, because if it's serious, then I'd be shocked. Faumuina's exceptionally unlucky penalty is essentially the result of a grey area in the laws of the game where there's insufficient clarity regarding jumping in open play. Saying it was anything more would be quite exaggerated.

1 Month, 2 Weeks ago

Sonny Bill Williams says he 'let his brothers down' after red card and ban

Terrible tackle. However, while a lot of people are saying the SBW is a dirty player etc. it seems to me like he just make a balls of the situation and rightly paid the price.

What makes me more shocked is that the assistant referees tried to discourage Garces from giving him a red card. The fact that it was red is as clear as day, yet Jaco Peyper tried to talk him down claiming there was little force in it, and even the video ref continuously called him once Garces had made up his mind. I wonder is that due to 1. It was New Zealand 2. It was against a home player 3. The importance of the match and series and having a good spectacle 4. They were genuinely convinced it didn't deserve red.

1 Month, 2 Weeks ago

HIGHLIGHTS: British & Irish Lions beat All Blacks to keep series alive

I disagree about Vunipola. He's not great in scrums nor has he ever been, and while he normally gets around the pitch, the fact is that he was absolutely terrible and ill-disciplined. When one player gives away 5 penalties and a yellow card in a 55-minute performance then he has to be dropped, or at the very least put on the bench. Saying and hoping that he'll come good isn't very fair on the other players in that position.

Yeah, Jones, he wasn't as bad as last time, but he still wasn't good. Definitely not one of the two best locks in Britain and Ireland. Nowhere near that, in fact. And yeah, I didn't understand if the third name was a surname or forename - I don't think that's a good defence though to say that I can't criticise him. And I don't buy the experience argument. Personally, I wouldn't look up to someone and their calming influence if I was well aware that he doesn't deserve his place on the team. And considering the awful discipline on Saturday, I don't think his calming influence was felt.

The breakdown was ok, but when you have a three-man back row against a two-man back row, it'd be amazing for the breakdown to be a problem. I'd argue the stability there was more related to SBW getting sent off and Kaino being sacrificed rather than Warburton being good. I still don't think anyone can claim he's the best man for the job there - except Warren Gatland.

I'll give you Itoje. As you said, he gave away a few too many penalties, but he put in a good shift elsewhere.

I understand your point about Sinclair, but I wouldn't risk having a big child on the pitch who can't control his emotions. He seemed industrious, but if to have a bit of industry you have to risk having him explode at any given moment, then I think it's a risk too far. It's a bit like Jamie Cudmore. A good player but sooner or later he would cost his team very dearly, and to risk jeopardising the whole tour just to have one powerful player could end up being a great move or a terrible move.

1 Month, 2 Weeks ago

HIGHLIGHTS: British & Irish Lions beat All Blacks to keep series alive

Interesting result but realistically they would have been hammered if Williams hadn't gotten a red card. They won by the skin of their teeth against a team with 14 players that missed several absolute sitters from the tee.

If they're to have any hope at all they need to get rid of Vunipola who was quite simply disastrously bad. Completely negative impact any time he was involved.

Wyn Jones too - for the second match running I was asking myself if he was even playing.

Itoje as well. Decent in the loose but gave away penalties like there was no tomorrow.

Warburton as well was pretty useless. Not as bad as I expected, but he definitely showed why Warren Gatland is the only person on the planet who wants him to start.

Even Kyle Sinclair for his little cameo seemed like a walking time bomb. I can't believe they had to restrain him after that penalty at the end to prevent him from having the referee reverse the penalty. Then five minutes later he starts fighting people after the final whistle? I definitely wouldn't trust him if I was the coach.

If they fix those problems they could have a chance, albeit a slim chance. If not, I think they're going to be trounced like in the first test.

1 Month, 2 Weeks ago

Hurricanes and British & Irish Lions play out thrilling draw in Wellington

Poite's obstruction on Laidlow for the first Hurricanes try was possibly the most incompetent piece of refereeing I've ever seen.

Anyway, how disastrous has Gatland revealed himself to be as coach?

1 Month, 3 Weeks ago

LIONS WATCH: Ben Te’o the unlikely hero

I don't see how Flutey's situation is so different to Teo's. Teo is a cross-code player who played most of his life in New Zealand and Australia, representing an under-age New Zealand team, then Samoa in league, then went to play in Ireland, now England, and was then picked for England and now the Lions. So that's a list of two sports, five countries, and three national sides. He's hardly an example to admire if Flutey is a disgrace.

Also, the idea that players who qualify on residency grounds being committed to their new country is laughable. I'd say 99% of players like that are committed to their job of playing rugby, which happens to be in country X, and then country X asks them to play for the national team. That's their link to the country - a work contract - and only by chance will some stay and set up roots.

1 Month, 4 Weeks ago

LIONS WATCH: Conor Murray in driving spot for No 9 shirt

I don't think Sexton is lacking in defence though. Ok, Farrell is the best defensive 10 around, but I'd never say Sexton is weak in defence. His continuous concussions are evidence of the fact that he doesn't shy away from his defensive duties, and even his reading in defence is normally spot on.

I think Teo would be a bad idea. He's big, yeah, but how much experience does he have at test level? Personally, I think the All Blacks would run rings around him. When you have a new centre partnership it's always a bit iffy, but when you add to that the fact that half of your partnership has barely ever played at centre at test level...

2 Months, 5 Days ago

Romain Poite takes a low blow as Jannie Du Plessis sees red in Top 14 play-off

In this kind of situation I really wish that the offending player would land some absolute haymakers rather than crappy punches like this. At least the other guy would be taught a lesson, and the citing committees always look at the act rather than the intensity of the act.

Also, it's absurd that only penalties are given for holding back opposition players. It's off-the-ball obstruction and should be a yellow card to discourage people from doing it. Otherwise the risk is practically non-existent, and it will cause opposing players to lash out.

2 Months, 3 Weeks ago