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

"…that probably favoured the abs on balance." I haven't spoken to a single person who agrees with that, and they weren't all NZers.
Other than that, like you I'm also not entirely certain the ball went forward, but the point is that Poite decided it did go forward and the player was offside. No matter what anybody might fantasize the ball was momentarily grabbed, and then dropped on purpose. Nine times out of ten that is given as a penalty.
However, the ABs should have put this game away long before that and they'll know it.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

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

I think you're being much too kind on O'Brien, DrG, his retreat wasn't a noble "right thing to do" having whacked Nadolo across the head. At least we agree that he knew he'd hit him, but strangely O'Brien himself disagrees with that idea. He told the panel he didn't even know he'd hit him until the next day. How he kept a straight face I don't know. And the panel says they believed he wanted to (quote) "get on the ball if the opportunity presented itself". Well Nadolo was flat out on the ground with the ball rolling free, yet O'Brien showed no interest in "getting on the ball". He made himself scarce.
I understand that the Papé case was different in some respects, including that it was to the chest not the head, and Papé wasn't left semi-conscious on the ground… yet O'Brien still got a week's suspension. That's the important difference for me.
Anyway, it's a good case (among many others) to keep in mind the next time we hear about those nasty All Blacks always getting away with things.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

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

In my opinion the intent is clear in the replay, anyway. O'Brien struck him across the head with his forearm. His hand, open or closed, was not going at the ball. O'Brien told the panel that he didn't know he'd hit Naholo until the next morning. The way he connected and then immediately backed off… he knew.

1 Month, 2 Weeks ago

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

O'Brien swings his arm into the tackle and strikes his opponent full across the side of the head. Naholo goes to ground, leaves the field for concussion assessment and doesn't return. After the game the incident is judged by the Citing Commissioner to have met the threshold for a red card and was therefore worthy of a judicial hearing. After all, we're repeatedly told that the outcome rather than the intention is so important where a strike to the head is concerned.
The judicial panel looks at it for over three and a half hours and concludes… "unfortunate". O'Brien says he didn't even know he'd hit Naholo's head. And the panel says that he had his hand open at the time anyway!
O'Brien got a week's ban in the World Cup when he struck Pape, and tried to get off that time by also saying his hand was open. It didn't fool them then, but apparently it did on Sunday.
You gotta laugh.

1 Month, 2 Weeks ago

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

"For every example that you want to cite for one team getting the rub, there are as many examples pointing the other way. I think you're choosing not to see them though." Exactly, and of course Larry chooses not to see them. Larry himself admits on here to "personally, being someone who doesn't like the All Blacks" and unfortunately all his comments on NZ rugby flow from there.

1 Month, 2 Weeks ago

British and Irish Lions outclassed as silky Blues inflict first tour defeat

"Defo a knock on for the SBW try"
The video clearly shows Nowell batting the ball back with both hands. The video does not clearly show any Blues player touching the ball. The TMO was correct. A legitimate and well taken try.

2 Months, 1 Week ago

A closer look at how Professionalism has changed Rugby

The problems for professional rugby are many and difficult, we all know that. But if the game had not gone professional in the 1990s we would now be about twenty years into a situation where elite international rugby is split irrevocably into amateur and professional camps. A professional game, cut loose from the traditional union administrations, would be tarting itself up to be more "appealing" in ways that are maybe best not contemplated. It would be luring the best talent and dominating media exposure because it would be travelling hand-in-hand with highly cashed-up media interests. If you suspect that today's game is influenced a little too much by those who see it mainly as a media product, we only have to contemplate this other scenario to imagine how bad it could be. Meanwhile the amateur game would wither into irrelevance at the international level. I played rugby for many years and have been watching it for many more, and believe it's in good shape in most of the ways that are important. I can't speak from the point of view of a player anymore, but I love to watch rugby probably more than is healthy. OK, the scrums need fixing, they're better than they were 5 years back, but they're much worse than they were 25 years back. I hate the music played at grounds during stoppages, I'm not interested in microphones on players and other bits of nonsense, but I have no doubt things could have been a whole lot worse.

4 Months, 3 Days ago

The peculiar Vannes vs Narbonne 'no maul' stand off

"in this case, the jumper still has the ball in his hands"
Is this clear? Does the jumper still have the ball or was it passed back to #19. If the jumper still has it then presumably the white team could drive forward through the yawning gap that red has left in the lineout, and gain a few easy metres. If #19 white has the ball then a maul has formed, and red players can run round and tackle him.
But it seems to me that both the jumper and #19 have the ball, which leaves us in a sort of rugby laws twilight zone, stranded between a lineout and a maul. I think the ref should call "use it", wait a reasonable amount of time (as for an unresolved ruck or maul) and then order a scrum. If neither team is moving forward, which is clearly the case here, then the put-in should go to the attacking side, again as per an unsuccessful ruck or maul. Maybe that's what happened here.

4 Months, 2 Weeks ago

New directives under fire once more as Brice Dulin gets carded for challenge

An opponent gets winded through no illegal or even reckless act of yours, and you get a yellow card! The ridiculousness of this decision is obvious, and the criticisms have already been well stated on here. So I'm just adding my vote to the "Sort it out, World Rugby!" demand. Otherwise the fair contest for an up-and-under will be legislated out of the game, and the game will be the lesser for it.

7 Months, 1 Week ago

Are the All Blacks a dirty team? Fans divided after battle in Dublin

* "a surprisingly meagre total" … it bears repeating anyway.

8 Months, 3 Weeks ago