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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.

1 Month, 5 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.

1 Month, 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.

4 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.

5 Months, 4 Weeks ago

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

"I don't think we're whinging at all. I think the facts speak for themselves. He (the citing officer) actually picked out 12 different incidents, of which 11 of them involved New Zealand, and one involved Ireland, which we've subsequently been cleared of."

Yes, that is commonly known as whinging. Nobody disputes the unacceptability of the Fekitoa tackle, however nine of the reviews were cleared and the Cane incident was eventually and rightly considered dealt with. If Kearney is happy to accept the clearance of the single Irish incident (an surprisingly meagre total to say the least) then he has to accept the clearance of the other reviews from the same UK panel.
So we are left with the Fekitoa red card and an already punished clash called 'accidental'. On that basis Kearney seems to be admitting that despite being deemed within the laws of the game, all those other instances of NZ vigour in this top tier international rugby test match, are just not acceptable for his Irish boys to have to face. Is that what he's saying? I hope not, but then why did he go on about it?. I'm pretty sure his players don't feel that way, and I'm pleased to see that they appear to be disowning this nonsense.
There's a fairly lively strain of Irish blood in my family and like a lot of Antipodeans I favour the green among the 6N sides. Apart from a brief period of grumpiness, I was fine with the Chicago result. In Dublin the ABs won a tough and enthralling "test" in the full sense of the word, and deserved it on the day. I like to think that Irishmen who know their rugby will recognise the respect for the Irish game that the NZ intensity represented.

5 Months, 4 Weeks ago

IRPA Try of the Year 2016 Nominees announced

There's an almost surgical precision about the All Blacks' try that appeals, and it was also their third try in about 5 minutes. But I think the gong will go to one of the other two and I can't really split 'em.

The pass to Sexton at about 22 seconds should be studied by all those who think they are doing a service to the game by harping on about lines on the field indicating a forward pass. Although the ball is clearly passed legitimately from the man outside him, Sexton catches it past the point at which it was let go. And yet who would claim a forward pass? No player, official, or commentator shows the slightest interest, and rightly so. A perfect example of how the law is (and in my opinion, should be) interpreted.

6 Months, 2 Weeks ago

Wallabies disallowed try viewed as a major turning point in loss

I agree, Facepalm. There's a point on the video when the shove comes from Haylett-Petty (around 1:29) where Savea's front foot is almost in line with Speight's back foot. With well over 25 metres to run there's every chance Savea could have made some kind of contact, certainly an attempt to ankle-tap, which is often all that's needed.

6 Months, 3 Weeks ago

All Blacks too strong for error-ridden Springbok challenge in Christchurch

"Wouldn't you rather beat a BOK team that is as strong as they could be?"

Yes. And to be honest, I don't personally know of any true rugby fan who thinks differently. But as DrG says, the only people who can sort this out and improve the situation are the rugby people of South Africa.

8 Months, 1 Day ago

Springboks and Eben Etzebeth perplexed by 'technical' lineout law

I agree with RD that this is probably a matter of timing. I think this is one of those laws that is sometimes transgressed by a small margin and let go by the refs. But maybe this one was just a touch too blatant to ignore. If Strauss had actually started to move his arms before Etzebeth jumped, they would probably have got away with it. It's all in the timing.

8 Months, 1 Day ago

Friday Funnies - Vaea Fifita avoids the tackle with perfectly executed jump

I agree. It looks exciting but it's going to end badly for one or both players way too often. As you say, if the tackler had clipped the Fifita's heals and flipped him accidentally, would he have been carded for a dangerous tackle? I've seen penalties against tacklers in similar situations where a small jump into the tackle by the runner was as much to blame, and I've disagreed with the penalty. In this case the jump has to be considered dangerous and I would've had no problem with a penalty against Fifita.

8 Months, 1 Week ago