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England and France's Twickenham thriller not enough in dramatic title chase

Yes, centers need to do more than just run at the opposition to set up another....ruck.

5 Days, 8 Hours ago

England and France's Twickenham thriller not enough in dramatic title chase

The highlights of the game show that both teams opened it up and didn't play a tight game. That's the way rugby is supposed to be played. The ball needs to be passed around, and really mistakes need to be made, because the team with the ball almost has guaranteed possession with the current laws regarding tackling, rucking, and mauling. There will be knock-ons, errant passes, and wayward kicks that allow for opportunities to advance the ball, leading to "end to end stuff." Also, no matter how fit any team is, with so much running around the pitch, apparently like in this France-England match, whether with the ball or having to tackle in defense, some players will get tired enough to miss tackles or fail to follow up ball in support. Those with enough gas will get to where they are supposed to be to score or defend. Pieces of the game then look almost like 7s.

5 Days, 8 Hours ago

Highlights video of U15 flyer Tyrese Johnson-Fisher hits 1 Million viral views

Weights were one way of dividing teams in high school sports back in the first half of the 20th century in America. It went away as a practice, and therefore freshman, frosh-soph, junior varsity, and varsity levels predominated and still do today. With cuts to education in so many American states some programs have done away with freshman or frosh-soph teams. That's what happens in a nation when tax cuts for the richest and feeding the military industrial complex is more important than anything else.

6 Days, 2 Hours ago

Highlights video of U15 flyer Tyrese Johnson-Fisher hits 1 Million viral views

That was an artificial surface. I hate them. They should be banned. And what's with the short in-goals? It's not as though there wasn't space behind the dead ball line that they could have been a few yards deeper. I never played on artificial turf, but did referee a match once on that surface. The next day my legs felt like I had run a marathon.

6 Days, 2 Hours ago

Highlights video of U15 flyer Tyrese Johnson-Fisher hits 1 Million viral views

I was the referee yesterday at a women's club-side match in San Jose, California. There aren't that many African-American rugby players of either sex in California, or the USA, overall, compared to white players and Pacific Islanders. Both teams who played yesterday had a few African-American players out on the pitch. The San Francisco Golden Gate side's scrum half is one of them, and she easily was the 'woman of the match.' I wouldn't have said she was the fastest player, either, but she had good speed. So did some white players of the backs on either side. It's just great to see so many more players, especially in the university sides, who aren't white playing the game now. There's a number of Mexican-American players at the college level now, and just a decade or more ago it was rare to see them represented. They make up a huge part of California's population, so their numbers on rugby teams should grow.

Here in the USA a knock on rugby for past decades was this perception that it was a sport played by mostly white men (and women) who weren't good enough to play any other sports. The fact that some very good more well-known players had college American football experience didn't mean much to the general public. There were even a few former NFL football players on clubs here in California back in the 70's and 80's. It was a game considered by many to be played by college students who got cut from baseball, basketball or American football teams, or even soccer teams, or older club-side players who were not serious athletes but wanted an excuse to have a party after a match.

Now that perception is changing, and when schools like Cal and Brigham Young or St. Mary's get national exposure, and the 7's competition as well, like in Las Vegas, it's all for the good of the game.

6 Days, 3 Hours ago

Highlights video of U15 flyer Tyrese Johnson-Fisher hits 1 Million viral views

That's the thing about rugby; you get as well as you give.

6 Days, 3 Hours ago

Ireland take Six Nations 2015 title after dramatic day in tournament's history

I haven't seen any highlights of that game yesterday. I picked the Ireland-Scotland match to watch, as I had a game to referee and had to leave home by 10:30 to get there. I'll check it out.
This past week I saw an old tape of the '97 England-France match when France came back in the last quarter to score three tries and win. If yesterday's was anything like that game I want to see it.

6 Days, 3 Hours ago

Ireland take Six Nations 2015 title after dramatic day in tournament's history

You do have a point, and I do see it very clearly. I don't think there is a need for more 'playoff' games in the Six Nations. Perhaps the system developed is a good one after all, because it takes all the matches in consideration, not just head-to-head games where the current scenario was played out as you discuss.
Here in America the want for wins is over the top, and now it is considered the 'real' season when the basketball professional playoff games start in another month. It lasts until mid-June.
So then, with Ireland beating England by more than enough points, and only losing by seven to Wales, and Wales losing by a good margin to England, then Ireland seem to be the real champion when considering the three games played amongst themselves.

6 Days, 3 Hours ago

Ireland take Six Nations 2015 title after dramatic day in tournament's history

I question Ireland's winning the Six Nations because they lost head to head against Wales, but I don't make up the rules that are based on overall scoring of points, the aggregate. I guess that's the American in me. Our championships are based on who wins and loses, not on scoring of points when teams are tied with the same record.

Ireland were clearly the better team yesterday against Scotland, who get the Wooden Spoon once again. I read 1980's halfback Roy Laidlaw's assessment of Scottish rugby on the BBC website before the match yesterday. He had some interesting things to say, and he's Scotland's scrum half's uncle.

Now it's on to the World Cup. Can Ireland and Wales compete with the Southern Hemisphere teams and either come away with the Web Ellis Trophy? I hope so.

6 Days, 7 Hours ago

Ireland take Six Nations 2015 title after dramatic day in tournament's history

There might have been lots of tries scored yesterday, but that's because the games opened up some. There was a passage of play during yesterday's Ireland-Scotland match in which "end to end" stuff happened, more because of errors made than anything else. Knock-ons and kicks led to counterattacks. There seemed to be more inter-team passing than ball carriers just running into opposition to set up another boring 'ruck' followed by another a few yards up the pitch, to be continued on ad-naseum. So many times this season I've yelled at my computer (I've gotten the games on the net, not the TV) for players to pass the ball when they haven't. It's supposed to be rugby union, not rugby league!
The only law changes I would like to see are getting rid of "truck and trailer" (legalized obstruction) and a redefining of where or when a ruck ends, as in if there's just a few players involved in a ruck, and a ball is sitting at a "rearmost" player's foot, the ball actually has to be footed beyond the foot before a scrum half or acting scrum half can pick it up and handle it, because as it is now, a scrum half can pick up the ball in that situation (isn't that really hands in the ruck?). Other than that, perhaps the "use it or lose it" has to be applied quickly, as in the ball needs to be played immediately in that situation to avoid static rucks (as it is now there's sort of a delayed command from a ref to use it, but it's only after some time has elapsed). That might lead to more counter-rucking and getting more forwards in actually fighting for the ball instead of spreading out on defense across the field, or spreading out into the backline regarding the team in possession, and then there might be more space out in mid-field.
I also question some of the tactics. Is it wise to run dummies ahead of the ball?
Other than the risk of obstruction if there's contact with potential tacklers, dummy runners aren't in support of ball. It's overused in my opinion.

6 Days, 7 Hours ago