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Sunday Sep 30, 2012

Bryan Habana hat-trick sinks the wounded Wallabies in Pretoria

Bryan Habana hat-trick sinks the wounded Wallabies in Pretoria
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Comments

Bryan Habana scored a hat-trick of tries as the Springboks dominated a battered Wallaby side at Loftus Versveld on Saturday. The home side scored five tries to one in a 31-8 rout, as they look to end their Rugby Championship campaign on a high.

The Springboks fielded two debutant starters in key positions, namely Johan Goosen at flyhalf and Jaco Taute at second center, but it only served to improve their game as they willingly spread the ball, playing a brand of rugby that South African fans have waited a long time to see.

They have since denied there was a change in game plan, but the exclusion of Morne Steyn seems to have made a difference to the general attitude with ball in hand. Goal kicking was still a concern though as they missed four of their first five kicks at goal. On this occasion it was fairly irrelevant though as they were comfortable in most other facets of the game, and led 14-3 at halftime.

The Wallabies went into the game with a late change forced through injury, and that set the tone as it looked like a battlefiend out there, with one horrible knock in particular for courageous Adam Ashley-Cooper, who saved a try, but left the field on a stretcher.

With ten minutes left they had made their alotted seven substitutions, so as if an earlier yellow card to James Slipper wasn’t enough to deal with, they were unable to bring on another player, so played the last ten with just 14 men on the field.

The Springboks took full advantage of both instances, scoring some lovely tries as Francois Louw combined with super-charged Habana on more than one occasion, and they had a third try ruled out by the TMO in the second half after great runs from Jean de Villiers and Ruan Pienaar.

In the end the scoreline could have been a lot worse for the visitors, as their resources were severely depleted and they are now in a situation where they have to travel to Argentina for their final Rugby Championship game, but will struggle to put together a full squad.

A bonus point win over Argentina, and a loss by South Africa to the All Blacks, would mean that the Wallabies could still finish in second place though.

30 Comments

  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    I think it would be very difficult to complete a pass like that. Think about it, you AIM when you pass, and I suppose what the rules are trying to say is that if your AIM is backwards then the pass is going to be fine. However an offside position is in front of you so what the ball carrier is going to have to do is sort of aim the ball behind him and pass it hoping the momentum would carry it forward quicker than the lateral movement could reach the offside player... An easy way to perhaps understand it is to consider the ball carriers body position, imagine standing still and passing the ball in three directions; 1. forward at 45 degrees, 2. lateral, and 3. backwards at 45 degrees (with lateral being the 0 degree mark)...The first pass would obviously be forward, the second pass would be fine as would the third... consider your body positioning when making those passes, you know where you arms, shoulders etc would be aiming. Now if you did the exact same passes but running you'd still have the same body positioning, and the outcome for all 3 would be the same, 1. forward 2,3 fine legal passes.... But really that link up there is good enough at explaining the incident for me...

    Reply
  •  eggman
    eggman

    If Slipper stayed on his feet I'd agree with you, I'm not sure though that he did. The angle we get from the camera doesn't really show whether he might be eaning on the bok player with his right leg. Rolland was better positioned to see that.. It looked fine from our angle though

    Reply
  •  eggman
    eggman

    The pass would be legal as long as it is thrown backwards, however, the player, for my understanding, would be offside and thus the opposition would be given a penalty

    Reply

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  • Can someone explain what Slipper's sin-binning was for? I only got to watch the highlights, but it looks to me like the tackled player was isolated and that both Wallaby players were well within their rights to try to pilfer the ball. Maybe another angle showed that Slipper did not maintain his feet?

    Reply
  •  foxtrot
    foxtrot

    "A throw forward occurs when a player throws or passes the ball forward." Key word/s there are throw/passes forward. You can pass it backwards, but it will still move forwards. Get that through your head. They do not pass it forward, it is passed backwards but momentum moves it forward. It is the passing action that you must look at, not the movement of the ball.

    Reply
  •  ando
    ando

    So they could have subbed Alexander back on (I think he had already been on the field, right?), but could not have brought on Fainga'a off the bench to replace Polota-Nau? All very confusing - now where's my rule book...

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    Exactly, that too was my point... As we can see here the pass is thrown from behind the halfway line and caught on the halfway line, the ball has travelled forward due to the momentum. Freeze there and look at the players, Habana is still behind the passing player. Therefore no one batters an eyelid. However if the passer is smashed, then EVERYONE batters an eyelid because he is hammered somewhere behind the halfway line and Habana catches the ball on the halfway line. I am just wondering if that is something a referee would call a forward pass because as you say the referee sees the passer on the ground before the half way line, so a "backwards pass" doesn't "look" right if it's caught on the half way line.. I never suggested this pass was actually forward, it is merely a question on interpretation...

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    Alex the kid, once again proving how child like he really is, I would say you've lost all credibility, but you never had any to begin with.

    Reply
  •  katman
    katman

    Your learn? Bloody rugby schools.

    Reply
  •  katman
    katman

    That's what you get for playing the "let's sub our fatties after 20 minutes so we can bring them back on later" game. It's borderline cheating, so karma was always going to pay a visit at some point.

    Reply
  •  katman
    katman

    The law says that once the ref has called uncontested scrums, an already subbed prop or hooker can't return to replace an "injured" prop or hooker. But in this game he hadn't actually called the first uncontested scrum yet, so technically they were within their right to bring Alexander back on. This would mean they'd have three props in the front row and one of them would take over line-out throws. So technically yes, but morally no.

    Reply
  •  ando
    ando

    What an absolute clusterf*ck from the Aussies, everything seemed to go wrong. Headless chooks in attack with no semblance of a game plan, with guys like Dom Shipperley proving yet again that they aren't worthy of the gold jersey, too much ball given up through excellent Springboks counter-rucking, and pretty soft all round (surprisingly, the Wallabies scrum notwithstanding). AAC proved himself yet again to be the class he is, putting his body on the line to stop a certain five-pointer - the guy's a legend. There hasn't been much chat about the ref's decision to not allow the sub onto the field and forcing the Aussies to play 14 on 15 (however endlessly amusing it was to see tubby Ben Robinson toss in the lineouts). I'm not sure of the ruling on this one, if they had used up their subs should they have still been allowed to make it for a front-rower?

    Reply
  •  eggman
    eggman

    I think Alexander couldn't come on anymore because at that time the ref already called for uncontested scrums and thus they couldn't swap him on anymore.. Anyway massive cock up by the Aussie coaches.. Hope that means that they stop subbing Robinson after 30 minutes to bring him back on later, or make him do some cardio so he can actually last 80 minutes...

    Reply

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  • I'm not so sure that Habana is not only the in-form wing in the world right now but perhaps the world's in form player (with Kieran Read running neck in neck). He was unbelieveable during that match, three tries, one of which he completely manufactured, huge defense, challenging for balls at the defensive ruck, initiating attack with quick penalties, and driving forwards over the line to score tries during mauls! What other wing, or player, currently contributes to his team's success in so many aspects? He'd probably win a tight head if given the chance!

    Reply
  •  guy
    guy

    I think we agree 100%. To clearify my point: the interpretation whether a pass is forward or not, changes the moment the player gets stopped dead in his tracks. The pass is the same, the interpretation is different because the referee looks at where the pass ends up in relation to where the player ends up. It's quite theoretical, apologies for that. Most of us seem to agree on which pass should be rules forward and which one doesn't. And, as Stroudos points out: within a few months we will have the same discussion.

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    As I've said up there, it's not something that I have ever really had to focus on too deeply, being a second row/back row player, passing is not something which comes into my game in huge quantities, also I am playing from a first person point of view therefore I don't view the pitch lines from a camera angle such as in this video. It is therefore something I have never really got 100% up to speed on. I was merely after some clarification that as long as the passers passing action is behind "himself" (towards his own try line) then the pass would be deemed acceptable regardless of where it ends up...in it's most basic watered down definition...

    Reply
  •  katman
    katman

    It was indeed the doctor who said he wasn't fit to play. And because they'd already used all seven their subs, they had to finish with 14. They had taken one of their props off early (might have been Robinson) and brought him back on later in the second half to replace Alexander (I think). This is meant to be an exception to the 7 subs law to prevent uncontested scrums, but the Wallabies have been doing this for a while now without the second prop even pretending to be injured. Because they'd already used all seven their subs, Fa'ingaa (spelling?) couldn't come on for the injured Polota-Nau and was wasted on the bench. Technically they could have brought Alexander back (as an uninjured front row forward can replace an injured front row forward without counting as one of the subs), but the ref didn't point out this option to them and they didn't seem to know they could. Just as well though, because this business of rotating the fatties early on only to bring them back when the next fatty gets tired makes a mockery of the subs rules and is not in the spirit of the law. In this case it appears that karma had the last laugh.

    Reply
  •  themull
    themull

    Didn't see the match but from the video it sounded like it was a doctor who told the ref that the player was unfit to continue...If that was the case then there is only one idiot in this discussion... If this wasn't the case then I don't see how the refs can stop a player being brought back on

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    The last time this debate reared its hideous ugly head on these pages, I went through the last three or four RD videos at that time and pointed out at least ten examples of legitimate passes that raised no eyebrows at all, but to the ill-informed observer might appear to be forward passes. I remember one in particular where the pitch markings were really handy, especially with the camera being on the halfway line - Dan Carter was about 3m short of the halfway line when he threw that pass and it was collected at least 2m into the other half. The ball travelled approximately 5m towards the opposition's tryline but no-one batted an eyelid - BECAUSE IT WAS NOT A FORWARD PASS!!

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    WTF is this? Gang trolling? Why do people STILL insist on bringing this up? It's been done to death on every known rugby-related site on the Earth-based Internet and probably some dedicated to physics. It has been illustrated unequivocally that a ball can travel forward even if it's been thrown backwards. "Just to be clear, I'm talking to evlloyd and Karl, who are monumentally wrong on this.)

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    So its really somewhat as I said, as long as the passing players hands are pointing backwards as he passes the ball, it sort of doesn't matter where it ends up (to some extent of course) because HE passes it BEHIND him...

    Reply
  •  eggman
    eggman

    Tough decision, I think though that the ball actually left Lowe's hands horizontally and then travelled forwards because of his momentum.. Thus it wouldn't be considered a forward pass. Generally though very difficult for the refs to see and i didn't notice it while watching the game live as being particularly forward. Just check out the video of memberbenefits if your unclear about the forward pass rule. It doesn't matter if the ball goes forwards, as long as the pass was backwards. This is because when a player runs 20 km/h and then passes, the ball is also travelling 20 km/h in the dircetion of the runner. Even if thrown backwards the ball still goes forwards because of that.

    Reply
  •  guy
    guy

    I see what you mean but it is not completely correct. If I throw a looping pass forward (American Football style) a player behind me might still be able to catch it. Still, it is a forward pass. You are right when you say most of the balls are carried forward by momentum. Most of those passes are considered legal. Only when the player passing the ball is stopped dead in his tracks a split second after passing the ball, the pass is considered forward. Talking about inconsistency...;-) So basicly you might conclude that whether a pass is forward or not is also (at least for a part) determined by the speed of the passer of the ball, after he threw it.

    Reply
  •  memberbenefits
    memberbenefits

    It's not rubbish as this video demonstrates http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=box08lq9ylg

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    The problem I have with that third try was if Lowe had stopped dead after he had passed it would it have been considered forward? I really haven't delved too deeply into the forward pass, momentum stuff, it generally doesn't concern me too much, however this video shows that Lowe passes at about the middle of that light strip of grass and Habana catches it pretty much on the halfway line, that is a fair amount towards the opposition try line.. So what we are saying is in theory as long as Lowe is running directly to the opposition tryline and his arms are pointing more towards his own try line as he passes the ball, then it doesn't really matter where it ends?

    Reply
  •  eggman
    eggman

    Well that was quite painful to watch.. good effort by the boks, Goosen looks way better than Steyn right now. Good to see them actually running the ball and going wide, instead of the boring kick and chase and bashing away with the forwards that we've seen in the last couple years. Difficult to rate the Aussie performance because there were so many injuries before and during the game. The way South Africa played though even the best Wallabie side would have struggled to win.. I'm just hoping that they got enough players to play Argentina next week ;)

    Reply
  •  eggman
    eggman

    I don't think it's obstruction because it's behind the ball carrier. The Springbok is entitled to run his support line for Habana and doesn't have to make room for uncoming defenders.

    Reply
  •  facepalm
    facepalm

    It doesn't matter if the ball goes forward. It matters if the ball was passed forward. In this case Lowe was sprinting full tilt so momentum carried the ball forwards, even though it was initially passed backwards. Therefore the pass is considered not to be forwards.

    Reply
  •  facepalm
    facepalm

    Habana's got to be the world in-form winger at the moment. It's hard to see who else would contend with him for that spot. I'm definitely interested to see how North fares against him in the upcoming tests. Another interesting upcoming battle is the rematch between Waburton and Pocock. I find the main difference between the back rowers of each hemisphere is the intensity of the way in which they hit each ruck. Southern hemisphere players tend to absolutely throw themselves at it, something you see much less of in the 6N. That's my thought anyway.

    Reply
  •  evlloyd
    evlloyd

    The old forward pass debate comes to mind with Habanas third try there. the ball clearly moved forward from the point of origin, and yet with the two players running forwards Habana remained behind the passer as he received it. I think its technically a forward pass. So much for Roland being a stickler to the letter of the law (WC Semifinal anyone?)

    Reply

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