Our sport is more enjoyable to watch than it was in the olden times when I was young, but there are a few things about the modern game I would rather be without. (I read this and posted it, purely because of Lee Grants obvious hatred of our boys, which he mentions on several occasions. What are your thoughts?)
greenandgoldrugby.com – Lee Grant
Some of them are trivial but hey, I’ve got off my arse to write something over Christmas!
• The try celebrations
Players in the old times were just as happy when they scored a try, believe me, and were probably more so because fewer were scored in those days. Team mates would give them a pat on the back too, and if the try won the game a few might jump up and down. But some of the convoluted celebrations these days wear a bit thin and others border on showing disrespect to opponents. One wonders if they would bother if the game wasn’t on TV.
• Cheap shots
There were more punches thrown in days gone by, but somehow I find that old practice more acceptable than the cheap shots we see today. McCaw is a pain in the arse but nothing he has done was worth the sly knee to the headQuade Cooper gave him. Sure, it didn’t hurt much and QC got away with it, but I have no doubt a majority of neutrals would judge that it was done on purpose, even if the Commissioner didn’t.
That’s just one example. In the old days his lights would have been punched out and if the ref stopped it in time he would have been sorted out in a ruck later on.
• Yellow cards not being used
In the Baas v Oz game commentator Stuart Barnes mentioned that Barbarian games had been spoiled by the ref not awarding yellow cards. It’s not just in the Baas games Stuart.
The card system was a good innovation but it has to be used more often than it is now. Some referees are too circumspect in fear of being assessed as too gung-ho. But if referees are too timid using cards they are going to be the same in other aspects of their performance and may as well be ditched or demoted anyway.
Sure, you don’t want to go too far the other way but refs and their assessors, should be informed that they are expected to be firm – like Romain Poite.
I hate them. Not on the Polynesian lads: it’s part of their culture, but a white fellow whose arms look like road maps? Give me a break. If they want to look tough, they should show it on the park.
• Citing Commissioners
Firstly, they miss too much, like the Schalk Burger repeated raking of Pocock’s face with his fingers in the RWC, and secondly, they are too weak when they do review it, as with the Cooper incident.
There is lucky dip lack of consistency in the treatment of offenders. I wrote a post a couple of years ago about how a cheap citing system could work in the Super14. It involved three Commissioners linking by Skype. It wasn’t rocket science but it would be a lot better than what they have now and it could be tweaked for test matches too.
Incidentally, unless a player is suspended for 6 months or a year for a major offence, he should be outed for a number of games, not a number of weeks – and for the level of rugby he was delinquent in, or higher. Thus a player who offends in a test match should be suspended for a number of tests. If a player transgresses in Super Rugby he should miss so many Super and/or test matches – whichever comes first .
I wouldn’t be too fussed if he played at a lower level of rugby during suspension from the higher levels, but it would require a paradigm shift in thinking, and I doubt therefore that it would ever be sanctioned. My point is that the suspension of players for a period of time can be a nonsense when there is not much on for the player during the period.
• Players throwing their bodies into rucks and mauls without binding
It’s a man’s game but this habit is becoming chronic and it adds little to the rugby spectacle. I’m thinking of you Schalk: you’re a shocker in that regard, probably the worst, but everybody does it, including “Aussie Dan” for the Wallabies.
There is a rationale behind the need to bind on a ruck or maul hit: it puts players in harm’s way, especially their shoulder joints – yet it is a built-in safety feature for opponents in the ruck and maul. Likewise, unlike in league, it protects the ball carrier in a tackle.
Union players are entitled to rely on enforcement of the requirement to use arms.
• Disrespecting opponents
I’m sorry guys but patting guys on the head or mocking opponents when they make a mistake, and other such crap after the whistle has blown, makes you look worse than the guy who made the mistake.
• Commentators saying there was nothing wrong with a high tackle when the initial impact with hand or arm didn’t do a lot, but then the defender used his grip on the head or neck to judo throw the ball runner down, or twist him around. What about that guys? And whilst you are at it how about a few unfavourable comments about defenders twisting heads around in the maul. I’m thinking of you Bakkies; stay north of the equator son; nobody is going to miss you down here except a few chiropractors.
• Referees enforcing some law infringements they notice, but not others.
You have to give some sympathy to refs because there are too many laws, and materiality comes into play.
The trouble is that, over time, referees as a group unwittingly establish conventions about which laws are to be enforced, and which, ignored. These conventions are not all bad: who wants to ping the attacking scrummie putting his hands into his own ruck and tugging the ball loose?
But allowing feeds 30 degrees skew on a 1 metre (tops) throw into the scrum, yet pinging the 10 – 15 metre throw to the lineout a few degrees off? It sounds like something straight out of Kafka, but we see it in every game. All that does is destroy the old rugby union contest of hooking for the ball. Who cares? I do.
Er, Lee, havent you said that the power hit has caused instability and the tunnel becomes compromised; so that’s why refs close a blind eye to the put-in behind the hookers feet? True, but why not enforce the law when the scrum is stable and the tunnel, credible?
And whilst we are on this subject: why don’t refs invoke the law that outlaws the packs charging into each other at scrum time? Sure, it’s a charge of only 6-12 inches, but it is a charge, and it is a law. Enforcing that would get rid of the power hit within 3 weeks as the ever pragmatic coaches deal with the new paradigm.
Engaging the front rows without the charge and enforcing the straight feed into the scrum will resurrect the hooking contest. Presently this is an endangered species of rugby combat, except in the far reaches of darkest amateur rugby,