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Jonathan Kaplan

Jonathan Kaplan

What a difference a week makes…

 

The Rugby Championship:

We saw 2 very good test matches, particularly the All Blacks vs Springboks game, played in the Cake Tin.

It was played at tempo for the duration of the match and was superbly refereed by Jerome Garces. Chalk and cheese between what we saw last week.

He seemed to be able to make his decisions with ease, without pressure, and for the most part they were well timed, and accurate. He added huge value to a compelling test match which was deservedly won by the All Blacks.

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Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw scores against the Springboks.

Thinus Delport acknowledged that New Zealand’s superior experience and mental strength was the difference as they earned a late victory.

He said: “It’s that winning mentality – not panicking, staying calm, making the right decisions.

That’s what it boils down to. One simple error at this level and the game changes.

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Tatafu Polota-Nau

No good: Ewen McKenzie talks to Tatafu Polota-Nau at halftime.

The Wallabies may have denied Argentina on the Gold Coast, but they could travel to South Africa without the man who helped make the 32-25 victory possible.

Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, whose assured set piece work helped deny the Pumas their customary scrum dominance in the first half at Cbus Stadium, has injured his left ankle and is in “serious doubt” for the Wallabies’ final two Tests of the Rugby Championship.

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AustraliaArgentinaWallabies (14) 32 / 25 (7) Los Pumas (Final Score)

The Australian Wallabies and Argentinian Pumas did battle in Round 4 of The Rugby Championship at

Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast at 12:00 SA Time (20:00 AEST, 07:00 ARG Time, 10:00 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 on TV in SA.

*******************

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Matthew Burke

Matthew Burke

With the recent pedantic display of refereeing, it pains me to say that the World Cup could turn into a game of whistle-blowing, ruining the experience for the spectators and more importantly the players.

Some of the technical refereeing that has been on display has eliminated any “feel” for the game.

Right now, the blokes in the middle are trying to put on their best show to be chosen to get a gig in England in 2015. But who is judging their performance so they get to secure a position as a top whistle-blower?

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All Blacks vs SpringboksI must admit I was (and still am) furious about the Springbok loss in the last minute of the match last week against the Wallabies from Australia. Specially with the constant box kick tactics.

I hate losing but can accept it if the team plays proper rugby. I get furious when the team plays below potential because they are too scared or too careful. I thought that the Springboks played below what they are capable of, last week.

I am not a fan of kicking your possession away.

I played for the university Under 20 team in the 1980′s mosly as flyhalf and inside centre, in a time when Naas Botha was the ‘role model’ of flyhalf play in South Africa. I worked hard at my kicking game because Naas sort of set the template for flyhalf play in those days, but rarely kicked in matches because I just disliked the idea of kicking hard earned possion away. Nevertheless, I scored or created tries on occasion by utilzing the high kick and charge.

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SuperBruRound 3 of the Rugby Championship ended in heartbreak for the Springboks when they went down to Australia by 1 point in the final few minutes of what was not an entertaining match at all.

The referee, the yellow card to Bryan Habana, the failed touchfinder by Morné Steyn and various other reasons have already been dissected and discussed, so we won’t dwell on those.

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George Clancy

In the spotlight: George Clancy

SANZAR are looking to bring in a challenge system in order to combat refereeing errors, with each team allowed three per game.

Following in the footsteps of cricket and tennis, teams would be able to challenge a referee’s decision, while the TMO would be used only for these challenges, leaving the on-field referee to make the rest of the calls.

There are currently concerns that referees are hiding behind their TMOs at the moment, rather than making their own decisions, and the official in charge would now be responsible for deciding on tries and incidents of foul play.

The news comes after a weekend where both Rugby Championship games featured controversial refereeing decisions, with Argentina denied a perfectly good try when Pascal Gauzère called a knock-on on a charge-down from Leonardo Senatore.

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ArgentinaArgentina have dumped both their starting wingers as they aim for a maiden Rugby Championship victory on Saturday night against the Wallabies on the Gold Coast.

The Pumas have made three changes to the run-on side which fell 28-9 to the All Blacks last weekend, with suspended lock Tomas Lavanini replaced by the youthful Matias Alemanno in the only alteration to their powerful forward pack.

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Tony Johnson

Tony Johnson

The Rugby Championship is, many would argue, the pre-eminent event of its type outside the World Cup.

It may lack the history, and maybe even some of the ingrained tribalism of the Six Nations, but more often than not since 1996 it has featured the top three ranked teams in the world, and many of the best players on the planet.

It has produced some of the most thrilling, spectacular matches ever played, in front of some of the biggest crowds ever to watch the sport.

It is an elite showcase of the game, and it deserves better than what we saw at the weekend.

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WhistleIt has been widely acknowledged that the standard of refereeing in the Rugby Championship this past weekend was less than stellar. All lovers of the game, from fans through to coaches and players, are justifiably exasperated by such result-affecting calls by refs.

Sadly, this is not the first time and, probably, won’t be the last time the rugby world is incensed by sub-standard refereeing performances – unless something proactive is done to address what is a very real problem.

What is missing in all the blustery huffing and puffing though, are solutions or suggestions that the IRB (or World Rugby) can use to address the problem.

So here are my suggestions. My solutions. As just a passionate lover of the sport. See if you agree or disagree. Pick them apart. Point out their weaknesses. Tell me why they won’t work. No hard feelings. All I ask is that for every criticism, you offer an alternative solution.

Hopefully with all the traffic Rugby Talk.com is attracting these days, someone of influence will read all our comments and maybe… just maybe… do something positive with them.

I believe a three-part solution will sort out most of the issues but, like anything, there has to be the political will to address and sort out the problem instead of worrying about offending egos or apportioning blame.

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AustraliaWaratahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau will play his 50th Test after being named for the Wallabies to start against Argentina in his first match since the Super Rugby final.

Polota-Nau injured the medial ligament in his right knee in the Waratahs’ historic title win five weeks ago and has been gunning for a comeback ever since, joining the Wallabies 10 days ago to finish his rehabilitation in camp.

He made it through a contact session on the weekend, ran with the side at training on Monday before being named to start on Tuesday in his 50th Test appearance and his first Test since the Wallabies’ final triumph against France in June.

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Josh Mann-Rea

Not quite Julia Roberts, but still a happy hooker – Josh Mann-Rea

Josh Mann-Rea has saved the number of the Wallabies coach in his mobile phone so he never again thinks he’s being pranked with a call-up every rugby journeyman dreams of.

Not getting on as a reserve against South Africa last weekend for the most unlikely Wallabies debut of the professional era has only slightly dented the fairytale that Mann-Rea calls “my wild ride”.

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South AfricaYes, Irish referee George Clancy made some howlers at the weekend, but the Springboks should really have no excuses for losing to Australia in Perth.

The Wallabies sneaked a 24-23 victory after at one stage trailing 23-14 in the second half.

The performance of Clancy was no doubt below par, but the decision-making and poor execution of skills of the Springboks should also be highlighted.

Here are FIVE key moments which cost the Springboks in their Rugby Championship Test against the Wallabies in Perth:

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Tatafu Polota-Nau

Tatafu Polota-Nau

Injury-plagued hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau is set for a shock Wallabies starting return to quell an improved Argentinian outfit closing in on a maiden Rugby Championship victory.

Polota-Nau, without a game for six weeks, will Tuesday be named as one of three changes to Australia’s line-up for Saturday night’s clash on the Gold Coast.

While coach Ewen McKenzie is poised to promote winger Peter Betham and back-rower Ben McCalman, to replace injured stalwarts Adam Ashley-Cooper and Wycliff Palu, he could have easily eased Polota-Nau back on the bench.

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Jonathan Kaplan

Jonathan Kaplan

Do I really need to confirm what everyone else already knows… This was not a good weekend for referees!

We are operating in a system where I have said that these type of weekends are not avoidable and until key elements of the system are exposed, and then adequately addressed, this will continue into the future.

The referees are not getting it right, and it is pointless saying after the fact, that things need to be looked at, when the writing was on the wall from the get go.

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Greg Growden

Greg Growden

The Wallabies have at last beaten someone perched above them in the world rankings.

It has taken awhile.

But if the Australian players and management seriously start believing they are back on track then it’s time for them to take some ‘truth pills’.

Their one-point win over the Springboks was deeply flawed, exposed many of their inherent weaknesses including a lack of discipline, and showed their fundamental skills are at best average.

The Wallabies can also no longer carry on about being a luckless team, as they received the benefit of a string of dreadful decisions from referee George Clancy, who should have his whistle confiscated after such a diabolical performance. The Springboks have every right to cry foul as they were victims of numerous Clancy blunders.

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Heyneke Meyer

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer

The Springboks will need a monumental effort to down the All Blacks, but coach Heyneke Meyer believes South Africa can win for the first time in New Zealand in five years.

South Africa face to the world champions in Wellington next Saturday trailing by three points on the Rugby Championship standings after a last-gasp 24-23 loss to the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday.

It was the Springboks’ first defeat in this year’s four-nation tournament after winning back-to-back against Argentina, but they face their supreme test away to the All Blacks.

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The Rugby Chamionship(Revised)

Will Genia and Joe Tomane will join the Wallabies but Henry Speight’s Test start will have to wait, as Australia begin preparations to face an improved Argentina on the Gold Coast this week.

It is understood Genia is some way off his Test return but will be brought into the training squad this week, along with Tomane and Rebels centre Tom English, after playing in the National Rugby Championship on Saturday.

But in a disappointing development over the weekend, Speight will remain in Canberra after pulling out of an expected NRC appearance with a sore hamstring.

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Bryan Habana

Centurion Bryan Habana

The Springboks will seek “clarity” around Bryan Habana’s controversial sin-binning but have refused to blame match officials for their one-point loss to the Wallabies in Perth.

Referee George Clancy’s call to pull a yellow card from his pocket in response to Habana’s high shot on Australian winger Rob Horne in the 65th minute lit up social media with a torrent of criticism for Clancy and the International Rugby Board’s management of its match officials.

And while a clearly agitated Heyneke Meyer walked into the post-match media conference after the match, the South African coach demurred from jumping on board, calling instead for “consistency” across the board.

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The Rugby ChampionshipNew Zealand (13) 28 / 9 (6) Argentina

It was never going to be pretty, but the All Blacks will find plenty to admire when they look back on a 28-9 win over Argentina.

Steve Hansen’s side delivered enough to keep their coach smiling as they ran in four tries to remain unbeaten in this year’s Rugby Championship.

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Bryan Habana

Out of Africa: Bryan Habana trains with the Springboks in Perth this week.

Bryan Habana likes to talk about what rugby has done for him.

He talks about the 1995 World Cup, when he was an 11-year-old boy in a bubble of privilege with an abstract understanding of the dividing force of apartheid in his country, but no experience of its implications.

He talks about the path he was put on, one afternoon at Newlands Stadium, when his father pulled him out of school and drove him down from Johannesburg to watch the Springboks beat the Wallabies in the opening round of that historic tournament.

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Jean de Villiers

Jean de Villiers

South Africa captain Jean de Villiers says the Wallabies might be feeling some “psychological pressure” going into Saturday’s clash after dropping their last three Tests by 20 points or more to the Springboks.

After years of Mandela Challenge Plate dominance, the Wallabies have gone missing in the two sides’ last three hit-outs, going down 28-8, 38-12 and 31-8.

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Wycliff Palu

Copping criticism: Wycliff Palu

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has rejected a stinging accusation that Wycliff Palu “dogged it” at Eden Park and let Australia down badly in the heavy loss to the All Blacks.

Former Test fullback Greg Martin made the comments on FoxSports Rugby HQ program on Thursday night and they caused a sizeable ripple in Perth ahead of the Wallabies’ next Test with South Africa tomorrow night.

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Ewen McKenzie

Ewen McKenzie

After a draw and a lopsided loss to New Zealand in the Rugby Championship, Australia goes into its match against South Africa on Saturday with a chance to give coach Ewen McKenzie a first a win against a team ranked ahead of the Wallabies.

In his 18th test as Wallabies coach, McKenzie still hasn’t led the third-ranked team to a win over a side with a better International Rugby Board ranking.

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Michael Hooper

Michael Hooper

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has put South Africa on notice, saying he wants both their No.2 world ranking and the Mandela Challenge Plate back.

With Australia ranked third behind the All Blacks and Springboks, wins in Perth and then Cape Town could see them rise to No2 for the first time under new coach Ewen McKenzie.

It would also see them regain the Mandela Plate, which they lost last season after holding it for three years.

And it all starts at Perth’s Patersons Stadium this Saturday.

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Wallabies

The Wallabies

How does a Wallaby supporter feel about the upcoming test?

If you had asked Wallabies fans at the start of the year if they’d be happy with three wins, a draw and a loss to start the season nearly everyone would have replied in the affirmative.

Last week you might have thought the sky was falling given the angst of many Wallaby supporters.

This week we have a different challenge. The South African Barbecuing Behemoths have sashayed into Perth for what many of them think is a home game.

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Long road taken: Josh Mann-Rea to answer Wallabies S.O.S.

Long road taken: Josh Mann-Rea to answer Wallabies S.O.S.

ACT Brumbies third-string hooker Josh Mann-Rea is on the verge of a shock Wallabies call-up as coach Ewen McKenzie battles an “unbelievable” injury toll that is set give former coalminer Mann-Rea his national debut.

Injured Wallabies captain Stephen Moore says Mann-Rea has the resolve to perform on the international stage, as the rake known as “Bongo” contemplates the biggest moment of his career.

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Francois Hougaard

Game face: Francois Hougaard

Talk about the one per centers.

The Springboks are trialling top-secret technology to give themselves an edge in the Rugby Championship.

Every player has been kitted out with two sets of hi-tech glasses designed to beat jet lag and help their bodies adjust to the time zone in Perth this week.

The Springboks were reluctant to talk about the gadgets when they were raised – in Afrikaans – at a press conference this week, even asking South African journalists to hold off writing about the innovation until after the side’s two-week tour of Australia and New Zealand.

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Morné Steyn

Danger man: Morné Steyn at Springbok training in Perth on Tuesday.

In the 60th minute of the Springboks’ 33-31 win against Argentina two weeks ago, replacement No 10 Morné Steyn ripped a beautiful flat pass, left to right, to take out two Pumas defenders and put Jean de Villiers in enough space to release Cornal Hendricks for a crucial try.

South Africa has gone back to what it knows against the Wallabies on Saturday – Steyn replaces youngster Handré Pollard and Victor Matfield returns to run the lineout – and it makes it more dangerous for the Wallabies. More predictable?

Possibly, but the Springboks have never done unpredictability well. Territory, set piece, hard kick chases, pressure. It is still a base game that is hard to defeat, especially if the Perth forecasters are right and there are showers and strong winds on Saturday.

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Richie McCaw

TRY TIME: Richie McCaw rises after scoring a try off the back of a maul in the All Blacks’ Eden Park test against the Wallabies.

The All Blacks have got the masters of the maul thinking hard, with Springboks bosses intrigued at New Zealand’s innovative and successful tactics with this crucial attacking weapon during the early phases of the Rugby Championship.

The big Boks packs have long set the standards in mauling, but assistant coach Johann van Graan has admitted intrigue over the way the All Blacks have developed the art as they displayed in demolishing the Wallabies at Eden Park.

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Recent Comments

  • MacroBok 16 Sep 2014, 09:23 SAST - @ ryecatcher: No problem, whatever happened, forgiven an no doubt forgotten. :Wink:
  • Jeraldjay 16 Sep 2014, 09:22 SAST - Yeah can the Championship. A 3 test series will be mouth watering. Alternate home and away series.
  • ryecatcher 16 Sep 2014, 09:19 SAST - @ MacroBok: Hi Pal. Apologies for mistaken identity the other day.
  • Scrumdown 16 Sep 2014, 09:14 SAST - "On Thursday, the start of RWC 2015 will be exactly one year away" AND, on Friday 19th September applications for...
  • Te Rangatira 16 Sep 2014, 08:18 SAST - This piece from Nel sums it up to a T....
  • NZINCHINA 16 Sep 2014, 03:43 SAST - "Yes the Boks should have won " - territory and possession tells us a very different story, you could have...


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