Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Michael Cheika Takes Rugby Back To Mindless Violence!

Many of those of us old enough to understand, still glory in what Kevin Skinner did to Japie Becker and Chris Koch in 1956.
With no TV replays,  referees who struggled to either understand or appreciate the dark arts of close contact areas of Rugby,  had no idea what the two Saffa  bully boys  were doing to the All Black front row as they dominated scrums in the first two tests, suffice to say Bekker and Koch were just being dominant. After they gave grief to the NZ scrum  in the first two tests Kevin Skinner was brought back from retirement to try and even things up and he did just that. Yes Skinner was the NZ heavy weight boxing champ but he also with his attitude and demeanour and his very skilled fists,  had the two SA props subdued in minutes. Chris Koch was felled, knocked out with a big punch missed by the referee but the impact was heard many meters back in the crowd, then KS went to the other side of the front row and sorted Bekker.

Richard Low was the last NZ prop to attempt to bring violence to the table and eventually even he worked out that thuggery and violence were no answer and should you meet Richard Low today you could be forgiven for wondering if you just encountered his brother.

What Cheika is defending Skelton and Latu for doing to Sam Whitelock in Sydney on Saturday night, an incident that was potentially career ending for the Crusaders Lock, was far more serious than Cheika's dismissive defence implies. In scrappy play Whitelock ended up standing with the ball after the whistle had blown only to be picked up and spear tackled by the two Cheika bovver boys and had Sam not been able to get his arms free to  break his fall he could have joined League stars Jarrod McCracken and Alex McKinnon with a career ending spinal injury. Not so bad for McCracken he can  still walk after Kearney's effort but the freak accident suffered has McKinnon in a wheel chair and contemplating suing the ARL.
It was unforgivable and an unnecessary move to violence as an intimidation tactic and has no place in modern rugby, I note Whitelock is missing next week with concussion issues, no surprise there.
Rugby will always have such  things occur in the heat of battle but it is difficult to find an Irishman who thinks Tana Umaga and Kevin Mealamu  innocent after they injured the Irish star and skipper  Brian O'Driscoll in Lions 2005 who suffered a similar assault, the big difference being that was a tackle badly executed in play but such finer points disappear rapidly when the outcome is career ending. Cheika's thugs being defended  by him and handed pathetic stand-downs that are to be appealed all happened after the eighth match in charge referee, had blown his whistle for a restart.
Just to illustrate the ludicrous mind gymnastics of the Waratah coach who in his defence of Skelton, Cheika claims it is hard for him with  his 2m plus frame to tackle low. Hoy you numpty the big thug had Sam grasped around his chest it was thug number  two who lifted the legs and it was all taking place seconds after the ref blew his freakin whistle.

Of course in earlier times Mr Latu would have had his face altered and possibly might have needed the services of an orthodontist and Mr Skelton would have been limping around as a spare wing/fullback in the days when no substitutes were allowed from the efforts of a Kevin Skinner,  a  Frank Oliver, a Mark Shaw or any of the other enforcers that were an integral part of rugby. Now we have moved to a more civilised era where Video replays and judiciary hearings have replaced the enforcers but it would seem that Mr Cheika has a different take on such niceties.
Of course Mr Latu also committed the now unforgivable error of taking a poke at Wyatt Crocket in the resulting melee, add in the no arms cleanout of McCaw from behind plus the unique tackling style of Fijiian winger Naiyaravovo,  and the tactical nous of Mr Cheika soon to take over the Wallabies is revealed as not very nice.

Footnote as to how serious the old retribution tactics could be very severe and not fair, All Black Lock in that memorable 1956 third test at Lancaster Park where moi was a spectator, Tiny White, scored a try but his career was ended in the fourth test at Eden Park when he was kicked in the spine while prone on the ground when a Saffa mistook him for Kevin Skinner who by then was probably the most hated All Black ever, in the eyes of the Boers.

If the ARU think Michael Cheika is the way forward then just watch how the more enlightened ARL and Football Australia continue to leave the fourth ranked footy code languishing in their benighted current state of idiocy over thugs being thugs.

Disclaimer, My attitude to mindless violence has no connection to my being ordered off for punching an opposition player  'Zombie', who gave a rabbit punch to one of my teammates, 'Scone',  while he was helpless and bound in a ruck c1961, that was well worth the walk of shame.


Cedric said...

Two incidents of mindless thuggery spring to mind for me.

The first, twenty-five odd years ago Hamilton hosted the Provincial Championship final between Waikato and Otago. As they ran onto the field, Otago was greeted with the sort of booing one normally associated only with Canterbury crowds. The match was an even contest until 20 or so minutes into the first half. At that point, and clearly visible to the crowd, a Waikato "enforcer" gouged the eyes of the Otago fullback (then the current All Black fullback) at a ruck. Unable to see properly, the Otago fullback left the field ten minutes later, but already the game was over as a spectacle as Otago's last line of defence was no longer able to perform adequately. Waikato won the game rather easily.

The second, a small-time club game in a rural province in the North Island. A novice farm boy is winning lineout ball for his club against a 40 year old legend of the game of whom it was said you could slip a cigarette paper under his boots when he jumped (these were the pre-lifting days).
The legend impressed upon the youngster that if he took the ball again in the lineout, he would be unable to walk off the field. Advice taken and the legend's team won.

Tinman said...

Rugby will always have such things occur in the heat of battle but it is difficult to find an Irishman who thinks Tana Umaga and Kevin Mealamu innocent after they injured the Irish star and skipper Brian O'Driscoll in Lions 2005 who suffered a similar assault, the big difference being that was a tackle badly executed in play


In one of the worst acts of thuggery on a rugby field the gutless thug and his no.2 attacked O'Driscoll while he was locked into a maul, unable to defend himself.

I stopped reading at this point, you had a point but backing it up with lies negates it.