Sunday, June 10, 2018


Sanctioning what may or may not be foul play in Rugby has become tiresome to the point of ridicule during a match.

Last night a test at Eden Park under the whistle of English Referee Luke Pearce went from a finely balanced contest between two teams playing hard to a 40 point blow out when a French lock was yellow carded at the 51 minute mark.
His suggested heinous offence established by Pearce without reference to any review or conversations with the other three international referees, one Aussie who no longer runs but watches TV, one Irishman, and another Aussie who some rate as one of the best, Englishman Pearce in charge of his first Tier one international  test, sent French lock Gabrillagues to the sin bin for ten minutes with the scores locked.
What was revealed by endless replays as a  fair tackle on NZ number 12 Crotty never went near Crotty's head or even his neck although to be fair in real time it did look bad the way the tackler took his opponent backwards to prevent a quick recycle.
A little later in the game in a keystone cops routine Sam Cane did connect with the jaw of a Frenchman before head butting a fellow all black prop Tuangafasi leading to Cane being assessed for an HIA and resulted in a penalty to France only.

I am the first to admit a serious concern for the downstream knockon effects of brain injury for sportsmen and women as evidenced by Auckland and AB Halfback  Steve Devine who was portrayed on a TV doco some time ago with his clear signs of brain damage from repeated concussions that eventually forced his retirement and he played in a slightly more benign environment than we see in current games.

Cane's effort might well merit a judiciary intervention as his victim suffered a head jolt clearly revealed in TV replays yet Crotty who has had recent time out for concussions went straight back into action.

League has its own issues but I will say again, put such lesser indiscretions "On Report", dish out a penalty and get on with the game. The TMO can intervene to his "miked up colleague" with the whistle yet surprisingly the howler that saw a crook decision from Pearce virtually change the game from an even arm wrestle to a blow out of three tries while the visitors were a man down and clearly suffering some distraction at the howler.

Referees are humans and can not always get it right, having two wont change that.

The later game saw The Wallabies overcome the Northern Hemisphere Champions and the Saffas made it three from three for the super rugby nations in Jo'berg,.
In the test at Suncorp, TMO interventions again had a major impact with "foul play" that many might assess as hard rugby in a contact sport causing try disallowals and the many minutes searching for replays making entertainment merge with frustration for fans.

Meanwhile Scotland are content with Canada and The USA Eagles until the 23rd June when they will have Los Pumas to contend with.

The Gin swilling old farts need to get of their Chaise longues, review yellow cards and the judiciary before Rugby becomes embedded in the Comedy series on TV.