A few years ago… okay more’n 20 (i.e. the 80’s) Tony Greig famously questioned Merv Hughes’ inclusion in the Aussie ODI squad to face Sri Lanka. Fat Merv opened the bowling, Fat Merv ripped Lanka to pieces… and Bill Lawrie similarly gloated on air “Stick thadup yer arse Tony Greig!”… I have a similar gloat today….
On Friday afternoon I had the displeasure of reading my least favorite “rugby writer” (I use the words guardedly as some may assume I in some way attribute some form of rudimentary knowledge to the fool) Peter Bills.
having gloatingly castigated the Boks throughout the Tri-Nations for their staid stuffy conservatism, Bills was back to his old tricks despite all logic dictating otherwise. In this pre Ireland piece he wrote that he hoped the Boks had learnt something from their Tri-Nations humiliation as well as Australia’s thrilling win in Hong Kong. The days of successful Bok rugby with its staid forwards and defence as strengths was now obviously over and the new era of soda pop wannabe league had arrived.
He expressed the view that if the Boks had brought their usual game to Europe … well let’s just say he reckoned we’d get clobbered. He suggested we should follow the Sharks’ attack from all over the field approach. Dynamism, speed, ball in hand stated this guru of the game would win the Grand Slam… and a new game had dawned… he blahs on about fresh faces and new vigor and insisting we play Sharks rugby or Ireland would beat us…
In true gloating Aussie fashion..
Stick THAT up yer arse…
It must gall you even more that your favorite wet dreams (one wonders if you still experience those given that at your age male menopause must have exacted its toll long ago) of scintillating Barbarians rugby was not just shot down in flames by South Africa yesterday and winningly so, but that England and Wales managed to do exactly the same thing… neither of the latter two Northern hemisphere sides have anything to be ashamed of and England can thank the Poirot like bias of a certain Froggie for their own loss as I will point out later.
But back to the three games in question.
In the midweek even posters on our site said that Australia and New Zealand were “showing the way” and the staid old England / Bokke forwards and defence and good scrumhalf / kicker style was dead and buried and Bok rugby would have to adapt or die… the Bokke consequently came out and delivered a Tight Eight game of rare brilliance ever seen as they took Ireland’s vaunted champagne backline clean out of the game by simply not giving them the ball and tackling the crap out of the 9, 10 and 12… is Kirchner a decent enough 13? Well we don’t know because our forwards were so good he didn’t get a chance to test himself defensively against BOD… the vaunted Bowe and Kearsney and Fitzgerald were as good as the All Black back three and if that kicking moron Steyn tried his tricks with them we’d get whatfor… except that the vaunted Steyn and Aplon dropped bomb after bomb on the Irish who looked like hapless Iraqi soldiers under Stealth Fighter attack in Gulf war 1 when they saw balls dropping… the Boks lost a single contest for an up and under… and Aplon was particularly great at chasing his own kicks down…
Given their fat mouths before the game… it appeared that this time it was 2004 reversed… the Irish pitched up certain to win against a disrupted poorly coached woefully understrength Bok side… and the latter did their talking between the four white lines while Ireland left their game in the changeroom… If a moment summarized it for me… okay two… it was Bakkies Botha… in the first ruck some Irish troublemaker clearly out of malice, took Bakkies out and fell on top of him… intention to elicit the temper… unfortunately for Ireland… Bakkies pushed the Mick off and followed the ball… first moment… second one is BOD high tackles Lambie – again pretty clearly intimidation tactics – and we get a penalty (the one Lambie missed)… Bakkies walks up to BOD, makes the high tackle penalty sign (looks like throat slitting with a hand) then wags his finger at BOD… it’s pretty clear what he meant. Try that sh*t again “dan’s dit ek en jy maatjie…”… BOD got the mesage…
Anyway we did our talking on the field between the four white lines… Ireland did theirs in the newspaper… In some recess of my mind I hope they had Bills’ snot against their wall before they ran out..
Now England v New Zealand
This is a game where England’s 15 almost managed an upset win against New Zealand’s 16, but luckily Paddy NoBrain had properly briefed his choice for the NZ team well before the game because he missed so many New Zealand infringements that one has to REALLY wonder how he became an international referee… I thought that this would be a runaway for New Zealand… after all a new game has dawned (to coin a phrase from someone who believes his history as an international croquet player stands him in good stead to be similarly proficient at commentating on rugby)
After 15 minutes I got intensely annoyed. It was clear England would lose… but that just because New Zealand’s 16th player was ensuring that England was getting nailed… I took my notepad, pressed record and then last night rewatched the game – I concentrated only on penalizable New Zealand offences that went unpunished…
I’ll just mention two passages of play but before that… all in all in the 65 minutes I watched the ref missed 35 penalizable New Zealand offences at the breakdown and obvious other ones.
This is with England in possession and on attack just before half time:
33:11 #7 “seals” the ruck ball from comeptition by going off his feet.
33:27 #15, 8 and 5 seal the tackle ball off their feet at ruck.
37:42 #7 is about 2 metres in front of Dan Carter’s 25 meter drop out but catches the ball .
38:13 #7 tackles and immediately competes off feet without allowing tackled player to place the ball
40:19 #7 seals ball at breakdown off his feet right after England gets penalized for the same thing
41:10 #7 tackle assists and then off his feet competes for the ball – prevents tackled player from playing ball.
This occurs while New Zealand is on the defensive against England in the “danger zone’ – this after in between minute 23:30 and 23:43 New Zealand consecutively infringe penalizably at rucks in the danger zone but get no warning… England slot three but the All Blacks should have been warned.
Right after the break England again attacks and we have this passage:
47:28 Several New Zeland players simply drop onto a ruck to seal the ball
48:48 #4 and 6 seal the ball
49:30 #11 holds onto ball and prevents turnover to legitimate competitors for ball
50:14 #5 seals ball to prevent it being stolen from #10 in ruck[At this stage vuilgat Keven Mealamu allows his inner Samoan to get out and head butts Tom Moody – nobody sees this]
Okay i lied… just one more incident… other posters have asked me to detail exactly how New Zealand gets away with things… well here—
64:56 Play ends and England #16 cleans out ruck after whistle. NZ #4 feels hard done and retaliates punching him to the ground… ref sees and ….. warns Kiwi but takes NO FURTHER ACTION. If it were a Bok…. well let’s just say Jannes Labuschagne went off for far far less…. in 2001
Those are just from certain passages of play. Last night I told Jacques here that the poor refereeing changed the complexion of the game and made the cheating vuilgat New Zealanders look far better than they are… England should have won this… that they did not is proof to me that New Zealand intimidates refs with their “aura” of black… I said England should have won… I stand by that. Take it further… in this new era of ball in hand the most staid Northern Hemisphere team of all managed to hold New Zealand close despite their playing style and despite the style of New Zealand…
Yet again an example of “Stick that up yer arse Peter Bills”
Australia v Wales
The Aussies were just as unconvincing with their champagne and mineral water spurting rugby against a usually similarly running wales. The Welsh whacked Aussie scrums, tackled them back and lost because Stephen Jones had a wayward kicking day.
If Wales had the backline quality that we do the score would have been different. The fact that with their verve on attack against a weak team who appeared to adopt the Bok style for this game resulted in just three tries… and far apart… on 7 mins, 48 and 60 minutes should be a damning indictment on the success of the “new dawn” game right at its birth…
Stick that up yer arse Peter Bills…