Comments and Replies: SUPER RUGBY: 7/3;8/3/2014

Thanks for replies.

One comment came from a classmate from Selborne College days, Aubrey Lentin. He says the constraints in the defenders' 22 and 'red zone' are a sufficient to deter professional fouls – yellow cards are given. I still think, it's a scourge for the attacking side. The inevitable fouls, coached I'm sure in many teams, lead sometimes, not always, to a yellow card and a penalty. Often, it's just a penalty e.g. the foul by one of the Reds' forwards five metres from his line in the match against the Cheetahs. The penalty was goaled so the attackers got three points, instead of a possible/probable seven! So I'll stick to my suggestion that penalties in those areas should be 4 or even 5 points.

The other matter Aub raised was drop kicks. He thinks they're playing too significant a role in matches, argues they should only be allowed from a kick from the opposing team. Once again, I can't agree. The drop kick, for me, is one of the most exciting examples of kicking for goal under pressure and can be resorted to whenever other avenues of attack have been exhausted because of the fantastic defence strategies being used in the modern game. Against the Blues, Jacques Louis Potgieter's drop from near the halfway line in a tight situation was sensational and exciting. Great skill!. In the Stormers vs Crusaders game, why Peter Grant, flyhalf replacement for the Stormers, appeared not to consider, let alone attempt, a drop in the last four minutes of the match, when the visitors were one point behind, is a mystery. He and his captain clearly suffered a momentary tactical and leadership bypass, and with the standard of play so high these days, any little mistake can change a result. What was Jaco Taute thinking when he did not pass to his unmarked wing, van Wyk, with an open try line a few metres ahead? Rush of blood? Overconfidence? Who knows? That decision, Simon Rhodes' offside and Ntubeni's appalling throw-ins at the lineouts cost the Stormers the game.

For the rest, the match had been evenly contested with Schalk Burger in awesome form; he was everywhere, brutal on attack, solid on defence, distributed well e.g. pass to de Villiers, who executed a perfect chip for the de Allende try. Groom and Catrakilis ( never seen him kick worse tactically) combined well in the face of some devastating tackling by the Crusaders under the inspiring Reid, but the Stormers gave a brilliant display of defensive technique that I have never seen equalled. Terrific!
( If I were asked, my advice to Todd Blackadder would be: don't keep Tom Taylor at flyhalf. He's wasted there, too close to the action; give him space at fullback or outside centre.)

I continue to be irritated to the point of anger by the refusal of the refs to blow consistently on the 'putting of the ball into a scrum'. Sure on Saturday, there were a few penalties, but let's look at the example of Weepu, of the Blues. He was penalised twice, after a great tight-head from Visagie, when Weepu had put the ball in straight. Immediately, he resorted to the crooked put in. After one of these, he was penalised again. He protested and the ref was heard to say, 'Yes, but not 'straight ENOUGH'. For heaven's sake, it's either straight or it's not; there's no 'straight enough'! Weepu had his man and put the ball in crooked at every consequent scrum without sanction.. Inexcusable!

Why are refs so 'stiptelik' about the accuracy of throwing in at lineouts and so pathetically unable to discipline scrum put-ins? The IRB has, after some time, now got the scrums steady and safe. There are fair encounters. This is important to the point that if scrums are not 'looked after', they'll become merely a way of restarting play. If we don't keep scrums that play a significant part in providing good ball for the backs, we're on the road to Rugby League. No matter how often Ashwin Willemse parrots on week in week out on TV, that 'it all starts in the front row'; any one with eyes to see can tell it doesn't. Of course, there are occasions when a really powerful effort can lead to a vital penalty or a pushover try, but they're rare.) These days, mauls are the thing.

While we're on about small errors leading to tries, how about the knock-on by Kriel, from a perfectly good pass which led, in the Lions vs Sharks match, to a brilliant try from the brilliant Paul

Neil Jardine

Captained Rhodesia 1962 – 1969 Rector of Michaelhouse. (1978-1986)

"Rugby is a thinking game – its’ not a running or a kicking game. This mania for running with the ball and playing open rugby at all costs is stupid – you must adapt yourself to the circumstances and play to your strength"

Now 50 years later Niel Jardine writes for Frosty Rugby Fans ...

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