Wednesday, 6 May 2009

MSM makes good Point

Play Acting
A couple of articles caught my eye in The Rugby Paper this weekend (no link as they don't publish online) both were by Nick Cain. In the first he makes the point about gamesmanship and in the second he questions the reffing appointment for the Lions tour.
Gamesmanship will always be part of rugby, it is part of getting an edge against your opponent, physical, skill, stamina they are all as valid as a sly comment or witty slight. But Mr Cains is right “the stuff that is creeping in now needs to be slammed back in its box by referees...there is an epidemic of ruffling of hair, patting the head, or applauding an opponent who has been penalised”. The man is right, I would also add some of the more jubilant try celebrations too, hugging and kissing is for the girl friend or soccer players. A manly tap on the shoulder or shorts was more than enough for some of the greats of the game and so it should remain.
A couple of years ago in a junior 7s match at the talented No10 ran in his 4th try he made some comment to rub in the humiliation of the score. I awarded the try but restarted with a penalty. Hopefully that lesson will stick with him.
The Lions tests this year will see neutral IRB referees, with NZ, Australia and France providing the referees and the provisional referees being both British and South African. Mr Cains is concerned on two fronts, firstly the ability of the Aus and NZ referees to allow the Lions to scrummage, an area they should have an edge. Here I too am slightly worried, Stuart Dickinson during the Autumn tests failed to get to grips with England's scrummage nonsense and that day did a convincing display of being outfoxed by both front rows. That is as polite a description of his performance as I am prepared to make!
The second point is that during the last SA and NZ tours, some of the provincial games have taken a high physical toll on the star Lions' players, leaving the test side depleted and vulnerable. I don't see that happening this time. Firstly, all the referees are IRB panel referees, at the top of their game and secondly the 'home' referees include some of the best of the IRB panel Lawrence, Kaplan and Joubert. In fact, its shame the Lions insisted on neutral Test referees.

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