The two Rugby Championship games at the weekend provided several major talking points & controversies both on and off the pitch.
In addition there was also more ‘falling out’ that poured petrol on the flames of the ‘global season’ debate (spelt ‘debacle’).
The continued low state of Wallaby rugby has been well discussed in the Australasian media since Saturday, but it is some of the less savoury incidents that have attracted most attention.
Owen Franks was quickly cleared by Sanzar regarding the alleged ‘eye gouging’ of Kane Douglas as there being ‘no case to answer’.
Predictably Steve Hansen & NZRU immediately responded ‘quite right too’ – with almost the same indecent haste as Sanzar.
Having seen the various online videos of the incident I was a bit surprised at the rapid decision – if Sanzar have film of different angles that support their clearance then frankly (ha ha) they should release them.
The rules state something along the lines of ‘don’t shove your digits anywhere near the blokes minces’ -possibly expressed slightly less colloquially. I don’t know where the NZRU & Sanzar were looking but it wasn’t at the videos I’ve seen!
As one commentator (admittedly not a Kiwi) suggested – if that had been a Springbok prop he’d be about to start a 10 week vacation!
The game was full of niggling incidents – to be fair mostly instigated by the Wallabies.
The NZ media have retaliated to the supposedly non eye gouging by highlighting the Nick Phipps throwing Fekitoa’s boot away – hardly sporting but pale by comparison I would contend!
Not sure that rugby is the winner here to be honest.
Meanwhile the Springbok team & coaches are having Salta rubbed into their wounds by the SA press after losing to the Pumas.
As if all this wasn’t enough controversy at the weekend the ludicrous Lions schedule for the 2017 NZ tour has (at long last) been criticised by leaders of the Aviva Premiership & Pro12.
I have no fucking idea why it has taken so long to surface – even I pointed out the stupidity of the Lions management for agreeing this itinerary more than a year ago here on this blog.
Steve Tew (NZRU) countered with the suggestion that the Premiership should reduce their season to accommodate more preparation time for the British & Irish Lions.
Three things Mr Tew – (a) this was a stupid & unhelpful comment – if there is anything that might hasten the demise of the best supported touring rugby team on the planet it will be using it as cannon fodder with an impossible schedule. You might want to remember that when you get the revenue next year from the Lions.
(b) you are still trying to bring a potato peeler to an AK47 fight if you think sniping at the NH over the ‘global season’ will work in your favour!
And (c) it might be a good idea to stay friends with the Wallabies if, as you are threatening, you won’t play much in the NH after 2019!
Just a thought mate!