For those unlucky enough to be watching NZTV coverage of the rugby let me tell you what happened. The welsh flanker and captain Sam Warburton picked up an opponent in a tackle, turned him over in the air and spear-tackled him, head-first, into the ground. A sending-off offence. So Irish referee Alain Rolland sent him off. The tv coverage missed half of this. TV in 1957land isn’t interested in anything that doesn’t involve some part of Dan Carter’s body, but you’d have thought at least ITV, who took the tv feed here in Blighty might have spotted a) the serious foul and b) the red card. They didn’t.
The first the pundits and commentators knew of it all was when they saw pictures of Warburton on the bench. They assumed he had been given a yellow card. This was Warbuton’s Rooney moment. A week after Wayne had been hounded out of town for kicking a player in the leg, Sam was given legal aid for trying to break a bloke’s neck. “Our little Sammy didn’t mean that”. “He’s not like that.” Well, Mr and Mrs Warburton, he did and he is. Sorry.
For the next 80-odd minutes (it’s still going on as I speak) the bleating from various welsh former players and their collaborators whinged and whined about the decision: Referee Rolland had administered a “huge injustice”. No he didn’t. Steve Ryder – the ITV anchorman – even said the welsh were “cheated” by the referee. No they weren’t. I happen to know that Mr Ryder is a Charlton Athletic supporter, so he can be forgiven for not having seen a lot of real sport. Fit professional men running around at pace must be very confusing to old Steve. Luckily he had former Rugby stars to help him out.
Francois Pienaar, the Matt Damon impersonator, said the tackle was excusable in the cauldron that is a world cup semi-final. No, Matt. Semi-final or no semi-final, you can’t pick a bloke up and spike him into the ground. When the kiwis do it to Brian O’Driscoll during a British Lions tour there’s a national outcry. If it were a Frenchman doing it to Lee Sixpence Ha’panney, Gareth Thomas would have been screaming blue murder. Not just screaming.
Next to Francois was Larry Dallaglio, looking lost without big Johnno to stick the boot into. Larry manfully joined in with Steve, Frank and welshman Martyn Williams in vilifying the ref. Oddly none of them lambasted the welsh for not taking advantage of drop-goal situations. Nor was the boot of Stephen Jones (surely now, the winner of Club Foot of the Year Award) blamed for the fact that they lost by one point. I lost count of how many kicks he missed.
The refs have been woeful this tournament and here at The Sharp Single we may have pointed out a few of the culprits. Rolland was never on our hit-list and certainly won’t be because of this performance. Though he nearly snuck in there when, with five minutes to go, he awarded a penalty to the Welsh in front of the posts. A shocking decision. Even Gareth in the comm box admitted it. Fortunately, Lee TwoBob missed the kick for the three points. If he’d have kicked that one the Taffs would have won the game due to a rank decision.
Didn’t hear Ryder and friends moan about that one.
The French were a poor rugby side all match. The Welsh looked up for it and none could have begrudged them the win. But they didn’t. Until the Australians change the rules, the side with more points wins the match. That’s how it works. Sorry. The English were shite all competition and are already back home paying their fines (those of them who aren’t still in Kiwi gaols). Good riddance to them. The Scotch never even bothered to send a team. So please, Wales, take it in good grace, shut up and fuck off home. Oh, and pick up those chips from your shoulders before you leave. Thanks.
Tomorrow Rugby Union meets Rugby League in the second semi-final. A game one side wants to play without forwards. After all, they beat the SAffers without any so why not the ABs ? If they win this cup it will be the death of Rugby Union. The Death of Rugby Union.
I pause here to allow my Aussie mates to pick up the keyboard and tap away furiously (cue the phrases “whingeing poms”; “spectator sport”;”jonny fucking wilkinson” etc etc ad nauseum).
It won’t of course come down to the forwards. It’ll all be decided by a moment of genius or stupidity by Quade Cooper. By not changing his name from Quade, you’d have thought he’d been stupid enough for several lifetimes. Sadly not. This bloke makes Campo look like a solid and safe pair of hands. He was born a Kiwi but plays for Aussie. How to make friends and influence people. Quade (my spellchecker still doesn’t like that) has the chance tomorrow to make a lot of friends, on one side of the Tasman or other.
So I shall remove my beret and don the Silver Fern in the hope that a team still using the scrum and lineout to secure good ball can prevail over the 13-man, tap-thru-the-legs tactics of the Wallabies. I wonder if, as the teams come out, they’ll be a bloke pretending to make noise by blowing into a conch shell, jumping up and down and sticking his tongue out ? I do hope so, it’s so frightfully exciting. Not at all boring.
I worry that referee Craig Joubert is officiating this one. Clearly the better of the refs on show, he should be doing the final not the semi. One can only surmise what that means. Bryce Laurence or Wayne Barnes anyone ? Now THAT would be a final worth watching.
Bang on form Mr Bomber! Shots at goal 21. Shots on target 21
Ah thank you. I was starting to think I was watching a different match to everyone else.
Just so we’re in no doubt, here’s the appropriate law in the book:
“lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.”
Let’s face it, who cares, we are just all pleased that the Welsh are out!!!
I find your comments one-eyed, biased, partisan, and thoroughly and unquestionably correct.
You sure you’re not just still griping over your wasted lady on England ? We’ll miss Tervis Falakao, the face only a mother could love.
That fiver is longone, and its true, it was a bad idea from the beginning. I’ll be betting on Charlton next
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device
Well, let’s also not forget here that the spike–which was so blatant and resounding that the question was never whether it would be punished with a card, but rather which color of card–targeted Vincent Clerc, who (oh, the coincidence of it!) happens to by the leading French tri scorer. By miles. Warburton swept afterwards that there was no malicious intent, but I don’t think you have to want to kill and main–or even try to kill and main–when you get picked up drunk driving down the wrong way on a motorway to get booked for that, either, so let’s just be happy no one is dead, and even the guilty can claim they meant no harm. The fucking fuckwit.
Of course, the IRB has now come out and fully backed Rolland for his red card decision. Rightly so. Then the IRB appointed Whatshisnob Joubert to officiate the final–Rolland relegated to waving a flag–despite Joubert being a bit iffy (though not as bad as Dickhole Owens–a fellow flaggie for the final–or the feces fac similie known as Wayne Barnes). Given the logic in that, I’m assuming they’ll grant Warburton the Fair Play Award for the tournament, and still call Rolland’s red merited.
At this rate, they may as well ask Howard Web to ref matches, and appoint Graham Poll head of the IRB officiating committee.
concise and to the point.
mike, found no better way.. drop me a line to reconnect via email. meanwhile, greetings from NZ:
Hello Mate. Good to know there’s strong Hungarian support at the Rugby World Cup. Will drop you a line.