Rugby Football 22-23

DaveMorton

Well-known member
Well, he inspired England when he was first appointed. They had just lost their way under Stuart Lancaster, who in turn had inspired the rabble Martin Johnson had left behind.

So Eddie might inspire Australia, who have had some pretty dire results under what seem pretty dire coaches. Likewise Borthwick, Sinfield and Evans may / should inspire England, who were stuck in a deep rut.

There's an obvious cricket parallel. Duncan Fletcher was worshipped by the ones he picked. Perhaps less so by the likes of Sidebottom, Swann and Panesar, whom he didn't pick. To think, Swann could have gone through a whole career as an 'ordinary' pro at an unfashionable County! I certainly see him as the best English offspinner since Jim Laker, and that includes Raymond, but Fletcher didn't like him. Conversely, Vaughan and Trescothick might never have played...I'm not saying Fletcher bad, Flower good, Moores best - just that every coach has favourites. Except Bayliss, who didn't know anyone apart from the players he was given, and apparently didn't want to know.

To be fair to Eddie Jones, he did very quickly get to know English players, but I think players equally quickly knew they had no chance with him. Care and Jonathan Joseph were two, Mercer was another. Care is 36, Joseph still only 31, and Mercer is returning from France, where he is viewed as a superstar, and therefore available for the RWC.

Borthwick has picked a nice mixture of ages, with some exciting newcomers in his 35, as well as Leicester buddies Cole and Youngs, who I would have pensioned off long ago. There are a lot of injuries at present, which has opened up the selection field. It's going to be a fascinating Six Nations.
 

Donnylad

Well-known member
I suspect Cole has been selected as an 'old head' Tiger/tiger who can come on after 60 minutes and do a job on someone else's front row when our younger props have wilted a bit. Hope he stays the right side of the refs.

Youngs is an odd-ish choice, Tigers connection apart but it may ne a horses for courses to tighten it up and pen the opposition back a bit during the last quarter.

I would say both are game management selections.

I am much more concerned about Farrell's selection;
(a) RFU jiggery pokery
(b) his 'head up, arms up style pf tackling'. He has got abog sign on his forehead for refs to see ... 'watch this blokes tackling'.
They talk of altering his tackle style but ....... tackling is often a spur of the moment reactive thing that you just do and worry about afterwards.

As you say DM - a fascinating 6 nations to come.
 

DaveMorton

Well-known member
Every teacher would recognise the Farrell body language and smirk. What used to be called dumb insolence.

Ref: Owen, you're tackling too high!
Farrell: So? Is it only me then?
Ref: Clenches fist behind back. Dreams, 'One day I'll have you, mate.'
 

Donnylad

Well-known member
.... "yes sir, (smirk), sorry sir, won't do it again sir"

Could they use Farrell as a goal kicking substitute a bit like American Football ,,, then he wouldn't have to tackle anyone?
Just needs one of those HIT assessments each time England have a penalty.

I suspect that it is his boot that will get him selection ... perhaps they could put a back row forward in front of him to do his tackling for him?
He would not be the first number 10 to have a human shield in front of him.
 

DaveMorton

Well-known member
So, English number 10s of my lifetime (though they were number 6, as in RL, when I started watching. It is Union that has changed the traditional numbering.)

One great one from the black & white days, the Cornishman Richard Sharp. Pace to burn.
Then loads of steady eddies, Alan Old and Rob Andrew, culminating in the greatest of their kind, Jonny Wilkinson.
There were a few in the Welsh mode, neat little footballers like Les Cusworth, John Horton and Stuart Barnes, but you always felt the selectors didn't really like someone who ran with the ball.
There were a few dire ones; Martin Cooper comes to mind.

And then came Smith. Actually two Smiths, because Fin now joins Marcus in Borthwick's squad. You wait 50 years and two number 10 buses come together! But already the knockers are saying Farrell should be first choice. Well, he is a pretty decent player, who fits into the steady category, with violence as an extra.

George Ford is pretty good, too, steady plus a bit of flair. But come on! Sport is about joy. It's Bazball. Give us Marcus! Then perhaps the Welsh will shut up about Cliff Morgan and Dai Watkins and Barry John and Phil Bennett and Jonathan Davies.

I see Gareth has returned to the field as a Frenchman called Antoine. I swear it's the same player. Rugby has its gods, no less than cricket, and I suppose soccer's best died just recently. Edwards, Pele, Sobers, Dupont.
 

DaveMorton

Well-known member
Practically everything frozen off today. It was supposed to get warmer...but didn't.

Shock announcement from the RFU about tackle-height being reduced to the waist for next season, all games below top two levels. Moronic. Fears of mass defections from the game, players and referees, and of injuries to tacklers.
 

Hawke

Administrator
Staff member
Practically everything frozen off today. It was supposed to get warmer...but didn't.

Shock announcement from the RFU about tackle-height being reduced to the waist for next season, all games below top two levels. Moronic. Fears of mass defections from the game, players and referees, and of injuries to tacklers.
Yes that is a huge one. It is a response, I presume, to the legal cases being taken out against them which could cost, I suppose, millions and constantly rising.
 

Donnylad

Well-known member
I think much of the hoo-hah is a recognition by coaches and players that handing off the ball will become easier.
I think I can say that when our generation was taught to play, any tackle above the hips was castigated. We were taught to tackle from front side and rear, correctly with the head out of the way.

Now the game has changed = the Aussie '67 - 59 great game' mentality rules. Players are bigger and faster.
We went to ground to get the ball 'from a quick heel in the loose'. They way to stop that was to get over the top as quick as possible on the ground. They changed the laws to stop that - just watch some 1970's All Blacks and you will see why they did.

So the tackle became a last resort and we got rolling mauls and rucks where staying upright over the ball is king. You stop that by coming in from the side (or ideally you opponents side of the advantage line. They changed the laws to stop that and we know see the ridiculous 'caterpillar' ruck. I think the longest tail back I have seen from a ruck like that is 5 players .. I', sure there will have been rucks with more.

So the pass out of the tackle/hand on of the ball has become key and we have the 'basketball-rugby' style. You stop that by smashing the ball carrier in an upright position and keeping the ball trapped - the ball is the target of the tackle. The head contact injuries are largely from upright tackling according to stats available. Since few players get the opportunity to tackle lower then there are few figures for that.

in the 80's I taught my 1st XV that the second man at the tackle smothered the ball and tried to turn the opponent, third man secured possession but it was the first man who made that happen by getting the ball carrier to ground - all in idea circumstances of course.

We could still do that. It would change some of the aspects of the game - the TL defensive wall might be less usefully applied, some space might appear and some backs might get a 'quick heel from the loose' and actually be able to run.

Sadly I suspect the 'my team is bigger than your team coaches' can see that they will have to make massive changes in outlook and skill sets and they don't like it.

The biggest laugh is the additional RFU comment that says
"Ball carriers will also be encouraged to follow the principle of evasion, which is a mainstay of the game, to avoid late dipping and thereby avoid creating a situation where a bent tackler may be put at increased risk of head-on-head contact with the ball carrier through a late or sudden change in body height of the ball carrier."

Have any of these mutts ever played the game?
 

DaveMorton

Well-known member
I am thinking of the referees. We're not all Wayne Barnes, you know, though we admire him for his easy humour and great communication skills, and empathy with the players. This relationship has been already eroded by World Rugby, and will be further so next season by the RFU, if this nonsense is allowed to go through.

We used to judge a player's action by 'apparent intent' - that was the actual wording in the Laws - which allowed the referee to distinguish between premeditated foul play, the clumsy foul, and the 'rugby accident'. "Trust your instinct as a rugby man," an old ref told me when I was starting out. Good advice. The swinging arm might be a deliberate attempt to hurt, or just a wrong-footed player reacting to his opponent's evasive skills. If you had a feel for the game, you would get it right most of the time.

Next season, referees will find themselves at the sharp end, charged with upholding unpopular and unworkable Laws - how do you tackle below the waist a big, stocky bloke who gets the ball one metre away from you? Has the RFU changed Newton's Laws of Motion, as well as the Laws of Rugby? [On the fringes of the ruck, gravity shall be set at 20 metres per second squared.] I think many, many referees at the game's 'recreational level' will decide enough is enough.

I'll use the above as part of my Dave's Diary for next week's Sedgley match programme.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the last 16 in the Heineken are now known.

Of the 8 English clubs who started the journey, 5 are through, 3 have been eliminated.
Of the 8 French clubs, it's the other way round - 3 qualify, 5 out.
And all 8 provinces/franchises from the URC have made it through, comprising 3 Irish, 3 South African, one Welsh and one Scottish. Today's games will decide the last 16 pairings, and the crucial question of home or away.

By a Covid accident, they have come up with a really good format for the competition. It has also highlighted differing referee interpretations across the qualifying competitions, which will stand both players and refs in good stead for the coming Six Nations.
 

Newby

Well-known member
"Ball carriers will also be encouraged to follow the principle of evasion, which is a mainstay of the game"

If only! and that goes double for Rugby League.
 

DaveMorton

Well-known member
Some of us followed the principle of evasion, even in defence. I needed no encouragement. Interception king.
 

Donnylad

Well-known member
I used to pride myself on tackling properly even when the player was running towards me head on. Most of the time it worked ....
We used to play an East Midlands rival team who had 2 very large props who 'knew the game'. I think they were amazed that anyone had the nerve to get in front, drive forwards and get them at knee level!

However ... players are now bigger and faster ... I recollect seeing Jonah Lomu run all over and through John Webb(?) in 1995 RWC.
Lomu was around 6' 5" and 125 kg - Webb was not.
He was about the size of a 'standard' lock forward these days - NZ have 5 locks at that height and weight - and he could run. Joe Cockanasiga (England) is about that sort of size but about 10 kg lighter.
I suspect that at recreational level there won't be many of those sized players with Lomu's speed and that is the difference = kinetic energy is proportional to mass x speed squared.

I agree about the refs DM - it is going to be very hard for them.
 

DaveMorton

Well-known member
At under 11 stone (then!) my only chance would have been to step aside to take him from the side. If I had been a little bundle of muscle, and brave, I could have targeted the ball and driven my shoulder into his gut. But I was neither, just skinny and cowardly, though I was brave enough ball in hand, with a good hand-off.

I once sidestepped my man and ran smack into a huge Welsh number 8, and gave him the hand-off, full barrel. He beat me up! Happy days.

Jonah Lomu ran through Tony Underwood, then was it Mike Catt at full-back, I think. He would never have got past Mrs Underwood though. Remember that? Also remember Joost van der Westhuizen, who was big for a scrum-half, but still a lot smaller than Lomu, tackling him like an exocet in the final. Both players died young.
 

Donnylad

Well-known member
Ah yes! Just had a quick look at that clip on YouTube and agree about Mrs Underwood!!

The first time I went to Twickenham to watch England, 1968, we were in the enclosure by the touchline and the players were about 10 meters or so away. Apart from a couple of very weighty props the players were about the same size as the blokes I played against at weekends, OK, PJK Stagg of Scotland was an exception ... 6 foot plus lots and about as wide as a lamp post.

The last time I went England had Colclough, Beaumont, Cotton, Uttley and Paul Dodge in the backs was about the size of our college locks.

Since then they have just got bigger and more muscular .... I am not sure I would want to tackle Genge, front on head down ... and as for the 23 stone props that France seem to be finding .... over to you DM!!
 

Newby

Well-known member
At under 11 stone (then!) my only chance would have been to step aside to take him from the side. If I had been a little bundle of muscle, and brave, I could have targeted the ball and driven my shoulder into his gut. But I was neither, just skinny and cowardly, though I was brave enough ball in hand, with a good hand-off.

I once sidestepped my man and ran smack into a huge Welsh number 8, and gave him the hand-off, full barrel. He beat me up! Happy days.

Jonah Lomu ran through Tony Underwood, then was it Mike Catt at full-back, I think. He would never have got past Mrs Underwood though. Remember that? Also remember Joost van der Westhuizen, who was big for a scrum-half, but still a lot smaller than Lomu, tackling him like an exocet in the final. Both players died young.
Your final couple of words of course may hold the key as to why Rugby as we know it may well be doomed.

It was always a tough game in which getting hurt occasionally was to be expected, the occasional spinal injury thought of as being very bad luck, and the mental and physical degeneration at any early age of many of those who had played the game wasn't even on the radar.

Now the evidence is there, the dots have been joined and the bills for damages will soon come rolling in. Perhaps the current legal cases can be defended on the grounds that nobody knew, but that won't hold for anything that happens going forward, now that we do know.
 

DaveMorton

Well-known member
Issued by the Rugby Football Union:

"In our desire to act quickly to reduce head impacts and concussions in the community game, which represents 99% of the rugby playing population in England, we have upset many of you who are the champions, volunteers, and ambassadors of our game. We fully acknowledge we got the engagement wrong, and we are truly sorry."

However, the statement goes on to say, in effect, that they are still right, and that they should have consulted with clubs, coaches, referees, etc, who might have 'other concerns' above player safety.

I watched Sedgley win 75-0 today. Blaydon were big, organised and determined, and never gave up. Sedge ran through their full repertoire of tricks to run in 11 tries. Blaydon not at the races!

Rotherham almost did us a favour at Fylde, but the home team snook it 30-23. Huddersfield beat Ionians, so it now really is a two-horse race at the top. Wharfedale again lost by a single point, but Blaydon and Harrogate look beyond redemption. We've got a tough one next week at Sheffield Tigers, but Fylde have an even harder task at Otley.

Fylde P16 W15 have 72 pts
Sedge P15 W15 have 70 pts

Back to today: Leeds duly beat Hull, so they are in with a chance, still, which Hull are not.
 
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Newby

Well-known member
I read the RFU statement the other day, reminded me a bit of Liz Truss and her would be Chancellor, failing to lay the ground and warn anybody about what they were going to do. They probably still think they were right too.

I see that our old friend Tom Harrison, ex of the ECB has found himself another job as CEO of Six Nations rugby. Not sure quite what that job entails but hopefully it won't allow him too much power to do any damage. Jobs for the boys.

I was expecting the Leeds Tykes score to be closer to Sedgley's, they were 26-5 up at half-time so 36-12 sounds like a poor second half. 5 welcome points though keeps them in the mix with a long trip to Plymouth next week.
 

DaveMorton

Well-known member
Given his track record, I would expect Harrison to champion the inclusion of South Africa, at the expense of a developing European rugby nation like Georgia. After all, who wants to go on a free weekend jaunt to Tbilisi, ahead of Rome or Cape Town?

I remember Brian Moore telling of playing for the British Lions, and turning up to team hotels, giving his name at the desk as Dudley Wood, who was Chairman of the RFU. Moore's teammates were slumming it, sharing low-cost rooms, and he had a suite all to himself, booked just in case Wood paid a visit.

Truly amateur days, when players often had to give up their jobs to tour, and were 'paid' pocket-money-level expenses. The Home Unions were swimming in it, with full stadiums and no wage bill at all. Wood opposed leagues with his every breath.
 

Donnylad

Well-known member
It is almost 50 years to the day since the week when our eldest daughter was born and the Baa Baas played the All Blacks ... that game ... you know the one.

A little nostalgia for me via this link Baa, baa, baa!
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/64079671 if it doesn't work for you.

Several things, the players I remember watching, 4 tackles in the first 5 minutes that would have seen at least 2 red cards today; Mike Gibson, Duckham, Edwards, Bennet (side step supremo).
Just don't look too closely at the line outs and the rucks .... more cards all round.

Those were the days ... perhaps .... anyway the daughter is 50 ...... ye gods time flies.
 

DaveMorton

Well-known member
I was running a newly formed under 12 team, all new to rugby, and their parents too. After our game that Saturday morning, I sat the team down and told them there was a game on TV that afternoon that 'might be worth watching'.

For most of the team and their dads it was the first game of rugby they had ever seen. 'Wow,' said one of the dads, next Saturday, 'That game!' A few years later, when his lad was 18, he was managing the Colts team at Sedgley Park. Last Saturday, I was standing talking to another of the players in that U12 team, who had a long and distinguished (amateur) career at Sedge, and was also a fine cricketer, who played for all the Lancs age-group teams, and for Unsworth CC perhaps even still. He looks fit enough at 61.

By the way, the Cliff Morgan commentary is as good as the game. Rugby's John Arlott.
 
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