Rugby Football

DaveMorton

Well-known member
I'd like to revive this thread. A few of us follow rugby, one code or both.
The Union season has been lit up by Bristol and Exeter, and they met on Friday in a magnificent game. The pace and skill of these players is breath-taking, the angles of running exquisite, and most of the league seems to be following suit. Or trying to.

Lawrence Dallaglio compared Exeter with Wigan, and I'm sure he was talking about the Wigan of 'his' day, the Jason Robinson, Shaun Edwards, Andy Farrell, Ellery Hanley team, which was a bit special. Interesting that the southerner should know about them, though three of them did change codes...with a little success, I think it is fair to say.

There was a moment of pure delight in the Friday game, with Ugo Monye in commentary building up Charles Piutau pretty well as the greatest player on earth. He had moved into the 10 position at an attacking scrum, and Monye was explaining all the different moves he might pull off from there. In the event, Piutau got the ball, ran three paces forward with it, and then dropped it, with no opponent anywhere near him. Laughter. A lot of laughter. They've assembled an excellent commentary team, BT Sports.
 

Donnylad

Well-known member
I find Monye's comments on most matters RU to be irksome and facile - just another example.

I must say I don't like Flatman either - he 'knows all about the game' ... hmm!!
 

Hawke

Administrator
Staff member
Doncaster are doing really well in the Championship. Perhaps the best team behind Saracens and Ealing. I wonder if they have garnered some of the best talent from Rotherham and Leeds/Yorkshire.... An unlikely town, historically, to have Yorkshire's best club side but the rugby union world has changed, well transformed , since the mid-nineties. I'm waiting for Ilkley to start up again, hopefully, in September.
 

Newby

Well-known member
The thing that always spoils RU for me is the refereeing. I'm sure the refs are acting on instructions from up on high but they seem to be forever changing their interpretation of the rules. It seems important to 'get the referee on side' in terms of 'the picture you want him to see' especially when it comes to the scrums. I only really watch the 6 nations and Internationals but some players seem very good at highlighting and pointing out things to the ref and getting him to take action.

I'm sure it's an age thing but suddenly it seems to be creeping into Rugby league. The refs there used to be very old school, I'm the ref you keep your mouth shut, but it seems no longer. Really miss the referee marching the teams forward another 10m because someone with a big mouth has tried to do his job for him.

Perhaps the same is happening in cricket, you now have the half hearted appeal, the full appeal and the new improved you've got to give that one Ump' the one that goes on for much longer than 'just asking'.

As I say it's probably an age thing because sport isn't alone in making me grumpier than ever.
 

Hawke

Administrator
Staff member
The problem with RL is that Wigan and St. Helens are currently too strong!! Bradford Northern Bulls have plunged depths whilst Leeds RL are struggling. Cas and Hull FC keep trying to breakthrough.....We have talked before about our teams. Though a native of Horsforth, Leeds, I spent years as a child and teenager near Hull and as a result follow Hull FC. (I also liked Bramley, the nearest side to my Grandma's). Byased, a child in Scarborough, leans to east Hull and Hull KR, despite, like myself moving away from his native heath as a youngster. There is a theme here as Dave Morton followed Bradford Northern until, guess what, the family moved away.....Seth leads the way with this theme as he went as a babe in swaddling clothes from the Halifax area to Essex, but was not interested in rugby. I have not seen a Super League match as it, sadly, clashes with cricket. I have become a follower of my local RU side, Ilkley, and I enjoy seeing the sport at close range.
 
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DaveMorton

Well-known member
I think that of all sports (those that I follow, anyway) RU leads the way with refereeing, the interaction between the ref and the players, and the use of technology at the top level. It's not quite the same at International level, where there are language and cultural differences, but in the Premiership it is a joy to watch and hear Wayne Barnes (or one of the many young refs) talking with the players and advising them, with the ball still in play. And yes, the good referees do listen to players too, because they know they're not infallible, and will often refer a decision 'upstairs'.

It's the bad referees who are infallible! The point is, there is trust and mutual respect between players and referee, and that is now producing a spectacularly fast and entertaining 'product' for the empty stands to enjoy. RU used to be slower than RL; now it's twice as fast. Not because the players are better, or faster, but because the Laws make it so. I think there is a similarly good ref/player relationship in RL, and I saw a couple of glorious tries in a highlights package the other night. I just wish they'd tidy up the play-the-ball, which takes an eternity, and get rid of this 10 metres back rule, which allows the ball carrier 'hours' of time.
 

Newby

Well-known member
I'll try and take a look at the new product over the weekend if there's a televised match and the cricket isn't too engrossing. I don't know about RU but I'm a little concerned about how RL will come out of this current crisis. They have just signed a hurried TV deal with Sky for the next couple of years but the money is greatly reduced I believe. Even mighty Premier league football is talking about scrapping the next TV rights auction and extending the current deal as the least worst option financially.
 

DaveMorton

Well-known member
The RU this weekend is the European competitions, which have produced less entertainment than previously. The English clubs are hampered by their own wage cap, which makes for great games in the Premiership, but up against the spending power of the French hasn't got them very far. The French clubs go for size and then more size off the bench, with loads of Springboks and South Sea islanders.

So it's three French clubs + one Irish province (Leinster) in the Heineken. Leicester (playing Friday) and Bath are both through to the semi-finals in the lesser Challenge Cup. Bath can be exciting, especially number 8 Zach Mercer, son of NZ RL international (Gary was it?) who played for Leeds. He's on his way to France next season. Brilliant set of backs, too, assuming Bath have 'prioritised' this competition.
 

Newby

Well-known member
The RU this weekend is the European competitions, which have produced less entertainment than previously. The English clubs are hampered by their own wage cap, which makes for great games in the Premiership, but up against the spending power of the French hasn't got them very far. The French clubs go for size and then more size off the bench, with loads of Springboks and South Sea islanders.

So it's three French clubs + one Irish province (Leinster) in the Heineken. Leicester (playing Friday) and Bath are both through to the semi-finals in the lesser Challenge Cup. Bath can be exciting, especially number 8 Zach Mercer, son of NZ RL international (Gary was it?) who played for Leeds. He's on his way to France next season. Brilliant set of backs, too, assuming Bath have 'prioritised' this competition.
I did mean to watch the La Rochelle v Leinster game but I got side tracked, maybe next week I'll get to see some. Ronan o'gara looks to have created quite a team there.

Meanwhile at the coal face Leeds Rhino's got beaten yet again. It really looks like being another tough season. They partially deserved it yesterday, concentrating exclusively on trying to get into position for a winning drop goal with 15 minutes still left. Brainless rugby.
 

DaveMorton

Well-known member
No cricket today, but plenty of rugby. I watched Sale v Leicester last night, which was a bit of a slow-burner. In the old days it would have been a total punch-up, which they can't do any more, so players were flying in from all angles like exocets. Entertaining second half.

Four games today, on BT Sport, of which the best looks the tea-time Bath v Bristol. One match tomorrow. Back in the day we used to get four Internationals and the Varsity match, and that was it for the whole season. Not that you wanted much more, with Peter West commentating.

Over in the Pass-and-Crash code, it's Hull FC v Pie Eaters and Castleford v Salford, in t' Challenge Cup. When I supported Salford - which I did between 1966 and about 1973-ish, Castleford were our absolute bogey team. There were jokes about using 13 yellow dustbins as opposition in training, and the lads did really well, only lost by 20 points. I'm guessing about the dates. I withdrew my support when the obnoxious Alex Murphy was made coach. Many supporters left. Who wants to watch robots?
 
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DaveMorton

Well-known member
I watched Bath, completely outplayed, take a 15-0 lead. One Bristol mistake, then an interception try. They'd only touched the ball twice, and scored twice. No doubt about the gulf in class. Bath are good, Bristol are something else! It finished 20-40.

Then I watched the second half of Cass v Salford, and the golden point extra time, or whatever it's called. Exciting game, though the standard of play was poor.

Harlequins and Wasps tomorrow. Quins playing some good stuff since sacking their coach.
 

Newby

Well-known member
Watched both RL games, happy with both results but the space for creative players was non-existent. The big guys are getting so fit these days I think it's time they looked at the number of Interchanges allowed. If they stopped allowing them to go for a rest every 10 minutes and let them get tired the little guys can dance round them and provide a more balanced game.
 

DaveMorton

Well-known member
Unbelievable Harlequins v Wasps game. Probably six to eight players in the two teams who aren't in the England side, but should be. If Marcus Smith isn't the best 10 in the country, I'm a Surrey supporter. His last minute try made it 46-46, and the conversion gave Quins the win. I feel exhausted, battered and bruised just watching it.
 

Tykemania

Active member
Unbelievable Harlequins v Wasps game. Probably six to eight players in the two teams who aren't in the England side, but should be. If Marcus Smith isn't the best 10 in the country, I'm a Surrey supporter. His last minute try made it 46-46, and the conversion gave Quins the win. I feel exhausted, battered and bruised just watching it.

There is an argument that there is a 23 of players Jones won't pick that would give the 23 he regularly does a more than decent game.
 

Donnylad

Well-known member
One of the issues is the style of play you want to operate and the way that players have improved physically in the last 20 years. This affects the styles of play that work well. David Duckham would not get a look in these days because there would be some covering back row forward lurking around. I think the adoption of RL style 'curtain wall' defences has moved the sport towards the American Football approach - without the ability to throw an aerial forward pass. .. and don't get me going about forward play!

It is an interesting discussion though - I suspect a coach picks his style and then the players who can produce it.
 

DaveMorton

Well-known member
I never thought Duckham was a particularly wholehearted player, but that doesn't seem to have counted against Elliot Daly, who hasn't half Duckham's attacking flair. Anyone who can use footwork to beat an opponent one-on-one is pure gold. The change in ruck laws has resulted in rugby league style defensive lines, and without the RL 10-metres rule (thankfully), but the 'kick-pass' (in both codes) is the equivalent of the American forward pass, and a most welcome addition to the skills set.
 
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