Saturday, June 25, 2005

Read the Rule Book!

OK, so the Lions were very poor today, and didn't deserve to win. They were never able to cope with the loss of Brian O'Driscoll to injury (like hell he wasn't targeted by the All Blacks - but we all know that the NZ citing panels cheat like buggery) and never really got a strong attacking platform established.

But how the hell does Joel Jutge get to referee an international match of such magnitude? Quite simply, his officiating today was woeful. In particular, he seems to be completely unaware of Law 12 of rugby - the knock-on or throw-forward. It's on page 74 of the pdf if you follow the link. And for the benefit of Monsieur Jutge, there's a French version too.


A throw-forward occurs when a team throws or passes the ball forward. "Forward" means towards the opposing team's dead-ball line.

It's a pretty simple rule to understand. Yet watch Tana Umaga's pass to Sivivatu, just before he scores the try. It's one of the most abundantly blatant forward passes I've seen since Jonah Lomu's try against England in the 1999 World Cup. Or, for that matter, watch the pass to Dan Carter just before he chips forward in the move which sets up the line-out from which Ali Williams scored his try. Both clearly go forwards. And so, rather than huge All Black momentum being gathered, there should have been a scrum to the Lions. It's that simple. There are fourteen of the points dealt with already.

Pundits may laud the running rugby of New Zealand. It's bloody easy to play at pace when you don't have to worry about the laws of the game, though. Why do they continually get away with this? Let's hope Andrew Cole takes more notice for the second Test. Because while incompetents like Jutge and Jonathan Kaplan are left in charge of the other Tests, it's hard to see how the Lions can win. We're up against it enough without the All Blacks having 16 players.

UPDATE: I've just seen a replay of the O'Driscoll incident. New Zealand citing officials are liars and cheats. That was a disgraceful off-the-ball dumping of O'Driscoll that was only intended to hurt the guy. There's no excuse for cheating, foul dangerous play like that. It's explicitly banned in the rules and that's because it can ruin players' careers, even lives. I am utterly shocked that the citing official decided there was no case to answer - not even forwarding the decision to a disciplinary panel. Southern hemisphere countries have no desire to punish their own players for cheating, and it stinks. I hope Umaga and Mealamu have trouble sleeping for a long, long time.