This week we will mostly be concerning ourselves with the Irish (on a number of issues), a legend and an attempt at fraud…
This week we will mostly be concerning ourselves with the Irish (on a number of issues), a legend and an appalling attempt at fraud…
So: Ireland. It's been a storm this week over all sorts of things, seemingly with the end result that by the time the green front arrived in Hamilton on Saturday it had blown itself out. Let's see what's been going on…
First up, there was the conflict over the refereeing of last week's Test – admittedly hardly fuelled by the players. There was Irish Times columnist Liam Toland, a former Leinster player, writing lucidly over what he saw as inconsistencies in Nigel Owens' interpretations during the second Test.
Owens took considerable umbrage to this, replying on Twitter (among other replies): “”if asked for confirmation on about 5 of the points he made, he wd have the correct answer but then wouldnt have an article wd he?”
And there, you'd think, the debate would lie. And you'd be wrong.
Toland's response ran thus: “I am very disappointed in being accused of bias…The laws are open to interpretation and that is the way the assessors sitting in the stands will see it. I am not accusing him of perverting the outcome of the match.”
And so the long day wore on. But we here found ourselves falling on the side of Owens on this one… Toland not being biased? He's an Irishman, writing for an Irish paper with a pro-Irish agenda. It's his job to be biased and find in favour of Ireland. And if he's not accusing him of perverting the outcome of the match, why is he writing the article about tight marginal calls in a match decided on the last kick..? Mister Toland, me thinks thou dost protest too much…
Then came coach Les Kiss on drop goals. “If you go for a drop goal and miss then why should you get the ball back from a missed kick?” he asked. “That shouldn't have been their advantage. They went through it and missed it as we were good enough to stop it.”
Fair enough… but Kiss is talking from the point of view of a country that has historically made a speciality of winning from late drop goals and indeed has benefitted down the years from precisely the charge-down law that this time proved critical in their undoing. Wasn't it just a bit of what goes around comes around…?
The Irish have legitimate grounds for anger over the yellow card shown to Rob Kearney on Saturday, a decision rightly labelled 'ridiculous' by both he and Brian O'Driscoll at the time. But do the Kiwis have legitimate grounds for anger over the lack of a card in the second Test as well? Take a look at this videobefore you answer – and yes, we are taking on board that this is a Kiwi journalist on a pro-Kiwi agenda…
Despite Ronan O'Gara's denial, Steve Hansen looks to have been spot on when he described Ireland as reaching their tour peak in the second Test. Fortunately for us all, the wars of words reached their peak just after it as well – we doubt you'll find any Irishman willing to talk rugby for a couple of weeks after the third.
Back to referees and a much more heart-warming story than nit-picking twitter exchanges came this week at the IRB Junior World Championship, where Paul Dobson was presented with a lifetime achievement award by the IRB.
Dobson officiated in his first match in 1955 as a student in Pietermaritzburg, going on to referee more than 40 first-class matches in Western Province.
One of Dobson's lasting legacies was his drive to unify the two different Referees' Societies in South Africa, representing the then different Unions. By the end of 1991, Dobson had successfully navigated the merger and the referees were the first Rugby body to achieve this, a year ahead of the Unions becoming joined.
Another is Dobson's contribution in mentoring such refereeing luminaries as Andre Watson – for whom he also wrote a biography – and Jonathan Kaplan.
“It's always nice when your own people recognise you,” said Dobson after receiving the Award.
“But they didn't have to do it. Danie Craven said, 'If you love something you never have to make sacrifices', so I've never made sacrifices or felt I was serving. I loved doing it. I loved being with referees, I loved the whole business of refereeing and I've been one since 1968.
“It's the friendship of it, being part of Rugby football in a very special way. I've met marvellous people from all over the world and that's been great. I've enjoyed it enormously.”
It's a merited award for a fantastic fellow. Most top-level officials and players will have come across him at one time or another, all who have will be better off for the experience.
Poor old SARU don't half get it from all angles. This week, on top of the criticism of the national team and ongoing unrest over the Southern Kings fiasco, yet another fraudster has been using the SARU name (and email domain) to rip people off.
Still, you'd have to wonder at the mentality of anybody who did fall for this particular mail…
“The South African Springboks has made considerable progress and improvement, and we would have not been able to achieve this great heights without the help and support of our fans and supporters.
“We have therefore decided to give back to our fans and supporters by introducing: GET 130% – 150% RETURN IN 5 DAYS INVESTMENT.”
Right…. yeah…. delete
Loose Pass compiled by Richard Anderson