So, who really wants to talk about much else this morning than those quarter finals?
Four great games, eh? And all the northern hemisphere teams sent home from a northern hemisphere tournament. How good’s that? And with memories of 2007 so quickly and thoroughly expunged—nine frickin’ tries!—how good was it that none of us even got the chance to have a decent chew on our fingernails.
But, well, with so much having been spent on and prepared for the tournament, and with so much riding on the result of every game—four more years, remember!—I can’t help wondering what is it about rugby that leaves so much to the arbitrary decision of a midfield maggot with a whistle? One of the world’s most important matches decided on a single penalty, where with rugby’s rotund rulebook there are plentiful penalties to be found in almost every play. A game in which numbers around the ball and in defence are so desperately important, yet which almost arbitrarily makes no-contest of a game by having borrowed a stupid send-off system from soccer.
And that’s not the only thing the game has borrowed from soccer.
If the best of the weekend was the nine tries run in by our All Blacks—they’re always our All Blacks when they run in nine frickin’ tries aren’t they—the worst for me was the bloody Hollywood by our All Black captain. He’d come in offside at a ruck to snuff out a French attack when they were starting to look likely, a French fellow lent on him with a fist, and our alleged Greatest Al Black Ever started rolling around like both eyes had been plucked out—just long enough for the maggot to give a penalty the wrong way then pull out his yellow card and totally end the quarter-final as a contest.
That’s garbage, that is.
Same thing happened in a pool match, remember: Dan Carter rolling his neck just enough to get Tonga's Paula Ngauamo a yellow card. [Check it out from 2:46]
Takes the gloss off it for me, when your two starred veterans start rolling around like a gut-shot Brazilian to shut down a game.
UPDATE: Yes, I could go with Adolf’s suggestion:
It's high time the fifty-seven old farts took a leaf out of cricket's book and allowed a captain to challenge a ref’s decision, requiring the TMO to intervene and decide.