JM is not really revered in NZ but I thought you might like to "chew the fat " over his view on these
Former All Blacks, Force and Lions coach JOHN MITCHELL looks at aspects of the game that need to be addressed by the IRB.
Seeing Bismarck du Plessis getting two yellow cards for legitimate actions at Eden Park, as well as other decisions made at the breakdown where players were off their feet, has perplexed and irritated me to such a point that I have to write about it.
We were witnessing one of the most amazing games before Du Plessis was sent off. The result was determined then, and neither team finished the game knowing where they were at. No one knew how good a side the Springboks had become or for how much longer the All Blacks could sustain their level of performance as the team regenerates ahead of the 2015 World Cup.
Games at this level, and between the best two teams in the world in particular, are determined by the smallest of margins.
This game could have been determined by having the world-class Du Plessis up against Dane Coles, and the big Bok loose forwards taking on the underdone Liam Messam and Sam Cane.
We never got to find out, though, and will have to wait for another day at Ellis Park, with a better referee, and hopefully with a better sending-off protocol enforced by the IRB (although the IRB will almost certainly not be able to change things before then).
Hopefully, the IRB will also address these problematic areas of the game, which are my pet hates:1. Yellow and red cards should still allow for a 15 vs 15 contest.
The IRB must look at the rugby league system, where a player is put on report and the game is still a fair contest, 15 vs 15. Players can be dealt with after the game and the appropriate punishment determined. Otherwise no one wins, as it's a hollow victory for the victors and the paying public is denied a fair contest.
On Monday, the IRB said the ref made a mistake with the first yellow (when Du Plessis made a perfectly legal tackle on Dan Carter) but that Du Plessis's second yellow (for leading with his elbow when taking the ball into contact against Liam Messam) will remain on his record. His red card has been removed, but it doesn't change the result.
However, Du Plessis will have to change his carry behaviour and lead with his shoulder before the ball and stop using his elbow as the lead appendage. I've had first-hand experience of the damage this can do. I ended up in a Rotorua hospital in 1988 after playing for my club, Fraser Tech, against a Rotorua club side in pre-season when the ball-carrier hit me fair and square in the Adam's apple. I could not breathe and was going purple around the lips when Richard Loe, of all people, sensed there was a problem and hit me behind my neck to clear my throat of all the coagulated blood. I was then driven off to hospital, much to the amusement of the Japanese tourists in a bus. I had to hang out of the passenger's door trying to clear my throat. I then recovered in hospital on adrenalin and water for six days. Six weeks later a skinny me managed to play against Wales – the Five Nations champions – and beat them 28-19. I marked the giant Phil May, but that is another story.2. Accidental offside when there are no defenders nearby and a player's team-mate runs into him
. Such a bore that call. Blocking the player on a running line is a different kettle of fish.3. Fringe ruck players blocking their box kicker.
I felt for Jannie du Plessis, who was penalised straight after Bismarck's try when trying to get out of the exit zone. How often do we see this occur? Today's game is not about everyone going to a ruck. Providing protection for their kicker and making it difficult for defenders to get through to the kicker is clever play.4. TMO try line decisions take forever while sanctions in other parts of the field are often made after a quick chat with assistant referees.
Be consistent and go upstairs when there's an incident in other parts of the field. Talk to the TMO and get his view. I would love the IRB to allow referees to put players on report during a game so that the judicial system can unemotionally determine what category of foul play the incident falls under. Time is everything. Referees should treat someone's potential sending-off more seriously than asking the TMO – yawn, yawn – 'Is there any reason why I cannot award the try?', which takes so much time.5. The defending team should be awarded a 5m scrum when they hold up the attacking team in-goal.
Naas Botha came up with this idea. He believes good defence should be rewarded with possession and a put-in to the scrum, and I agree. It's no different to a maul situation, after all.6. The lineout driving maul, when defenders come around/through the maul, hang on the back of it and collapse the trail ball-carrier.
Please get rid of any player who hangs on to the back of the player at the rear of an attacking maul. Players are getting away with murder by coming in from the side when the attacking team takes their first channel and then the second. The defender must come through square with his shoulders in front, and can only crush the ball-carrier in a one-on-one situation having come through square.7. Scrums that wheel out under pressure.
Like the Wallabies scrum that, when on their tryline against the Pumas, went forward, reset and then chose to wheel out. The IRB must not let this blight back into the game because the Aussies will milk it until the cows come home. They see the scrum as a starting point from which to get the ball away and not a chance to put pressure on the opposition, and are always trying to find a way to de-power the scrum. You can't blame them for it, as they're actually being smart, but the opposition must see what the Wallabies are doing so they can counteract this negative tactic.8. Free kicks and penalties having to be taken on the mark,
rather than being able to tap it anywhere on the 70m plane. It's time for a new attacking law to open up the game. The lineout drive is difficult to score from for many teams based on numerous factors. Imagine if I were the No 8 and my team got a free kick from a scrum and I passed the ball past two or three players to our No 12, who tapped it on the plane line and played to space from that point? It would seriously move defences and get the ball to space or create momentum because the opposition defences would be recovering to get set. Hey, come on, give it a try.http://www.sarugbymag.co.za/blog/detail ... n-mitchell