Over the weekend, the All Blacks (New Zealand) managed to beat the Azurri (Italy) by the smallest of margins 20 – 14. It looks impressing but if you think that a converted try counts 7 points then it is not at all too impressive. Especially if you consider that for the last five minutes the Azurri were camped in the AB twenty-two with reset scrum after reset scrum after numerous penalties were awarded to Italy for the All Black’s deliberately collapsing the scrum.
Nick Mallet, Italy’s coach, was understandably upset that a penalty try was not awarded to Italy and the game won by Italy. But Paddy O’Brien, high-poobah of all referees in the world and a New Zealander (remember that, it’s important) comes out and declares that the Italians were the ones who were transgressing and that the All Blacks should have been awarded the penalties. He even went so far as to criticise the referee for the game, Stuart Dickinson. However, when Eddie Jones the coach of Australia a few years ago came out and publicly lambasted the referee in one game he was fined for speaking his mind.
Roll back to the Tri-Nations. South Africa are in dominance and pummel the New Zealanders into submission with their mauls and are awarded numerous penalties for collapsing the mauls. A week later, the self-same banana declares that South Africa are in the wrong with their mauls.
Or what about the farces which have come to be known as the disciplinary committees in world Rugby. If you’re a South African expect to be banned for three times as long as a New Zealander or Aussie for the same offence. When South Africa protested the ban on Bakkies Botha for a clear-out of a Lions player in a Test back in June, we were banned. Watch a game of rugby – any game and you’ll notice that all clear-outs of a ruck are exactly how Bakkies went in but none of these players are being banned or punished.
Maybe it’s time to breakaway from the farce which is the IRB…