2 Jul

Wallabies v All Blacks, Melbourne, 30 June 2007
by Tracey Nelson
2 Jul 2007

The usual analysis of the All Blacks’ game, being the First 3 to the Breakdown, tackle stats, penalties conceded, turnovers, the lineouts, and scrums.

Please note Completed Tackles means that player actually brought the ball carrier to ground (ie. snuffing out the movement), not assists in the tackle situation which are tallied separately. Missed tackles also includes slipped tackles where the ball runner gets away. Most importantly, I do NOT call a slipped tackle a tackle, it gets noted as a missed tackle.

Numbers in brackets are the first half/second half breakdown for each total. An asterisk denotes a player that came on as a substitute.

Team: Muliaina, Gear, McAlister, Rokocoko, Mauger, Carter, Kelleher, So’oialo, McCaw (c), Collins, Flavell, Jack, Hayman, Oliver, Woodcock. Res – Evans, Sivivatu, Weepu, Masoe, Filipo, Tialata, Mealamu.

Mealamu replaced Oliver, Tialata replaced Woodcock, and Filipo replaced Flavell after 45 minutes. Weepu replaced Kelleher after 50 minutes, Masoe replaced So’oialo after 73 minutes and Sivivatu replaced Rokocoko after 75 minutes.

Point Scoring
NZ 15 2 tries, 1 conversion, 1 penalty
AUS 20 2 tries, 2 conversions, 2 penalties
Penalties/Free Kicks conceded
19 penalties and 6 free kicks in the game
NZ 10 penalties (1 YC) and 4 free kicks
AUS 9 penalties and 2 free kicks

NZ’s penalty offences:
Tackle (not releasing ball) = 2 (So’oialo, Collins)
Tackle (entry) = 2 (Jack, McCaw)
Tackle (not rolling clear) = 1 (Kelleher)
Tackle (playing ball) = 1 (Hayman) + yellow card
Ruck (offside entry) = 1 (Mauger)
Offside (general) = 1 (backline)
Offside (playing ball) = 1 (Filipo)
Scrum = 1 (Woodcock)
Free kicks = 4 (scrum)

Australia’s penalty offences:
Tackle = 5
Ruck = 2
Double movement = 1
Scrum = 1
Free kicks = 2 (scrum)

Turnovers conceded by NZ
21 (13 knock-ons, 3 kicks out on full, 2 forward passes, 1 tackle turnover, 1 ruck, 1 accidental offside)
First 3 to Breakdown
McCaw 31 (15+16)
Hayman 22 (11+11)
So’oialo 21 (11+10)
Collins 19 (13+6)
Jack 19 (10+9)
Filipo* 17
Oliver 17 (15+2)
Flavell 16 (13+3)
Muliaina 15 (5+10)
Mauger 13 (5+8)
Gear 13 (4+9)
Carter 12 (7+5)
Mealamu* 11
Tialata* 11
Woodcock 10 (6+4)
McAlister 9 (6+3)
Masoe* 7
Kelleher 4 (4+0)
Rokocoko 2 (1+1)
Weepu* 1
Sivivatu* 1
Completed Tackles (106)
and Assists (27)
McCaw 16 (9+7) and 2 (1+1)
Collins 13 (5+8) and 3 (1+2)
Jack 11 (3+8) and 1 (0+1)
Mauger 9 (6+3) and 1 (0+1)
Carter 8 (2+6) and 1 (1+0)
So’oialo 8 (1+7) and 1 (0+1)
Kelleher 7 (5+2) and 0
Weepu* 6 and 0
Hayman 6 (1+5) and 4 (2+2)
Mealamu* 5 and 2
Flavell 5 (4+1) and 1 (0+1)
Muliaina 5 (2+3) and 2 (0+2)
Tialata* 4 and 2
Masoe* 3 and 0
Gear 3 (2+1) and 2 (0+2)
Woodcock 3 (2+1) and 0
Oliver 2 (0+2) and 1 (1+0)
McAlister 1 (1+0) and 1 (0+1)
Rokocoko 1 (1+0) and 0
Filipo* 0 and 4
Missed and slipped tackles (19)
Muliaina 3
Mauger 2
McAlister 2
McCaw 2
So’oialo 2
Oliver 2
Filipo 2
Gear 1
Jack 1
Flavell 1
Collins 1
NZ Lineouts
A total of 12 in the game
First half
NZ 2/4
Second half
NZ 5/8

Jack = 6/6 (but two takes ruled not straight)
So’oialo = 3/4 (but one take ruled not straight)
Flavell = 0/1
Filipo = 1/1

Australia had 13 throws to their lineout, won 9 and lost 4. The All Blacks contested 8 of the 13 Aussie throws and manged two steals (Jack and So’oialo).

A total of 22 in the game, with 9 resets
First half (11)
NZ 4/5
AUS 3/6
Second half (11)
NZ 4/4
AUS 6/7
1 Jul

John O'Groats Speaks Out
by Paul Waite
1 Jul 2007

Having finished up a highly successful mission abroad offending large numbers of people for lots of money, John O’Groats has once again slipped his Armani-trousered derriere into the Chief Executives chair of the ARU.

Once there he immediately got up again and, as is his wont, started to do what he’s best at – making the easy things hard, and the hard things even harder. Here is a news media report of a recent address, together with some helpful editorial clarifications to aid understanding (our thanks to The Anger Management Weekly).

Angered by South Africa’s decision to send an understrength Tri-Nations squad to Australasia, O’Groats revealed the Australian Rugby Union was considering seeking compensation.

The returning ARU chief executive then also suggested the Super 14 should be extended and expanded if European nations continued to send second-string teams south in the winter.

“It’s my first day in the job and I’m very angry about this,” he said of the Springbok “betrayal”.

[There's nothing like a bit of perspective, balance and restraint, and true enough, this is nothing like it. - Ed.]

“You expect it from the northern hemisphere nations but you don’t expect it from your Sanzar partners, it’s not in the spirit of the relationship.”

[O'Groats is very well-placed to know all about what is, and is not, in the spirit of a relationship, owing to the valuable experience he acquired when managing the 2003 Rugby World Cup co-hosting rights 'betrayal' of his counterparts, the New Zealand Rugby Union. - Ed.]

O’Groats said South Africa, which claimed leading players needed to be rested for their welfare before the World Cup, had given an unsatisfactory response to the ARU’s disapproval.

[That would be "unsatisfactory" on the What Satisfies John O'Meter we suppose. That's the meter with a scale of a huge red zone from 0-9 and a tiny green zone at 10 labelled "Everything My Way" - Ed.]

It has ARU officials raising the issue of compensation, in the order of $A200,000 ($NZ223,000) for potential lost gate revenue for the July 7 Springbok clash in Sydney, to the SARU.

[Rumour has it that, following this very same reasoning, legal sources assert the New Zealand Rugby Union has grounds for suing the Australian Union for a much larger amount due to the Wallabies being such a useless bunch of losers over the years resulting in poorer gate receipts and betting income for the TAB than would have otherwise been the case. - Ed.]

“That issue has to be on the table,” O’Groats said.

“If this was a normal commercial transaction and if one party had arguably not met their end of the bargain then the other party would be looking at some claim for damages.

“But that’s not the rugby way and I accept that but the financial damage and the reputational (sic) damage has to be spelt out.”

[Unfortunately we have discovered that "reputational" can't be spelled out at all because it isn't actually in the dictionary. - Ed.]

O’Groats warned the damage filtered down to broadcasting rights, with a new contract to be renegotiated with News Ltd at the end of 2010.

“What if our broadcasters and sponsors claim on us and say you didn’t deliver what you promised to deliver. Then you have to have recourse to someone,” he said.

“I’m trying to get through to (South Africa) that this can have a knock-on effect.

[Well you should settle that with a scrum then. Oh I forgot, Australians couldn't scrum against a team of grannies. - Ed.]

“We are only two-and-a-half years away from a new broadcasting deal. Do you really think News Ltd and the broadcasters that they have sold the rights to haven’t noticed this and noticed the resting of 22 New Zealand players in the first seven rounds?”

O’Groats will spell out his concerns on the effect of the World Cup and the reluctance of European clubs to release test players for southern tours to the IRB in the coming months.

[It took O'Groats only four paragraphs of his first speech to threaten and rubbish the South African Rugby Union, ten more to stick something very long and spiky up the rear end of the New Zealand Rugby Union, and a further single paragraph to tee-up the Europeans for a bit of a tickle. O'Groats ought to be leading the UN diplomatic effort in the Middle East. He'd clear up the little problems they're having over there in no time. - Ed.]

“We’re used to doing battle on this issue due to the club v country dilemma and there are regulations that cover that but now we’re in a World Cup year and it’s Rafferty’s rules,” he said.

“(There’s a view) the holy grail is September to October and so everything that leads into that, doesn’t matter. Well sorry, commercial partners won’t accept that.

“If we have to deliver protocols in a World Cup year, well let’s do it.

“I guess the message now is that we have to turn our minds to preserve the integrity and protocol of the international contest. Otherwise we will fall into friendlies.

[The pieces of gibberish making up the previous couple of paras have all of us completely stumped. At the time of going to press, no actual meaning could be elicited from these words. - Ed.]

“If the encroachment of (European) club competitions become so extensive then you have to really start to think about some options about expanding Super rugby is a better way to go.”

O’Groats was speaking after attending the 1400-strong Weary Dunlop Lunch in Melbourne, where he announced the city would host a Wallabies-Ireland Test at the MCG or Telstra Dome next year.

A guest at the lunch was predecessor Lands End, who resigned in May.

The above speech was put through the WotESaid program, a special high-powered software package which condenses prose into its component parts, removes all of the meaningless verbage and para-phrases the remainder into concise sentences. We felt that O’Groats speech required it. Here is the condensed meaning of that speech (certain ‘technical’ jargon has been removed on the grounds they might cause too much clarity):

“South Africa can go and —- itself, or be —-ed by me, and either way I’m going to win. New Zealand can go and —- itself AND be —-ed by me because it’s a hobby of mine that I like very much indulging in and intend to keep on doing happily in the years to come. The Europeans can just —- off generally. And all you buggers here listening can —- right off too, because I don’t give a —- what I say as long as I make an unfavourable impression.”
(the above condensate has an accuracy level of 99%)

Paul Waite

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1 Jul

Marius Jonker 20 All Blacks 15
by Paul Waite
1 Jul 2007

What a desperately disappointing refereeing performance that was! It was just about worthy of the legendary “was was robbed” cry coined in the round-ball code.

Despite the All Blacks being quite obviously stuffed by the stupid turnarounds expected of them, playing in South Africa one week and then Melbourne the next, this should have been a reasonably safe win for them had it not been for the intervention of the jerk with the whistle.

The sin-binning of Hayman in the second half when the AB’s were looking tired enough, but still also looking like the most likely to score, was the deciding moment in this test. That is an indictment of his pathetic performance right there, that the outcome of this torrid hard-fought affair should be determined in that manner and not by the players involved.

But unfortunately it typified his total lack of cognisance of what was going on. From the blindness to the early hit at each and every scrum by the Wallabies, patently out-gunned in that facet of the game, to his mistakes with wrongly ruled knock-ons, handling in the ruck, and a general failure to follow the incidents in the game and who was to blame for them.

It was a test too far for this All Black squad. Traveling all the way to South Africa, fighting a huge test match there, then traveling immediately to Melbourne to fight a week later at the MCG is a schedule no team should be asked to take on. To be honest, it was surprising that they won the SA test, never mind backing up in Australia 7 days later.

Looking at the test itself, it confirmed a few things already known. First of all McAllister is an horrendous choice at centre. This has been the case throughout his career in Super rugby, and doesn’t look to be amenable to improvement in the future. Secondly, the Wallaby scrum is a bit better than last year, but is still basically mincemeat material as compared with the All Blacks, their attempts to disrupt the hit (with the aid of a misguided referee) notwithstanding. It took a terrible pummeling from about 20 minutes into the game, and even with Hayman off and pushing against seven it couldn’t make any ground.

About 10-15 minutes into the second half, and before the Hayman travesty, the All Blacks uncharacteristically screwed up two clear chances to score. For some reason minds were sluggish and wrong options taken and the foot was taken back off the Wallaby neck. It was at this point that the All Blacks began to show signs of tiredness, and after that they seemed to go into a holding pattern, though not looking particularly threatened.

After Jonker made his awful blunder with the yellow card, the test was irretrievably ruined, and the Wallabies lifted their game, sniffing the main chance being offered to them. Their forwards piled into it, taking the ball up before winger Staniforth got it and, unbelievably, made his way through three missed tackles from (in order) Rico Gear, Richie McCaw and Chris Jack. Normally all of those players are rock solid in defence, but this time they were found wanting.

There are, at least, some benefits for the All Blacks on their way to the World Cup, and those should be acknowledged.

First of all there is the reminder that the referees we have in the game at the present time are extremely variable in ability – much moreso than in the last few decades of the game. When you get a duff one, as here, then you have to ride with it and adapt. Having said that, thee team did pretty well in this respect, and not much else could have been done. Hayman’s strip of the ball was done as they fell to ground and was legal but the decision will stand.

Secondly, the legend that has been gathering around them like a thundercloud over the past season or so is now dispersed. They are now officially ‘vulnerable’ to everyone on their day again. We all knew this already, however a test like this serves to bring everyone down to planet Earth, and that can be a very useful thing in World Cup year. At least the All Blacks don’t have to carry the burden of that winning streak anymore, and can start from zero again refreshed and with minds focussed to fix all of the many mistakes they made tonight.

All the best to the Wallabies. We all know that you will mount a strong campaign in World Cup year yourselves, and will be one of the teams to beat in France.

However before that occurs, watch what happens when you have to play back-to-back tests away from home in New Zealand coming up. Winning once, against 14-men who have just traveled from South Africa is one thing, but that will be quite another.

Paul Waite

Paul Waite

Haka editor-in-chief. Please do not feed.

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