29 May

Haka's Possible All Black Squad
by Tracey Nelson
29 May 2009

The first All Black squad for the Iveco series against France and Italy is due to be named this Sunday at 2pm NZ time. The All Blacks will play France twice in the Iveco Series, in Dunedin on 13 June and Wellington on 20 June, followed by a Test against Italy in Christchurch on 27 June. With captain Richie McCaw ruled out of the series this morning with a knee ligament injury the Haka squad have put their collective minds together and come up with the following possible squad and new captain.

We’ve split the 26 man squad into 11 backs and 15 forwards, and they are as follows:

Mils Muliaina (captain)
Joe Rokocoko
Lelia Masaga
Rudi Wulf
Richard Kahui
Conrad Smith
Ma’a Nonu
Isaia Toeava
Stephen Donald
Piri Weepu
Jimmy Cowan

Rodney So’oialo
Jerome Kaino
Kieran Read
Adam Thomson
Tanerau Latimer
Liam Messam
Brad Thorn
Isaac Ross,
Kevin O’Neill
Tony Woodcock
John Afoa
Wyatt Crockett
Andrew Hore
Keven Mealamu

As you can see, we’ve gone with Mils Muliaina as our captain in the absence of McCaw based on his excellent leadership and form with the Chiefs this season. We only have one specialist 1st 5 in Stephen Donald, with Isaia Toeava and Piri Weepu to cover. We’ve picked Adam Thomson as a utility to cover openside and blindside flanker, with Tanerau Latimer our first choice specialist to replace Richie McCaw on the openside.

Possible bolters (in order):
Aled de Malmanche, Owen Franks, Jeremy Thrush, Renee Ranger, George Whitelock.

Disappointing picks on form should they be named:
Sione Lauaki, John Schwalger, Jamie MacIntosh

28 May

Rate that Ref
by Tracey Nelson
28 May 2009

A review of Australian referee Stuart Dickinson and his performance in the Super 14 semi final match played between the Chiefs and Hurricanes in Hamilton last weekend. Questionable decisions are asterisked and discussed at the end.

Time Incident Referee’s Decision
0.23 Knock on by Mathewson Scrum to Chiefs
0.56 Early engage at scrum by Chiefs FK to Hurricanes
2.22 Knock on by Messam Scrum to Hurricanes
3.27 Possible off side at ruck by Lauaki, Hurricanes ball, ref says Play on Play continues
4.05 Ruck called but ball appears to be off ground, Chiefs using hands Nothing happens*
4.26 Knock on by Morland Advantage played to Hurricanes
5.24 Hurricanes taking weight off on own scrum feed FK to Chiefs
7.20 Chiefs take too long to throw ball to lineout FK to Hurricanes
8.07 Hurricanes knock-on at Chiefs throw to lineout Plays advantage to Chiefs
8.16 Hurricanes going off feet at breakdown FK to Chiefs
9.13 Knock on by David Smith Scrum to Chiefs
12.20 Off side entry to maul by Chiefs Scrum to Hurricanes
13.43 Latimer not releasing ball in the tackle FK to Hurricanes
14.25 Not straight throw at lineout by Chiefs Scrum to Hurricanes
16.06 Knock on by Chiefs at breakdown Advantage played to Hurricanes
17.28 Turnover won by Chiefs at breakdown Play on
17.54 Knock on by Ripia Scrum to Chiefs
18.42 Scrum through 90 degrees on Chiefs feed Scrum to Hurricanes
19.27 Forward pass Vito to Nonu Not seen*
19.28 Try to Nonu Awarded after consulting Assistant Ref
22.07 Hurricanes throw to lineout too early, no space Reset lineout
22.29 Hurricanes lineout throw not straight, call by Assistant Ref Scrum to Chiefs
23.14 Forward pass Sivivatu to Bruce Scrum to Hurricanes
24.45 Hurricanes not rolling away at tackle Advantage played to Chiefs
25.12 Hurricanes going off feet at breakdown Advantage played to Chiefs
25.24 No advantage from previous FK to Chiefs
25.47 Hurricanes off-side at ruck Not noticed
26.05 Schwalger falls on wrong side at tackle but attempts to roll away Penalty and yellow card*
28.31 Hurricanes not rolling clear at tackle Advantage to Chiefs
29.43 Hurricanes not rolling clear at tackle Advantage to Chiefs
30.57 Ruck turnover won by Hurricanes Play on
31.07 Chiefs off feet at ruck FK to Hurricanes
31.58 Try to Lauaki Try
34.21 Ball comes off Hurricanes boot at ruck leading to turnover Play on
34.58 Ball unplayable at breakdown after Hurricanes had possession FK to Chiefs
38.06 Counter-ruck won by Hurricanes Play on
38.49 Knock-on by Chiefs then by Hurricanes Scrum to Hurricanes
41.22 Tackle by Hurricanes on Chiefs player, ruless Hurricanes knocked on Advantage to Chiefs*
42.05 Chiefs not releasing ball in tackle FK to Hurricanes
42.12 Knock on by Hurricanes Advantage to Chiefs
42.24 Hurricanes drive over ball at tackle but then take out receiver Penalty to Chiefs
44.39 Hurricanes player inside the 10m line from a kick, so offside at next play Penalty to Chiefs
45.40 Knock on by Chiefs Advantage to Hurricanes
45.42 No advantage from knock on Scrum to Hurricanes
47.48 Chiefs knock on Advantage to Hurricanes
48.31 Ball comes out of Chiefs scrum, hits halfback’s foot and rolls forward Play on signalled
49.51 Hurricanes ball held up maul Scrum to Chiefs
52.14 Knock on by Chiefs, no advantage to Hurricanes Scrum to Hurricanes
53.00 Scrum collapses on Hurricanes feed FK to Hurricanes
55.26 Off-side ruck entry by Chiefs Penalty to Hurricanes
58.17 Knock on by Hurricanes, no advantage to Chiefs Scrum to Chiefs
60.19 Hurricanes not releasing ball in tackle FK to Chiefs
60.57 Hurricanes hands in ruck FK to Chiefs*
62.16 Knock on by Hurricanes Scrum to Chiefs*
63.07 Knock on by Chiefs Advantage to Hurricanes
63.17 Chiefs not releasing player in tackle Advantage to Hurricanes
63.19 No advantage to Hurricanes Scrum to Hurricanes
64.23 High tackle by Chiefs Advantage to Hurricanes
64.26 No advantage to Hurricanes Penalty to Hurricanes
66.41 Hurricanes not releasing the ball in the tackle FK to Chiefs
66.49 Hurricanes not back 10m, plays advantage but there is none FK to Chiefs
68.55 Chiefs knock on Advantage to Hurricanes
70.32 Tackle turnover won by Chiefs Play on
71.31 Tackle turnover won by Chiefs Play on
71.57 Chiefs offside at ruck, plays advantage but none Penalty to Hurricanes
74.02 Ball ruled to come straight down from Hurricanes player at lineout Play on
76.13 Ball off Hurricanes foot at ruck, turnover won by Chiefs Play on
76.24 Hurricanes off-side at ruck Penalty to Chiefs
78.38 Chiefs lineout throw not straight Scrum to Hurricanes
79.24 Chiefs not releasing tackled player Advantage to Hurricanes
79.32 Chiefs going off feet at breakdown close to goal line Penalty to Hurricanes
81.38 Knock on by Hurricanes Full time

SUMMARY (7/10)
Overall I thought Dickinson refereed this game adequately, and did demonstrate good use of advantage. However, there were times where his calls at rucks became very loud (and sometimes confusing) and he possibly spent too much time telling players to retire behind the off-side line rather than just penalising them. Of all the incidents noted, he and his officials missed the following:

The forward pass by Vito to Nonu for the Hurricanes try in the 19th minute.

Jeremy Thrush was offside and involved at a ruck in the 25th minute.

In the 62nd minute a Hurricanes player knocked the ball on, but had never retired back on-side before he attempted to play the ball.

Questionable decisions:

In the 5th minute of the game he rules that the Hurricanes have “taken the weight off” at the scrum engagement, which seems an unlikely thing for them to do on their own feed.

Schwhalger’s sinbinning and the penalty awarded was completely unjustified, and was on a call from Assistant Referee Chris Pollock. Schwalger was ruled to have not rolled away and then played the ball on the ground, but replays showed him legimately attempting to roll away. The ball rises up from the ruck and hits a Chiefs’ player on the knee before bouncing away from the ruck into the field of play. Nobody had hands on it, and Schwalger certainly had nothing to do with it.

In the 41st minute there is a tackle on Masaga. The second Hurricanes player arriving at the tackle is on his feet and attempting to get to the ball but Masaga isn’t releasing the ball as he attempts to squeeze it back for his approaching teammates. It really should have been a FK to the Hurricanes, but it was ruled that they knocked the ball on once a ruck formed shortly after.

In the 60th minute the Hurricanes had a FK awarded against them for using their hands in a ruck, but replays showed Liam Messam on the ground attempting to play the ball back to his side of the ruck so the FK should really have gone to the Hurricanes.

25 May

Super 14 Semi Finals
by Tracey Nelson
25 May 2009

Two great games of rugby were played out in the Super 14 semi finals over the weekend – the game in Hamilton was a very tight affair which went down to the wire, while in Pretoria it was a free-flowing, end-to-end encounter where first one side leapt to a significant lead and then the other hit back in what was essentially a game of two halves. In the end the two sides with the home advantage went through, but not before some heart-in-mouth moments for their supporters.

SEMI FINAL #1: Chiefs v Hurricanes (14-10)

It was a very cold, clear night in Hamilton as the Chiefs v Hurricanes game kicked off, and almost right away it was the Hurricanes that came up with the mistake when Tamati Ellison knocked the ball on. A break by Toby Morland from a wayward Hurricanes pass nearly set up the first try of the game in the sixth minute as he darted off down the left touchline and it was only a desperate tackle by Ma’a Nonu on Stephen Donald that cut the movement down metres out from the line.

But it was the Hurricanes that drew first blood, after they screwed a Chiefs scrum through 90 degrees to gain a scrum feed on the Chiefs 10m line. From that scrum they set up a couple of rucks before Victor Vito busted through two defenders to get into the Chiefs’ 22. He was pulled down in a tackle 4m from the line but managed to offload the pass to Nonu who crossed for the try. Referee Stuart Dickinson was in two minds about the pass and queried his Assistant Referee Chris Pollock who gave it the ok, despite the replay showing a very obvious forward pass. Weepu converted and the Hurricanes were ahead 7-0 with 20 minutes gone.

Seven minutes later it was Pollock in the spotlight again when the ball popped out the side of a Chiefs ruck close to the Hurricanes line. On his instruction the referee penalised the Hurricanes and sinbinned prop John Schwalger for deliberately playing the ball on the ground. Replays showed that Schwalger had merely been rolling away from the tackle and the ball had in fact bounced off the knee of a Chiefs player and out of the ruck. Some justice was served when Stephen Donald’s penalty kick bounced off the uprights and the Hurricanes cleared the ball into touch.

The Hurricanes fortunes took another blow shortly after when they lost openside flanker Scott Waldrom to injury, and that was added to when the Chiefs struck back with their first try of the game. The Chiefs launched an attack from near halfway and a series of passes saw the ball in Lauaki’s hands as he steamrolled his way down the left hand touchline through the tackles of Cory Jane and Rodney So’oialo to score in the corner. Donald converted from the sideline and then.four minutes later attempted a drop goal but the Hurricanes defence were on to it and charged the kick to see the sides go into the break tied up 7-7.

The Chiefs had the first scoring opportunity in the second half with a penalty but it was missed by Donald. The two sides thrust and parried for the next 10 minutes until the Chiefs decided to open the game up and scored the try of the match. Sitiveni Sivivatu, who had looked dangerous all night, broke out of his half with a swerve and showed tremendous acceleration to turn the defence around. Toby Morland and Mils Muliaina ran in great support and it was Muliaina who took the final pass from Morland 15m out from the Hurricanes line to score under the posts.

Willie Ripia was then subbed and with Alby Mathewson coming on Weepu shifted out one to 1st 5, but there was no change in the Hurricanes fortunes. They withstood almost 10 minutes of attack from the Chiefs and then had the chance to attack themselves with 5 minutes left in the game. It was at this stage that fog began sweeping across the ground and in the space of a minute play was all but obscured to those in the crowd. The Chiefs appeared to have saved themselves with a well won ruck turnover on their goal line, but the Hurricanes swept back onto attack from the resulting lineout. It was rugged, disciplined defence that saw the Chiefs pressure the Hurricanes into knocking on following several driving plays on the goal line, and that signalled the end of the game much to the relief of the Chiefs and their supporters.

Once again the Hurricanes came up short in a sudden-death play off game, and on the night they were out-passioned by a Chiefs side that showed more intensity and used their pace to good effect both on attack and, more importantly, defence. The Hurricanes seemed devoid of conjuring up any play to counteract the Chiefs’ defence, and it was the Chiefs that benefitted from the counterattack – something that the Hurricanes had previously prided themselves on. The win by the Chiefs now means that every New Zealand side will have featured in a Super Final.

Chiefs: Lauaki, Muliaina tries; Donald 2 con.
Hurricanes: Nonu try; Weepu 1 con, 1 pen.

SEMI FINAL #2: Bulls v Crusaders (36-23)

Not many people outside of Canterbury were giving the Crusaders much of a chance against a Springbok-laden Bulls side playing at home infront of 52 000 fanatical fans, but there was probably a slight shiver going through the Bulls as they faced the only New Zealand side that has a 50% winning record at Loftus Versfeld – not to mention a proud history of winning the competition. And the Bulls had good reason to respect the Crusaders’ legacy, because it was the visiting team that got out of the starting blocks the best, and nearly scored a try in the opening minutes of the game had Thomas Waldrom not bombed it by dropping the ball as he was tackled going over the line. The Crusaders lost Leon MacDonald early on to the blood bin after a collision in a tackle, so it was Stephen Brett who stepped up to take the first penalty shot at goal – nailing it from close to the sideline.

It took the Bulls 12 minutes to get going in the game, but they struck back with a try to Brian Habana after the Crusaders left an uncharacteristic gap in the fringe defence at a ruck 15m out from their line. But the large crowd were quickly silenced when the Crusaders burst onto attack from the restart and thanks to some very slick passing exploited the blindside from a ruck for Adam Whitelock to score in the corner.

Five minutes later Leon MacDonald, back from the blood bin, sent a penalty over after the Bulls were penalised for offside at a ruck in front of their posts. Again from the restart of play the Crusaders swung onto attack, and this time they chose the aerial route. On the Bulls 22 Brett put up a perfectly weighted high kick that came down a metre out from the Bulls’ line just to the right of the uprights. Kieran Read contested with Habana in the air, and gaining possession used his momentum to twist and crash over for the try. The MacDonald conversion took the score at the 24 minute mark out to 7-20 in favour of the Crusaders and suddenly it looked as if the young Crusaders side were going to pull off a most miraculous victory.

But playing at altitude is difficult, and the energetic opening 30 minutes the Crusaders had put in started to tell. Another lapse on defence saw the Bulls create an overlap that allowed Ndungane to score, and the conversion closed the gap to 7 points. Then with 5 minutes left to play in the half Waldrom was yellow carded at a defensive ruck, and from the free kick awarded the Bulls set up a ruck and Morne Steyn dropped a goal to decrease the deficit to just 3 point. Two minutes later he followed it up with yet another drop goal and the scores were tied. The Bulls were getting their confidence back, and when Jared Payne put through a poor grubber kick it was No 8 Pierre Spies who set off like a locomotive on the counter attack and out-sprinted the cover defence to score right on the break. Steyn converted and the Bulls went into halftime leading 27-20.

The Crusaders opened the second half with a neatly taken drop goal to Andy Ellis 10 m
inutes in after the Crusaders had a penalty advantage out in front of the Bulls posts, but that was to be the only addition to their score. The Bulls nearly had a try in the 58th minute but the final pass was correctly called forward. A penalty against Brad Thorn pulling Victor Matfield down at a lineout gave the Bulls back their 7 point advantage in the 66th minute, but they were struggling to break through the resolute Crusaders’ defence. So in classic high veldt style Morne Steyn banged over two drop goals in the space of four minutes – one a monster from almost halfway – to put what had been a most enthralling game of rugby out of reach of the Crusaders.

The Bulls will now host the Chiefs in Pretoria for the Final.

Bulls: Habana, Ndungane, Spies tries; Steyn 3 con, 1 pen, 4 drop goals.
Crusaders: Whitelock, Read tries; Brett 1 con, 1 pen, MacDonald 1 con, 1 pen, Ellis drop goal.

21 May

Super 14 Semi Finals Preview
by Tracey Nelson
21 May 2009

SEMI FINAL 1: Chiefs vs Hurricanes, Hamilton, Friday 7.30pm NZT

These two sides met a mere two weeks ago at the exact same venue, with the Chiefs coming out victors 16-8 , a win all the more impressive given the Chiefs had just returned from three weeks in South Africa. Many had expected the Hurricanes to win that match, but it was the Chiefs who turned the heat on at the start of the second half and blew the Hurricanes off the park. They also had the better of set pieces on the night, and won the battle of the loosies.

Poor discipline, so long a curse of Wellington sides, also contributed to their downfall with Stephen Donald’s goal kicking taking the game out of the Hurricanes’ reach. It didn’t help that Wilie Ripia had a poor night with the boot either, missing most of his kicks at goal – kicks that could have kept the Canes in touch. The Hurricanes will be starting an unchanged side from the one that beat the Reds 37-28 last weekend, but the Chiefs have lost halfback Brendon Leonard and prop Ben May, and are still without All Black centre Richard Kahui.

Injury to reserve halfback David Bason has added further problems, with Taranaki’s Brett Goodin coming onto the bench. If the Hurricanes are to win this game they will need to get behind the Chiefs’ rush defensive line, and it will likely be the midfield that the All Black pairing of Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith will target with the absence of Kahui. Piri Weepu will no doubt make a nuisance of himself around the fringes of the scrum where the relatively inexperienced Toby Morland was found wanting at times a fortnight ago. But the Hurricanes will have to rely on more than just their usual free-flowing rugby to beat the Chiefs in Hamilton – can they play finals rugby?

The Chiefs will be looking to keep the Hurricanes trapped in their own territory, but also have a formidable back three in Masaga, Sivivatu and Muliaina – the latter being in as fine a form as we’ve seen in recent years. Their loose forward trio has also been firing this season, and they will be looking to once again put the heat on at the breakdown. Stephen Donald, who has scored all the Chiefs’ points in the last two games, will again be key and fans will be hoping his kicking radar is on-song. The Chiefs have shown they can play it tight and look for territory when required, but also have some brilliant attacking flair of their own. They will need both to beat a confident Hurricanes side.

Play-offs History:
The Hurricanes have made the semi-finals 6 times, but have only ever won through to the final once (2006, where they lost to the Crusaders in Christchurch). They have never won a semi-final away from home.

This is only the second time the Chiefs have made the semi-finals, the last time being in 2004. They have never won a semi-final.

Hurricanes: Cory Jane, Tamati Ellison, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, David Smith, Willie Ripia, Piri Weepu, Rodney So’oialo (captain), Scott Waldrom, Victor Vito, Jason Eaton, Jeremy Thrush, Neemia Tialata, Andrew Hore, John Schwalger. Reserves: Ged Robinson, Jacob Ellison, Bryn Evans, Karl Lowe, Alby Mathewson, Jason Kawau, Zac Guildford.

Chiefs: Mils Muliaina(c), Lelia Masaga, Dwayne Sweeney, Callum Bruce, Sitivini Sivivatu, Stephen Donald, Toby Morland, Sione Lauaki, Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Kevin O’Neill, Craig Clarke, James McGougan, Aled de Malmanche, Sona Taumalolo. Reserves: Hika Elliot, Joe Savage, Toby Lynn, Serge Lilo, Brett Goodin, Mike Delany, Sosene Anesi.

SEMI-FINAL 2: Bulls v Crusaders, Pretoria, Sunday 1am NZT

The Crusaders prevailed 15-13 when these two sides met in Christchurch back in week 8 of the competition, but it will be a different kettle of fish in Pretoria as everyone knows the Bulls at home are a sterner test than the Bulls on the road. The Bulls have been bolstered with the naming of Springbok midfielder Wynand Olivier who left the field in the game against the Sharks last weekend with what looked to be a serious hip injury, and will also have their Springbok locking pairing of captain Victor Matfield and Bakkes Botha after Botha was cleared following a citation for hitting Sharks’ No 8 Ryan Kankowski.

Add to that the world’s best halfback Fourie du Preez, drop goal ace Morne Steyn, flying wingers Bryan Habana and Akona Ndungane, big running No 8 Pierre Spies and the hard running hooker Derick Kuun and this is looking like mission impossible for the very young Crusaders side. And that’s without looking at the Bulls’ reserve lineup! The Bulls have won their last 9 games at home, so it will take something special to break that run.

The Crusaders have made it through to the playoffs this year mainly thanks to the reliable Leon MacDonald who took over goal kicking duties in round 12, and landed the all-important drop goal to give the Crusaders the win over the Blues in the final round for the win that ultimately saw them make fourth place. Captain Richie McCaw will also be a key player, having missed the round robin game against the Bulls.

But outside of MacDonald, McCaw, and All Blacks Kieran Read, Brad Thorn and Andy Ellis, it is a very young and inexperienced side that will take on the Bulls this weekend. To have made it through to the playoffs is an achievement in itself. Still, if there was ever a team that knows how to win sudden-death matches, it’s the Crusaders.

Play-offs History:

The Bulls have made the semi-finals three times, losing two away semis and winning one at home when they made it through to the final in 2007. That year they went on to win the title against the Sharks in Durban.

The Crusaders have made the semi-finals 11 times, and 2009 is their 8th consecutive semi-final appearance. They have only failed to make the final from one of those semi-finals, and that solitary loss was against the Bulls in Pretoria in 2007. The Crusaders are also the only Super team to have won the title from the position of fourth qualifier, when they beat the Reds in Brisbane in the semi-final and then went on to win the final against the Highlanders in Dunedin in 1999. They have won 7 of the 8 finals they have appeared in.

Bulls: Zane Kirchner, Akona Ndungane, Jaco Pretorius, Wynand Olivier, Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Pierre Spies, Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Victor Matfield (c), Bakkies Botha, Werner Kruger, Derick Kuun, Gurthro Steenkamp. Reserves: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Rayno Gerber, Danie Rossouw, Pedrie Wannenburg, Heini Adams, Burton Francis, Gerhard van den Heever.

Crusaders: Leon MacDonald, Jared Payne, Tim Bateman, Ryan Crotty, Adam Whitelock, Stephen Brett, Andy Ellis/Kahn Fotuali’i, Thomas Waldrom , Richie McCaw(c), Kieran Read, Isaac Ross, Brad Thorn/Michael Paterson, Owen Franks,, Jason MacDonald, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Dan Perrin, Ben Franks, Michael Paterson/Ross Filipo, George Whitelock, Khan Fotuali’i/Tyson Keats, Colin Slade, Hamish Gard.

20 May

It's the Super 15
by Tracey Nelson
20 May 2009

Apparently the bigwigs in SANZAR are of the opinion that the southern hemisphere rugby market is not saturated and that there will be plenty of spectator interest in the new 24-week Super 15 competition when it kicks off in 2011. One plus to the expanded comp though is an extended play-offs series between six teams rather than just four as stands at the moment.

After lengthy discussions over the past months between the three SANZAR partners, a compromise has finally been reached and the Super competition will be expanded to include another team – although quite where that side will come from is anyone’s guess. The competition will be split into three conferences, based in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. With South Africa and New Zealand already having five sides each, obviously it is out of the Australian conference that this 15th side will play in. But, despite Melbourne and the Gold Coast being suggested, there will be a tender process open to all-comers which could include a Pacific Islands side, Japan or even an Argentinian team.

The new competition has been structured as follows:

  • It will start in late February and conclude in the first week of August (except in 2011 when it will start and finish earlier to accommodate the Rugby World Cup).
  • Within each conference, all sides will play one another both home and away.
  • They will then play four out of the five teams from each of the other two conferences (four home and four away games).
  • Next will come a break in June to allow for the three countries to host in-bound tests from the Northern Hemisphere.
  • The Super 15 will then continue in July with each conference winner earning automatic entry into the finals.
  • There will be three other qualifiers and they will be teams that have scored the highest number of points across any of the three conferences.
  • The playoffs will take place over three weeks. The three qualifiers and the conference winner with the least competition points will play off to determine which two teams go through to the semis to meet the two conference winners with the highest competition points.

At the completion of the Super 14 the TriNations will start in South Africa in mid-August and conclude with two of the three Bledisloe tests in early October – this is to allow the early release of Springboks to play in the Currie Cup. This will effectively remove All Blacks from playing in the ANZC due to the overlap of the two competitions.

19 May

Rate that Ref
by Tracey Nelson
19 May 2009

The second review of a referee’s performance, this time Jonathan Kaplan and his performance in the Super 14 final round match played between the Reds and Hurricanes in Brisbane. Questionable decisions are asterisked and discussed at the end.

Time Incident Referee’s Decision
1.08 Knock-on by Hurricanes at ruck Scrum to Reds
1.54 Turnover won at tackle by Waldrom FK to Hurricanes
2.15 Knock on by Ellison Scrum to Reds
2.58 Not square and stable at scrum, Schwalger FK to Reds
3.17 Ball drops straight down off Reds, calls play on Play on
3.34 Turnover from Nonu at tackle Advantage Reds, play on
3.41 Turnover at ruck as Reds lose ball Advantage Hurricanes
3.57 Thrush ahead of kicker, not spotted by TJ or ref Missed*
4.01 Ball touched down in-goal, ref checks with TMO as to whether taken back Drop out 22
4.19 Knock on from 22 drop out by Reds Scrum to Hurricanes
4.28 Reds player not rolling away at tackle Advantage to Hurricanes
5.01 Reds slowing down ruck maul on their 5m line Advantage to Hurricanes
5.29 Try to Nonu Awarded
7.21 Thrush off-side from kick Option of Penalty where ball landed or scrum where kicked to Reds
8.03 Not square at scrum, Schwalger.Warning next time will be escalation FK to Reds
8.28 So’oialo wins turnover at ruck Allows play to continue
8.57 Tackle turnover won by Reds Allows play to continue
12.16 Knock on by Reds Scrum to Hurricanes
14.00 Not straight throw to lineout by Hurricanes Not ruled, play continues*
14.32 Tackle turnover won by Hurricanes Play on
14.45 Schwalger drops ball straight down Rules not knock on
14.57 Forward pass by Vito Scrum to Reds
16.30 Hurricanes not rolling away at tackle FK to Reds
17.31 Knock on by Hurricanes Scrum to Reds
18.51 Weepu off-side at scrum Penalty to Reds
18.53 Hands in ruck by Hore, escalation from FK Penalty to Reds
21.06 Try to Nonu Awarded
23.50 Forward pass by Reds Scrum to Hurricanes
24.42 Turnover won by Reds, then by Hurricanes Allows play to continue
24.53 Off feet playing ball in ruck by Reds FK to Hurricanes
24.54 Backchat for previous decision by Horwill Marches Reds 10m
26.06 Knock on by Jane, Reds get ball Advantage to Reds
26.35 Not rolling away in tackle by Hurricanes FK to Reds
27.24 Try to Quade Cooper Awarded
30.57 Reds holding on to ball in tackle FK to Hurricanes
32.14 Try to Jane Awarded
34.30 Hurricanes holding on to ball in tackle FK to Reds
34.53 Off-side and hands in ruck by So’oialo, warning next one is escalation Penalty to Reds
36.13 Refers to TMO for possible Reds try, asks any reason I can’t award this?” TMO pending
  TMO says inconclusive as he can’t sight anything on replays Try awarded
38.08 Hurricanes lineout throw not straight Scrum to Reds
38.48 Schwalger not square in scrum, escalation Penalty to Reds
41.00 Try to Thrush Awarded
43.52 Hurricanes not rolling away in tackle FK to Reds
44.32 Reds holding not releasing ball in tackle FK to Hurricanes
44.33 Reds player refusing to give ball for FK Reds marched 10m
45.31 Knock on by Hurricanes Scrum to Reds
47.18 High tackle by Hurricanes Plays advantage to Reds
48.55 Hurricanes off-side on own goal line Plays advantage to Reds
49.13 Knock on by Reds No advantage, awards penalty
49.50 Reds spill ball but not forward, regain ball Calls play on
50.09 Hurricanes spill ball backwards, regain ball Calls backwards
50.13 Hurricanes play ruck ball with hands FK to Reds
50.36 Jane not releasing ball in tackle, escalation warning for second offence in two plays Penalty to Reds
51.27 Hurricanes win ruck turnover, Mathewson pass goes touch in goal Goes to TMO to check forReds try
51.27 TMO confirms ball grounded short of line 5m scrum to Reds
52.07 Reds held up over Hurricanes line 5m scrum to Reds
54.16 Try to McLinden Awarded
55.43 Tackle turnover won by Reds, calls tackler Play on
55.55 Tackle turnover won by Hurricanes Play on
56.07 Knock on by Reds Scrum to Hurricanes
56.35 Hurricanes pass goes to ground, hits boot Play on off his foot
57.03 Hurricanes not releasing ball in tackle, Reds player on feet FK to Reds
57.23 Reds knock on at ruck Scrum to Hurricanes
58.17 Hurricanes ball hits referee Scrum to Hurricanes
58.59 Reds not bound at scrum Penalty to Hurricanes
60.52 Hurricanes lose ball, hits head of player and Reds get possession Play on
61.48 Maul turnover won by Hurricanes after calling hands off grey Says that’s fine, play continues*
62.22 TJ flag for shoulder charge by Reds player Penalty to Hurricanes
64.24 Tackle turnover won by Hurricanes Play on
64.28 TJ flag for shoulder charge by Hurricanes player Penalty to Reds
65.43 Ruck turnover won by Hurricanes Play on
65.48 Knock on by Hurricanes Scrum to Reds
66.54 Hurricanes scrum not steady on Reds feed FK to Reds
68.36 Knock on by Hurricanes Advantage played but none, so scrum to Reds
71.08 Knock on by Reds Scrum to Hurricanes
72.22 Intercept by Reds Try awarded
74.03 Ruck turnover won by Hurricanes Play on
74.11 Tackle turnover won by Reds Play on
74.38 Shwalger foot in touch, TJ flags it back down field Lineout to Reds
75.49 Hurricanes not rolling away at tackle FK to Reds
76.02 Hurricanes appear to win turnover but hands in ruck FK to Reds
77.14 Double knock on, Reds then Hurricanes Scrum to Hurricanes
78.05 Knock on by Hurricanes Advantage played for Reds
78.16 Obstruction on Reds kick chaser by Hurricanes Missed*
79.29 Knock on by Reds Advantage played for Hurricanes
81.23 Fumble by Reds at ruck, calls straight back Play on*
81.24 Off-side Hurricanes, entire line Advantage to Reds
83.09 Ball held up in Reds maul on Hurricanes line FK to Hurricanes

SUMMARY (10/10)

There is a reason why Kaplan holds the record for the number of test matches officiated, and there is no doubt in my mind that he is a very competent referee who backs his instincts and has near impeccable positioning on the field of play. Reviewing this game merely backed up that opinion. Of all the incidents noted, he and his officials only missed four of the 87 incidents during the game and those were:

Jeremy Thrush being in front of the kicker and therefore off-side as he chased a kick 3.57 mintutes into the game. This really should have been picked up by the Assistant Referee on the near sideline as viewed on TV, but wasn’t.

A not-straight throw by the Hurricanes at a lineout in the 14th minutes – again should have been noted by the Assistant Referee on the far sideline as viewed on screen.

An obstruction by a Hurricanes player on a Reds player chasing a kick in the 78th minute – Kaplan’s view was obscured by players, probably should have been an Assistant Referee call.

A knock on the Reds’ halfback at a ruck in the 81st minute was called “straight back”.

Only one questionable decision:

In the 61st minute the Reds took the ball into contact close to the Hurricanes line near the corner flag. A ruck formed and initially Kaplan was calling “Hands off grey”. Next thing a Hurricanes’ player had wrestled the ball free and the call was “That’s fine” – so some ambiguity there as the “hands off” call indicated Kaplan had decided a ruck had been formed, but for him to allow the ball to be played by the Hurricanes means he then adjusted that to being a maul as the ball must have been off the ground.

18 May

Super 14 Summary – Round 14
by Tracey Nelson
18 May 2009

The final round of the 2009 Super 14 saw seven teams fighting it out for semi-final places. In the end, the top four standings going into the round remained unchanged but thanks to the Crusaders not getting a bonus point win over the Blues it wasn’t until the very last game in Durban where the Bulls just edged the Sharks to win that we knew who was going through to the play-offs.


Unfortunately weather conditions made the ball slippery in this game as the Chiefs coughed up uncharacteristic amounts of ball in a slightly nervous looking performance as they played for a home spot in the semi-finals. A win was all the Chiefs needed, but at times it felt like they had delayed jetlag from the trip back from South Africa two weeks ago as their normally fluid game tended to escape them on the night.

The Brumbies were also playing for a spot in the semis, they required a bonus point win and other results to go their way for it to happen, but they came out firing and were almost first to score from a kick through down the left hand touchline. There was a race for the ball as it rolled into the Chiefs’ ingoal area, but it was Brendon Leonard who got there first to force the ball for a 22 restart.

The two sides slogged it out for the best part of half and hour before the Brumbies finally cracked the Chiefs’ defence – again employing a kick in behind the defensive line. Inexplicably Masaga decided to wait for the ball to bobble over the goal line before playing it, and that gave Fainifo the chance he needed to dive in low and beat a still upright Masaga to the ball. Mortlock converted and the Brumbies were up 7-0.

But almost from the restart of play the Chiefs lauched onto attack and a sweeping movement down the field saw Masaga almost score in the right corner, but for desperate tackles by Phibbs and Mortlock. From the resulting ruck close to the Brumbies line the Chiefs provided quick ruck ball to Leonard who fired the pass to Donald. Much like last week against the Hurricanes Donald spied a gap and charged for it, and was driven over in the tackle to score. He duly converted his own try and the teams were tied up 7-7 at the break.

The second half was more of the same, with both sides trying in vain to breach the opposition defence. The Chiefs had the better of possession and played the territory game, camping the Brumbies in their own 22 until eventually the pressure told and after one too many breakdown indiscretions referee Stuart Dickinson finally yellow carded Huia Edmonds in the 67th minute. Donald slotted the penalty to put the Chiefs in the lead for the first time in the game.

The Brumbies fought back strongly, and had a chance in the final minute of the game to launch an attack on a tiring Chiefs side when they were awarded a penalty. But Matt Toomua failed to find the touchline with his kick, and the Chiefs were able to maintain possession until the final hooter sounded to book themselves a home semi-final.

Chiefs: Donald try; Donald 1 con, 1 pen.
Brumbies: Fainifo try; Mortlock 1 con.


It was close but no cigar yet again for the Highlanders as they ended their season with yet another loss, this time in Perth against the Force. With Matt Giteau in scintillating form, the Force scored their first try just 42 seconds into the game and then piled on a further two tries and two penalties before the halftime break to leave the Highlanders staggering 23-0 down.

The Highlanders had come close to scoring in the first half but winger Fetu’u Vainikolo’s corner crossing was referred to the TMO who said no try. Something must have struck home during the half time team talk, as the Highlanders were first to score after the break with Ben Smith scoring in the 43rd minute. But a further penalty then a try to Haig Sare put the Force into a controlling lead.

A finely taken second try to Ben Smith came from good reading of a Giteau chip kick that he gathered and raced away to score from, and then minutes later Tom Donnelly crossed for the Highlanders’ third try from their own 22 thanks to a well placed cross kick by Israel Dagg that set a brilliant team movement going. A fourth try to Jimmy Cowan after the final hooter saw the Highlanders take two bonus points from the loss, but ultimately finish a disappointing 11th in 2009.

Force: Staniforth(2), Cross, Sare tries; Giteau 2 con, 3 pen
Highlanders: Smith(2), Donnelly, Cowan tries; Bowden 4 con


The Crusaders required a bonus point win to assure themselves of a place in the semis but the Blues defence, which has been porous to say the least this season, proved to be resolute in their last outing for the season. Both sides weren’t willing to give an inch on defence, and this pressure led to numerous handling errors by both sides.

The match will probably best be remembered for the exceedingly poor officiating by the referee and TMO in the 48th minute of the game when what looked to be a try to Michael Paterson wasn’t awarded because the footage was “inconclusive” as to whose hands were on the ball when it was grounded. This was despite referee Bryce Lawrence querying Chris Pollock as to why he thought it was inconclusive when he himself thought there was only one player in possession with the ball. In any event, after a fairly ridiculous conversation between the two no try was awarded and the Crusaders got a 5m attacking scrum whilst Blues had Chamberlain sent to the bin for a professional foul in slowing down the ball prior to the “no try”.

Penalties were exchanged in the first half to see the Crusaders up 6-3 at the break. The Blues were probably unlucky to concede a penalty early in the second half when Lawrence ruled Renee Ranger offside at the tackle when he was clearly the tackler, and that put the Crusaders ahead by six. Then came the “no try” event, after the Crusaders had spent several minutes on attack in the Blues half. Penalties were exchanged to see the score at 12-6 to the Crusaders after 61 minutes and this could have been stretched to a 9 point lead in the 65th minute when Leon MacDonald missed a penalty for offside ruck entry by the Blues.

The Crusaders had chances to score through Stephen Brett, Wyatt Crockett and Thomas Waldrom – the latter coming the closest as he lost the ball going over the line – but each time the Blues managed to scramble on defence to keep them out. Then came the second TMO moment of the evening, when the Blues put a kick through in behind the Crusaders’ defence. Jared Payne bungled the pick up and there was a mad scramble for the loose ball as Isaia Toeava got possession and a pile of bodies surged over the line. Footage appeared to show that the ball had been held up on the arm of a Crusader, but the TMO came back with the decision of “ball was grounded by Blue” and the try was awarded. Gopperth landed the conversion and suddenly the Blues were ahead by one point with just minutes left in the game.

In true Crusaders style, the red and blacks didn’t panic. They maintained possession and got themselves back to within metres of the Blues’ line. In the 76th minute they had a ruck 3m out from the Blues line just to the right of the goal posts, and with 1st 5 Stephen Brett down and receiving medical attention near the sideline it was experienced campaigner Leon MacDonald who stepped up and slotted the winning drop goal to take the reigning champs into the play-offs yet again.

Blues: Toeava try; Gopperth 1 con, 2 pen.
Crusaders: MacDonald 4 pen, 1 drop goal.


Also requiring a win to ensure themselves of a spot in the play-offs the Hurricanes set out to make sure that would happen and had scored their bonus point try by
the 32nd minute of the game. Nonu was the first to score after just six minutes, and Weepu followed barely four minutes later after a busting run by Victor Vito with Weepu being on the end of the chain to score.

Nonu had a second try in the 21st minute after a break on halfway by Corey Jane before offloading to Vito who this time fended off several tacklers before throwing a one-handed pass infield to Nonu who ran the final 22m to score under the posts. The Reds finally hit back with a try to Quade Cooper who showed some fancy stepping to sidestep three defenders down the blindside and reach out with one hand to score in the final tackle.

Almost from the restart of play the Hurricanes stretched the Reds’ defence out wide and this time it was Corey Jane who scored in the left corner to give them a bonus point try before halftime. The Reds weren’t down and out though, and a cheeky try to their halfback Ben Lucas was scored four minutes before the break – referee Jonathan Kaplan giving a lesson in how a question to the TMO should be posed and backing his own judgement to award the try when given the “inconclusive” answer.

Straight from the second half restart Jeremy Thrush crashed over after five phases of play broke through some flimsy Reds’ tackles to set up the final ruck close to the line. The Reds replied with a stylish try of their own after several phases of attack had them close to scoring before a triple cut-out pass by Berrick Barnes had Mark McLinden over for the try. With just 10 points now separating the two sides the Brisbane faithful were hoping for the Lazarus miracle, but Willie Ripia put the game out of reach with two penalty goals in the 61st and 64th minutes.

The Reds did have the last say, with an intercept try to Brandon Va’aulu from a Hurricanes movement in the Reds’ 22 to give them a bonus point from the game. However, it was not enough to shift the Reds from 13th position in the final standings, whilst the Hurricanes now head to Hamilton to take on the Chiefs for the second time in a fortnight in the first of the two semi-finals.

Hurricanes: Nonu(2), Weepu, Jane, Thrush tries; Ripia 2 pen, 3 con
Reds: Cooper, Lucas, McLinden, Va’aulu tries; Barnes 4 con

In other results:

The Lions lost to the Waratahs 33-38
The Cheetahs lost to the Stormers 22-28
The Sharks lost to the Bulls 26-27

The Semi-Finalists are:

Chiefs (2nd) vs Hurricanes (3rd) in Hamilton
(1st) vs Crusaders (4th) in Pretoria

15 May

Super 14 – All To Play For
by WAJ
15 May 2009

Another excellent weekend of rugger to look forward to. Who would have thought 8 weeks ago that the Chiefs would be second, that the Sharks would be really battling to make the four, and that three NZ teams would be in prime position to make the top 4. Of course the realists amongst us knew one of them wouldn’t be the Blues, none of them live in Auckland however.

1 5/8 rankingThe Duck, Ripia, Brett, Hayward, any and everyone else, Gopperth.

Chiefs v Brumbies
Excellent game to kick off. The Brumbies HAVE to win, the Chiefs need to win, and both need the bonus point to maximise their playoff chances. The Brumbies have been riding on the Mackay factor this season, but this hasn’t really helped them in NZ. Done over by the freewheeling Hurricanes a few weeks ago, they face a team more than capable of doing a repeat job. A rearranged backline, and Chapman missing, givivng them a very light weight back row, won’t help their cause. The Chiefs are at full strength for the first time in a long time, Leonard is a big in, and with both wingers having had a run under their belt the backline should be cherry ripe. As always it comes down to the T5 for the Chiefs. This is a good Brumbies scrum, they did over the Canes a couple of weeks ago. If the Chiefs hold up they will win convincingly.
Chiefs 13+

Lions v Waratahs
After a game effort last week kept them in touch with the top 4 all the Waratahs can do here is win with a 4 try bonus point and hope other results go their way. The issue is can they score 4 tries? They have only managed it twice in the years comp. And the Lions won’t roll over at home. The Waratahs should win with their dominant forwards, but can they finally get going in the backs and score the points – a struggle I reckon from the most boring side one could imagine. The big question – how much blood will Phil Waugh lose this week?
Waratahs 1 – 12

Blues v Crusaders
A comfortable win for the Crusaders coming up here. The Blues porous defence, ever increasing number of unforced errors and injuries will see to that. Whilst the Blues have always had talented individuals, the team ethic is not always as obvious in stark contrast to their opposition. The Crusaders also know that a bonus point win will all but guarantee them a chance to defencd their title. Motivation enough. The key match up – who will be the flakiest 1 5/8 on the night?
Crusaders 13+

Reds v Hurricanes
A few big in’s for the Reds will at least make them more competitive than their last couple of efforts. Love watching Berrick Barnes, his ability to give himself time to play is the best around I reckon, even better than Carter or Giteau. But let’s face it the Hurricanes will win easy here. A nice kick up the backside last week will act as the perfect motivation and will also have given Coop’s plenty of area’s to improve in. The Hurricanes need a bonus point win to give themselves the best chance of a top two spot as well. With Rodders in the spotlight this week expect his team to get in behind him and win in a game where they need to show structure and accuracy in the semi final build up.
Hurricanes 13+

Force v Highlanders
the first of two who cares games. The intersting thing here will be – well actually there is nothing of interest at all really, perhaps a few players looking to impress selectors. The Force farewell a few players so will be keen to go out with a big win.
Force 13+

Cheetahs v Stormers – who cares!
Cheetahs 13+

Sharks v Bulls
The Sharks will know their fate before kick off, (or do you isolate the players from results perhaps) and thus will be either highly motivated or shattered they have no chance. Suspect the latter, and that combined with ruthless nature of the Bulls will see them win, but not by much. The bitter rivalry between these two will see to that. Looking forward to a huge scrap up front and plenty of counterattacking. The Bulls though finish better, goal kick better, and have the master controller at halfback.
Bulls 1 -12

Regards Waj

15 May

Gentlemen – start your engines!
by Tracey Nelson
15 May 2009

There are seven sides in with a chance of making the semi-finals as the last round of the 2009 Super 14 kicks off this season as we come down to the closest ever finish to the round robin competition. Unbelievably, only the top placed side is guaranteed on making the semis with just six points separating first and seventh place. Finishing on 42 points at the end of the round robin will guarantee you a spot in the semi-finals. Finish on 41 and you are in with a chance but only depending on other results – so watch out! Three New Zealand, two South African and two Australian sides are vying for spots, so who are the contenders and what are their chances?

BULLS (play the Sharks in Durban)

Currently sitting in 1st place with 42 pts and a point differential of +66. They will travel to Durban to play the Sharks this weekend, and with this game being the last game of the round they will have the benefit of knowing what they need to do to finish in first place. If they win and score the bonus point fourth try they will finish top which will give them a home semi final and, should they win that, a home final. If they win without a bonus point they will still have a home semi. But if they lose, and the Chiefs and Hurricanes win their games, they may slip to third (or even fourth should they lose badly to the Sharks and the Crusaders have a huge bonus point win over the Blues).

CHIEFS (play the Brumbies in Hamilton)

Currently in 2nd place on 41 pts and a points differential of +99. A bonus point win over the Brumbies could see them finish in 1st place should the Bulls have a close win over the Sharks without scoring a bonus point (as they have a better points differential), or if the Bulls lose or draw with four tries. A win against the Brumbies without a bonus point should still secure the Chiefs a home semi. Losing, but within seven points of the Brumbies, would still see the Chiefs make the semis but not have home advantage. Could miss out completely if they lose without a bonus point and allow the Brumbies to score four tries, and the Hurricanes win their game (with or without bonus point) and the Crusaders win with a bonus point.

HURRICANES (play the Reds in Brisbane)

Currently 3rd on 39 pts and a points differential of +92. A win without a bonus point will see them in the semis. A bonus point win could see them get a home semi if either one the Chiefs or the Bulls lose or draw their games. But should the Hurricanes lose to the Reds, even with a bonus point for a close loss could mean missing out on the semi finals should both the Crusaders and Brumbies win. A loss without a bonus point would make it even harder as it would add the Sharks or Waratahs to that list if they win their games.

CRUSADERS(play the Blues in Auckland)

Currently 4th on 37 pts and a points differential of +31. A bonus point win will see them make the semifinals unless the Brumbies beat the Chiefs by a very large margin to make up the points differential. If the Chiefs beat the Brumbies then the Crusaders simply need to win to make the semis although they would have to watch the Sharks and Waratahs should they have big wins over the Bulls and Lions respectively which would see them finish on the same points and then points differentials would enter into it. There is even a possibility of the Crusaders getting a home semi final if the Chiefs and Hurricanes both lose and fail to get bonus points, and the Crusaders get a bonus point win over the Blues. Will miss out on semis if they lose plus one of the Brumbies, Sharks or Waratahs win their games.

BRUMBIES(play the Chiefs in Hamilton)

Currently 5th on 37 pts and a points differential of +9. They will need a bonus point win with a very big margin to see them into the semis. Could also make it with just a win if either the Crusaders draw or lose, or the Hurricanes lose.

SHARKS (play the Bulls in Durban)

Currently 6th on 36 pts with points differential of +44. Need other results to go their way and then to beat the Bulls to have any chance. Could potentially make it in with a draw if both the Brumbies and Crusaders lose without getting a bonus point. Will have the advantage of knowing all other results before their game kicks off.

WARATAHS(play the Lions in Johannesburg)

Currently in 7th on 36 pts and a points differential of +24. Will need both the Brumbies, Crusaders and Sharks to preferably lose or draw, and have a big bonus point win over the Lions. Could finish as high as 3rd should the four teams above them come to grief.

14 May

ELVs become rugby law
by Tracey Nelson
14 May 2009

The IRB has ratified 10 of the 13 global experimental law variations (ELVs) and they will be adopted into the laws of the game after they were unanimously approved by the IRB’s Technical Committee.

All international matches from May 23 onwards will play with the 10 ELVs, while domestic and regional competitions played across the implementation date, such as the Super 14, will be played under the current ELVs until their conclusion.

The IRB has also looked at the rulings surrounding the breakdown areas of tackles and rucks. What the IRB are proposing is that the tackler or first player to the breakdown will be entitled to keep playing the ball with their hands even after a ruck has formed as long as they remain on their feet. Paddy O’Brien, IRB head of referees, stated this morning on Radio Sport that the ruling, approved by the IRB council, “may make a difference to the dynamics of the tackle”.

The ruling will be used in the upcoming international season in June this year, although O’Brien said “Until we see it in operation, we won’t know exactly how it is going to work out. But I’m confident it will certainly assist refereeing and the players,” he told Radio Sport. He was also quick to point out that it is not a law change, just a change in intepretation of the existing law.

The following ELVs will be passed into law:

Law 6 – Assistant referees allowed to assist referee in any matter he requires
Law 19 – Kicking directly into touch from ball played back into 22 equals no gain in ground
Law 19 – Quick throw permitted in any direction except forward
Law 19 – Pre-gripping of line-out jumpers allowed
Law 19 – Lifting in the line-out allowed
Law 19 – Positioning of player in opposition to the player throwing-in to be two metres away from line-out and the line of touch
Law 19 – Positioning of receiver must be two metres away from line-out
Law 20 – Five-metre offside line behind the hindmost feet of the scrum
Law 20 – Halfback offside line at the scrum
Law 22 – Corner posts no longer touch in goal except when the ball is grounded against the post