10 Mar

Video Nasty
by Paul Waite
10 Mar 2003

Hands up everyone who knows what the acronym “TMO” stands for. If you said “third match official” go to the corner, put this dunce’s cap on, and recite 1,000 times “I must try harder to get a life”.

No, it means “the moron off-camera”. For the less angry, possibly “third myopic official” would also be acceptable.

What the fuck was the silly bugger officiating over the Highlanders vs Bulls game this weekend doing?? Maybe he couldn’t take his eyes off a particularly juicy porno flick he was staving off boredom with long enough to do the job – who knows.

The issue at stake was whether a Highlander was in touch before he grounded the ball in the left corner, and in this case that was a pretty simple decision since the only part of his body which was being focussed on was his left foot.

The replay showed all of us that the boot indeed came everso fleetingly close to touching the white paint on its inside edge, but only for about half a camera frame at that. Possibly the TMO had a doctorate in Physics specialising in quantum mechanics, and was able, using arcane equipment, to discern that the wavefunction of an atom in said boot had indeed overlapped with one in a blade of grass sporting a bit of white paint. It was that close.

The clear decision was TRY! but the sub-moron skulking in the darkened room opted for the opposite.

It isn’t bad enough that we have to put up with the nonsense of “video refs” (let’s give them their properly crass name) at all, with the ridiculous delays and devaluation of the real referee’s job. No, we have to watch them get it badly wrong and influence the course of a game as well.

It just isn’t bloody well worth it. Let referees and touch judges do their job and chuck the third man out on his ear. The game would flow, and everyone would once again have the talking points arising from 50-50 decisions which possibly went the wrong way. Referees rarely get it wrong, and even if they do it all used to even out over a game anyway, so it simply isn’t worth all the shitty baggage which comes with it.

Of course this won’t be done. As with a lot of things rugby these days video refs are an important little bullet-point on the glossy brochure of TV Rugby Marketing. They don’t give a damn about the rugby or the spectator at the ground, as evidenced by their forcing the game to be played almost exclusively at night just for the benefit of subscribers sitting on their fat-arses around the World, despite the likes of Mitchell and Deans crying out for change.

Well the Highlanders did win the game anyway, no thanks to the TMO, but the Bulls continue to surprise. But enough of that, the Match of the Round was undoubtedly the Blues vs Crusaders and what a cracker it was! There was an air of “young tyros take on old master” about this match, played at Albany Stadium in Auckland. Right from the start it was evident that the Blues had come to play, when Rupeni Caucau engaged Warp Drive down the left to outstrip two covering defenders and dot down after a trademark Spencer break. What ensued was a game where the Blues out-defended, out-attacked and out-lucked the Crusaders. Deflections went to Blues hands, and basically it just wasn’t the Cantabrians’ night.

If anyone had any doubts before, doubt no longer – The Blues are back.

Elsewhere nothing exciting happened, apart from the Hurricanes winning, but that was only over the Stormers.

The Reds lost to the Chiefs with a display of ineptness on attack which probably had Andrew Slack weeping. They have a bye this coming weekend so they have a good chance of not losing. Mind you, they play the Blues the one after that, so the outlook still doesn’t look good for the perennial under-achievers. An extra Australian Super 12 team anyone?

The Waratahs beat the Sharks (but I’m not sure what we should have been expecting there), and the Brumbies once again sucked the lemon by going down to the Cats. I’m sorry but this isn’t good enough guys. The Cats lose to the Bulls, then last week lose to the Waratahs, who are fairly pathetic themselves. The Brumbies lose their last game badly, and would be expected to come out firing. This is as near to a “cert” in results picking competitions as you can get and what do they do? – lose! Hopeless. Brumbies – If you’re not careful I’ll pick you to lose in all the rest of your games, then see where you’ll be!

That’s it for this week’s Super 12 wrap-up. See you next week.

Paul Waite

Paul Waite

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

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