Clever Balls (or should that be bollocks?)
You know me and what I think about all the new technology that’s been (and is being) introduced to the game – TMOs, laptops for all the coaches, monitoring players’ every off field move (including bowels probably), knowing when they are shagged and need to be subbed, diet plans plus their training performance and sex lives (okay, so I made that one up – although it would be a damn sight more interesting than how many times they have a poo). Now we have a ‘smart’ ball – one that can apparently tell you when a try has been scored – seriously? – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2683166/The-rugby-ball-built-REFEREE-Smart-ball-fitted-electromagnetic-sensor-works-player-scored-try.html Pretty soon we won’t need refs at all it seems – just a TMO and a ball that can talk. What next? The coaches in combat other on play stations to decide who wins? As far as I can see what the technology doesn’t show is which player is actually touching the ball when it is touched down – so how does that help? “Hold on a mo ref – sure it was over the line, but I had my pinkie on it first”. And yes, pinkie in this context may well be just what you think it is – as long as it was ‘hard downward pressure’. I’m prepared to go along with the idea of a clever ball – and as soon as it’s smart enough to send me an e-mail with the name, address and passport number of the player who scored, I’ll embrace it with all the reticence of Eric Pickles at an all you can eat pizza hut. Until then – long live real life refs – now that’s something neither of us thought I’d ever say
A League of their Own
Rich, Silvi, Annalia and Rafa have just arrived from Australia – so for the next three weeks the posts on the blog are likely to be shorter than usual (I knew you’d be pleased!). During a desperately close and tense semi-final in Rio last night Rich & I still found ourselves with just enough time (we must have been on Kroos control) to chat about a number of current sport headlines (he’s sports editor for SMH). We were laughing about the Suarez ‘Hunger Games’ and the ferocious treatment of Robben at the brutal feet of several 9 stone cub scouts, as well as some of the more suspect antics of Union players – including the reformed Danny characters (Care and Cipriani) and the current attempts by James O’ Connor and Zac Guildford to also behave well enough to re –integrate themselves into the national sides. Rich pointed out that all of the incidents in football or Union are kids’ stuff in comparison to the NRL players in Oz. He mentioned a catalogue of incidents where players actually tweeted (twatted?) shots of themselves rather than waiting for the media or a ‘mate’ to make stuff public. I’ve added links to a couple here – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2635975/EXCLUSIVE-From-Beach-Haus-beach-bum-As-footballer-Mitchell-Pearce-relaxes-sand-woman-approached-Sydney-nightclub-hard-work-wearing-YELLOW-again.html and http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2014/jun/30/todd-carney-urination-mouth-sacking-cronulla My own favourite is Konrad who distributed a video of an actress who appears to have lost her ‘99’ between his legs and is worried that it’ll mess up his pants - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icYRZjOmQqU&app=desktop The NRL players seem to be able to supply an almost inexhaustible supply of stories for social and mainstream media and you have to wonder if they shouldn’t have the photo icon on their phone replaced with a ‘self- destruct’ button. Union players and footballers really need to up their game if they are to be able to compete in the ‘Idiot of the Month’ awards next season! At the moment they are starting to look about as dangerous as those boy scouts who keep savaging poor, misunderstood Arjen.
When the Going gets Tough
In the absence of much going on in NH rugby at the moment and the fact that most of my (rapidly fading) memories have already been catalogued earlier in this blog I have been searching for something to write about which might be of interest (some hope!). I found this – a web site has compiled a list of the (supposedly) biggest controversies in rugby and it is worth looking at for a laugh – http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2122782-ranking-the-25-biggest-controversies-in-rugby-history Admittedly some of those in the list can be described as a big deal, there are some that are simply funny or hardly worth remembering. The really controversial incidents are several drug taking cases, ‘bloodgate’, the spear tackle on O’Driscoll in 2005 and proper biting – as opposed to the Suarez nibble. I suppose Marc Cecillon unloading a magnum (a .44 handgun not a choc ice on a stick) into his Mrs might also qualify as a bit unusual but, to be fair, it wasn’t during a game so maybe not. I would have thought they could come up with more than a bit of dwarf chucking, calling the RFU “old farts” and Lois Luyt’s stupid speech to make up a decent list though. A fan attacking the ref in South Africa and Trevor Brennan battering a fan make the list – although it is somewhat surprising that there have not been an avalanche of similar incidents over the years – I can think of numerous refs and supporters who could use a good slap! The best one though has to be the bookie encouraging Epi Taione to change his name to Paddy Power by deed poll – not sure who it was , maybe Ladbrokes? When the 2007 organisers refused to put the new name in the programme Paddy and his mates had the whole Tongan team dye their hair green – this is true, it’s number 23 on the list. Overall there are some on the list that just don’t belong under the heading ‘controversial’. I think I might have to make up my own list for Askeans at some point – with our glass eating team being included near the top, obviously. One final thought, since when did carrying a lethal weapon to a party become a de rigeur accessory? Marc is out on parole now, but I suspect it probably isn’t that good an idea to ask him.
There’s been a number of posts on the blog about refs – a lot of it taking the piss, but the truth is they are just about the most important part of rugby – and indeed, just about every sport you can think of ( although sometimes they’re called umpires, judges, scorers etc.). The word ref can often be heard with an expletive adjective as a pre-fix but nevertheless you can’t have sport without them. Okay – you can in the park with jumpers for goalposts or a kick about in the street – but not once you are approaching puberty. Alright so even that doesn’t work for a few I can think of, although you get my point – no ref = no game, usually, anyway. In rugby they don’t come in for the same abuse as in football – not from the players anyway. However there are times when it helps to be almost as hard as the players - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVNeb0Hm0hc . The great thing is that rugby refs pretty much all got up with a smile on their face! This is just as well as it’s sometimes hard to see the funny side of some of their decisions.
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