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I hope Aaron stays loyal to the side.

With Fumi gone it will be good to see Jimmy Cowan perform well with Tasman and come back down and be a good back-up to Smith. His experience will be good to help close out some of those games that got away this year. 

Hope he stays

Hmmmm, I wonder if he's got Muralitharan's ph no.

Dodgy actions

It's somewhat ironic that after years of having one of the best forward packs, but suffering fron a hard working but relatively average backline as a whole, that now we have a truly competive backline our pack is struggling.

Ironic

What a massive failure, men and women.  Samuels forced her way into the team and flunked! Withdraw their funding. Simply not good enough!

Failed

We are looking short on quality front rowers, especially with the loss of Chris King. It's an understatement to say our scrum was demolished this season and the lineout throwing has been woeful. If you can't win your own set piece you can't win games and that was evident in the last three games of the season.

Front row

He should have had 400 wickets. Then they would have changed the rules for him.

400 wickets

Was a great game to watch, and thoroughly enjoyed by the crowd. The gap in skill was obvious - first touch from Newcastle players was so much cleaner, the movement quicker, and the vision and decision-making faster. Sydney certainly did their bit though, and contributed to an entertaining match.

I thought Coloccini at the back for Newcastle was thoroughly impressive- while perhaps not tested hugely, his control of the game and composure on the ball was a delight. 

Good game

So what was the crowd number? Did this event make any money for FSB or was it yet another loss making venture? When is the next major event taking place DVML? What goodies have you got lined up other than ITM Cup which attracts only small crowds of die hards? I think its about time you shared the financial outcomes and schedule with the owners of the stadium, don't you? By the way DVML, the owners of the stadium are Dunedin's ratepayers just in case you need reminding.

Well done Toon

Not wishing to bag Steve Walsh but too often if we do not speak out about the elephant in the room (bad refereeing)  then the continuing bad decisions will keep being made.

The penalty count was 14 - 6 against the Otago.  The last four were dished out in the closing minutes of the game.  Some were very technical penalties.  The result of the pedantic interpretation was a kick in front, the loss of the game, the exiting of the finals and the lost chance to compete for higher honours.  This sanction was too severe for the weakness of the Otago scrum.  Surely the referee has the discretion to moderate the imposition by resetting the scrum, free kick etc.  Not that Walsh would consider that anyway - he seems to have a blind spot when it comes to Otago.

I understand that the game score is 23-2 against the Highlanders with Walsh in the centre.  Is it possible to generate the penalty count "for and against" of these matches?  I would bet that the weight would overwhelmingly would be against Otago.

Rugby has many issues.  Too many penalties is one of them.  Walsh is another.  Until the authorities grasp the nettle and sort the pedantic referees and the oversized rule book out I fear the game will not grow.  The continual stoppages, the unfairness of some of the refereeing decisions along with "look at me" attitude of the referees and their sideline cronies make for a stuttering, unattractive and frustrating spectacle.

And the referee?

Barely at primary school, I had a wall poster of the All Blacks. I don't know if Skinner was in that lineup, perhaps Horsley was. Many years later, the latter threw me out of his pub, Western Park, Wellington.

Team photo '56
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