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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.