Saturday, October 17, 2009

Brive-13 Leinster-36

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NOT QUITE GOODE ENOUGH

Can you guess who I’m referring to with my title?

Could it be the home side, particularly perennial bad-boy Andy Goode?

Or could it be Leinster themselves, not getting the bonus point?

Or maybe it’s George Hook, who still seems to think Ronan O’Gara is the front-runner for the Ireland number 10 jersey?

In actual fact it’s directed at Welsh referee James Jones. Since he went to so much trouble to make sure we heard his voice throughout the 80 minutes of this match, I’d like to make this post all about him.

Here’s a breakdown (pun fully intended) of the the game, with particular attention to the numerous Brive penalty infractions last Saturday.

4:42 not rolling away

7:39 off feet after the tackle

19:40 in at the side of the ruck

22:30 front row violation

32:00 not releasing after tackle

34:03 tackling man without the ball

38:47 not rolling away

40:22 in at the side of the ruck

41:18 in at the side of the ruck…HERE is where Mr Jones chooses to mention to the Brive players that perhaps they're thwarting their visiotrs a bit more than they should.

46:02 front row violation…this time Mr Jones is very keen to give Yashvilli the opportunity to stay on the pitch. Those were his actual words!!!

48:22 Hi tackle from Nacewa is definite penalty but 50/50 yellow card at best and despite he constant refusal to go to his pocket for everything gone before, Jones takes the linesman’s advice (remember, he doesn’t have to) and makes Isa take a seat for 10mins.

51:14 yet another front row violation from Brive…THIS time, Jones decides to give another talking to. Why? Cos it’s not Yashvilli this time. We are beyond the realms of bullshit at this stage.

57:01 you guessed it, YET ANOTHER scrum violation from the home side.

71:00 having scored a second try and JUST enough time left for two more, yet another Brive infraction in our 22 gives us a penalty but Jones denies Sexton the quick tap and he must burn up time by kicking for touch.

73:00 Brive get a penalty in their own 22 and, yes, Jones lets them take a quick tap.

79:00 Andy “Up To No” Goode sees a banana boot at the base of a ruck, slowly grinds his studs down into the leg that wears them, BOD takes exception to this and though we get penalty, all Goode gets is a talking to. I suppose after all that went (or should I say didn’t go) before it would’ve been a poetic injustice for a card to be produced then.

It can be safely said that Brive were so poor and our backline looked so up for this game that had we been afforded a 10-minute spell with an extra man in the first half, a bonus point haul was well within our grasp. And it doesn’t help the games credibility that the nationality of the ref who was partly responsible for this was the same as a team which benefits from this failure.

As for our individual performances on the day, there were many good ones, particularly Sexton, who was not only flawless from the kicking tee yet again, but also showed great awareness on the field, and surely in my opinion MUST be handed the Ireland jersey against both Australia AND Fiji in November.

On the down side, well, Shaggy has had better days, and as for Malcom O’Kelly, well, I took a lot of stick on the Babbling Brook forum for suggesting he be made captain if Cullen couldn’t play, and now I know just how wrong I was. He should drop in the 2nd row pecking order behind Toner after yet more acts of carelessness.

But all in all we would’ve taken four points from the French trip before kickoff, and with the Scarlets showing that the LettinOn Irish can be beaten at home, it throws this Pool wide open and gives us every opportunity to seize control again with home-and-away matches against Llanelli in December.

Why do I have a feeling, however, that the refs for both those games will be English?

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