Thursday, April 09, 2015

BT = Back Track?


I had a bit of a go at BT Sport in my Leinster v Bath writeup last Monday for their coverage.

Well, when I say "had a bit of a go at", I mean "really tore into".

My point was that they were perhaps a little bit biased towards the Premiership club with their coverage.

Well, when I say "perhaps a little bit", I mean "unequivocally".

So having seen the YouTube clip below, I now feel I have to give credit where it's due.

And when I say that, I mean it.

To paraphrase a late Irish politician, it would appear the folks at BT Sport have undergone some "mature recollection" of what actually happened at that fateful breakdown and fair play to them, they were willing to put the matter to bed with one of their analytical graphic- & human-prop-filled masterclasses featuring not only Brian O'Driscoll but also Lawrence Dallaglio.

Now in the interest of full disclosure I suppose I should offer a bit of context to the boot I stuck into the BT network on Monday.  In early 2014 the then-named IRB took away the "yes, nine" call from referees at scrums and on the same day I made a gag on twitter that perhaps the call was confusing to German scrum-halves.

Hardly a "ROTFLMAO" type joke, but Craig Doyle among others thought it was worth a re-tweet, so I reckon I was entitled to be a tad miffed as I watched Rugby Tonight that evening to see Austin Healey (of all people!) pinch it for himself.

So as you can see, I "gots history" with BT Sport, albeit a very-much-tongue-in-cheek one.

But hey...they're not the only ones who can review footage and change their opinion, and having seen the YouTube clip below where, to use BOD's words, they definitely "present a good picture" for us, I can hardly continue to stand by everything I said about them, particularly as they pretty much agree with my appraisal of the breakdown in the writeup...
Richardt Strauss was on his feet, with his hands legally contesting for the ball.  Matt Garvey cleared him out.  Now...you COULD make a case that some refs would say he was “through the gate”, but given he starts to his left of the ruck and ends up to his right, it wouldn’t be a strong one.  And as for the assertion by the BT panellists that the pen should in fact go to Bath because Strauss flicks the ball out of the ruck, he only does so after he is taken out by Garvey, so once you deem the clear out illegal, you can’t ping Strauss.
But the point here as far as I'm concerned is not even the actual interpretation of the breakdown in question.

Since publishing the piece I have received comments, emails and DMs from readers with several different ways of looking at the incident (some of them Leinster fans suggesting Garces got it wrong, I might add).  THAT is the point.

Of all the areas in rugby where there is a broad spectrum of opinion, surely the breakdown is at the top of the list.  So many different things happening at once, with the only people authorised to make a call being the officials; which means everything is dependant on their angle of view (and no matter how important, this type of call can't be one for the TMO and at least nobody ever suggested that).

So given that BT were covering this game as much for the Irish market as they were for the English one, I would have hoped their perspective would be more balanced.  And now, with this clip, it has to be said they have redressed the imbalance from the weekend.  

Meanwhile, we are all still free to view the incident wearing our own team-coloured goggles as nature intended!!!

And if I went a bit over the top towards BT Sport last Monday, hopefully they will accept my apology.

Well, when I say "accept", I mean "care enough with their millions of viewers compared to my few thousand readers to even notice"! 

;-)   JLP

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