AS I SEE IT (28 Aug)


By Terry O’Neill

Sports participants and spectators, when their team fails, at some stage may harbour blame for the referee or umpire involved.

I tend to support the referee/umpire who is probably not at fault.

So who are the culprits? Any blame should be shouldered by those who, like the International Rugby Board (IRB) or International Cricket Council (ICC), with due expertise attempt to right what appears to be a wrong or introduce new legislation to, in the first instance, endeavour to make the sport more attractive to supporters.

So my question is to the IRB. When will it preside over a strenuous enquiry into the obnoxious maul in today’s rugby? The maul grievously offends that basic rugby rule that no player may be hindered from affecting a tackle on the player in possession. A given is that player is at that time within the laws, not offside for instance.

I single out the maul simply because many teams, jealous of the All Blacks’ skills, reason that the maul which protects the ball carrier, is one route to inhibit the All Blacks’ power. Realistically, the maul simply allows seven forwards, usually from a lineout, to assemble in an arrowhead formation to protect the ball carrier securely attached to the back of the group and who thus becomes untouchable by the defenders. This practice is a blight on the game and does little to stir positive emotions in supporters.

Don’t hold your breath. Change is a tardy process within the IRB (to some, the SOF!)

In cricket there is the Duckworth-Lewis system, an attempt to calculate runs-per-over required when a fifty over match is interrupted by rain. This mathematical formula devised by English statisticians Frank Dunlop and Tony Lewis, attempts to set a statistically fair target for the team batting its second teams innings, and is based on the score achieved by the first team taking into account wickets lost and overs played.

The equation: Team One’s score is multiplied by the number found by dividing Teams Two’s resources by Team One’s resources.

Simple? A phone app for this ICC system maybe on the way?

And in tennis, why does a player gets a second serve if he fluffs the first?

How many know that the football goalkeeper must keep his sleeves down throughout the game so the referee can see who punches the ball away?

In water polo are you aware that your crotch is sacrosanct. No grabbing, kicking or hitting, and it’s illegal to splash water in an opponent’s face?

Women’s wrestling participants may not wear underwire bras, while in baseball, if the ball lodges in the umpire’s mask, all runners advance one base.

And many think the rugby maul is a problem.

But back to the present or probably the future. Plans are apparently under way to redevelop the Whitestone stadium grandstand.It has been suggested that the back ten rows of seats be done away with

to allow the building of Rugby Union offices plus the creation of a lounge area which will be divided with movable doors so that it can be divided into smaller areas if and when required.In addition it is presumed that cricket administration will be catered for as well. Sounds good to me.   


First Published in The North OtagoTimes

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