If you had a chance to watch The Rugby Championship games this weekend, you may have come away the way I did – none too impressed. -Cody Kuxmann
There was a conspicuous number of knock-ons by all teams. Only one team seemed to be impressive, and that was South Africa. Indeed, if I had to make a bet – it’d be that they take the Championship this year.
The matches had two very different examples of reffing. You had Alain Rolland lacking a decent flow in his game, and Steve Walsh – who eventually got the game into a brilliant flow.
The New Zealand vs Australia game was never going to flow, no matter which way you looked at it. You had two teams who had problems just holding onto the ball, which seemed to make for a scrum every 4 minutes! The other thing that didn’t help was Alain Rolland blowing penalty after penalty – in total he blew 31 penalties. Were all penalties? I’d say yes. But could he have played advantage, absolutely. The one really comes to mind was when the All Blacks were about 5m from the line and took the ball blind. They were bound to score but Rolland brought them back for a penalty. He denied a try.
As for the Argentina vs South Africa game, I was was once again impressed by Steve Walsh’s match management. Most impressive was Walsh’s determination to see the game flow. As the half closed, this was easy to see. Walsh was trying his hardest not to blow penalties and keep things fluid.
I was also very impressed with the Argentina captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe. He seemed to have a determination and respect that really stood out.
All in all I thought Steve Walsh really stood out again this weekend while Alain Rolland had a disappointing game.