This week in rugby: 3 random musings
A lot has been going on in the world of rugby and here are three things worthy of note.
Rugby never stops. That is especially true at this time of the year with the Super Rugby season kicking off, the Six Nations in full swing, and the HSBC Sevens World Series about to burst back onto the scene. Here are the thoughts of a couple of our writers about what went on in the last week.
Victory in Madrid (Gavin Nyawata)
While most rugby fans are concerned with the top tier of the game and the events that occur at that level, there was an absolute gem of a performance a couple of weekends ago that went largely unnoticed.
The Leos of Spain toppled the Oaks of Romania in an impressive performance in Madrid. Romania, who along with Georgia have largely steamrolled all other competitors at the Rugby Europe Championship having either won it or finished second throughout this competitions history, were coming off of an 85 -6 victory over Germany. Expecting to continue their winning ways, they were then blown out of the water by a passionate and improving Spanish side.
This result could have huge implications for Rugby World Cup qualification as the team that finishes second will gain automatic qualification because Georgia finished 3rd in their group in 2015 and gained automatic qualification as a result. This is definitely a competition to watch over the coming weeks.
Highlanders/Blues was a cracker (Steve Wright)
When a competition opens for the season you want there to be a big, entertaining game to hook interest immediately. That is exactly what Super Rugby got when the Blues traveled to Dunedin to take on the Highlanders last Friday.
It was a pulsating clash, one that twisted and turned with every score and that left you not knowing who the winner was going to be until the final moments. While the 41-34 result in favor of the home side meant that the Blues continued their hoodoo against the other New Zealand sides, it was a game that both coaches could take positives from with the long season to come.
If we as fans are treated to games like that on a weekly basis then we will find ourselves very spoiled over the next six months.
Pressure on the officials (Gavin Nyawata)
One thing that was overlooked throughout last week was the quality of refereeing we saw during the condensed “opening weekend” of Super Rugby in South Africa.
Jaco Peyper and Glen Jackson were superb last weekend. They managed the games well, they were clear with their calls, and their interpretation of the laws was faultless. It was a breath of fresh air and a very good start to the competition. This piles pressure on the other officials to step up and maintain the standard that has been set and ensure that referring takes a back seat in opinion columns and more focus can be placed on the standard and quality of play.
It might give us at RealSport less to talk about, but it would greatly enhance how we see the game.
What have you noticed this week? Let us know below!