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Tokyo Calling - Rugby 2019

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  • ursus arctos
    replied
    Good piece on the potential and challenges facing the development of rugby union in Japan

    But these are not ordinary times. Japan’s heroics at the Rugby World Cup – where they reached the quarter-finals before being beaten by South Africa – have helped to cultivate a new breed of rugby devotees, including this writer’s normally taciturn barber, who unbidden, brandished his clippers and offered an analysis of the Brave Blossoms’ decisive pool victory over Scotland – only the third rugby match he had ever watched.

    More than 54 million people in Japan followed that game on TV – almost half the population and a record for any rugby match. And so the superlatives go on: more than a million people crammed into fanzones and a quarter of a million Japan replica jerseys have been sold. And all this in the first Rugby World Cup in Asia.

    Rugby has arrived in Japan, but as England and South Africa prepare to play out its finale, some wonder if the fever will subside as soon as the last 30 men left standing walk off the pitch at the International Stadium Yokohama on Saturday night. That would be a frustrating rerun of the reaction four years ago after Japan’s shock win over South Africa in the Brighton Miracle, now eclipsed by victories this time around over Ireland and Scotland.

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  • Ray de Galles
    replied
    Originally posted by Antepli Ejderha View Post

    How was he? He comes across well and appears to be a little more relaxed than Gatland but there's an obvious edge to him.
    He was certainly relaxed but it was a social situation with a bit of rugby small talk so he had no reason not to be. I've been in similar situations with Gatland also present and he's definitely been more guarded but that's no surprise, both because that's his way and as he's been in the spotlight for so long.

    You're right that Gatland (and Edwards) leaving is a monumental change and I think we're only beginning to properly appreciate him now he's almost gone. The Welsh national situation is unrecognisable from 2007 and I'm concerned that following him is like replacing Alex Ferguson.

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  • Antepli Ejderha
    replied
    Friday is Gatland's last ever Wales game, 12 years on and after two sabbaticals with the Lions it all comes to an end. He's probably the second greatest ever coach we've had after Carwyn James and has greatly over achieved with a regional and club game in chaos. He's taken us so far and hopefully has left a legacy, players such as Elliot Dee and Dillon Lewis, both at the start of their Wales careers, talk of the belief he's given them and the squad.

    I've only got one issue with him, what happened between him and Dwayne Peel? It's not about him preferring Mike Phillips who was bigger and fitted his plan or about Peel moving to Sale. It can't even be him being seen as difficult as Gatland gave Henson a real chance and would have taken him to NZ in 2011. So what is it?

    However he's been brilliant and should make an excellent coach for the All Blacks. Thanks for everything.

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  • Antepli Ejderha
    replied
    Originally posted by Ray de Galles View Post
    Yeah, when the squad was announced it was indicated that Wyn and Carre had trained at tight head with a view to them covering if needed.

    I chatted to Pivac in Tokyo before the Australia match and he said he was heading home after that game and would return if we made the semis or final, I can't recall which. He certainly gave the impression he didn't want to be peering over Gatland's shoulder though obviously having Jones in camp was a good thing for continuity.
    How was he? He comes across well and appears to be a little more relaxed than Gatland but there's an obvious edge to him. He cleared out a lot of dead wood at the Scarlets and then got them to buy into his way of playing talking a relatively limited side very far until Leinster had too much up front for them. He then lost key players through injury or leaving so I'm still hopeful he's the right choice.

    I fear a wave of retirements after the RWC when we so need continuity. Let's see after Friday.

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  • Ray de Galles
    replied
    Yeah, when the squad was announced it was indicated that Wyn and Carre had trained at tight head with a view to them covering if needed.

    I chatted to Pivac in Tokyo before the Australia match and he said he was heading home after that game and would return if we made the semis or final, I can't recall which. He certainly gave the impression he didn't want to be peering over Gatland's shoulder though obviously having Jones in camp was a good thing for continuity.
    Last edited by Ray de Galles; 30-10-2019, 10:39.

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  • Antepli Ejderha
    replied
    I've a feeling it'll be like the 2003 match, I really hope so. Cubby playing is a huge call but shows the possible style of play.

    Pivac has been observing for the tournament and Stephen Jones has been inside the camp since Howley was sent home so there's an air of transition about this side. Wyn Jones has been listed as second reserve prop so I presume he's covering tight head with Francis injured.

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  • Ray de Galles
    replied
    It's worrying for Halfpenny and for the wider sport that it appears he picked up a concussion during a match and nobody spotted it at the time.

    That side really illustrates the extent of our injury list and relative shallowness of our player pool. We have to hope the All Blacks aren't switched on so we can avoid a hammering

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  • Antepli Ejderha
    replied
    Wales: Amos; Lane, Jonathan Davies, Watkin, Adams; Patchell, T Williams; N Smith, Owens, D Lewis, Beard, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Tipuric, James Davies, Moriarty.

    Replacements: E Dee, Carre, W Jones, Ball, Shingler, G Davies, Biggar, Parkes.

    New Zealand: B Barrett; B Smith, Crotty, S Bill-Williams, Ioane; Mo'unga; A Smith; Moody, Coles, Laulala, Retallick, S Barrett, Frizzell, Cane, Read (capt).

    Replacements: Coltman, Moli, Ta'avao, Tuipulotu, Todd, Webber, Lienert-Brown, J Barrett.

    Teams for the bronze medal match as it's now billed.

    Leigh Halfpenny ruled out with concussion again. Very worrying for him.

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  • Antepli Ejderha
    replied
    Nigel Owens has a calf injury which is why he's not involved in the final. I'm not sure he'd have got it even if he was fit as he had the last final. Garces despite errors this RWC has been the best referee for about a year and probably deserves the final.

    Wayne Barnes is retiring after the RWC to concentrate on work and his family, he's developed into a top official.

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  • Simon G
    replied
    Apparently so - doesn't look like much of a game though...

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sport/rugby_union/214389.stm

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  • Wouter D
    replied
    Originally posted by Rogin the Armchair fan View Post
    I think the last time the 3rd place playoff counted for anything was in 1995, when only the top 3 qualified automatically for the next one. England lost, and had to qualify for 1999, a process that involved them running in about 18 tries against the Netherlands in Huddersfield.
    Wait, what? There was a Dutch team!!?

    Wow. I've learned something today.

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  • Rogin the Armchair fan
    replied
    I think the last time the 3rd place playoff counted for anything was in 1995, when only the top 3 qualified automatically for the next one. England lost, and had to qualify for 1999, a process that involved them running in about 18 tries against the Netherlands in Huddersfield.

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  • Wouter D
    replied
    Are you kidding me? Gatland gets one last shot at the All Blacks! This is more exciting than the final!

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  • Satchmo Distel
    replied
    Has there been any discussion about eventually scrapping the 3/4 play-off? It seems a massive burden on knackered, deflated players for no real benefit.

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  • Wouter D
    replied
    Originally posted by Sporting View Post
    Seems slightly odd that the 3/4 place match is on a Friday. Why not have it on the Saturday and the final the following day?
    I can see the commercial appeal of a Saturday evening final in the Oceania time zones (before the tournament one could reasonably expect New Zealand and/or Australia to be a part of this event), rather than Sunday night. The third-place playoff simply follows suit, and moves to Friday evening.

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  • tee rex
    replied
    Owens misses out on refereeing the final, reason unclear. Garces gets it instead, and we can write the "Outrage at Decision" stories now.

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  • Sporting
    replied
    Seems slightly odd that the 3/4 place match is on a Friday. Why not have it on the Saturday and the final the following day?

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  • Ray de Galles
    replied
    I find Anscombe's situation immensely more palatable to Parkes' because he has a lifelong genuine link to Wales due to his parentage. Perhaps I'm more understanding of that as someone whose children were born and are being brought up in another country but I want them to have the option to represent Wales as they consider themselves half-Welsh.

    I mean, parental qualification is really a fundamental part of national sport and has been for a long time. You'd really want to abolish that? I can understand the concern about people who have played for an age group national side but I'm not in favour of the idea of forcing teenagers to make a decision that will have rigid implications for the rest of their lives.

    As we all know and frequently say on here, nationality is a complex, multi-stranded issue That applies for Anscombe (the idea that he can only be a "born and raised New Zealander" seems very crass to me), Pietersen and someone like Jofra Archer and, of course, it can be exploited. But at least in those cases we're actually discussing where lines should be drawn on nationality. That's not the case with players who qualify on residency grounds, it purely is where they've earned their money for a relatively short period in their career (roughly the length of one contract) - surely you can see the difference?

    You've conceded that Faletau's case isn't comparable to Parkes* et al?



    *By the way, I've got no problem with Parkes personally or the fact he plays for Wales under the current rules. I just concede those rules aren't sensible ones or good for the game overall.
    Last edited by Ray de Galles; 28-10-2019, 22:33.

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  • Tony C
    replied
    Originally posted by Ray de Galles View Post

    AE has already pointed out how that comment appears to betray an ignorance of two of those players' circumstances and qualification. I don't think anyone has argued that there is a problem with players who qualify through living in a country from childhood, through nationality and coming through that nation's system or who qualify through parentage.
    If you'll forgive my ignorance I genuinely don't understand why you might consider Anscombe's situation as acceptable as opposed to Parkes's. Yes, Anscombe's mother is Welsh but he was a born and raised New Zealander who had played for NZ U21's. As AE suggested he probably would have stayed there if he had been good enough for the All Blacks but chose the Welsh fast track route offered to him by Gatland when he realised he wasn't. He was brought to Wales as a fully fledged player specifically to play test rugby. I would compare the situation to that of Kevin Pietersen who only came to England from SA as a fully developed cricketer in his twenties and despite having an English mother should not, I believe, have been considered for England. In both cases they had already effectively chosen their nationality when playing representatively for their countries of birth - not sure they (and hundreds like them across all sports) should be able to switch so readily and conveniently. Of course what they did was perfectly legal in qualification terms, but perhaps not morally palatable and as your earlier comment about Halaholo appeared to be morally based I'm surprised you are giving Anscombe a pass.


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  • Ray de Galles
    replied
    Really? I never realised that, how does that work then?

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  • Antepli Ejderha
    replied
    Originally posted by Ray de Galles View Post

    I'm not sure what you mean by "scraped in", the fact that his debut was on the very day he qualified through three years of residency?
    If he hadn't played in that match he would have had to have taken the five year route. Hence the rush to play him.

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  • Ray de Galles
    replied
    Originally posted by Antepli Ejderha View Post

    Parkes is a ringer. He only scraped under the 3 year residency rule by days.
    I'm not sure what you mean by "scraped in", the fact that his debut was on the very day he qualified through three years of residency?

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  • Ray de Galles
    replied
    Originally posted by Tony C View Post

    Surely with the likes of Felatau, Anscombe and Parkes you already have done...
    AE has already pointed out how that comment appears to betray an ignorance of two of those players' circumstances and qualification. I don't think anyone has argued that there is a problem with players who qualify through living in a country from childhood, through nationality and coming through that nation's system or who qualify through parentage.

    The issue is with players who qualify for a country solely due to spending three years drawing a wage at one of it's clubs, I'd personally prefer that Parkes, McNichol and Halaholo didn't qualify for us through that route. That's even before we get on to the point that we benefit from such qualifications far far less than richer rugby nations such as England, France and even Ireland.
    Last edited by Ray de Galles; 28-10-2019, 19:44.

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  • Antepli Ejderha
    replied
    Originally posted by Tony C View Post

    Surely with the likes of Felatau, Anscombe and Parkes you already have done...
    Faletau was raised in Wales from an early age, possibly 8, along with the Vunipola brothers as their fathers had come to Wales to play rugby.

    Anscombe's mother is from Wales iirc but I'm sure he would have stayed in NZ if he was good enough for the All Blacks, he played U20s for them.

    Parkes is a ringer. He only scraped under the 3 year residency rule by days.

    I'm against all of the residency qualifications unless they date from childhood and World Rugby really need to sort this out.

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  • Tony C
    replied
    Originally posted by Ray de Galles View Post

    Reading my first "What next for Wales?" article today and it says Willis Halaholo is now qualified for us. Or is he not a realistic prospect?

    I'd rather not go down that route but if everyone else is...
    Surely with the likes of Felatau, Anscombe and Parkes you already have done...

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