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March 26, 2013

Daly the silver lining for Wasps

on 03/26/2013


Elliot Daly's try was a master class in balance, power, speed and deft footwork © PA

Wasps' first home defeat of the Premiership season, to Northampton, threw up yet another instance of referee bashing, this time from Wasps director of rugby Dai Young. His opposite number, Jim Mallinder, was perfectly happy with referee David Rose's performance after his side won in the last seconds of the match with their fourth try, all of which were the product of rolling mauls.

The Aviva Premiership is a fine competition, each team having the ability to beat any other on a good day. By that measure there are few domestic leagues in any sport able to rival it. Among its less endearing qualities are the mess, aka the scrum, and the almost routine criticism of referees emanating from the losers' changing room after the game.

Directors of rugby and coaches rise and fall on their results. In what has become a big money game, livelihoods are at stake, but it's rather demeaning for the game when a coach's first response to the failure of his team and / or his coaching is the blame the official.

There are many ways to play a game of rugby, many variables at work, not least the weather, ground conditions, relative strengths and weaknesses of each team, and the referee. The official's interpretation of the laws adds to the intrigue. Provided his interpretation is consistent throughout a match and, one can hope, throughout a season, the coaches should stop the moaning and concentrate on adapting their game plan to the many other variables at work.

Northampton took a view on the conditions and their opposition on Saturday, worked out their relative strengths and played to them. Dai Young was outwitted by his opponents, not cheated by the referee as he and some Wasps fans felt.

It may be no consolation that Wasps provided some rich entertainment in defeat. Tom Varndell's try was more of the same from him, and he will wonder what more he has to do if he doesn't tour Argentina with England in the summer. With him on tour (assuming a few England players make the Lions trip) should be Elliot Daly, the 20-year-old centre who has been turning heads since his days at Whitgift School.

Daly's solo try on Saturday, a master class in balance, power, speed and deft footwork that left four Saints defenders trailing in his wake, was exactly the stuff that England, and Chris Ashton in particular, have temporarily lost.

Usually a centre, Daly is equally well equipped on the wing or at fullback and has a mighty boot on him for the long penalties. His day in the red rose shirt will surely come; the summer tour would not be too soon.

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Comments

Posted Ian on 03/27/2013

Thing is, in a close game like this was, chances are the match will turn on a decision by the ref. That's just the way the laws of maths are. If two teams play at the exact same level, even the slightest imbalance in the refereeing will decide the result. This is just one of those facts of life. Perhaps someone needs to review the games and release the stats on how the referee did. I bet coaches don't even realise how many close games they win thanks to the imbalance going their way on a given day. The worst thing we can do is pretend refs are perfect, or try to suggest they have no bearing on the result.

Posted David Dean on 03/26/2013

It's the same in every sport. Managers and players are under pressure so they blame anyone but themselves for losses and the match officials cannot answer back so are easy pickings. TV channels like ESPN are massively to blame as well, endlessly playing replays as their smart-arse analysts with the benefit of time and 101 replays take decisions to pieces

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Writer Bio

Richard SeecktsRichard Seeckts’ rugby career consisted of one school match where he froze on the wing and despite no substitutes being available he was withdrawn from the game at half-time for mocking the opposition’s line-out calls. Thereafter Richard and the sport agreed active participation was not the way ahead, but that has not prevented him from avidly writing about and watching the game. He now contributes his random observations to the Crooked Feed blog on ESPNscrum.com

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