The SA Rugby magazine team rounds up some of the interesting news snippets making headlines around the world.
Former All Blacks coach critical of Kiwi TMO
Jon Hart, who assisted the All Blacks to their first World Cup title in 1987, says TMOs should refrain from intervening and let referees do their job.
Hart was critical of fellow New Zealander Ben Skeen’s performance as TMO during the Australia-Wales match, agreeing with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika that officials at the World Cup are ‘spooked’.
Skeen’s controversial interventions had a definite influence on the outcome of the Pool D encounter and caused lengthy delays.
Despite World Rugby admitting that the performances of match officials after the opening weekend of the World Cup were not up to standard, several matches have since been marred by controversial decisions.
Hart believes that officiating should be left to man in the middle, while citing commissioners could deal with marginal incidents after the final whistle.
‘Let the referees judge on what they see,’ said Hart.
‘I wouldn’t often agree with Michael Cheika, but I do think the refs have become spooked because of the publicity and pressure they are under in decision-making.
‘We do not want to see is a World Cup outcome determined by red and yellow cards.
‘The TMOS are interfering and controlling … it is tedious and takes too much time, impacting negatively on the tournament.’
Haves vs have nots as All Blacks clash with Canucks
A substantial scoreline is on the cards when New Zealand face Canada at Oita Stadium on Wednesday.
The last time the two teams met was at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, with the All Blacks winning 79-15 in Wellington.
Ranked 21 places below their Pool B opponents, the lowly Canadians are expected to receive no mercy from a well-rested All Blacks side who will look to fine-tune their game ahead of the knockout stages.
The All Blacks, who are all professional players having learned the game from a young age, will come up against a Canadian side consisting of several players with normal day jobs, who are students or just happen to play the sport.
‘The simple thing is we’re amateur rugby players against professional rugby players,’ said Canada coach Kingsley Jones.
‘It’s as simple as that. There isn’t a pathway for players any longer, so we’ve got guys here who are holding down day jobs.
‘Some of them had to compromise their jobs [to be in Japan], and I think it’s a huge achievement to be here for the team.
‘Now we’re here we’ve got to be as competitive as we can.’
‘Handbags were thrown’ after 2015 World Cup exit, admits Vunipola
England No 8 Billy Vunipola has revealed that ‘handbags were thrown’ during psychologist-led honesty sessions intended to heal the wounds of the hosts’ disastrous 2015 World Cup campaign.
The England squad exchanged sincere opinions during training camps in the buildup to the World Cup to overcome mental obstacles faced by the players, after they became the first host country to crash out in the pool stages.
Coach Eddie Jones sought to address the issue by bringing in psychologist Corinne Reid to oversee group-therapy sessions.
‘Eddie has definitely got the baggage out,’ said Vunipola.
‘There were a few handbags thrown around but it was really good. She [Reid] gave us the platform to do it. It’s really hard but it is a thing – men don’t know how to talk about their feelings. It took us a while but we got there in the end.
‘2015 was massive because we went in with massive expectations on our backs and we didn’t deliver. We’ve been a bit quieter coming into this tournament and hopefully for us as a group that’s a positive thing.
‘We know what the feeling of 2015 is like and we don’t want to feel like that again. We’ve been hurt before and we don’t want to be like that again. That’s driving us on as much as anything else.’
All Blacks enhancing Kapa o Pango for World Cup
Hooker Dane Coles says the All Blacks have been making improvements to their haka to get the players in sync.
Captain Kieran Read led the haka alongside regular leader TJ Perenara before the Springboks Test in their Pool B opener in Yokohama.
‘It was one of the better ones,’ said Coles.
‘We’ve been doing a bit of work behind the scenes to get our timing, and getting everyone to show what it means to them. I think even Sam Whitelock struck out a pukana – a wild, facial expression made by someone performing a haka.’
Despite being known for perfoming the haka prior to Test matches, Perenara says the squad don’t practice Kapa o Pango and Ka Mate too often.
‘If we need any top-ups or extra work, we’ll find a slot throughout the week,” said the scrumhalf.
‘Often, if newer players in the environment need work on it, I’ll do some one-on-one time with him.
‘It’s an honour to be in that conversation when people think of the All Blacks haka and put my name next to it. You don’t hold that role forever, so while I have the honour I’ll do it to the best of my ability.’
Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty Images