All Blacks assistant coach speaks to the media. Video / NZ Herald
Newstalk ZB’s rugby commentator Elliott Smith takes a look at the biggest talking points around New Zealand rugby this week.
Only Sanzaar could come up with a convoluted judicial system where a foul
play incident is considered by two committees, and eventually a punishment is released seven days after a match, with another game in two days. First Darcy Swain was cited by the citing commissioner on Friday, his case was considered by a foul play review committee on Monday night, and then he eventually faced the music with a Sanzaar judicial committee hearing on Wednesday.
None of that means anything to anyone – the process is confusing for fans and media alike. If it was a touch-and-go decision (which it clearly wasn’t), Wallabies coach Dave Rennie would have been in the dark if Swain could play until less than 24 hours before he was due to name his team.
Rugby Australia have been more than a little cheeky in naming Swain for an Australia A tour of Japan which he was never going to play in. It means he will miss three Wallabies tests – this weekend and the first two on the end of the year tour – and be available for Italy, Ireland and Wales to close out the year.
New Zealand teams, Super and otherwise, have looked for ways to shorten suspensions before, but this feels particularly egregious, especially with the suspension only being six weeks. Suspensions should act as a deterrent – this one has not, on the part of the judicial committee and also the selectors of Australia ‘A’.
What do Joseph Parker and the All Blacks have in common this weekend? They both need a statement. They need a knockout. In Parker’s sense against Joe Joyce in Manchester a real one, and the All Blacks a metaphorical one. Parker’s career is flailing about in no man’s land and the All Blacks have yet to convince this year, apart from Ellis Park and Hamilton.
Both have had their moments in their recent bouts/games but have failed to land the killer blows to make the rest of the world sit up and take notice. The All Blacks should have been ruthless at Marvel Stadium but instead clung on by the skin of their teeth. Both Parker and the All Blacks need to finish the weekend with nothing but satisfaction at their performances, or the road back becomes even longer.
Oh for a bit of flexibility. With the Ranfurly Shield changing hands last week, the Wellington v Waikato game on Saturday at 4.35pm turns into a challenge for the Log o’ Wood. At the same time, the Black Ferns will run out against Japan in their final match before the home World Cup. The Black Ferns should roll right over their Japanese opposition, given they are second in the world to the tourists’ 13th. But the scheduling doesn’t allow the rugby public the best chance to continue to learn about the Black Ferns and build hype for the tournament starting in just a fortnight.
There are no doubt plenty of broadcast, commercial and other implications, but the Shield game should have been shifted away from the same slot – allowing both games the best chance to be sampled.
Tomorrow’s test won’t be the last time we see Jordie Barrett at 12 for the All Blacks.