Thursday 21 November 2013

In defense of Alain Rolland

Open response comment to Nick Cain for his article criticising Alain Rolland.

Congratulations, your personal vendetta against Rolland is carefully concealed.

First, very kind of you to remind everyone about a game that Rolland refereed two years ago. Because he's had no other games in the meantime. Also good of you to remind everyone that he made the correct decision in sending Warburton off for a dangerous tackle. The only thing Wales have to blame for their exit is themselves.

You state: "Rolland being unable to detect which props were responsible for the collapsing that blighted the early scrum engagements," I'm going to make an assumption here, but this suggests that you think it was obvious which front rower was at fault?

Let's have a look shall we? At scrum 1, you've mentioned that "Jenkins (was) hinging and then collapsing," Which to me suggests you think Jenkins was at fault for the first scrum (which I think you are wrong, and I'll explain that later). You then fail to look at the rest of the scrums.

Scrum 1. 2 resets before a pen against SA, as you've mentioned. You fail to mention that this was against Tendai Mtwararira on the other side of the scrum, and not Malherbe. There was no TV view of that side of the scrum broadcast, so it's hard to comment.

BUT, I can comment on the Malherbe, Jenkins side, where the problems ended up. You claim that Jenkins was hinging, my viewing is that Malherbe was not driving straight. Imagine, two different interpretations to that same scrum. That must be an anomaly.

Scrum 2. End result: One reset before SA use the ball.
Here, There is no doubt in my mind that a) Jenkins didn't hinge, mostly because the scrums didn't collapse, and b) Malherbe was folding in under pressure when you look at his body position.

Because you haven't gone on with your opnions of the other scrums, but my understanding of what you've said is that you think because Jenkins was "at fault" for the first scrum, you think he must have been at fault for the next scrums? Correct me if I'm wrong. I've had to make assumptions here based on your lack of clarity.

Scrum 3. End result. Pen against Welsh front row for collapsing. i.e. Rolland has agreed with you about Jenkins hinging. I think Malherbe was already on the ground before the scrum collapsed.

How can two different people have two different interpretations of the same scrum when they've had time to review it? And yet, Rolland has had to make a split second decision without the benefit of being able to review it.

Because of half time, and the refusal of the BBC to show replays of scrums, there is only one more scrum that we can see on the Malherbe/ Jenkins side.

Scrum 6. Pen against Malherbe, Hard to tell if it was Malherbe was collapsing or Jenkins was hinging. Even on review.

And yet you find no problem in chastising Rolland for " going for the eeny-meeny-miney-mo option of giving alternate penalties."

Then you further criticise him for showing the willingness to end the collapsing scrums by warning the players, and following through with it.

The play and speed of the game improved no end when the scrums were uncontested.

Your suggestion that Rolland go into the game with pre-conceived research influencing his scrum decisions is ludicrous and against everything that is fair in sport. Not only that, but in this game, the first cap for Frans Malherbe, it was also impossible. How can you research someone who has never played at this level? These are humans, capable of off days, so how can you go into a game with preconceived ideas on who is the dominant scrum? The referee can do nothing else that adjudicate what is in front of him on the day. To suggest anything else is ignorant and stupid.

You then single out Rolland for not calling any crooked feed and early striking? Tell me, has any referee ever called an early strike in the last 10 years?

Your vendetta against Rolland is ridiculous, and your arguments are unfounded.

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