By The Spotter
Like a Basset hound forlornly howling from the outside at a locked door on a rainy night, the protests of some Hurricanes fans in the wake of their defeat to the Chiefs has continued on for about as long. As Roy Orbison belted out: ‘Cry-iy-iying over you’…
Sure, there was enough reason to yowl at the decision not to call out Dominic Bird for a late charge on TJ Perenara and that Michael Leitch’s yellow card should have been a red one (Steven Lua’tua must have felt somewhat aggrieved if he had been watching the game). But really, in a game of huge intensity and one that encapsulated the idiom ‘take no prisoners’, the Chiefs played smarter, they were more skilful and their forwards displayed more aggression and desperation at the breakdown. As a result they ended up deserving victors.
First, the refereeing. Why oh why was someone like Glen Jackson not appointed to this clash from a long way out? This game was always going to be highly passionate due to recent history and so an absolute challenge to adjudicate. We need the best for the best. Really can’t see the need for any questions on that score. So come on Sanzaar- how about a bit more nous and foresight regarding your big game appointments?
The Leitch decision- it was the wrong call not to produce the red. It was about as bad a decision as the passing over of Liam Malone for the Supreme Halberg. The recent and strict rule changes concerning attacks to the head were not applied in this case. It’s drawing a bit of a long bow
to say that the referee, Brendon Pickerill, would have been influenced by the home crowd; also keep in mind that he did not make the decision alone. In other words, the final call not to issue the red was far from his doing exclusively. It’s of course scant consolation for all Canes alike, but the final result would have been the same even had Leitch headed for the early bath.
To the play itself and the two standouts were the opposing halfbacks. Tawera Kerr-Barlow had an almost coming-of-age type performance. He made all the right choices, his passing was almost faultless and his usually excellent kicking game was ever-present.
And surely the try of the night just had to be TJ Perenara’s. He pushed back a 120 kilogram prop to score it, an outstanding feat. In fact that very action preceding the try comes with a richly ironic subtext- the apparent ease with which Siegfried Fisiihoi was barged back by TJP perhaps backs up the explanation put forward by the Chiefs for last year’s ‘Scrumgate’ controversy; that Fisiihoi couldn’t possibly play tighthead prop. On the evidence of that particular effort to halt Perenara, they may now have a case- a tongue-in-cheek one anyway.
Lastly, to any misery guts’ who said the game was rubbish and they won’t be watching any more Super Rugby match-ups this season based on the evidence of this game; I’d pre-suppose you might just call a huge fireworks display boring. Or is this being a mite unfair?
Nope, with the top clashes back again, Super Rugby is alive and well…and highly intense. And with the Lions coming in the not-too-distant future, later games are going to be even more charged and meaningful. Bring on the power and the passion. Absolutely can’t wait…