Rugby Thoughts – Abuse, Concussion and #hashtagtivism

In my weekly brain dump I’ll be going back to look at the 6 Nations kicking table as well as the round 1 Super Rugby upsets we covered in #RugbyChat. Also looking at some stories on ref abuse, #Finnocent and concussion again.

6 Nations kicking table

Last week I talked about analytics and that the 6 Nations table last year was the same order if you used points or kicks from hand. So here is this year’s table updated after 2 rounds. Again there is a close correlation between kicks and ranking with the only anomaly being France at the moment. Tackles doesn’t correlate so well and I don’t think will after Italy made so many in the first week, but I will keep tracking it and see how it pans out.

Team Points Kicks Tackles Made
England 4 59 309
Ireland 4 54 264
France 2 40 206
Wales 2 53 250
Scotland 0 41 253
Italy 0 31 311

Note – Stats in the table are taken from the game reports on ESPN Scrum.

#RugbyChat

We had a good second #RugbyChat via Twitter on Tuesday, I’ll be running this every Tuesday and you can see the start time for different parts of the world below.

We talked mainly about the first round of Super Rugby and there were plenty of upsets with a lot of away wins. This consensus seemed to be that whilst some of the traditional lower ranks teams really did step-up, that it is early season and a lot of the internationals are not either playing or up to speed. It’s going to take a few rounds for things to shake themselves out and everybody is looking towards the RWC rather than concentrating Super Rugby.

Next time we will talk about key events from Super Rugby round 2 but also spend some time on RWC2015 and if I can get the panelist I’m hoping for, talk about rugby in Japan.

#RugbyChat times on Twitter:

NZ 8pm
Sydney 6pm
South Africa 9am
UK 7am

Please do join us and give your views on things.

Ref Abuse

Something that I spotted the BBC and put on twitter mid-week was a 48 week ban for a player who had verbally abused match officials. There’s really not much detail in the article so we don’t know what was said or to which official. It probably got picked up because the player involved was a youth international 18 years ago. Even with very few details, the good thing is the message that it sends to all players and officials in that you have to respect the officials or you won’t be taking part.

#Finnocent

During the Scotland v Wales 6 Nations game, Finn Russell got yellow carded for clashing with Dan Bigger who was jumping for a catch at the time. With the current rules there were plenty watching at the time who thought he would get a red card. A lot of people, well on twitter anyway, thought that he didn’t do anything wrong and was just unlucky with the situation that he got into. At the moment the rules basically say you can’t make contact with players in the air and if you do you are responsible for how they land. Finn Russell tried to bail out and failed, as intent is not considered he should have been red carded according to the letter of the law and so now must serve a ban instead. In the end , if you don’t agree with that then you have to look at changing the law not the decision, as it’s correct under the current rules.

The way that the people who thought he shouldn’t be banned gathered themselves was round a hashtag and that was #Finnocent. To me it was amusing and good fun but clearly pointless as disciplinary committees aren’t about public opinion or popularity. I found it interesting as I had been to #SMCakl (Social Media Club Auckland) on Wednesday and the topic had been #hashtagtivism. Obviously talking about things like the Arab spring and water bucket challenge but a lot of the things mentioned also apply here. For example hashtags aren’t a good way of spreading a message as you usually are preaching to the converted. So the people using and hearing a hashtag already agree and it doesn’t get out of that group. When it does is when you get the mainstream media to notice and whilst there was some #Finnocent didn’t quite make it.

Concussion

The Telegraph had a good article that covered a lot of what we keep hearing from players and ex-players. Basically players always want to play on and they down play the severity and risk of concussion and other mental injuries. They need protecting from themselves and if we are going stop players continuing after concussion we need a culture change among players and coaches. Changing cultures is extremely hard but at least we are seeing some movement from the supporters and media, however there is still a long way to go.

Something interesting that I heard on Andy McGeady’s podcast was a stat that the Miami Dolphins had reported no concussions for the 2014 season. He didn’t go on to make a comment on the stat but just left it hanging for the listener to make their own conclusions. I’m going to do the same thing.

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