Referee: David McHugh
TJs: 2 French guys
If you want to judge this report by the first sentence, then here it is: Great game (more so because my team wasn't playing), Dave McHugh wasn't tooo bad (for all that he is a talkative begger), David Giffin wasn't sent off (so he got a 3 week suspension... and that's just too bad!-)
I was only slightly annoyed that I didn't get as much ammo out of Mr. McHugh as I thought I would. Sure he was pedantic, and very quick to give a penalty in a ruck or maul. In fact there were 13 penalties around the tackle, ruck and maul. He wasn't to bad, his brand of advantage even made some kind of sense.
But the game started off on the wrong foot when Mr. McHugh couldn't keep his mouth shut. This made every other bugger think they should then put their 2 quid’s worth in, and couldn't understand when they got penalised.
I guess the coaches would claim a difference in Rule interpretation.
So it was just as well that Mr. McHugh cleared it all up with his emphatic "I will referee this match!"
With this decided... everything came together - except for the scrums!
The props on both sides were dead set on an early taste test of the Loftus turf, and the local grass is obviously quite addictive stuff! With a bit of experimentation both sides soon found unlimited ways to stuff up the scrum - in about the same manner that no doubt lead to the creation of Rugby League.
Mr. McHugh only penalised a scrum once, which suggested that he at least hadn't given up on them. Ok, so many finished in a free kick, but he reset them 2 to 3 times before it came to that - it was just stupid scrummaging!
He pinged a couple of Accidental Offsides and Obstructions, but then there was another little AOS that he let go, so he is either selectively blind or uses his brain more than just ensuring his voice box is constantly engaged.
Don't start me on "balls out!" No... I said DON'T!!
Butch James had brought along his kicking boots and his tackling arms, but seemed to have left behind his passing hands. Thankfully he had his "catching the dodgy pass from the half back" hands on, and these showed that he does indeed have an element of skill in his game.
For me the move of the game would was the "pick and go" by the SA forwards before Bobby Skinstead's try. It was so refreshing that I wondered where it had suddenly come from, certainly the Wobbalies were a bit stunned!
Or maybe they were just a bit distracted "king hitting" the opposition players caught in the maul?
Whatever, it was most appropriate that Giffin's gap (that's the gap in defence that he was supposed to be filling - not the gap between his ears) was used to score the try. (Well maybe it was both gaps!)
I'm sure that Robbie Fleck was also most appreciative of the irony... when he came to.
No I don't have any real advice for Mr. McHugh apart from recommending a good brand of duct-tape.
My advice is reserved for that massive SA winger Hall: Don't get so fixated on emulating Jonah that you copy his high ball skills as well - it's not a good look!