11 months ago

The Star: May 18, 2017

38 Thursday

38 Thursday May 18 2017 Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Sport Value Cars 32 Moorhouse Ave | 03 366 7768 The Star The biggest range of vehicles in one location Topai-Aveai signs three-year Sharks deal • By Gordon Findlater ONE OF the best players in last year’s school rugby UC Championship has continued his rapid rise in rugby league by signing a three-year contract with the Cronulla Sharks. Cruz Topai-Aveai, 18, needed just a handful of games in the under-20 national youth competition with the South Sydney Rabbitohs to convince the Sharks that he is worth a first-grade contract. Before injuring himself against the Penrith Panthers under-20 side last month, the forward was proving to be a standout for the Rabbitohs. In his last full game, he made 12 runs, including two line breaks, which resulted in him gaining 208 metres. Topai-Aveai will add some much needed youth to the Sharks roster which has seven forwards who are 29 or older, including 35-year-olds Paul Gallen and Chris Heighington. Last year, Topai-Aveai was awarded the Philip McDonald Memorial Medal, with opposition coaches recognising him as the most valuable player in the UC Championship. He helped lead Shirley Boys’ High School to grand-final appearances in both 2015 and 2016. After finishing the first XV rugby season, he decided to make the switch to league even though he had less than 12 months experience in the 13- man code. Are there too many cards in Super Rugby? • By Gordon Findlater FORMER ALL Blacks and Crusaders half back Justin Marshall has come out swinging over Super Rugby rulings on foul play. Marshall highlighted incidents in recent weeks, including Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock’s two-week-ban for what he said was “a Justin Marshall rub against an opponent’s face with his elbow”, and the red carding of Highlanders wing Waisake Naholo and Bulls lock RG Snyman at Loftus Versfeld. Marshall said the brutal physicality has been taken out of rugby to the detriment of the game. Said Marshall in his weekly column in the NZ Herald: “For me, there are two issues involved. The first is that it’s a contact game – players are trained and programmed to run hard at each other and there are going to be times when there is often hard physical contact. That includes the aerial aspect – players contesting high kicks. “I feel we’re taking the really brutal physicality out of the game, and the second issue is that players are thinking twice about how to react to fast-changing events in front of them and that’s not good for the game.” He said players are now going into areas of contact without confidence due to the fear of being carded. He made note of instances where players are being carded for high tackles that are the fault of the ball carrier and not the tackler. For example cards have been given in the YOU’RE OFF: Former All Blacks and Crusaders half back Justin Marshall says yellow and red cards are being overused in Super Rugby PHOTO: HAGEN HOPKINS past for high tackles that have involved the ball carrier slipping, which has resulted in their head coming into the contact zone lower than the tackler would have expected. “I’m not condoning foul play and am certainly a supporter of getting on top of concussion and serious injuries in the game, but we’ve got to respect rugby for what it is. It’s a physical game about contact and winning possession but, bit by bit, we’re eliminating contact from the game,” he wrote. “For me, Naholo was trying to get the ball and he used his shoulder to protect himself from the other player. The Bulls player was hit high but I believe that’s just part of game. Marshall said the red card of Snyman was also harsh, stating that he was cleaning a Highlanders player out of the ruck, who was there illegally slowing down the ball, when the Bulls were in a try scoring position. HAVE YOUR SAY: What do you think of the red and yellow card-friendly nature of Super Rugby? Email gordon.findlater@starmedia. kiwi What others think of Marshall’s column Reuben Thorne, former All Blacks captain: “I thought the Bulls player charged into a ruck against a defenceless guy and deliberately went for his head which probably warranted a red card. The Naholo one, he made contact with the head but I don’t think it was intentional but more reckless. Whether it should be a yellow or red card is the question there.” Scott Pawson, New Brighton division one coach: “Even down at club level it’s become very officious. It was talked about during the coaches meeting at the start of the year, any kind of contact with the head is now a yellow card. I think common sense needs to prevail in some cases. If the ball carrier slips or is going for the try line his head is sometimes around knee height, how are you meant to stop that?” Martin Dodgson, Sumner division one coach: “It all comes down to the law changes. Referees can be held accountable as well, if their bosses are saying you need to pay attention to this then they’ve got to do it, so I can sympathise with them. At the end of the day, though you want 30 guys on the field, there are some tackles you look at and think did that really deserve a card.”

The Star 39 Sport Crusaders snubbed in Super Rugby ‘team of the week’ SUPER RUGBY’S finals system has been heavily criticised recently and now its official social media platform has been mocked for naming a “team of the week” which includes four Reds players, one Hurricanes’ front-rower – but no Crusaders. Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen, like the rest of the Hurricanes’ front row, had a very difficult time of it against the Crusaders last weekend when the home side Mary Westwood M 021 557 731 P 03 347 4711 Four Seasons Realty Ltd Licensed Agent REAA 2008 Why not put me to the test As I do stand out from the rest If you’re ready to sell then so am I So go ahead give me a try!!! preserved its unbeaten record this season with a 20-12 victory, yet has been included in the No3 jersey. The Canes’ scrum went backwards at a rate of knots under extreme pressure from Crusaders Owen Franks, Codie Taylor and Joe Moody, yet Toomaga- Allen has been included in the Super Rugby ‘team,’ whereas Franks, Taylor, Moody and company have been left out. wARATAHS V REBELS Four Seasons BYES: jAgUARES, Realty REDS Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi There wasn’t a place for Crusaders’ stand-in skipper Matt Todd or midfielder Ryan Crotty, both of whom were exemplary at AMI Stadium, yet there was a place for Reds players Stephen Moore, George Smith, Eto Nabuli and Samu Kerevi, in spite of the fact their team battled to a 29-24 victory against the lowly Rebels. Three Blues players – locks Patrick Tuipulotu and Scott 2017 SUPER 18 TiPPing ComPETi T ion RoUnD 13 May 19 th & 21 st CHIEFS V CRUSADERS STORmERS V BLUES HURRICANES V CHEETAHS FORCE V HIgHLANDERS SUNwOLvES V SHARKS KINgS V BRUmBIES LIONS V BULLS BREnT JEffERiES A1 Auto CRuSADERS STORMERS HuRRiCANES FORCE SHARkS kiNGS BuLLS WARATAHS BRoUghT To yoU By ThE ChRiSTChURCh STaR Scrafton, plus loose forward Akira Ioane – made the ‘team’ after Tana Umaga’s men held off the Cheetahs 50-32. However, the South Africans caused the Blues trouble with their lineout drive. The only New Zealand backs named in the ‘team’ were Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith, and Hurricanes No 12 Ngani Laumape. Laumape had a good night Thursday May 18 2017 running at Crusaders No 10 Richie Mo’unga, but most commentators picked Crotty had a better overall match. 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