More "unfounded accusations"

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Sep 08, 2019, 12:08

The World Cup war of words is on.

Times columnist Stuart Barnes, a consistent admirer of the All Blacks, has described them as "the most cynical cheats at a breakdown".

The former England back claimed that while Richie McCaw has gone, his spirit lives on in the way the All Blacks slow down opponents' ball.

He said the selection of three opensides - of Sam Cane, Matt Todd and Ardie Savea - showed how the All Blacks wanted to play the game.

Barnes wrote: "Not just scrabbling on their knees during the jackal, but also being round the wrong side of a ruck, not by much, but enough for the referee to berate and send him back; enough to slow down possession.

"Having a hand illegally on the ball, long enough for the referee to say: 'Hands off'. Long enough to slow attack down.

"There's no McCaw this time but there are three opensides, all breakdown experts. The tournament will be won by the team that controls the tempo of the game — and the breakdown is the heartbeat of ball in play — but also the area of contentious calls that will be made by officials aware of what their masters want.

"A clean and fair competition. 'Clean out' at your peril. The more jackal options, the more chance of your team winning the battle of the whistle.

"New Zealand, the most positive attacking team in the world, have their flip side. They are also the most cynical cheats at a breakdown."

Barnes predicted an army of opensides and other breakdown exponents would dominate the tournament, which starts in Japan later this month.

England had flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill, backed up by lock Maro Itoje and No. 8 Billy Vunipola. He predicted Wales might pair Josh Navidi with Justin Tipuric. The Wallabies had the Michael Hooper/David Pocock combo to rely on.

"Defenders who create nothing but a trickle of slow possession damn the game and gain an edge," Barnes claimed.

"New Zealand, beautiful and ugly in equal measure, are well aware of the fact.

"McCaw's greatness was as much to do with his negativity at breakdowns as his inspiring commitment as captain.

"There is no McCaw now, but there remains a ruthless army of openside mercenaries ready to kill quick ball.

"When the price isn't so painful, when the referees are protecting legions of these assassins of the fine arts, who can blame coaches for picking them in ever greater numbers?"

Sep 08, 2019, 12:24

And now note the reply...As usual, the very first move is character assassination, followed by whispers of a greater conspiracy.

These are the first two paragraphs...

Someone once defined a baby as "a loud voice at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other". I'll leave it to you to decide at which end Stuart Barnes and his "cheating" jibe at the All Blacks belong.

I've always rated Barnes, who this week called the All Blacks "cynical cheats" and "paranoid" about dominating the breakdown in what seemed an uncharacteristic but specifically timed "outburst" in his Sunday Times column in London.

An outburst. That word is used to describe a sudden and unpredictable overreaction.

Is it an outburst or just a journalist putting his neck out to say what many see/think? 

Sep 08, 2019, 12:49

The All Black pack lacks an enforcer, with Retalick most likely out of the world cup. So they have gone down the route of picking three fetchers in the backrow.  Ardie is also a decent ball carrier, so he is more of an all-rounder. Keiren Read is not much of a ball carrier anymore.

Sep 08, 2019, 13:24

The wee abs are cynical at best but they feel they need to cheat to win. They lack confidence:'(

Sep 08, 2019, 14:15


Wonderful to hear from you,  I hope you are settled in Canada - which is your home city?   Good luck anyway,     

Sep 08, 2019, 15:51

And out antidote to this.....Kolisi and Stephanie!

Sep 08, 2019, 17:33

Are you still suffering from Du Toit Idiocy? 

Sep 08, 2019, 17:34

Canada? I have two cousins who've been living in Canada 5 and 2 years. I can't recall the locations, though Ontario seems to come to mind. 

Sep 08, 2019, 21:52

Sharkbok, Retallick is in the squad and expected to front in the Q final, if we make it that far.

Sep 09, 2019, 10:03

Its always good to hear the opposition squeal like little girls, the bigger the threat we are the more they squeal. 

The day they all stop writing crap like this is the day I will be worried.

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