Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sam and Deliver

Robbery hasn't been this blatant since Dick Turpin was in his pomp. Wales' greatest opportunity to reach a World Cup final was cruelly snatched away by the harshest of refereeing decisions.

Wales' captain marvellous and magnificent seven Sam Warburton was red carded just 18 minutes into their semi final with France, by the completely neutral referee Allain Colm Pierre Sebastian Theirry Louis Jean-Baptiste Chateux Piscine Bibliotech Pepe Le Pew Rolland, having already lost their scrummaging lynchpin and cuddly hairbear Adam Jones to injury.

Rolland has been very quiet on the decision since he rode out of Eden Park on Black Bess  after the game. Many are arguing that the man with the French father had no choice under IRB directives but that isn't true. The directive does state that sometimes a penalty and sin bin is sufficient.

The IRB have spinelessly backed Rolland (No surprises) and handed Sam a 6 weeks ban reduced to 3 weeks because of an outstanding disciplinary record, strong character and guilt from the IRB. Maybe they should have reduced it further? Maybe to 10 minutes, you know, the amount of time Sam should have spent in the bin on Saturday for the tackle.

If there is no room for manouvre, no chance for referees to apply common sense when the occassion calls for it then these laws need to be changed. No situation is ever that black and white so the law that governs it shouldn't be either.

Even reduced to 14 men Wales never gave up, never gave in. They battled harder, run faster, tackled stronger, pushed themselves more than ever but it was a step too far. France eventually took it by a single point having never truly threatened Wales' line despite the numbers advantage. Wales did get the ball down when Phillips checked his hair, pulled his cheekiest of poses and crashed over but the hill was too steep to climb.

Wales will now play Australia in the bitter-sweet Bronze Final. Before the tournament started any Welshman would have taken a semi final place as a triumph but now it seems the bitterest of ends.

Never has a Wales team played this well or so professionally. No team has ever played this couragously. There's not a Welshman who could fail to be proud of the Welsh team from the first whistle of the South Africa game to the last whistle on Saturday. I look forward to a prosperous future as with our young players who left Britain as kids but will touch down as men.

Before robbing his victims, Turpin supposedly asked, "Stand or deliver?" Wales did both. They stood tall and delivered the greatest World Cup in the nation's history. That, Monsieur Rolland, is something that can never be taken from us.

Cymru am byth!

 Stand and Deliver - Adam and the Ants

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