The refs are slowly starting to penalise the attacking side for players joining the maul in front of the ball carrier. That has always been my biggest criticism because in the past refs only focused on what the defending team was doing.
Teams are finding new ways of defending the lineout drive, e.g. the Chiefs starting the tactic of deliberately not engaging which allows a player to tackle the ball carrier at the back of the maul. The Blues tried that tactic on Friday night. I just want the refs to be consistent with how they police the maul.
Who will be getting game time in next year's Super Rugby season? Probably Barrett, Sopoaga (signed until the end of 2018 super rugby season or AB season?), DMac, Moaga, and whoever is at the Blues. You'd probably tip him to be 3rd choice for the ABs based on that.
BTW, is Otere Black contracted to the Canes for next season?
I'd like to see Black move to the Blues. He's surplus to requirements at the Canes, what with BB there and a ready-made clone to step in if he goes down.
@Chris-B. Suggest you take a look at customer is always right thread. I like the idea of double yellow (player off but after 10 a replacement can come on) in cases where a clumsy tackle or jump leads to a mandatory card but not malicious and so ought not to be a red. For me double yellows wouldn't lead to subsequent ban.
I see Pete Samu mentioned as a possibility - I saw him fall off a lot of tackles for the Crusaders - he's a good useful player (not sure he's a natural 7) but for me he missed too many tackles to make this team.
You'd need to tie yourself if knots on that tho'. Pre mid 90's opening the bowling was great for RR but bad for wickets as teams looked to accumulate & most teams opened with test quality openers, mid 90's to 00's opening was terrible for RR but great for wickets as everyone decided to toss a pinch hitter up there & opened by slogging etc.
By the last WC we were the only team opening with a smasher, but most sides had specialist ODI openers, I think they'd brought in the 2 new balls law a few years earlier? So bowling in the middle overs offered more chance to get seam but a less soft ball meant sides could attack - ie the Harris-Vetorri unit was operating with a ball twice as soft as our middle over guys are now using etc...
ODI cricket is such a tinkered with tweaked thing the stats across eras are meaningless