Munster v Cardiff Blues proved Captain’s Challenge needs to be scrapped


“It is one factor to shoot your self within the foot,” US Senator Lindsey Graham as soon as quipped.

“Simply do not reload the gun.”

Graham was referring to immigration reform in America – a world aside from a Rainbow Cup conflict between Munster and Cardiff Blues in Limerick – nevertheless it’s a quote that I stored coming again to within the aftermath of the farcical ending at Thomond Park.

In fact, Munster’s 31-27 victory over Cardiff was overshadowed by the irritating presence of the Captain’s Problem – with three separate appeals disrupting the circulation of the ultimate minutes.

The primary noticed Munster query whether or not Wales centre Willis Halaholo had obstructed a Munster participant throughout a kick chase. After poring over quite a few replays on the touchline, referee Andrew Brace determined he had – however that the penalty was outranked for a subsequent excessive sort out on Matthew Morgan.

So Munster’s enchantment was appropriate, however Cardiff received the choice.

The second noticed Cardiff Blues declare {that a} Munster ahead had entered the maul from the aspect because the away aspect pushed for a successful strive from a lineout. Extra replays adopted earlier than the enchantment was ultimately dismissed.

Essentially the most farcical one was saved for final. With the clock crimson and Cardiff nonetheless trying to find a successful rating, the match was arrange for a grandstand end. Both Cardiff scored to grab victory or Munster bravely held them out.

Or, the third possibility, that noticed a problem accuse Lloyd Williams of nudging the ball again into the ruck together with his foot. Munster queried it and Brace ambled over to the touchline as soon as once more.

From there, you possibly can sense the place this was going. It was a nothing incident, the type of factor you’d see time and time once more if you happen to pored a forensic eye over proceedings, however Brace nonetheless deemed it worthy of a free-kick regardless of there being affordable doubt whether or not the ball was even out of the ruck.

And with that, the sport was over in sorry circumstances.

Now, rugby is not a sport of readability at one of the best of instances.

The legal guidelines aren’t at all times straightforward for the informal viewer – or perhaps a dedicated fan – to get their head round, which in fact limits the broad enchantment.

The curious nature of the lawbook and the stop-start rhythm of the game can flip fixtures into drawn-out encounters. There are gray areas and nuances which can be half and parcel of the sport, with a referee’s interpretation of the legal guidelines typically barely completely different depending on the person.

So why permit captain’s to problem sure choices inside the final 5 minutes of matches?

In keeping with PRO14 organisers, “the Captain’s Problem is aimed toward enhancing the accuracy of choices already underneath the remit of the match officers”.

In fact, that does not actually stack up.

In execution, it is merely a gimmick that successfully encourages gamers to play on these gray areas and elongate the match, whereas additionally inevitably getting drawn into petty tit-fot-tat complaints within the closing moments of video games.

Lots of the incident appealed are dime a dozen in matches, typically going unpunished. Permitting gamers to choose and select their moments for when these normally missed moments all of the sudden change into vital goes down a rabbit gap the game would not really want to burrow down.

Particularly given the widespread confusion over precisely what remit the Captain’s Problem covers.

Proper now, a quick look on social media would discover simply as many individuals claiming all three challenges within the Cardiff Blues match should not have been checked out underneath the wording of the Captain’s Problem as you’d saying they have been all okay to be reviewed.

In a sport as complicated as rugby, what good does it do to intentionally muddy the waters much more?

Plus, it takes away from the precise spectacle itself.

The concept of the ‘spirit of the sport’ is one I am not at all times eager on, given as it may be used as an ethical excessive floor that excludes outsiders. However the ultimate moments of Friday’s match have been unedifying to look at.

It grew to become about successful on technicalities, clutching at any little infringement – and in rugby, if you happen to are likely to look onerous sufficient, you may discover one.

The conflict between Munster and Cardiff ought to have been remembered as a high-scoring conflict between two sides with two very completely different kinds of rugby.

As a substitute, it was 75 minutes of fascinating rugby and 5 minutes of shambolic, anticlimactic farce – with the final 300 seconds at Thomond Park taking a minimum of double that as referee Andrew Brace spent most of his time observing a TV display.

It is robust sufficient attempting to maintain up with issues within the stadium, given the unusual nature of the problem.

So spare a thought for the informal viewer – the precise viewers rugby ought to be concentrating on.

Think about if you happen to have been watching the sport for the primary time, having marvelled at a number of the working rugby Dai Younger’s males had produced or been fascinated by the suffocating energy sport that Munster managed to execute at instances.

After which think about being completely bemused because the match resulted in farcical vogue as a result of a scrum-half nudged the ball again right into a ruck together with his foot.

When you’ve gotten sports activities like System One rising their viewers exponentially because of sensible, client pleasant content material akin to their Netflix documentary, rugby’s continued dabbling within the convoluted and the difficult is unbelievable irritating.

Why was it even launched? Who’s to say for sure.

Ought to rugby proceed with the Captain’s Problem? Have your say in our feedback part right here.

There have been widespread calls final 12 months that rugby was boring and the game has a knee-jerk tendency to throw the infant out with the bathwater when that occurs – identical to the experimental regulation variations the game launched over a decade in the past in response to the kick-heavy 2007 World Cup.

Regardless of the purpose behind it, they trialled it.

Whoever got here up with the gimmick – and the 20-minute crimson card trial that basically handicaps the best sanction in rugby for little obvious purpose – can pat themselves on the again on that entrance.

Much better concepts have fallen by the wayside lengthy earlier than getting the publicity this one did.

However now we all know for positive. It is an concept not price pursuing in its present kind.

In fact, we knew that earlier than however Friday night time actually jumped the shark.

So let’s simply consign it to the identical elements of historical past as New Coke, the Microsoft Zune and each different short-sighted enterprise.

As a result of to pursue it additional can be to reload the gun whereas it is pointed immediately on the sport’s toes.


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