One Percenters: Bledisloe Cup technology sideshow

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips and Beth Newman

It's been another rollercoaster week in rugby.

What have you missed? 

Internet imbroglio

In the 21st century, sometimes you just have to stop and savour the irony of technology.

New Zealand Rugby had planned a pre-game ‘blackout’ with a light show as part of their ‘match enhancement’ at Fosythe Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

That plan was blown out the water by a software malfunction that set kick-off back 10 minutes, throwing both teams a curveball.

The irony of the software issue was compounded when a Four Corners reporter threw a left field question into the press conference mix, asking Michael Cheika about the effect of fast download and upload speeds in games.

It’s fair to say Cheika, the Wallabies media manager and the rest of the press, were bewildered by the question.

Here’s how it played out:

Reporter: I know a lot goes into winning a rugby game but you'd also know that in New Zealand, they're on the way to having world-class broadband network. Is it possible that being able to download/upload (quickly) in New Zealand (will give the All Blacks an advantage)?

Wallabies media manager (cutting in): Do we have to do this? Can we do it later?

Reporter: It's just I know Michael has spoken about it. Whether you think New Zealand would have an advantage over Australia if it has a faster national network? 

Cheika: Is this an ad for some company?  

Reporter: We're doing a story.

Cheika: To be honest, it's just out of my league, that one at the moment. My head's spinning around with other stuff and certainly the upload speed and the download speed of broadband in New Zealand is not at the top of my list. No disrespect.

Read knock-on goes unnoticed

Plenty of All Blacks fans are still fuming after an accidental offside call proved influential in June, but there was no noise from the Kiwis on Sunday morning, after footage emerged of their own captain infringing off the most crucial restart.

Kieran Read contested the restart after Kurtley Beale looked to have won the game for the Wallabies, and footage that made the rounds on Saturday night appeared to show Read knocking it forward in the air.

There'll be no fallout from that incident, with the Wallabies preferring to focus on the simple fact that they didn't win that contest, a moment that ultimatly led to Beauden Barrett's winning try.

We'll just leave this here, then....

Sevens veteran holding the clipboard

The Uni 7s teams have some big names among their playing ranks but the Macquarie Uni Sydney Rays have also enlisted the help of male counterpart James Stannard (pictured above far right) in the coaching ranks.

Though he’s an assistant coach with the side, he took the lead in Tasmania over the weekend, and it wasn’t bad debut either, with the Rays finishing third overall and the bronze medal.

Wallabies say thanks

The Wallabies had their hearts ripped out in Dunedin, but after a ruthless week in the court of public opinion, they made an important gesture after the gutting loss.

Once the dust settled on the Bledisloe presentation, the entire playing squad made their way across the pitch to acknowledge the pocket of Aussie fans who had made their way across the ditch for the clash.

It might be just a formality, but it’s a small gesture that will not be forgotten.

Test players cross paths with NBA's Adams 

 

@stevenadams Thunder Up!!!

A post shared by KEREVI (@samukerevi_) on


A handful of Wallabies players had a brush with NBA fame this week, as Kiwi basketballer Steven Adams popped up at their Christchurch hotel.

Adams is a cult figure in the NBA for his signature look and his Aussie rugby counterparts couldn’t resist grabbing a snap.

Reports of rugby's death greatly exaggerated

Warringah's Shute Shield victory on Saturday capped off a fortnight of eye-catching club finals around the country.

The Rats' win was an emotional one but just as attention-grabbing was the packed-out North Sydney Oval crowd.

From all reports, there was barely standing room for close to 20,000 who made the trip out to the decider, a figure higher than quite a few Super Rugby games this year.

After halftime ground officials adopted a one out, one in policy, such was the size of the crowd.

The Queensland Premier Rugby, Pindan Premier Grade, John I Dent Cup and Dewar Shield finals were all also big hits, a sign of life in a dark year.

One of Australia's biggest challenges going forward remains to capture that emotion and hang on to it at every level.