Columnists 3.3.2017 12:47 pm

Time to quickly close that Italian loophole

Jonathan Kaplan. Photo: Gallo Images.

Jonathan Kaplan. Photo: Gallo Images.

Jonathan Kaplan marvels at Brendan Venter’s genius way of exploiting rugby’s ruck laws but the ref in him says it’s not good for the game.

It’s not often that I get all nine right on any given weekend, plus the three Six Nations matches too, so I may as well mention it while the going is good.

I did think the Reds would win more comfortably than they did, and I was impressed by the physicality the Sharks showed.

Most of the refereeing in general wasn’t too bad, so that’s a relief for so early on in the season.

There is a brief hiatus in the Six Nations so we can concentrate on Super Rugby.

I had a lot of queries on my Twitter account regarding Romain Poite and the tactics Italy employed to frustrate England last weekend.

In a nutshell, the referee was quite right to referee it as he did.

England responded poorly and the result was that Italy stayed in the game almost until the end.

For me, this is a loophole in the game (not taking anything away from Italy or their coaching staff).

Moreover it is not good for the game, and the sooner it is closed the better for all.

I think Eddie Jones sometimes makes statements which are selfserving but in this case I believe he has it spot on.

It would be quite easy as you just need to make the tackle on the offside line.

I’ll be interested to see if the Blues have turned the corner away to the Chiefs this morning.

The Crusaders were cumbersome last weekend against the Brumbies and I am picking the Highlanders to beat them.

I’d like the Lions to improve on their lucky win against the Cheetahs and beat a Waratahs team who allowed the Force to get up their noses.

The Lions are 2/5 favourites and the spread seven points.

The Stormers were excellent last weekend and they seem to have hit the ground running.

I think they will carry too many guns for the Jaguares who started slowly against the Kings but never really looked like losing.

The Stormers will do well to understand that the breakdown and the contest will be a far cry from last week.

The Cape side are given at 2/7 and the spread nine points.

Lastly, the Bulls have traditionally had the Cheetahs’ number, but I was more impressed by what the Cheetahs delivered than the Bulls.

Having said that this is probably a fixture which could go either way.

At a push, pick the home team, but the spread is two points with the Cheetahs 11/10 and the Bulls 8/11.

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