I have been watching, but I haven't written you a referee report for... some reason that I haven't been able to work out for myself!
What have we missed?
Crusaders loss to the Blues, whistled by Paul Honis.
Crusaders lesson to the Chefs - how to improve every game until you can give someone a good old fashioned hiding - refed by Kevlin Deaker.
You know there was a world of difference between the two games in playing style. In the first the Blues were crap! but slightly less smelly, sticky and otherwise crappy than the Crusaders.
It was one of those games that you wished you hadn't convinced your host to let you watch when you are away in the USA. I was imagining our very own JC as his host turned to him and asked "And... that was a example of a good game of rugby?!?"
Poor young Aaron Mauger had a shocker, but at least he was consistent. He stuffed up his place kicking, his running game and his positional kicking! Not that the scrum was helping much, and Scott Robinson was looking very ordinary!
But the one thing that I did note with interest, was the penalty count: Crusaders 5 : Blues 17! What can this mean? Apart from the dismal kicking of Mauger!
It suggests to me that not every team has been worried about the new tackle ball interpretation. Sure, the Blues were getting pinged faster than a red Ferrari on Auckland's southern motorway, but what about the other side? Three of our penalties were for throwing a punch, offside and an illegal X-over.
So was the "New Tackle Ball rule Fiasco" just a beat up by Auckland based (biased?) media (ie: TVNZ, TV3, Sky, NZ Hearld, etc) because their players and coaching staff were too slow to work out how to cope with it?
Maybe it was, and maybe if it had stayed it may have let the really talented and well coached teams leap ahead of the rest.
But what a mess the NPC and club games would have been. That would have been a real nightmare!!!
Nevermind. There is no need for S12 players to improve their skill level further, as their bosses have successfully argued a reprieve. Lucky us!
Now the game against the Chefs was different. The Crusaders pack was going forward, Thorn had a blinder, and Marshall was delivering quicker ball to Mauger, who had one less thing to worry about as Ben Blair was taking the place kicks.
Actually I should say 2 things less to worry about, as So'alo can catch, tackle and run fast. Not that Vunibaka can't score awesome tries, but everytime the ball heads towards him, Cone Stadium holds it's breath!
So most everyone had a great game, except the Chefs, shame about that.
This time the Crusaders earned 11 tackle penaties out of 15. But what a difference going forward makes! The Chefs 3 out of 10. Didn't do them much good though!
Will the change back make any difference? Will players still be pinged for stupid play around the tackle?
You bet your boots they will.
The thing that interests me about the rest of the season is how lazy teams will get with the tackle laws.
I hope that the Crusaders keep up the skills that they developed to combat the tackle ball law! Keep that ball alive and on our side, and we can still make the top 4!