A Passing Phase?

There’s a chapter in Catch 22 where the black marketeer Milo Minderbinder explains how he buys eggs for 7 cents in one market, sells them in another for 5 cents and still makes a profit. The logic and shaky economic explanation confuses both Yossarian and the reader but you somehow start to think that it might actually work.

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In last week’s Sunday Times Stephen Jones wrote an article regarding how an Australian Coach had ‘proved’ that because of a combination of the law of relative velocity, physics and player momentum a ball passed behind a player often moved forward when it was actually caught by the receiver. Based on this the IRB have introduced the ‘Momentum’ rule whereby the ref and TMO have to take account of the passing player’s hands rather than the trajectory of the ball.

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This has resulted in many passes being ruled legal when they look to the naked eye (and video monitor) as if they are forward.

As Jones points out – there is just one small flaw in this rule ……… it is total bollocks! He may have used a slightly different phrase to convey his interpretation (the Sunday Times is like that) but the meaning is the same.

To the average rugby fan a forward pass is when the bloke who catches it is in front of where his mate was when he chucked it to him. No need for physics, velocity nonsense and momentum – it’s not rocket or any other science – it’s actually very fucking simple.

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The game has not become a hybrid of American Football (not yet anyway) and as far as I know the rules haven’t been officially changed to allow a ’sort of forward pass’ as long as your hands are pointing the other way. But I’m sure some clubs are even now trying to find a new coach who can teach players how to produce a sleight of hand that points fingers in one direction and punches the ball forward at the same time. I imagine the ‘Magical Circle’ might be a good place to start recruiting.

Fucking hell – how long before we get a version of ‘Hawkeye’ to track the ball direction and  to determine exactly how many  studs connected with that hole in a bloke’s head where blood is pouring out? Maybe the IRB should introduce a ‘Snickometer’ that can measure the speed at which a punch is landed?

I preferred it in the old days when if the ref said a pass was forward then that’s what it was – and everyone accepted it (albeit with muttering expletives) – this was the case even when he was a fat bastard who couldn’t keep up with play.

I myself was quite prone to chucking the ball forward – on the few occasions I actually caught the ball I was only too pleased to get rid of it again when faced by any bugger who wanted to cause me harm in order to get possession. If that meant chucking it away then that did for me – quite often I’d simply throw it at him.

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