Cardiff 17 – Leicester 21

Only for the sake of balance, given last week’s post about Cardiff’s win in France, this weekend the Blues failed to tame the Tigers at the Millennium Stadium.

They could have won, whether they should have won is another matter. It wasn’t a classic encounter and neither side really dominated (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/default.stm).

The referee did a very good job of spoiling the match with some erratic and inconsistent officiating – but I would say that, as a supporter of the losing side.

However, I did watch three other rugby matches on TV over the weekend and the refereeing in all three also left a lot to be desired at times – but then so did some of the play.

Rugby is sometimes in danger of strangling itself with its own rule book. It is a simple game, that has been complicated by the law-makers. But there is an argument that players and coaches have brought this on themselves by embracing some of the darker arts of professionalism – it is usually described as being “streetwise” by pundits, but infuriates fans.

One area where football can learn from rugby is the discipline. There is a lot of chat between players and officials, but anything out of order gets quickly dealt with and punishment is effective.

It is likely the Blues’ Gary Powell will have plenty of time to consider his own moment of madness – he was rightly sent off for head-butting – after receiving a 4-week ban within hours of the final whistle.

The autumn internationals mean Cardiff fans will have to wait a couple of weeks to see how the players react to such an unnecessary defeat…although I’m sure there will be plenty of debating points from next Saturday’s match between Wales and Australia to fill the time.  

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