In LA, Everyone Plays 10
Luke Carty? Still hurt.
Matt Giteau? Injured… or missing… no one seems to know.
Orene AI’i? Suspended.
Luke Burton? Somehow on the bench despite Super Rugby experience at flyhalf.
Enter Harrison Goddard. Goddard is one of the top 9s in Major League Rugby and entered LA’s game with a 9 on his back. The 24 year old ended up working the pivot for much of the Giltinis’ stomping of Rugby ATL at the Snake Pit. Its up there with center Billy Meakes playing flanker last year in terms of weirdness.
The point: LA’s entire team is quite good at rugby things.
Goddard remains an underrated piece of the league. He’s still young enough to be a part of Australia’s future. As much of a joy as he is to watch, Goddard deserves a chance at a Super Rugby contract. If he were successful, it would show off a new path to the the top leagues through Major League Rugby instead of the traditional paths.
New England, Austin Near Playoff Berths
Last week, Dallas officially fell out of the playoff race. By the end of next week, two spots could be claimed.
Austin’s path to the playoffs has felt inevitable. New England was prone to a regression under a new coaching staff. Instead, the two sides seem destined to control the path to the Championship in their respective conferences. Neither side has a clear weakness. They might find a bargain before the Trade Deadline, but both Austin and New England could enter the playoffs as they are and be the favorites to meet with the Shield on the line.
Take It Easy on Your Local TMO
At the start of the season, we praised the early usage of TMO in limited situations. In the time since, criticism of Television Match Officials has increased.
Referees have started referring to the TMO more often despite the man behind the screen not having much to offer. Most stadiums are not set up with tons of cameras. TMOs do need to be more empowered to quickly say they have nothing helpful to add. However, its also on the internet sleuths to acknowledge that an occasional mistake will happen. Unless it substantially changes the outcome of the game and you have a clear look at it yourself, understand that there aren’t many (if any) angles that an MLR TMO can access that you don’t see on your television. The biggest improvement to the TMO will come from improvements to broadcasting not the TMO itself.