The use of bulky mauls and prominent prostitutes is a scourge for rugby

OPINION: Rugby has gotten more than a little silly when hookers score more tries than wingers.

Take last year when Hawke’s Bay captain Ash Dixon was the nation’s leading try scorer with 15.

All because most of the teams that win a penalty across the opposition border hit the ball in touch to get the big boys all excited, win the lineout and maul over.

Take last Sunday’s game when the Turbos’ only try in a tumultuous encounter was scored by hooker Ray Niuia from a well-taken maul.

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Three of Wellington’s tries were also scored on mauls which became a bane to the game.

In the past, the goal was to throw the ball, not to transfer it subcutaneously to a partner attached at the hip. It would be simple for the Overlords to eliminate the mutilations by declaring everyone in front of the guy who cuddles the ball offside.

For supposed security reasons, the defenders cannot ransack the maul and anyone who tries to turn themselves yellow.

With the crowd back last Sunday, Manawatū was expected to tickle Wellington, but the Turbos barely passed Wellington’s 22.

It seems the Turbos were so excited for this that they tried to be hypersonic.

Bay of Plenty's Angus Scott-Young helps advance the maul against Wellington at Rotorua International Stadium,

Michael Bradley / Getty Images

Bay of Plenty’s Angus Scott-Young helps advance the maul against Wellington at Rotorua International Stadium,

With endless stops, it was like watching South Africa’s downtime. By comparison, the product of the NRL is non-stop, an issue that rugby must tackle.

The game revolved around a decisive blow from Wellington winger Pepesana Patafilo in the 44th minute, just one minute after Manawatū took the lead.

There were screams from the crowd when Hawke’s Bay referee Nick Hogan decided not to wear his pants, claiming the ball came out of a Manawatū defender. Wellington’s subsequent assault following that call saw them score two tries and argue.

It was gratifying to see All Blacks’ future dad, Nehe Milner-Skudder, regain much of his former form after enduring such a scorching spell with injuries and their after-effects in recent seasons. His trademark shimmies and sleight of hand when rushing close to the sideline is the godsend for the Turbos wings.

Sadly, it looks like All Black Aaron Smith’s 50-game goal for Manawatū could be dashed by his prenatal priorities in Dunedin. He sits on 47.

The Turbos are in first place for their first home semi-final since 2014. With the speedway suspended until November 20, they won’t make it to Manfeild Dog Park this time around.

But because of the season stretched by Covid and with Manawatū to have a bye before a semi-final, overseas contracts are creeping in.

Main lock Liam Mitchell will then be in Italy, as will Tietie Tuimauga (Connacht, Ireland) and hooker Siua Maile (with Tonga in Europe), but there is hope that the best acquisition of the season, the top five Brett Cameron, will remain until Japan Appeals.

It was refreshing to see a coach, Neil Barnes of Taranaki, leave half-armed about the NPC format, while Manawatū only offered a lukewarm version.

Barnes was right, that the NPC should be a division, but to expect a promotion in a Covid year and Auckland to be relegated after playing just two games had no merit.

Thin Kiwi Picking on the PGA Tour

New Zealand golfers will be even leaner on the ground on the PGA Tour in the United States.

Of the two with valuable tour cards, Palmerston North professional, 43, Tim Wilkinson has not played in a tournament since the Byron Nelson in May and is on a medical “reshuffle” exemption as a result of knee injury.

Danny Lee lost his PGA Tour card for the first time since 2014 and a broken rib entitles him to a minor medical exemption; but as the previous winner, he is assured of a few starts while he is for the most part consigned to the secondary Korn Ferry Tour.

For Wilkinson, 18 as a professional, playing and training, they get on their knees. Following an operation in October, he will be unavailable for a few months.

Tim Wilkinson of New Zealand playing a shot at the Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club in January 2020.

Harry Comment / Getty Images

Tim Wilkinson of New Zealand playing a shot at the Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club in January 2020.

In 2009, he tore a thumb ligament and had to have it repaired. The danger is coming back too early to jumpstart careers quickly and when Wilkinson returns this time around he will have seven starts while Lee will have three.

Steven Alker was on and off the grand tour, but has racked up $ 700,000 now, he’s swinging over the PGA Tour champions for over 50 years. He had six top 10s in seven tournaments. Wilkinson is seven years away, however.

Unfortunately, no other Kiwi aspires to reach the PGA Tour.

The only other New Zealander is Aucklander Nick Voke who is 88th on the Korn Ferry Tour. Most find it easier to reside in the United States; Alker lives in Arizona, Wilkinson in Florida, and Lee in Irving, Texas.

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