South African fans learn the hard way why France have already won the World Cup
The inclusion of the South African teams in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup means fans are introduced to one of the great menaces of rugby- French TV directors.
Yes, the Springboks have experienced some iffy moments against France in the past (there was a noticeable overlooked double movement for France against the Boks in November that set Rassie Erasmus off), but it is a whole new level in European rugby, and the Sharks found out the hard way on Saturday.
Up against five time European champions Toulouse at the Stade Ernest Wallon, the South Africa outfit were on the receiving end of some very strange calls as they fell 54-20. Now, they were not necessarily going to win the match, but the fact that there were replays galore of any indiscretion made by the visitors and radio silence whenever there was a mistake by the hosts, meant they had a massive up hill battle on their hands.
Take Toulouse’s opening try of the match by winger Juan Cruz Mallía. The assist came from Thomas Ramos and it looked fairly forward, even when accounting for the momentum of the player. However, whenever the Sharks made a mistake, replays were plastered over the screen at the stadium to encourage the referee to make their call.
Take a look at the forward pass:
Juan 👏 Cruz 👏 Mallía 👏
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) April 8, 2023
The worrying thing for the rest of the world is that the World Cup is in France later this year. That seems to be a huge advantage to the hosts. A very good France rugby team combined with the French TV directors makes them very nearly unstoppable. Les Bleus will more or less be given license to throw quarterback style passes and will probably get away with it.
The only trouble for Toulouse is that the match against the Sharks was their last on French soil this tournament.