Four stars for Nines, nil for five-pointers

Last updated 13:14 17/02/2014
Shaun Johnson and Sam Tomkins

HOMETOWN HEROES: Warriors Shaun Johnson and Sam Tomkins applaud the crowd after they were beaten in the Auckland Nines semi-final.

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There was a lot to like about the inaugural Auckland Nines at Eden Park.

The play was fast, exciting and unpredictable, though noticeably more cautious on day two as the stakes rose and fatigue set in.

The referees' interference was minimal.

The kick offs were innovative and provided a genuine contest for the ball, something often lacking in the 13-man game.

Scrums were abolished because they were a waste of time.

The crowd was loud, colourful and well-behaved, unlike the Wellington Sevens rugby tournament which has been hijacked by drongos in recent years.

The stars did their thing. Shaun Johnson and James Tamou, for me, were the players of the tournament.

A number of rookies really stood up; Api Pewhairangi, Kyle Feldt, James Tedesco, Kodi Nikorima and Sione Lousi in particular captured my eye.

Expansion is a real possibility with interest already being expressed from England.

What's the chance the AFL and Sanzar are inspired? Replacing their tepid pre-seasons with something more colourful and robust could do wonders for those codes.

But one thing really didn't work on the weekend, and that was the five-point try. What's the point?

In the quarter final between the Warriors and Souths, both sides scored three tries and kicked two conversions, but the Warriors won by a point. Is this not inherently unfair?

Why is it that a team can achieve double the scoring plays of their opposition and still potentially draw or lose?

Why is a try completed in the corner, possibly over the course of 100 metres, worth less than a one-metre charge to under the posts from dummy half?

If a bonus point was to be used, which I don't think it should be, why not use it for a sideline conversion, tough to achieve from a drop kick, or a try from your own dead ball line in one play?

The five-point try was an unnecessary gimmick that was unfair and did nothing to enhance the tournament.

Reduce the sin bin time to two minutes and scrap the celebrity game as well and you have yourself a faultless weekend.

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