It’s Autumn Internationals time – except both this match and the match between Scotland and Tonga were both booked outside of the official window. That meant both Home Nations teams were without any players situated in Premiership Rugby. That in spite of the fact that all of those picked in the England squad were absent on a training camp in Jersey.

I’m finding myself wanting to go into the details of this years’ Premiership Rugby Salary Cap. It’s a tad off subject, but I feel the need, so here goes!

  • The top line cap is £5,000,000
  • Home Grown Senior Salary Credits – Clubs are entitled to a maximum of £50,000 for each Home Grown Senior player.
  • Home Grown Senior Credits are capped at £600,000 per salary cap year
  • Elite Player Squad Fixed Credit – Each EPS player attracts a £40,000 credit
  • International Variable Player Contract – If a player is unavailable for a Gallagher Premiership or EPCR match a fixed credit of £10,000 per match
  • Senior EPS Player Variable Credit – for each senior player missing matches as above a fixed credit of £5,000
  • In each Salary Cap year the above international credits are limited as follows
  • £80,000 in aggregate per Player for Home Grown Player Credits, International, Variable Player Credits, Senior EPS Player Variable Credits and Senior EPS Fixed Credits and
  • £400,000 in aggregate for International Variable Player Credits, Senior EPS Player Variable Credits and Senior EPS Player Variable Credits.

In addition each club can nominate 2 Excluded players – around which there are several complicated regulations. Next we have Injured Player Credits, this has a cap of £400,000 and the credit can only be claimed for a player once in the season. The Salary Cap Director has to approve every instance of an Injured Player Credit.

The Salary Regulations document is 70 pages long – so the facts and figures above are a small extract.

On to the original purpose of my putting fingers to keyboard. The mighty All Blacks! I try to watch them as often as I can and Cardiff is my favourite stadium, so, it was rude not to. My ticket came via the very clever Principality Stadium App, I had an arrival time 2.5 hours before the start of play. Covid passes had to be shown, which the graduated arrival times will have helped with. I got to my seat with no delay at all, and found a great view!

This was a milestone game for 2 players, Beauden Barrett was winning his 100th cap and Alun Wyn Jones his 149th, making him the most capped international player of all time, going past Richie McCaw.

Sadly after just 20 minutes AWJ went down heavily on the shoulder he injured just prior to the Lions tour, that was his afternoon done and dusted. Beauden Barrett had a much better time of things. He scored an intercept try in the first half, after just 4 minutes in fact, his brother Jordie duly converted it, He was however lucky not to see yellow after he shot a arm out trying to do the same again, with no ref link I can only presume that it happened too far away from the NZ try line and that cover was in place.

Gareth Anscombe kicked a penalty from the restart, before Jordie Barrett added another 3 for the All Blacks, that was just before AWJ left the fray. Wales were fortunate not to concede a second try when prop Nepo Laulala dropped the ball on the line, Beuaden (J) took the three points that had been on offer to stretch the lead to 10.

It’d been unusual and a little disappointing to see the All Blacks taking the kicks at goal, but we saw signs of the second half to come when TJ Perenara was at the end of some great running rugby to score their second try of the game.

The big prop Lualala was to feature again just before half-time, when he and a fEthan Blackadder both ‘hit’ Ross Moriarty, either or both could have been punished from what I could see in the stadium. Neither man seemed to use much in the way of arms, and it appeared both made contact with Moriarty’s head. The officiating team was made up of a French Referee, 2 English Assistants and an Irish TMO, having listened to Chris Jones and Ugo Monye discussing the incident on Rugby Union Weekly they feel that in Premiership Rugby the card shown would have been Red rather than Yellow and that was what Carl Dickson was inferring. The French referee was happy to give Yellow. As they said on the Podcast, it’s problematical if offences are treated differently across the world of rugby. Yellow it was.

Wales lost what was an untidy line out close to the All Blacks line after the incident, but Anscombe added another penalty to take Wales to 6. The teams went in at Half-Time with the scores on Wales 6 All Blacks 18.

The second half was in all honesty more akin to Barbarians rugby as the All Blacks ran amok, they added a third 5 pointer after Will Jordan collected his own kick to score a lovely try. Barrett had added a third penalty and Rhys Priestland on for Anscombe had a successful kick too.

Wales scored their only try of the game after a clever kick from Priestland landed with Centre Johnny Williams who went in under the posts. That meant a 12 point gap up to 61 minutes. Then things went a bit awry for Wales as the All Blacks profited from some lovely running rugby, Daltp Papalii and Sevu Reece scored within 2 minutes of each other.

Anton Lienert-Brown added to the agony with a sixth All Blacks try, but it was always likely that Beauden Barrett would have the last word as he scored another interception try in the 79th minute.

Wacthing as a relative neutral I was able to delight at the free flowing All Blacks game in the second half, but was this a good game for Welsh Rugby? II’d judge not from a rugby perspective, maybe from an income point of view, with millions banked. I don’t imagine the Welsh fans who’d paid to be there were thrilled with seeing their team dismantled before their eyes. The final score was Wales 16 All Blacks 54.

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