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Saturday, February 28, 2009

France too strong for Wales in Paris

France too strong for Wales in Paris

Wales were defeated on Friday night in Paris 21-16 as hosts France destroyed their hopes of achieving a back-to-back Grand Slam, which would have been the first time since 1909.

Eight successive Six Nations victories came to an end at Stade de France, in the tournaments first ever Friday night fixture.

The Welsh blew a 13-3 halftime lead after looking in control following a great try from the speedy Lee Byrne and eight points from fly-half Stephen Jones.

France fought back though as 20 year old Matthieu Bastareaud justified his selection by Marc Lievremont, having an excellent game. Surprise choice at fly-half Benoit Baby and goalkicker Morgan Parra both silenced the naysayers.

Parra slotted three penalties and a conversion as France edged the try-count through scores by flanker Thierry Dusautoir and wing Cedric Heymans.

Wales will be ruing missed chances as they had the opportunity to equal the Six Nations record of nine wins in a row, jointly held by England and France.

Welsh coach Warren Gatland accepted that his side lost to the better team.

"There were no excuses the better team won," he said. "We were 13-3 up and we needed to be a bit smarter.

"If we had scored just before half-time it would have made it a different game.

"France were a bit more desperate than we were and they had been under a lot of pressure as a team. That galvanises a team and brings the best out of you.

"This wasn't a game that got away from us we are just disappointed with our performance.


Time: 04:08

Posted at 9:46 pm | 62 comments

Viewing 62 comments

Luke February 28, 2009 11:45 pm

I was there last night. Still absolutely devastated but the better team won. I think Wales played with a lot of arrogance and the result really kicked us up the arse. I hope it spurns us on to pick up our socks and play like the team we know we can be against Italy and Ireland.

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Anonymous February 28, 2009 11:54 pm

What a game.Lee Byrne is unbelievable. Best fullback in the world I reckon.

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Anonymous February 28, 2009 11:59 pm

I thought it was a reallly good game, i think the welsh have to seriously cut out the theatrics though, i think also the french had a couple moments of acting which was just disappointing to see. i know people get knocks and sometimes small looking knocks are bad but really when you see a 6ft plus forwards roll on the ground after being knocked in the air its dissapointing (i think the bit im referring to was a french culprit) Did anyone see the game to day and see Borthwick man handle someone on the touch line....kinda looked like it was a ball boy or something.........would be interesting to see if it got captured by any citing people (if they think its worthy of anything)

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Billybob March 01, 2009 12:04 am

Great game but it hurt to lose. Wales vs France are always classics but this was brutal.Chabal took a big hit & jamie roberts. I thought henson should of maybe come on sooner to give us the edge that roberts lacked.Well done france... Bring on italy!!!

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 1:02 am

Andy Powell needs to be dropped, he's a top of the ground pretty boy, "Hard Man" my arsehole

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 1:05 am

Huge battle, great atmosphere, big hits, Heymans and Byrnes tries with both silky smooth. Great game.

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Dalma March 01, 2009 1:11 am

"really when you see a 6ft plus forwards roll on the ground after being knocked in the air its dissapointing (i think the bit im referring to was a french culprit)"Oh yes, the fact that you're heavy is probably better when you fall on the back. And as the BBC comments said, Shanklin has been lucky to stay on the field this night. Oh, talking about acting, look at M. Williams on the 2nd try who tries to inflence the ref. Enough said. Game was really great with lot of passion, some hits and many exciting moments. We can regret missed penalties, altough. Let's hope that Bastareaud will soon confirm his skills.

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Josh March 01, 2009 1:41 am

harinodorquay player of the tournament so far with lee byrne?certainly the best foward.duisatoirs defence is inspiring and takes me back to that terrible d where he made 38 tackles in one game! a true work horse.France may have found a gem in bastereud, him a jauzion when he finds his form will be a truley terrifying cobination.best game ive seen for along time, and the best team won! :)

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 2:17 am

Dalma i take it you watched the game, the reason shanklin was lucky to be on the field was due to the fact he took him out in the air. the actual contact it self was not as huge as would warrant him to roll around on the floor afterwards........

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 3:11 am

man you guys are gona get raped by nz as well as boks and wallabies!!

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 4:29 am

how did basteirdeau play?

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 7:17 am

Bastareaud play like Bastareaud.He hit always hard when he touch the ball he advances a very good match.Harinordquy he his backing in form, certainly one of the best number 8 for the moment, with Dusautoir we have 2 excellents back row.I hope for a compilation of the big tackle ( and they are numerous ) of the match will be put on line

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HamishM March 01, 2009 10:17 am

Anon.1. Put a name on your posts. It's not hard, even a fucking monkey could do it.2. The whole point with tackles in the air is that it's not the contact with the player that's the issue, it's flipping the guy in the air round so he drops on his head/back from about six foot up. Not fun. Let's weight you up to twenty stone and drop you on your head from six foot. I'd bet you won't be so cocky then.

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Um....ANONYMOUS! March 01, 2009 11:56 am

Well done HamishM i take it you didnt watch the game! because what we are talking about was nothing like that! the issue with taking someone out in the air is in fact taking someone out in the air....it doesnt matter how they land, the fact they were touched during the air is against the rules. and the fact is that shanklin did not spin anyone and the guy didnt come down on his head/neck, if anything his feet hit the ground first.....so firstly, Watch the gamesecondly, get an idea of the rulesoh and thirdly i can put whatever the hell i want to, if i wish to be anonymous its up to me!

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Um...ANONYMOUS March 01, 2009 12:02 pm

oh yeh and something i forgot to add, the french number 8 (i will not even try to spell his name) does not weigh 20 stone.....so HamishM.....thirdly get yours facts right!

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tehsniper March 01, 2009 12:04 pm

Anonymous you sound like a teenager. You lost that's all. Wales thought they were the best team in the world, came to Paris with arrogance and went back with bruises and lost hopes.Happy they now know they can be beaten, and if the french did it anyone can really

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themull March 01, 2009 12:18 pm

RD any chance of trying to find better highlight of each of the 6 nations games because these ones dont really do the matches any justice...maybe off dailymotion or something?

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David March 01, 2009 12:23 pm

Gutted we lost, silly Henson, but he should of come on for roberts earlier in the match.Still everythin to play for in this tourn and it was a cracking match. France causing upsets and taking names like only the French can. =)

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Arnaud March 01, 2009 1:46 pm

Shanklin did not deserve the yellow card. He played the ball honestly and contact happened with Harinordoquy. There were no bad intentions.But I agree wales came to Paris thinking the game was already won. What a mistake. Even on TV, after welsh try, you were able to feel their overconfidence.And Gatland's interview, saying he wouldn't feel good if he was in Lievremont's place because Wales had 3 full weeks of training and France 3 days is also poor...Nevertheless, the best team won, Shanklin and welsh found their new Lord (Bastareaud) and now, on my french side, I just wait for the Crunch.Great game coming.

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Disco March 01, 2009 2:33 pm

I think it was a great game. France started with a center playing at fly-half and when Baby bust his knee was replaced shortly before half-time by an out of form Franois T-Duc who would be the first person to put his hand up and say he had a shocker with the boot on top of two critical handling errors.Just about everybody else in the French side played a stormer which brings me to my point : I believe that (the world class fly-half) Johnny Wilkinson greatly influenced the way teams play the Six Nations and France have been as guilty as any 6N team of playing to England's 2003 World Cup winning playbook for too long. Remove the tendency for a single player to direct play on behalf of the other 14 players and look what happens? Clever players, such as Harinordoquy, Mdard, Heymans, Jauzion and Ouadraego share the burden of decision making and take responsibility for getting their team across the gain line and igniting attacks. Instead of engaging in aerial ping pong, the French team fielded Jones and Philips' kicks aggressively and successfully turned defense into attack with hard, straight running and kicks that were well-timed and most importantly chased with pace and perseverance rather than long range missiles that serve only to tempt the opposition into making unforced errors. I was impressed by France's tenacity above all. Wales haven't dropped an inch in my estimation, rather France have gone (back) up.

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Doos March 01, 2009 2:43 pm

wales are shit man... everybody in the northern hemisphere sucks them off so much... but when the big guns from the south come over they get absolutely demolished.they can only start getting cocky after they beat Boks/NZ/AUs atleast once in their lives

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No.5 March 01, 2009 3:12 pm

Awesome game really, was just a generally exciting match to watch and the better team did win at the end. The welsh fought hard but it wasnt enough.Got to agree with whoever made the comment about the 2003 playbook being played too much! there is too much in the games nowadays being left on the shoulders of one or two characters. England keep looking for this star fly half to come along and win the game with his boot......i think they need take who they have and work with it, personally goode has played very well in the last few games.....vickery is such a fat bastard...ANYWAY this is france and wales so i shall finish off by saying, unlucky wales, well played game but just not enough, and congratulations to france!p.s you gotta hate these southern hemisphere guys, 'yeh well goodluck against our southern hemisphere lions (NZ)' ITS A FUCKING DIFFERENT STYLE OF PLAY! you guys ever tried to turn quickly on a pitch that has been rained on for a week solid......it doesnt happen, you end up flat on your arse waiting for 29 players to work out which team you are on cos both kits are covered in so much mud no one knows who is who!

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mook March 01, 2009 4:00 pm

@ DoosWales beat australia & lost to SAF by 2/3 points in a game we should of won.Hardly demolished eh?

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Arnaud March 01, 2009 4:13 pm

We're not going to talk again about NH SH match.The fact is SH has a big advantage beacause of the schedule.World cup is different because all teams have time to train (so they really play on their real strength) and we can see, as the last world cup shown us, that SH and NH have almost the same level. 3 NH teams in semi final (France, England, Argentina) and 1 SH (South Africa).How stupid it is to thin SH rules the world of rugby...Anyway let's enjoy this 6 nations, Croke Park's fever, 80 000 english men that will wait for this Crunch and a hot Millenium stadium for THE GAME of this tournament : Wales Vs Irelans. About crowd and passion, NH easily won the match.GO rugby!

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 4:21 pm

Doos is a perfect example of why people in Oz/NZ drive pick ups and live in wooden houses.

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Ulf March 01, 2009 4:33 pm

3:38 Tremendous defence of the French Team (especially Medard) which is getting the ball AND the guy with the ball on their side of the ruck. : )

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chris March 01, 2009 4:34 pm

haha Arnaud, hate to break it to ya mate, but Argentina is in the southern hemisphere. They are located in south america. but i understand what you are saying, and its even with england and france being in one semi (NH) and Argentina and SA being in the other (SH) :)

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 5:03 pm

Henson is such a selfish player. He blew the game by ignoring a clear 3 on 2 overlap at the end in the right hand corner and lost the game. Quick hands and it was a try.Also, the last lineout Dusatoir just barged through and took out Ryan Jones. He did not ven jump, clear penalty.

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Chris March 01, 2009 5:08 pm

The victory was even more impressive when you watch it from a neutral view point and recognise the ref was being biased in Wales favour all night long.

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Matt March 01, 2009 5:32 pm

Guys to sort out the high tackle arguements.If a player is tackled in the air, it is a penalty. If both players jump for the ball it is fair play. You heard the refferee shout there was nothing malicious in the tackle. Thats the reason why there was no card.ah what do i know:)meh france deserved it:/ takes some doing saying that and im welsh.Be an interesting end to the championship.

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 6:16 pm

What about Bastareaud's (sp) hit on Jamie Roberts in the first half? Don't see it in the video!

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Arnaud March 01, 2009 6:54 pm

Hey Chris :o)Of course Argentina is located in SH but all the players train, play or have beem train from young age in France. Argentina should join the 6 nations to me.What a shame they are not involved into a big tournament.

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 7:27 pm

unlcuky to the welsh they were dangerously close to a try in those last mintues and were unfortunate not to have scored. however made two many mistakes throughtout the game, mind you english penalty conceding is gettin ridiculous, i say care should be dropped from england for good, had he not commited that offence the win could have been ours.

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 7:36 pm

what is it with SH arrogance ? even in the autumn internationals ( and i think wales have improved since then ) they beat australia comfortably and almost snatched the win of south africa. the only team seemingly immune from defeat atm is new zealand but can they keep that up till the world cup ? i dont think so :]

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geraint March 01, 2009 8:04 pm

Usualy in defeat people try to make excuses, including myself. But afterwards, although dissappointed, i wasnt angry cos there wasnt much to argue about. Best team won on the day, they sussed out our tactics and we werent good enough to do anything about it. Too many errors, and just didnt get enough of the ball. We did very well to keep it close. France were brilliant and although we lost i really enjoyed the game. A few decisions could have been different, shanklin could have been binned, harinordoquy (?) could have been allowed that try (although think it was the right decision i wouldnt have argued too much if it was given) and clear push in the lineout by france in the last play of the game. Best side won though so doesnt really matter. Would have loved us to score at the end but would have been harsh on france.We need a huge score now against italy which i think we will struggle with cos theres huge pressure on to get it now. Also could do with scotland beating ireland (cant see it) and england beating france. Will be a very tight championship. Final words...well done france.

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 8:23 pm

I can't believe that first try by Harinordoquy hasn't been allowed..there was absolutely no fault, and the ball was on the line

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 8:25 pm

wales didnt play as good rugby as we can. we were looking for linebreaks too much when we had clear overlaps, we needed to get the ball wide a lot more. I know we didnt deserve to win but .. 2:00 harinordoquay in at the side , could be said to be stopping Powell from making the tackle as quickly as he would of liked, penalty to wales

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 8:44 pm

can you upload the dusautoir tackle on lee byrne???

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 8:55 pm

Mathieu Bastareaud will become the best number 13 in a few years. Nonu seems like a somalian compared to him..!seriously, remember this name.

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 8:57 pm

may you upload a compilation of the tackles of Bastareaud against Wales?or more?

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 10:12 pm

Henson,I know you want to get your name on the front page and get your profile a bit higher for the next Hello or OK magazine special.....but really.Massive overlap at the end and your glorybid was a disgrace and absolutely selfish. You cost us the game.

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 11:48 pm

You had to see the huge atmosphere!!I was there and supported my country from the first second to the last as I have never did before.Wa played like like big men and we won. This match let us an apportunity to see some excelent talents from Top 14 from the young and mighty bastareaud to another sensation named Morgan Parra!The welsh were confident at first but lost it after the first try and that's where the french took the game!Both sides fought like kings. A classic encounterAnd yeah he did push the guy that was something crazy...

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Anonymous March 01, 2009 11:48 pm

You had to see the huge atmosphere!!I was there and supported my country from the first second to the last as I have never did before.Wa played like like big men and we won. This match let us an apportunity to see some excelent talents from Top 14 from the young and mighty bastareaud to another sensation named Morgan Parra!The welsh were confident at first but lost it after the first try and that's where the french took the game!Both sides fought like kings. A classic encounterAnd yeah he did push the guy that was something crazy...

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davey March 01, 2009 11:54 pm

Anonymous said...Doos is a perfect example of why people in Oz/NZ drive pick ups and live in wooden houses.... huh!? .. this is a perfect example of how some people have no idea what's going on in the rest of the world.

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welshno7 March 02, 2009 11:14 am

devastated! really pissed off that we lost but the better team won! i dont think we played that bad , its just france played absolutley superb and did'nt allow us to get into our game pattern , which is a major problem because we always tend to really click in the second half which is no good if we want more games against the southern hempisphere team's anyway i think the tournament is wide open now , with ireland wales and france still chasing the title which makes it one of the most exciting tournaments in the world , so cant wait for round 4!

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Anonymous March 02, 2009 11:49 am

The SH has moved on from 2007, they're playing a different game now.The SH is playing better rugby at the moment, but that could all change, who knows?For the record, the 6 nations is incredible.It's a huge event, and it's amazing when you consider where rugby was only 20 years ago in Europe. The rugby is very good.I just wish it was a little more creative.Anyway, this was a pretty good game to watch, I'm glad France finally fufilled their promise.Wales is a good team and they play a good brand of rugby, but they're not quite as good as everyone's been making out.Sure they beat Australia, which made for 1 in win in 20 for NH teams against the Tri-nations teams in 2008, but it was a close game and the ref was pretty damn kind to them.They've still got a ways to go before you'd consider them realistic contenders for the World Cup.

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geraint March 02, 2009 4:33 pm

Wales should have beaten australia by more, aussies had a late try which really flattered them so don't see why you think that we were lucky.

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scotsman March 02, 2009 5:19 pm

Im not a Henson-hater, but anyone else think he could have done better with that overlap with a couple of minutes to go? I know its easy to say in hindsight but for a world class player im not sure it was a great decision.Also, im not sure why this struck me but it did when watching the match... the apparent arrogance (and often indifferent abilities) of Andy Powell, he seems to think hes something special but im sorry i really dont rate him, weak link in a great pack as far as im concerned.That said, this was the best game of the 6 n's so far, credit to both teams, i was at Murrayfield this weekend and it was a world apart in terms of desire, skill, and atmosphere.

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themull March 02, 2009 7:08 pm

Dunno Scotsman, although this was indeed a great game, i think game of the tournement so far has to go to Ireland vs Franc..

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Anonymous March 03, 2009 12:31 am

I think Wales was lucky primarily because of Alan Lewis. He destroyed Australia in the penalty stakes. When he finally stopped penalising Aus, they scored two quick tries. If they had been allowed to play rugby the whole game, I think the result would have been very, very different.It's no coincidence that it was Alan Lewis who reffed the Quarter Final of last years World Cup, that saw Aus crash out on the back of a series of penalties against them. It was Lewis again who scuppered any chance Aus had against NZ min Hong Kong last year, a game they largely dominated but were undone by another lopsided penalty count. Lewis' attitude seems to be that Aus is always infringing in some way, particularly in the scrums. The amount of times he has pinged Aus in the scrum on our own feed, for collapsing, is ridiculous. For the uninitiated you would have to be clinically insane to collapse your own attacking scrum. Knowing Lewis' perlidictions, all other teams have to do is collapse every scrum Australia has, and Lewis will just ping Australia, seemingly on principle.However, I'm an Aussie, and that probably sounds like sour grapes. So, congrats to Wales on the victory. As I said, they play the best rugby of any NH side. They aren't wuite as good as they have been made out though, and I don't see them as serious contenders for the next world cup. Does anyone?

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geraint March 03, 2009 11:26 am

Apart from NZ i don't really see anyone as massive contenders.

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Anonymous March 03, 2009 11:32 am

true, NZ as massive contenders for the WC, on their lands. Final : France vs New Zealand

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welshno7 March 03, 2009 2:54 pm

my wales team to play italy 1.gethin jenkins 2.matthew rees3.adam jones4.alun wyn jones 5.ian gough 6.jon thomas 7.martyn williams 8.ryan jones 9.dwayne peel 10.steven jones 11.shane williams12.gavin henson13.tom shanklin 14.mark jones15.lee byrne 16.huw bennett17.rhys thomas18.luke charteris19.andy powell20.mike phillips21.james hook22.jamie roberts

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miserable welshman March 03, 2009 8:25 pm

why would you drop halfpenny? Hes in great form, he didnt have enough oppurtunities against france, compared to Mark Jones who is clinically useless. I agree with dropping Powell. Hes not the same player who terrorised SA ans Aus in the Autumn. Roberts was poor too, but hell mauture and learn from the big games, and go on to be a huge rugby force in the future. This defeat will help Wales in the long run, we are still a developing team and big match experience is so important if we want to do well at WC 2011.

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welshno7 March 03, 2009 9:31 pm

as a blues supporter i am a big fan of halfpenny but i thought he was poor against france (a few knock on's , missed tackles) , halfpenny is still a very young player and his time will come but i think gatland should play it safe for the rest of the tournament and start mark jones who is defensivley sound and we all know what he can with ball in hand..no disrespect to halfpenny and cant wait to see him in nz 2011

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Anonymous March 03, 2009 10:21 pm

NZ, SA and Aus are all strong contenders for the world Cup. They are all capable of beating each other on any given day and have proven in 2008 that they certainly have the capability to deal with anything the NH can throw at them.

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Anonymous March 03, 2009 11:18 pm

in response to anonymous complaining about referee decisions,in the quater final vs eng they deserved to have those scrum pens against them.tighthead al baxter is notorious for collapsing and obviously lewis like anyone who knows about scrumaging saw this. the aussies scrum is weak hence they collapse alot and give away pens,although there scrum has improved slightly over the lastyear or so.It will be some match for wales vs Ireland,cant wait

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Anonymous March 04, 2009 12:57 am

That is simply a perception. The players change and you can't possibly beleive that Australians are gentically predisposed to having bad scrums or something, that would be ridiculous.The Aussie scrum destoryed the English scrum at Twickenham this year, in one scrum they literally, rolled right over the top of the English, ending with baxter driving the English prop onto his back with his teams mate spilled in a heap behind him. So yes, there's been a big improvment, but the Aussie scrum was never as bad as was made out.Again, I repeat my assertion that no player would ever collapse his own scrum on his own feed. Lewis seems to think that Australia is always at fault when a scrum goes down, no matter what. That's absurd, and means all an opposition scrum has to do is collapse intentionalyl and win the penalty. The English in particular are experts at not binding, forcing the collapse, winning the penalty from sympathetic refs like Lewis.Against Wales and NZ last year, despite Australia's obvious improvements in the scrum Lewis was penalising them, seemingly on pre-conceived assumptions.Against Wales in particular, he literally turned his back to the Welsh scrum and started lecturing the Aussies before the scrum had even set or the ball had gone in. That is disgraceful reffing, favoritism. He also gave a yellow card for basically nothing during which time Wales scored twice, and penalised the Aussies repeatedly on their own ball in attacking positions as the ball had already been cleared and the ruck was formed. It was ridiculous, abnd when he finally stopped blowing the pea out of the whistle in the last ten or fifteen minutes of the game and let Australia actually play rugby rather than spend the game getting lectured by a pedantic, hostile ref, Aus scored two quick tries and came within a few metres of getting the winning try. With a nuetral ref, who allowed the game to flow, you would have seen a completely different game.But that's niether here nor there, as an Aussie losing to Wales away from home with Lewis reffing is no worry for me. I believe that on a nuetral ground with a bi-partisan ref Aus would win against Wales 9 times out of ten.If Lewis refs us on the other hand, it wouldn't surprise me to lose to any team, you can't beat the ref and the other team.Anyway, Wales played decent rugby and I'm glad they won a agme against the SH, even if it was with alot of things going their way, simply because they play with the right philosophy of running rugby, unlike most NH teams.They are still a long way off worrying the SH teams when it comes to the World Cup and taking the title. I expect NZ to get the next world cup, cuz they're at home, with SA, Aus and France (they always pull something remarkable out at world cup time) pushing them all the way.

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Anonymous March 04, 2009 9:06 am

your theory that no player would collapse a scrum on his own feed is untrue.the opposite is the case.if a prop is under pressure then collapsing the scrum is an option to assure a platform on his own ball.I accept ur point about the aussies scrum improvement,which i feel is due to their new loosehead,with the scrum cap(not sure of his name).but on their own feed when they need to work the tighthead up they are still vulnerable.Al baxter is a ridiculasly illegal scrummer and always collapses especially on his own feed

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Anonymous March 04, 2009 2:35 pm

They've cycled thru a number of loose heads recently, only Baxter is the constant in the front row.It's fair to say if a scrum is under pressure a prop might collapse to get a re-set.However, not if the platform is stable or if the attacking scrum is pushing forward. Against NZ in Hong Kong, this was the case at least twice, Australia putting on a good hit (something they are quite capable of, they were never dominated in the tri-nations, in fact Baxter smashed SA in a couple of scrums in Perth), followed by a collapse and an immediate penalty against Aus by Lewis. If a scrum immediatley hits the deck, without either team getting a good bind, then it's ridiculous to assume one side is collapsing. I believe most sides will collapse a good Australian scrum, with a more than even chance of winning a penalty with a ref like Lewis.Anyway, this is pedantic, I personally will be schocked if Aus ever wins a game against a half-decent side with Lewis reffing. He seriously has a problem with Aus.

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Anonymous March 10, 2009 8:37 pm

Kearney much better than Byrne watch Ireland v Scotland and see.

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