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3 Years, 4 Months ago

Courtney Lawes returns to Premiership with huge tackle on Phil Godman

And so the comments about him being a one-trick pony, comme Chabal...

But there's no question his all-round game has improved and he did not look out of place against the ABs. His line-out jumping, his timing of his runs (no headless chicken) and his ability to be around the park in a second, makes him a real asset. Less penalties as well, due to the above. He may not be a McCaw but he's certainly becoming a world class lock.

Oh, and great tackle. The ball was away, but tackles like that help put seeds of doubt into No. 10's mind.

4 Years, 4 Months ago

Irish hearts broken by All Blacks' last gasp converted try

I politely disagree with Cathal. Madigan made a crucial error but Ireland managed to string together a series of errors to gift this game to the ABs. The missed penalty which would have sunk the game was the start, then the high tackle, the breaking of the defensive line (panic tackling), the panic kicking and even the first charge against the Cruden conversion attempt. Real and palpable panic ran through the team and the ABs sniffed it. All credit to them for taking advantage, but that final score didn't come from a piece of rugby genius (as we have often seen from the ABs this season) but just a confidence that the Irish were cracking - finally - after 80 mins of never even hinting at losing focus and determination. That was what was so frustrating (as a non-Irishman). How do you teach that? How you train for those last 60 seconds?

There is NO comfort or solace to be found in sentences like "it was a hard game" or "we showed we could play the best" or "Ireland played the games of their lives". They already know that (on their day!) they can compete against the biggest, but when it came to 'their day' they choked. You can't teach that, and they need to break that mindset before reaching the next level. England did it using the tour down under before the WC to beat the ABs and Oz knowing that without doing so they weren't going to go to Oz and win the cup. This was Ireland's chance. When's the next one going to be?

Can't finish without congratulating the ABs though. Great year. Great team. Bastards.....

4 Years, 4 Months ago

New Zealand tested by England but the World Champions remain unbeaten

What game were you watching Guest? With a couple of notable exceptions the AB tight 5 were second best and the England line-out was exceptional until Youngs came on and couldn't throw a cabbage into a cart (as per andyr above). I think the ABs deserved the win, but let's be clear that two bits of attacking brilliance won the game. I also think the depth of the bench was critical in the last quarter. England's replacements were poor (with the exception of Morgan) while there was no change to the ABs quality.

Read and Savea really are rather good aren't they....?

4 Years, 5 Months ago

New Zealand complete Bledisloe Cup clean sweep in Dunedin

A fine game of rugby and no shame for any side to be losers to the ABs on this day, McCaw or no McCaw. I am no fan of Cooper, but admit he had a cracking game as well. Even though Australia kept coming back again and again, there was never any real sense of them pulling a win out of this one, the ABs always looked like there was another gear available to them. As such I don't think anyone should be getting excited about signs of an Australian recovery just yet. Still too fragmented, sporadically impressive, and defensively frail to be a real threat. Both SA and ABs look to be confident, united and clear in where they are going. Frightening for everyone else....

4 Years, 6 Months ago

Wilkinson, Giteau and Armitage combine for classic Toulon try vs Glasgow

Can't possibly judge until the teams actually play against each other, which is why the Heineken Cup is so important. I'm not against a new competition, but to not have a cup competition which pits the Irish, French, English, Scottish and Welsh would be a tragedy. Otherwise, we're back to Southern vs Northern Hemisphere talk fests, based on an occasional tour game and a World Cup every four years....

4 Years, 6 Months ago

Wilkinson, Giteau and Armitage combine for classic Toulon try vs Glasgow

Appalling commentary failing to do justice to a magnificent try. Wilkinson was superb in collection, running into space, passing and then linking, not to forget the conversion. You can see he is slower than he was, but who cares when he has such a wide range of skills? Giteau's was a small but beautiful contribution and Armitage could hardly have failed from then on in.

I love the Top14 and what's not to like about Toulon, but to retain the title this year will be a bigger achievement than to have won it in the first place. Great clip.

4 Years, 6 Months ago

All Blacks claim the Rugby Championship after epic battle with the Springboks

Though I agree with most of the comments, I thought it pointless to add another "well done, good game" comment. This is the place for comments, I did so about a great battle of centres....I'd be fascinated by what you think a "necessary comment" would be.

Ah well, good game!

4 Years, 6 Months ago

All Blacks claim the Rugby Championship after epic battle with the Springboks

Nonu was made to look 2 dimensional and highly ordinary by De Villiers. I've always thought he was over-rated but with great players around him (especially Smith) he is made to look impressive. De Villiers' performance was huge and the way he actively took on Nonu on both attack and defence made the difference between them even more stark.

Great game, deserved victory for AB's but hats off to the Springboks and De Villiers for showing some real classy rugby in response.

4 Years, 6 Months ago

Courtney Lawes huge hit in pre-season game vs Bedford Blues

One of those rare head-to-head tackles where the tackler is actually going faster than the ball-carrier.

4 Years, 8 Months ago