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The Wallabies snatch dramatic win over Wales at the death

The rolling maul has sometimes been such a strong point of the NH forward game in recent years, it's ironic that it should have been the final decisive tactic by Australia in this test. Perfectly executed for about 15 metres, it eventually drew the penalty in the way England so often did in their WC heyday. I can't help thinking that if Wales had managed to win the game with a similar move a lot of comments would be about how brilliantly done it was. I agree with Jon that although by no means a great unit, this is a solid Wallaby pack and in the end it was their execution of the last maul that set up the win.
Looking again at Genia's blooper that lead to Wales' second try, his extra-enthusiastic celebration at the end must've been 50% pure relief.

2 Years, 3 Months ago

Dan Carter breaks Irish hearts as the All Blacks take series win

It's a scandal .. for 107 years, no matter who the refs are or where they come from, north or south, they continue to refuse to let Ireland beat New Zealand at rugby union. Nobody has ever given me any reason why this conspiracy goes on, but it's just so obvious and something should be done about it! Obvious, that is, except to those of us who watch really closely and come away thinking that the breaks seem to clearly go both ways and both sides got away with a lot stuff. In the interests of a flowing game I prefer that, to every single transgression being whistled.
Ireland were so much better than in the previous test that some people claim they were plainly dominant. In reality the teams looked evenly matched for most of the game and there were periods when each had the upper hand but I don't think either side dominated. Both had enormous defence, line-breaks were at a minimum and it was a tough, hard fought, old school test, a bit like some of the classic NZ/SA arm wrestles that we've seen down the years, and that's as absorbing as rugby gets.
I don't think Ireland were unlucky to lose but they were unlucky not to draw and the NZers I've spoken to think so too. Carter's drop-kick looked like a sack of spuds going over the bar but you don't get the ABs' winning % against all-comers, with all sorts of refs, in all conditions, home and away, without finding a way to win the close ones more often than not.
Looking forward to the next test and I have no idea how it's going to go, which is just the way I like it. Last thought, I had the Sky commentary and now I can't ever take any complaints about bias in SH commentary seriously again, not that I did much before anyway.

2 Years, 3 Months ago

Scotland go two from two as they beat the Flying Fijians

The irony of your post is that you accuse NZ of poaching and then go on about how well Visser's career prospects are looking. The most prominent recent AB with Fijian heritage that I can think of is Rococoko who went to NZ as a five-year-old.
On the other hand Visser was already a mature rugby player in the Netherlands when he was scouted by the Newcastle Academy during a sevens comp and lured into UK rugby.
I've got no problem with that, but if you're going to talk about poaching I know which of those scenarios fits the definition best.
Anyway, Visser looks a good player and if he can inject some life into the Scot's backline then good on him.

2 Years, 3 Months ago

The All Blacks turn it on at Eden Park with big win over Ireland

If there is a Pocock/McCaw debate it isn't settled by one test match. Personally I'd put them both in my World XV and let them sort out how they want to pack down. I haven't seen much of Brussow lately but I know how good he can be, but in Brisbane the second and third best loosies were daylight and daylight. You'll get no argument from me there.

2 Years, 3 Months ago

The All Blacks turn it on at Eden Park with big win over Ireland

Thanks for the full match replay RD, just caught up with the first 30 min which I'd missed. On McCaw, if he's losing it then I don't see much evidence of it in this game. But maybe he's come back to the field a little and is only as good as Pocock these days, which makes them both still the best #7s going round. Way too early to even consider putting him out to pasture.

2 Years, 3 Months ago

Scotland celebrate historic win over Wallabies with sickening head clash

Congrats to the Scots. Not a game of sparkling highlights but it was intriguing to watch because of the conditions. For most of the second half I thought an Oz try was only a matter of time but the Scots' defence did the job. I thought the ref's decision to give a last minute penalty in front of the posts when he'd been letting collapses go all game was a surprise. Front row penalties always seem to be a lottery and in the extreme conditions I thought he'd done the right thing in being a bit lenient up to then. But I've got no problem with the result. Australia will need to be better against Wales, and the Scots are going to need all that defence in the islands, especially out wide.

2 Years, 3 Months ago

France vs Ireland ends in disappointing stalemate in Paris

Gotta say that I love the photo at the top, it gets something of the essence of tight forward play that hasn't changed since William Webb Ellis's day. And is the ref on the far right pointing and saying something like, "careful lads, I'm watching"?

2 Years, 6 Months ago

Robbie Fruean's huge handoff on Piri Weepu

Terrific all-round game by Fruean, making his early-season claims, maybe this will be his year. He got good leverage under Weepu's armpit and it sure looks beautiful in slo-mo. I too liked Piri's response, he got up, dug out the turnover and put in a neat kick followed by a big smile.

I thought the comment about the incident being typical of how an American might handle such a tackle must have been by an American, it seemed so strangely specific. However, although I might not agree with his view, I hardly think the comment deserved to be removed. I've read lots of sillier stuff on here, even since the comments section was tightened up. Maybe the poster removed it himself..(shrugs).

2 Years, 7 Months ago

Highlights of the Wallabies win over Wales at the Millennium Stadium

I was glad to see Williams get the try and for Wales to get something out of the game, but the reality is that he's just the sort of player they can't afford to lose. I like Wales' attitude trying to play an expansive game but this test highlighted the fact that they just don't have the players (yet) with that extra spark at the right time. They made very few line breaks and both the tries were through fairly orthodox play at a time when Oz had the game won and were looking forward to a hot shower. In contrast, the Aust tries came through a long double cut-out pass to find the open winger, Samo's delayed (and delayed) pop pass to Barnes on a planned long running arc, and the try denied by the TMO was a beautifully weighted cross-kick right into Turner's arms. (Maybe there was enough benefit of the doubt that another TMO might have awarded that one.) As in the RWC against top sides, I saw Wales getting into good positions but not having that moment of class to make it count. For their sake I hope a couple of guys can step up.

2 Years, 9 Months ago

Huge amateur hit from club rugby in Buenos Aires, Argentina

My thinking too M.M. I know nothing about these players but it looks to me as if the tackler lined up his prey from a long way back and was making a point of some sort. The response of some players suggests that there might also have been a bit of business, verbal or otherwise, immediately after the tackle. So maybe there's a back-story here.

2 Years, 10 Months ago

 
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