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New Zealand beat France for Richie McCaw's 100th Test cap

So there's a good chance the knockout brackets are going to end up looking like a second-edition 2011 6N and 3N, huh?

5 Years, 6 Days ago

Rugby World Cup Daily - Wallaby rout

...just awful. 101 tackles made against Ireland - looked like just as many were missed tackles this game. I guess the tactic was to play the "B" side (yeah, like we really have that much of an "A" side...) so the preferential players would be fit against Italy. But still...apart from the first 3 minutes, it was pretty tragic. Almost as bad as the SA-Namibia game...

One positive thing is that the USA is the only team to score a try against Australia so far. :)

As for Australia, glad to hear Faingaa is okay. I was actually concerned about a spinal injury at first - the way he wasn't moving at all afterwards. No hand or leg movement...nothing. So it looked pretty bad. Good to hear he was up and walking again. Also happy to see Mitchell recovered in time for the WC, and that Barnes is back at rugby.

5 Years, 1 Week ago

Cian Healy's hit on Quade Cooper in Auckland

Healy should've been awarded man of the match based on the fact that he didn't lose a contact lens at all that night...for once!

Great tackle. Even watching the replay, it still makes me smile.

5 Years, 1 Week ago

Rugby World Cup Daily - Ireland upset the Wallabies

Regarding Cooper, I think it's a bit of both. From stealing laptops, he got off to a bad start - most people thought he was a cock. Then, he's hopping around like a kangaroo, throwing careless no-look passes like he's the son of Carlos Spencer and Shane Williams, and doing backflips in the tryzone like he's scored a gift from god. He seems to have a bit of a cocky attitude, but then he can't defend worth a damn, so that makes him look like a goon. Plus, he's been caught throwing a few dirty shots recently (not that many players are immune from it, though). And then you've got Greg Martin getting a boner every time Cooper touches the all just adds up.

So, while I don't hate the guy, I find it satisfying to see him lined up and hammered in a tackle.

And as much as I wish I could dislike him, I have to admit he's done a reasonably good job at keeping himself in check. As far as I've seen, he's not out turning himself into a Gavin Henson...he keeps focused on the rugby, so you can't really hate a guy for that.

It's really not all that bad, and if I were an Australian, I'd actually be glad that Cooper manages to get under other people's skin a little.

5 Years, 1 Week ago

Rugby World Cup Daily - Ireland upset the Wallabies

I'm not defending this behaviour, but it can't be worse than Australian offsides.

This. I don't remember Ireland ever being 5m behind the offside line formed by a ruck and still trying to make a tackle; however, I do remember Australia doing it more than once.

5 Years, 1 Week ago

Rugby World Cup Daily - Ireland upset the Wallabies

I guess Guy might have meant "ugly" as in no tries were scored. If that's the case, I still disagree - it was an exciting-enough game the entire time that I didn't even notice the lack of tries.

I was hoping Ireland would win, and they dominated the front for sure, but every time Australia managed to get the ball to their backs, I cringed. When you have arguably the most dangerous back line in world rugby, why would you not make that the focus of your game...Australia failed to make effective use of those guys, so with that went any chance of them taking away the game.

...interestingly enough, Ireland played just as good with Sexton at 12 as D'Arcy.

And am I the only one who loses interest in Keith Earls more and more every game he plays? Sure, he can be effective...but the amount of errors he commits tends to cancel out any line breaks he makes.

5 Years, 1 Week ago

USA grind out a win over Russia in New Plymouth

Update: Clever was just cleared to play (ie - no suspension). The Russians might feel a bit shafted, and I'd be tempted to agree.

But, then again, I'm happy he'll be able to play in the rest of the WC.

His judicial officer was Jeff Blackett,; I'm sure it helped that Clever isn't French ;)

5 Years, 2 Weeks ago

USA grind out a win over Russia in New Plymouth

Yup, just saw that Clever has indeed been cited.

Hoping for just a warning or a week's suspension...he probably deserves more of the latter. I think he just got too riled up and stopped using his head. It was a seriously dumb move to put in a needless shoulder charge like that...

But he really is a cornerstone of the USA team - in both offense and defense; I somewhat disagree with sacricketer, in that Clever does lead by example, at least in terms of work rate around the pitch. He's one of the few standup players like that on the squad...

...but, the good news is that each game, more and more seem to be putting in the effort to show that they're good enough. Johnson against Ireland, Paterson, Petri, the Suniulas, etc. - promising stuff.

5 Years, 2 Weeks ago

USA grind out a win over Russia in New Plymouth

I agree that he was pretty absent during this match and against Ireland (did he get a head knock during the warmup matches at all? He doesn't wear scrum caps that, maybe that has something to do with it? I dunno). But to be fair, most of the times he knocked the ball on happened because he was trying to force an offload and the tacklers' arms kept popping the ball out.

That doesn't mean he didn't spill the ball a couple of times for no real reason (the weather didn't help, though). So that was frustrating.

I wish he'd come infield more. He did it once towards the end of the match and helped with a good play as a result of it. Otherwise, when he just waits out wide, hoping to get the ball at speed and fly around some defenders like he does in Europe, it comes to nothing.

If he starts being a bit more proactive, that'll definitely help.

5 Years, 2 Weeks ago

Paul Williams yellow carded for huge hit on Theuns Kotze

Actually, all the law states is exactly that.

Dangerous charging. A player must not charge or knock down an opponent carrying the ball without trying to grasp that player.

Just asks that the player tries to do so. That's it. It's the referee's discretion whether or not he thinks the player tried, so sometimes calls will be made that, in hindsight, were probably not correct. That's the nature of the game, and that's fine.

But the law simply says the player must try to wrap. That's all.

5 Years, 2 Weeks ago