Happy Thursday people, this week I have a little more time to put this drivel together as I have the spicy cough, aka the Wuhan wonder bug. Fortunately it has been a light cough and a great deal of lethargy.
For those who like podcasts a quick recommendation “The Pitch” Episode 47 on Mike Tomlin coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers it is well worth the listen.
England v Australia First Test Perth
It is interesting to hear some of my podcasts from England regarding this tour. Frankly the English think they are much better than us. They see it as a relatively easy win and I will go into a couple of reasons why I think both teams can either win or lose the game.
Reasons the English can win
1 They have won eight in a row dating back to the start to the downfall of MC and, while every financial advert that starts with past performance is not an indicator of future performance, it is a pretty good indicator. They expect to win and that gives a certain confidence.
2 They have an experienced team led by Owen (No Arms) Farrell and while we love to hate him with his smug smile the real reason we hate him is that he is a winner.
3 Maro Itoge is world class and IMHO great teams have world class second rowers.
4 In Marcus Smith they potentially have a 10 who is actually creative and can unlock some serious speed out wide.
Reasons the Wallabies will win.
1 The English are not a team in form. Anyone who saw the BaaBaas game saw a team that does not know what its DNA is. They had a poor 6 Nations finishing third on points differential.
2 Set piece, for mine the English look a bit soft at scrum time with Ellis Genge and “others” in the front row. Genge is not a renowned scrummager and is best known as a ball carrier. The English tighthead stocks look thin to me and it’s a real opportunity for our pack. Assuming we get our lineout on point the back 5 of the English pack look a bit lightweight, particularly if Eddie Jones does not go with Billy V at 8.
3 Samu Kerevi, I love the idea of Samu running at Owen Farrell as it’s either gainline for days or missed tackles for weeks. I don’t think Owen Farrell can live with Samu playing at 12 which is where he will play unless Eddie goes with Farrell at 10.
4 We are actually picking from a fairly fully available squad minus Thor.
5 In Rennie we actually have a coach who is an adult in the room.
Pacific Nations Cup and other Internationals
International games starting this weekend so there is not a real reason to get off the couch on Saturday.
Saturday 13.00 AEST Australia A v Samoa Game being played in at ANZ Stadium Suva.
Followed by Fiji v Tonga 1530 also in Suva. All games are live and streaming on Stan.
I didn’t realise these games were on in Suva or it might have been a great rugby weekend away. Hopefully this tourney continues, I could see Tourism Fiji getting around it I know I would be keen. Fiji look very strong for this and it will be interesting to see how they cope with favouritism. Both the Tongan and Samoan squads are much improved with the addition of players from the diaspora. Including he who must not be named for Tonga. I hope Israel Folau plays well in what is natural position on the wing. Israel talks about his Tonga journey HERE
Other Internationals this weekend
Japan v France
Argentina v Scotland
South Africa v Wales
Some of the other lower level games follow the link HERE I link the local derby between Uganda v Kenya
NSW Gladiators claim back-to-back Wheelchair Rugby National Championships
The Gladiators were dominant throughout the tournament, defeating the Queensland Cyclones 65-56 in Sunday’s final on the Gold Coast.
The NSW side started the tournament strong with a 15 point win over the Cyclones before wins over the Victoria Thunder and New Zealand Wheel Blacks established them as the team to beat heading into the semis. They backed up their victory over the Wheel Blacks in the semi-finals with a 59-51 victory as captain and Steelers legend Ryley Batt helped guide them to victory.
This set up a grudge match with the Queenslanders after their thrilling 58-57 win over Victoria, with Canadian star Zac Madell scoring with just seconds remaining on the clock. Both teams traded tries in the first half of the final as NSW built a slender two-point advantage.
In the end, a third-quarter blitz powered them to victory as they raced out to a 48-41 lead.
While the Cyclones looked for a way back into the contest, the likes of Batt and Andrew Edmondson used their experience to close out the match and the win for the Gladiators. “That final score doesn’t really tell the story of how hard that match was,” Gladiator head coach Glen Lebeau said via Wheelchair Rugby Australia. “The best players in the world were in their best form here today and right across the tournament and it was great to watch. And I thought Richard Voris played one of his best matches ever today, he played amazingly.”
The Victorians managed to claim bronze as they raced away with a 55-40 win over the Kiwis.
Meanwhile, the ACT Buccaneers took the Division 2 gold medal as they produced a clinical 60-40 win over the SA Sharks.
With thanks to Rugby.com.au
My favourite quote from a wheelchair rugby player about playing the game so hard. “What is the worst that can happen? I end up in a wheelchair.”
‘You can almost laugh it off’: England are full of confidence under Eddie Jones
England hooker Jamie George has sung the praises of coach Eddie Jones, saying the veteran mentor has filled his players with such confidence they can now simply laugh off external criticism. Jones enters the three test series against the Wallabies as a man under pressure following a string of recent poor results for England. A disastrous tour of Australia could prove to be the end for Jones.
But the 62-year-old is taking it all in his stride, so much so that some England players don’t even know the pressure Jones is under. “It is probably a sign of the coach Eddie is that he doesn’t put that on us at all,” George said when asked about the intense heat on Jones. “I was almost weirdly surprised about you saying that. He takes it all on himself.”
“He is the kind of coach that when you are winning he allows the players to go and enjoy that moment, and when you are losing he takes it all on himself. He is driving us in the same respect he always has done. He is preparing us in the way he always has done. That is the sign of a great coach.”
Jones enjoys a perfect 8-0 record against the Wallabies while coach of England. Having that sort of edge over Australia is a massive boost to England’s confidence heading into the first Test at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.
George spoke glowingly about the direct influence Jones has had on the confidence level of each player under his watch. “You walk taller knowing that … whenever anyone questions you, you can almost laugh it off because we know when the time comes we’ll be right,” George said. “This Test he has prepared us incredibly well, we’re all incredibly excited to be here. It gives you huge confidence and that comes from knowing that all the hard work is to come and we’ll be ready for it when the time comes.”
England swept the Wallabies 3-0 during their last tour of Australia in 2016 and a repeat result would instantly ease the pressure on Jones.
With thanks to Rugby Pass
Maori All Blacks beat Ireland in tour opener
Late news, the Maori All Blacks are good at rugby. I watched the game and while the MAB were good I get the feeling that they didn’t show too much either on purpose or not. The one thing that they will have learn it don’t give NZ players space and time with poor kicks.
My first moan about Stan
I have been on record as saying that Stan have been great partners for Australian rugby since the demise of FUX. The coverage of rugby from grassroots to internationals has been nothing short of outstanding. Streaming is the way of the future in all sports broadcasting. Look at this weekend you can stream the Pacific Nations Cup, 2 x Under 20s internationals and 4 tier one internationals.
Rugby Heaven last night was a big miss. Frankly you have some great rugby minds on that show and it completely missed the mark. I am all in favour of having a variety show for rugby but you are diluting the Rugby Heaven brand by putting up this drivel.