Well, Happy Monday RDUs, and what a massive weekend of rugby we had to lead into the world cup. We will have a brief run-through of the results and what impacts, if any, that has had on teams leading into the Bill. I will also discuss Dr. Evils’ presser and the Presser that Hamish “I have to back you because I hired you” McLennan gave alongside Dr. Evil. So let’s sit at our desks, make it look like we are doing work, have a coffee, and let us grab a snorkel because we are going down!
Lead Up games
France 34 Defeated Fiji 17
The visit of Flying Fijians to France should have put a smile on the dials of all who watched the game. I know I certainly enjoyed it. Both teams produced some scintillating play that saw ‘Les Bleus grab the “W” whilst tinkering around with their broader squad. And the Flying Fijians showing all RWC teams that they are an outstanding team with the ball in hand with threats across the park. See the match report here.
France showed that they have the ability via their broader squad to go deep into the tournament with little risk. Even with the loss of Ntamack. Their bench and broader squad players were bought in to get some game time and performed well. The Fijians demonstrated for periods of the game that they have the mettle to match it with anyone. Their ability to hold it together in set-piece for longer periods is still a work in progress, but there were periods in the match when they tested the Froggies and came out on top. This should ring warning bells for the Aussies and the Welsh, with absolutely no guarantee of getting out of their pool.
Italy 45 Defeated Romania 13
The Azzuri gave the Romanians a bit of a touch-up, running in a humungous nine tries to one on their way to a 57-7 triumph in San Benedetto del Tronto. It was an absolutely clinical performance from the Italians, who controlled long portions of the game. The Italian’s performance was made so much easier after English referee Luke Pearce handed out the shiraz to Adrian Motoc in the 10th minute of the game after he led with his head while attempting to clear out Italies captain Michele Lamaro at a ruck. Playing with 14 players for 70 minutes is a big ask for any team, and it really hurt the Romanians.
In the end, the Azzurri had way too much firepower for the Romanians with Ange Capuozzo leading the way with a brace of tries with over 8 different players touching down over the line.
Ireland 29 Defeated England 10
England’s woes have continued with experienced forward Billy Vunipola getting ‘shirazzed’ as Ireland secured a WWE SmackDown victory on England by scoring five tries in a comfortable win that appeared to be little more than a training run. See the match report here. The crazy Guinness drinkers through Bundee Aki, Garry Ringrose, James Lowe, Mack Hansen, and Keith Earls all dotted down over the line. See the match report here.
Vunipola was dismissed just before Ireland’s third try for a high tackle. The England number eight was given the cheddar for a poor tackle on Paddy’s prop Andrew Porter. However, this was soon served a nice shiraz to go with his cheddar, and so like captain ‘No arms’ Farrell, the forward’s World Cup hopes are now starting to look a little shaky.
England, who were without Owen Farrell due to his ongoing and everpresent high tackling issues, managed to squeeze in one late consolation try through Kyle Sinckler. In what can only be described as a poor performance, England only manage to sneak into Ireland’s 22 once during the first half. There must be worrying signs for Borthwick as his team just seems to lack the answer to any questions that are asked by their opposition. Mind you as we always say here at RDU, a loss for England is good for rugby.
South Africa 52 Defeated Wales 16
The reigning World champions of the ‘Dutch Dirt Farming’ variety delivered a fairly ruthless display that demonstrated the Saffa’s pace and ‘might is right’ way to demolish Taff’s in a onesided 52-16 at the Principality Stadium. A really inexperienced Wales team selected by Warren Gatland, to see if any of his broader squad players would put their hands up, were led like lambs to the slaughter. The Bokkes showed no absolutely no mercy as they didn’t get out of first gear to lodge a record victory over their opponents in Taff land. See the match report here.
Wales’ final World Cup warm-up proved a horribly one-sided affair, that will have Gattland searching for further answers. IMHO he has to be very worried about facing Fiji in their pool match. And to be honest, I think the Wobs should be pretty concerned too. South Africa appears to be honing their game plan, but I am sure would have been better suited by a more testing hit-out to confirm or deny how they are tracking. But the return of Captain Kholisi was a positive and he looked to have not missed a beat.
RA Chairman Backs Eddie 1000%
Our beloved Cadbury Golds have only just arrived in Cheese-eating Surrender Monkey land and already the RA Chairman has felt the need to back up the coach. In what is surely a sign that Wallaby fans are already getting the shits with Eddie, Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan says the decision to parachute Eddie Jones into the head coaching role was “absolutely the right thing to do”.
“Eddie’s passionate, energetic, and a fighter. And he’s fighting for the Wallabies and our sport and I back him 1,000 percent and will continue to,” McLennan said. Now normally when the Board or a Chairman backs you 100% you know you are on the chopping block. But hey Hamish has backed Eddie 1000%. Now if Eddie’s diatribes aren’t bad enough, we have a chairman that is becoming fond of using hyperbole in relation to what is simple mathematics.
“I really like the squad. I like Eddie’s thinking,” McLennan said. “They’re determined to give it a great shake for this World Cup but we also have an eye on ’25 and ’27 and I think that bodes well. “Rugby has a lot of emotion intrinsically tied to it and Eddie is fighting for our team and our reputation. And I love it. “Eddie is the most experienced World Cup campaigner in the world, and you’ve got to back his judgment.”
“We’re already seeing a more driven and bold approach to the selection of the Wallabies and the previous coach had a win rate of 38 percent,” McLennan said. “I don’t think you need any more data than that to justify the decision to bring Eddie in.
Now I don’t know about you RDU folks, but 38% is a shitload better than 0% according to my grade 5 maths report card. Hamish backing Eddie 1000% is his only course of action because it was Hamish’s solo actions that fired Dave Rennie and hired Dr. Evil. So I would be a little worried if he didn’t back him, as that would make Hamish look more foolish than he already does.
“The new RA culture is a scrappy one, so we’re all fighters,” McLennan said. “We need to win. What you’re seeing with Eddie is that renewed energy and fighting spirit come back into the team. And that bodes well.”
That only bodes well if you win! Coming out all feisty is a strategy, I understand that. It deflects the pressure from the players, for a very short period of time. But if the players don’t win, the pressure will be back on Eddie, the players, and Hamish in quick order. Eddie’s press conference had both supporters and detractors. I, for one, found it a childish and churlish display that lacked professionalism and reeked of stupidity. And to be honest, makes him and Australian rugby look like a bunch of clowns. It takes me back to the times of another Wallabies clown, with the embarrassing Cheika press conferences. I was hoping for a Wallabies coach that would achieve victory and do so with dignity and style. But, yet again, we have another coach who carries on like a two-bob watch and the whole thing is rather unedifying (Pardon the pun).
Anyway, happy Monday Chaps and Chapettes! Have at it!