Hello, G&GRs, and welcome to Monday’s Rugby News! I trust that you all enjoyed the Wallabies’ victory during the smorgasbord of international rugby on offer this weekend. I’ll be relatively brief about the matches as I’m sure most of us have watched the ‘Big 3’. If not, I’ll post links to news stories about each of the matches from the weekend so you can catch up!
WALLABIES v ENGLAND
Wallabies v England: The Wallabies have defeated the Soap Dodgers 30 – 28. The final scoreline flattered the tourists with two tries scored in the final few minutes with soft defence and poor discipline by the Wobs. Instead of looking at the blow-by-blow account, I’d like to offer up the pros and cons of the match for the Australian team:
Wallabies – PROS –
** As noted in the commentary, the ability of the Wallabies to remain composed, despite significant injuries to key players and a red card within 30 minutes of kick off.
** The forwards holding their own after a brutal English onslaught in the first 20 odd minutes. A lineout steal to Swain and some massive scrums in the match, especially when down a player.
** Noah Lolesio. Not perfect from any stretch of the imagination with a poor missed tackle letting down ; however, he was pinpoint from the tee and finally attacked the gain line towards the end instead of going out the back as the Ponies game plan requires. Ironically looked better with Jake Gordon. Putting in this level of performance with five minutes notice was bloody good to see! With the backline being rejigged a few times was solid under pressure, too. Koroibete’s try-saving tackle, Kellaway solid under the high ball, and Ikitau despite being quiet in attack, effectively shut down the English 12/13/14 in a good combination with Kerevi (who can kick!).
** Debutants Neville and Porecki were excellent. Crucially, both performed their roles seamlessly and contributed even more. That said, Porecki is lucky to not have been penalised on occasion… but he wasn’t so thems the breaks.
** Dave Rennie and co utilising their bench effectively and ensuring that the players remained focused. The mental approach compared to the Clown years is huge.
** The players sticking round well after full-time to engage with the crowd. Perhaps spurred by criticism of Camp Wallaby, but the footage showed many selfies, autographs and receipt of a Cadbury’s choccie by Hooper from a lovely lady!
** We won. We broke a streak. Winning is good. Let’s keep it going!
Wallabies – CONS –
** Unable to change the dynamics of the game in the first 20 odd minutes during an English onslaught. Needed a big player to stand up.
** Darcy Swain getting what he deserved after seeing red in more ways than one. He has a history of this sort of stupidity (ironically under McKellar at the Vikings then the Ponies). A good player who ought to know better. Poor from McKellar to not have coached this out of him by now.
** Hard to be too critical on this considering the circumstances, but the attack was one-dimensional quite a lot. Nic White must take responsibility for this as he assumed a playmaker role with Quade out.
NZ v Ireland article here
South Africa v Wales article here
France v Japan article here
Argentina v Scotland article here
PACIFIC NATIONS CUP 2022
Australia ‘A’ v Samoa –
Australia ‘A’ have gone down to Samoa in a captivating game in Fiji. A two-try blast from flanker Fraser McReight was not enough today when an Australia A comeback fell short 31-26 against Samoa in the Pacific Nations Cup. There were any number of moments in Suva where the Australians might have got home with more precision yet they consistently tripped on their own errors. The best moments from the Australia A outfit were excellent for a side thrown together from the five Super Rugby clubs. The worst moments from penalties for ill discipline, lineout bungles and lack of awareness compounded into giving the dangerous Samoans too many free chances.
It might not seem like it right now but the last 24 hours have been exactly what Australian rugby has needed. Argentina’s trademark scrum brutality hammered the Junior Wallabies in the Oceania Under 20s on the Sunshine Coast on Friday night. The Aussie A team were stung by the quick, ad lib flair and defensive line speed of the physical Samoans. Both are great lessons to receive on a return to international rugby for both programs. The value will be whether the lessons are learnt for the matches to come in the respective tournaments.
Fiji v Tonga –
The Vodafone Flying Fijians put on a clinical performance to thrash star studded Tonga 36-0 in the Pacific Nations Cup at the HFC Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Tevita Ratuva opened the scoring in the 6th minute before Jiuta Wainiqolo crossed over in the corner to extend Fiji’s lead. Kalaveti Ravouvou then scored Fiji’s third try on his debut to put Fiji in a commanding position.
Fiji were down to 14 men in the first half after Teti Tela was shown a yellow card for throwing the ball away. However, it did not make much of a difference as Frank Lomani kicked a penalty to extend Fiji’s lead to 22-0 at the break.
The Flying Fijians continued their dominance in the second half and fullback Setareki Tuicuvu scored their 4th try after brilliant work from captain Waisea Nayacalevu. Vinaya Habosi then capped of a wonderful performance with a try on debut. The much talked about Israel Folau was quiet in the early stages before being replaced due to an injury.
Clearly, the emergence of the Drua and Monana Pasifika is paying dividends for the Pacific islands. Long may it continue!
REFEREES FOR WEEK TWO
The referees appointed for this weekend’s games (according to the WR page) are below. I’ve written in order of – referee/AR1/AR2/TMO
Australia v England – Andy Brace (IRE)/Paul Williams (NZ)/Craig Evans (WAL)/Joy Neville (IRE)
New Zealand v Ireland – Jaco Peyper (RSA)/Karl Dickson (RFU)/Jordan Way (RA)/Tom Foley (RFU)
South Africa v Wales – Angus Gardner (RA)/Matthew Carley (RFU)/Andrea Piardi (ITA)/Brett Cronan (RA)
Argentina v Scotland –Mathieu Raynal (FFR)/Ben O’Keeffe (NZR)/Pierre Brousset (FFR)/Brian MacNeice (IRFU)
Japan v France – Mike Adamson (SRU)/Frank Murphy (IRFU)/Chris Busby (IRFU)/Ben Whitehouse (WRU)
Georgia v Italy – Brendon Pickerill (NZR)/Adam Leal (RFU)/Adam Jones (WRU)/Eric Gauzins (FFR)
Chile v USA – Nic Berry (RA)/Hollie Davidson (SRU)/Moe Chaudhary (RC)/Marius Jonker (RSA)
Canada v Spain – Luke Pearce (RFU)/Kat Roche (USAR)/Khalil Harrison (USAR)/Stuart Teerherge (RFU)
Tonga v Samoa – Graham Cooper (RA)/Angus Mabey (NZ)/Tevita Rokovereni (FRU)
Fiji v Australia ‘A’ – Wayne Barnes (RFU)/Christophe Ridley (RFU)/Reuben Keane (RA)
Australia u20 v Fiji u20 – Angus Mabey (NZR)/Jordan Ryan (RA)/Jess Ling (RA)/Damon Murphy (RA)*
NZ u20 v Argentina u20 – David Vosalevu (FRU)/Will Pugsley (RA)/Jordan Ryan (RA)/Damon Murphy (RA)*
*NB Games are on Tuesday 5th July
HMMMM… SOME EXTRA THOUGHTS FROM THE WEEKEND
So… A few things have crossed my mind over the past few hours.
Firstly, you may have noticed the water breaks that came into play over in South Africa. Curiously, there wasn’t an obvious stoppage for these that I noticed watching any other games (happy to be corrected though). Perhaps they were taken in opportune injury moments (a la poor Banks), but gee whiz it seemed like WR have created a solution that was a bigger annoyance than the original problem of trainers running on every two seconds! It is definitely not lost on me that the Saffers were the team to utilise this to their benefit.
Secondly, the commentary from around the globe has been ridiculously partisan. Clearly, the days of impartiality such as Benaud in the commentary box are gone. It still seems that commentary is nowadays reserved for recently retired players to demonstrate their lack of current law knowledge and try out whichever colour glasses shows their national pride the most. In a sport that is tricky enough to understand to newcomers, the reality is we need impartial and accurate punditry. By all means, applaud the good play. But golly goodness me, the one-eyedness is getting beyond a joke now.
Finally, it was a frustration to see so much cynical play from all teams. Rugby is (perhaps ideologically of me) meant to be a positive sport where teams are rewarded for daring and dashing. While I appreciate that this has changed somewhat in the advent of professionalism, it was really disappointing to see such negative tactics and, well, shitfuckery, across all games… Looking squarely at you, Jonny Hill. I’m delighted that Nika Amashukeli, the Georgian referee, saw fit to cheese the cynical Welsh side in their match against the Africans. Good on him! Perhaps more of this sort of refereeing will have teams thinking twice about their crappy tactics.
Righto, folks. That’s all for now. Happy Monday :)