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Source: (consider it) Thread: The game that batters: the rugby thread
Imaginary Friend

Real to you
# 186

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There's rugby happening? Somehow that got lost in all the round-ball hype that is flooding the media. A quick look at the BBC website reveals that England are playing Australia today (and losing [Frown] ) and I didn't know! Scandal!!

Zappa, how can conceding 66 points be painted as a "good effort"? That's a bit much, even for a Kiwi! [Biased]

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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At 13:00 today (BST) South Africa played France. To be accurate, South Africa started then but France didn't show up for until quarter past by which time they were 17-0 down. It was a bit less one-sided after that but 42-17 is a comfortable win.

3-0 for South v North overall [Frown]

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Zappa
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# 8433

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quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
Zappa, how can conceding 66 points be painted as a "good effort"? That's a bit much, even for a Kiwi! [Biased]

Yeah - it was probably a bit generous! The ABs brought six new caps on - who all played dangerously well - but the Irish clawed back from 38-0 to 66-28 once the coaches started playing tiggy.

New cap Israel Dagg was sensational.

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Japes

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# 5358

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Scotland won!! [Yipee]

They beat Argentina 24-16.

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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quote:
Originally posted by Japes:
Scotland won!! [Yipee]

They beat Argentina 24-16.

Thanks for doing something for the North's battered reputation. Argentina are serious opposition, especially at home.

I read that Martin Johnson is critical of the England players: he's got a point with some missed tackles and England's inability to cross the line by why, with Australia's scrum in disarray, did he take Tim Payne off and replace him with the entirely ineffective David Wilson? Many of the missed tackles came from England not understanding how Australia play - fast and loose - and being set up for that. That's a preparation problem and Johnson's problem; someone's got to tell him that he's fallible.

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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One of the Good Guys joins the post-match celebration in Heaven.

God Bless you, Andy Ripley.

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(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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Yay! England beat Australia, in Australia for just the third time (IIRC). They only just managed it but they actually turned up and played in the first half, which always helps.

So long as this doesn't ensure that Martin Johnson continues as coach I don't mind. He's not a coach and unlike Clive Woodward, another non-coach, he doesn't have the strategic vision.

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Imaginary Friend

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# 186

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[Yipee]

Take that, you smug Aussies! It wasn't even your scrummaging that let you down today, you just got beat fair and square!!

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Brian Clough

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Zappa
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# 8433

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It was too late for me to watch the OZ - England game but NZ reports this morning suggest a hint of complacency from the Australians - well done England (as my tee shirt says, I support two teams: NZ and any team playing Australia). Wish I'd seen it.

The ABs played two halves, but in reverse order to last week's effort. Held up by a feisty Welsh team in the first half the only break out (Cory Jane's try) was utterly opportunistic, after Wales forgot that defence is a useful ingredient of attack, and that seventy metres clear runway without a defender is a fairly unsmart strategy. Two of the AB tries - the Jane one in the first half and Kahui's in the second, exposed woeful "oh it's time to do up my shoelace" type tackling.

The second half had the ABs looking fit and clinical, and by three-quarters the welsh were gasping for breath. As media said here though, the South Africans will be a different kettle of fish. And, thanks to England, the Wallabies may wake up, too.

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Japes

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# 5358

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[Yipee] [Big Grin] [Yipee]

Scotland won again!! That's twice they have beaten Argentina. Twice.

[Yipee] [Big Grin] [Yipee]

[Japes dances happy dance, makes lots of noise, then retires to recover from all the excitement]

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Zappa
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# 8433

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would've liked to have seen that one, too ...

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Foaming Draught
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# 9134

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Dig the new NZ and Wales strips.

FD [Cool]

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Zappa
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# 8433

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Okay ... tonight the ABs will get bashed by the Boks. I'm always a pessimist, but going on Super 14 form we just kiwis ain't as tough (tougher, though, I suspect, than the Wallabies at present). The ABs will have a competitive line-out, but Victor Matfield is all but unstoppable in that part of the game. Morné Steyn makes Jonny Wilkinson and even Dan Carter look like ping pong players - expect drop goals and penalties from incomprehensible distances. Bryan Habana is like a bloody antelope, so expect rushed defence from the ABs to try to counter him. Schalk Burger will get sent off at some stage so perhaps the ABs may get back into the game then.

We shall see. Let the real battles begin. Tonight I say the Boks by 12 points. I also predict that the tri-nations will continue to be in the Springboks' hands, ABs second (with the Bledisloe Cup), and the Wallabies a fragmented third. I also predict that the Boks will win the (real!) World Cup, but that's a way out yet.

I'm looking forward to the Pumas joining the party one day soon. Go the All Blacks - surprise me. Cory Jane and Conrad Smith will have a great game, so will Dan Carter, and of course McCaw.

[ 10. July 2010, 04:05: Message edited by: Zappa ]

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Zappa
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# 8433

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Wrong on all aspects of tonight's game. The ABs produced the best football I've seen in some years: 32-12 was reasonably convincing: four tries to none and some simply brilliant play particularly from Muliana, Donnelly and Kaino. Possibly half back Cowan was off his game but no other problems from go to whoa, and the Boks were simply stunned, unable to find rhythm or pace. Botha rather than Burger was sin binned!

A fantastic game.

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Tukai
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# 12960

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I agree it was a great performance by the ABs. Passion and pace all round, good handling, strong set pieces. It's not often you see Matfield beaten to his own ball in a lineout or the Bok scrum going backwards.

But two questions:

(1) what has happened to Fourie du Preez? has he retired while I was in hospital?

(2) Have NZ peaked way too early forthe World Cup, as they have so many times before?

[ 11. July 2010, 05:14: Message edited by: Tukai ]

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Zappa
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# 8433

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The rematch was sweeter still - not least because, although the Boks played better, it was still the ABs game.

I haven't worked out what has happened to Fourie du Preez and will try to find out. As for the ABs peaking too soon, I doubt it. I think this is a different season, and the coaching staff will work hard to make sure 2011 is very carefully monitored.

Last night it was again pleasing to see that Carter and McCaw were not particularly visible around the field. Well McCaw was, because he is irrepressible. And Carter was in field play but not, certainly in the first half, with the boot. But he chuckled when Weepu got one over, and again as he tried to avoid kicking (which he did successfully) in the second half. But others were, especially Ma'a Nonu and Kieran Read. They were simply everywhere.

New boy Israel Dagg's try was simply poetic.

Awesome.

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Zappa
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# 8433

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quote:
Originally posted by Tukai:
ns:

(1) what has happened to Fourie du Preez? has he retired while I was in hospital?

It appears he's hurt his hand. But the come back seems a little slow.

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Zappa
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# 8433

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The All Blacks on paper should hold the Wallabies out tonight ... but will they. [Paranoid] The Wallabies have a mercurial back line, especially inside backs. They will do their best to get inside the Ref's head to expose McCaw's exploitation of legal grey areas - though McCaw is also a master of adjustment in his personal game plan and execution. I predict a blody good game, and may even stay up late to watch it ... but there are no promises

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Herrick
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# 15226

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The last time the Wobblies beat the All Blacks was July 2008. Now it is July again. Stranger things have happened, and they did play well last week.

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Foaming Draught
The Low in Low Church
# 9134

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quote:
Originally posted by Zappa:
may even stay up late to watch it ...

Who's a happy boy then? [Biased]

FD

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Zappa
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# 8433

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[Yipee] [Yipee] [Yipee]

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Zappa
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# 8433

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Should rename this Zappa's thread. [Hot and Hormonal] Ah well.

The Wallabies' pride is on the line, and they're hurting bad. They'll give the ABs one helluva a run for their money tonight. A wet track and greater fitness will give the ABs a win, by a smaller margin. Unless they go out on the field as complacently as the NZ media and public appear to be ... here's hoping Dan the man has his radar tuned ... and let's get a match with 30 players on the field from go to whoa (or, perhaps, woe)

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Zappa
Ship's Wake
# 8433

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...

but proof that defence wins games

... is anybody out there?

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Herrick
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# 15226

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My thoughts exactly, the AB's defence was terrific. Australia has a good team but NZ has a better one! Apart from the first scrum I Thought the refereeing was fair and consistent.

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Imaginary Friend

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# 186

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quote:
Originally posted by Zappa:
... is anybody out there?

Yes, but I'm not in the right part of the world to follow the Tri Nations, and it's still a bit before the European season gets going. I'm reading your posts with interest but I don't have much to contribute. Sorry. [Hot and Hormonal]

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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Zappa
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# 8433

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*happy sigh*
I was feeling a bit lonely there for a while!

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Zappa
Ship's Wake
# 8433

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quote:
Originally posted by Tukai:

what has happened to Fourie du Preez? has he retired while I was in hospital?

An answer at last

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Zappa
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# 8433

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Oops - no it wasn't. Synapse problem!

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Zappa
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# 8433

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*very happy sigh*

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Imaginary Friend

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# 186

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An away win in South Africa? Not a bad result, I suppose... [Biased]

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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Zappa
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# 8433

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More than the Wallabies could muster, at any rate. And Peter Bills is right: the Wallabies v Boks game was spectacular, but not for traditional rugby - or even good rugby. I git the impression both back lines tended to play a game of 'let's pick up the ball and run this way and see what happens'. The Bok forwards were better, and it won them the game.

That said, Francois Hougaard is looking very good at halfback, as he was last week against the All Blacks. The old warriors, Matfield and Smit, looked good, Smit redeeming himself after last week's game (for which he has publicly but needlessly berated himself).

The Australians' much vaunted Genia simply doesn't impress me: slow to pass, probably nearly a second slower than Hougaard, and with no penetration in his running. One top-spinning chip kick looked good, but that's not exactly 80 minutes of rugby. And Quade Cooper, who was allegedly present, achieved little more than a demented fruit fly. Best of the Australians? Um. perhaps Kurtley Beale.

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Tukai
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# 12960

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The ABs dominated the TriNations (and you can't get much more dominant than winning all your games!)

One of the main reasons seems to be that they are the only side that can be guaranteed to play out the full 80 minutes (plus, if need be, the 5 minutes play after the 'full-time' siren that sometimes happens in rugby!). They beat SA by a point with 2 unanswered tries in the last 3 minutes and Australia by a point with 2 unanswered tries in the last 20 minutes.

In contrast, Australia (a much less experienced side) managed to lose to both SA and the ABs despite leading both matches by ~15 points just after half-time.

But, is the ABs admittedly superb form this year once again leading up to a choke at the Rugby World Cup next year, as on so many previous occasions?

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Herrick
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# 15226

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Originally posted by Tukai
__________________________________________
But, is the ABs admittedly superb form this year once again leading up to a choke at the Rugby World Cup next year, as on so many previous occasions?
___________________________________________

I could only hope so!!
Last night was [brick wall]

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Imaginary Friend

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# 186

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I just read this blog by Robert Kitson on a new pilot scheme aiming to encourage young English players to develop a more running, intuitive style of play. Any thoughts?

I think it sounds like an interesting idea, but I wonder if it won't get swamped by the combined forces of the traditionalists and modal English weather (and therefore pitch) conditions. Another interesting (to me) philosophical question is why should English players wish to emulate French or Kiwi styles? If that style of play is not suited to them or the conditions then isn't that a fools errand? England won the World Cup, and came runners-up by playing a thoroughly 'English' style so if it ain't broke, I don't see any need to fix it.

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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Tukai
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# 12960

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quote:
Originally posted by Tukai:
you can't get much more dominant than winning all your games!

One of the main reasons seems to be that they [the All Blacks] are the only side that can be guaranteed to play out the full 80 minutes (plus, if need be, the 5 minutes play after the 'full-time' siren that sometimes happens in rugby!). They beat SA by a point with 2 unanswered tries in the last 3 minutes and Australia by a point with 2 unanswered tries in the last 20 minutes.


Though the ABs once again played out the full 80 minutes, so (for a change) did Australia! So well done the Wallabies, now beginning to look like contenders for the 2011 World Cup.

But I don't envy England, who next weekend face the ABs on the rebound!

[ 02. November 2010, 08:49: Message edited by: Tukai ]

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Rev per Minute
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# 69

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Yes, the autumn internationals begin now, the annual test of how often the fans are willing to fork out for an international ticket. The Six Nations has only two or three home games over seven weekends, so four home matches in four weeks is totally ridiculous [Mad]

Anyway, the matches.
- Eng v NZ may be the closest of the games, unless the Blacks rediscover their TriNations form quickly. Can anyone predict how England will play?
- W v Aus could well be washed out (will we leave the roof open again?) but possibly only a Wallaby-specific tornado will give Wales much of a chance if Aus play as they did last week.
- Ire v SA is one where I have no idea at all - the Irish have shown themselves able to beat (almost) anyone on their day, but those days are getting fewer as BOD, ROG and the rest qualify for their pensions.
- The Scots get a week off...

So who is brave enough to make predictions on scores?

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At the end of the day, we face our Maker alongside Jesus. RIP ken

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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Ireland have to be brave and start selecting the younger players. There is plenty of talent (and some genius besides), they just have to select Fitzgerald, Jonny Sexton, Buckley, Healy etc and get stuck in. I've seen Leinster play without BOD and they won in a tough match and Munster, within POC put 40 points on Toulon. Neither had overseas players in the proportion to English and French club sides. They could do it.

England and Wales will be roasted. It won't be pleasant and Martin Johnson will be damn-near uninterviewable.

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Imaginary Friend

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# 186

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So, England come up short again and Johnson does his usual routine of "we're getting better, we just have to capitalize on our chances". I admit that I only watched the highlights, but England seemed second-best throughout the game to me. I thought our decision making was particularly poor: too many tap penalties taken when the space wasn't there, overlaps missed, opportunities forced in the name of running rugby when a good tactical kick would have done better.

But on a positive note, I thought the back three played well, and Flood's goal kicking was excellent. A bit more experience of the pressure of the hardest Test matches and there is a chance that this team will become winners.

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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All three NH teams played well, but not well enough while all three SH teams were a bit below-par and still won! That was my view.

Captain Thug (as Martin Johnson is known in Wales) must be thoroughly detached from reality. England are not 'Getting better': we are close to the best, but we are not getting closer. Quite who replaces our World-cup winning captain (is there any other reason he still has the job? Has no one the bottle to sack him?) I do not know.

Like Wales and Ireland, we can do the right things but we either make more errors than SH teams or, as Imaginary Friend says, we make wrong decisions.

Against Australia England may win if we slow down the game, keep it as tight as a gnat's chuff, hang on to the ball (even unto rucking and mauling in our 22 rather than kicking so they have a lineout on their 22) and eliminate the errors. That might not be enough against the Hairybacks though.

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Imaginary Friend

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# 186

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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
England are not 'Getting better'

They're not. And they're not even playing in a way that I think they can get better at. See below...

quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
... England may win if we slow down the game, keep it as tight as a gnat's chuff, hang on to the ball .. and eliminate the errors.

I agree that we would be more successful like that. But that style is not in vogue so I doubt it will happen. And this shows the difficulty of having Johnson as coach: He was never a throw-it-around kind of player so how can anyone expect him to coach like that?

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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Zappa
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# 8433

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My day job is getting in the way of watching the AB v S game - that and the fact that I don't have sattelite TV anyway. 28-3 to the ABs after 31 minutes suggests they may be rediscovering pre Hong Kong form - warnings to McCaw will simply mean he will pull back fractionally from the breakdown, rejig his timing and get into it once more. I look forward to the TV replay this afternoon.

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and mayhap this too: http://broken-moments.blogspot.co.nz/

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Tukai
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# 12960

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I heard it said before last week's game that both England and Australia would play 10-man rugby, with England playing numbers 1-10 and Australia playing numbers 6-15.

But it didn't work out that way. England showed up with all 15 and Australia's back 10 never really got going. Perhaps they were confused by seeing blokes in black shirts actually running with the ball, and not kicking it or dropping it all the time, and thought they were playing against the All Blacks.

Let's hope that at least 10 Australians turn up for this weeks match, or even all 15 though the front row are a bit of a lost cause.

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A government that panders to the worst instincts of its people degrades the whole country for years to come.

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Tukai
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# 12960

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In 2007, Fiji beat Wales, and I could hear the cheers all over Suva even though it was 3 in the morning our time (Literally true - in the warm tropical nights, the windows here are always open.)

Presumably the stadiums on the far side of the world have good lighting that enables them to play rugby at 3 am!.

This week Wales conceded an advantage by playing in the daytime (8am here) and again I could hear the cheers all over Suva as Fiji outplayed Wales once again, even though the scoreboard showed a draw.

So much for Wales pretending to be like the All Blacks by playing in dark jerseys. If Wales play like that next week against a team that wears dark jerseys with pride, they'll be in for a hiding. Perhaps Wales should play in white, because it will be a cricket score.

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A government that panders to the worst instincts of its people degrades the whole country for years to come.

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Zappa
Ship's Wake
# 8433

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Phew. Dan having an off day, despite passing Johnny, and the welsh looking feisty, and Braid sent off, and ... *happy sigh* ... final whistle and a Grand Slam

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and mayhap this too: http://broken-moments.blogspot.co.nz/

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Sioni Sais
Shipmate
# 5713

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Wales, not for the first time, played to their strengths but lost bravely. South Africa on the other hand forced England to play 'their' game. England couldn't rely on their scrum, conceded at least a penalty per man (including replacements) so I was amazed they only lost by ten points.

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Tukai
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# 12960

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Most telling incident for me this week from the All Blacks: scoring a try from an overlap (i.e. having an extra man where it mattered) at the very time when they were actually playing with a man short (Braid in the sin bin).

And from last week: well in front on the scoreboard with 1 minute to go and the ball goes out. Do they stroll up for a leisurely lineout and then kick into touch, as most teams would do? No fear! Non-stop McCaw takes a quick lineout and they score a try on the opposite side of the field.

And what about Australia's finish against France? 5 unanswered tries in the second half. So much for "our big men will smash your little men so they can't run"!.

Is scummaging an over-rated skill when 3/4 of them at this level seem to end in a penalty or a reset?

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A government that panders to the worst instincts of its people degrades the whole country for years to come.

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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France had an odd side: Rougerie at centre, some unknown on one wing and no proper no 8 - If you do pick Chabal, for goodness sake don't select him where he hasn't the technical skills and it's criminal to leave Bonnaire out of any side he is eligible to play for. He's a better prop than Chabal is a no.8.

Mostly though, Australia played their own game in the second half (I'm going from press reports) and maybe France thought scrummaging superiority alone would win the game. What French coaches have thought has baffled me for years and Lievremont is getting some terrible stick now. It's true that England outscrummaged Australia but they didn't stop there.

Ireland beat Argentina well too, not conceding a try, and the combination of Sexton and Stringer, a mixture of old and new, looks good.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

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Imaginary Friend

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# 186

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quote:
Originally posted by Tukai:
Is scummaging an over-rated skill when 3/4 of them at this level seem to end in a penalty or a reset?

Not if you can dominate to the extent that 80-90% of those penalties go your way.

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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<bump>

I had to bump this, with England beating Wales in Wales for the first time since 2003! It wasn't one sided or pretty but a win's a win, we've now got three home games against Italy, France and Scotland and finish away against Ireland. Not a bad schedule!

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Imaginary Friend

Real to you
# 186

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I thought we played alright, really. And it was a great game to watch, too!

Flood, Tindall (defensively), Ashton, and Hartley had particularly good games, and the pack was great for the most part*. One thing that I thought was interesting was that it was only later on in the game when Thompson, Shaw, and Worsley came on that the pack looked like it might be second best. The old-timers might have had their day.

* The only time they looked a bit weak was when they were trying to make ground near the breakdown. But that was often as much about good Welsh defense as anything else.

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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