Weekend Rugby Review – 17 August

A big weekend of rugby as the All Blacks and Boks bounced back and more of the European sides started their Rugby World Cup warm ups. Here’s my review off all the action.

August Internationals

New Zealand 41 – 13 Australia
Ireland 28 – 22 Scotland
England 19 – 14 France
Argentina 12 – 26 South Africa

4 from 4, a good week on the prediction front.

Early on it was east to see how both teams wanted to play. For New Zealand Ben Smith quickly put down for 22 drop out. Where as for Australia Cooper waited for the player to run up to him. Australia did take the early lead with some inventive kicking from hand giving them field position for a penalty. Only for Dan Carter to kick his penalty and bring things even. All blacks defence was much better than last week as was their overall physicality. On 20 mins the conjured one of their classic counter attacks that went the length of pitch in 2 phases. We saw Cater break which he has been doing recently and suddenly the All Blacks, with Nonu also running hard, looked like their old selves. So The All Blacks went in at half time 13-6. Early in the second half the All Blacks got a penalty try when Cooper went high on A Smith, it wasn’t malicious or anything but he had to go. The All Blacks then showed their ruthlessness and added another 2 converted tries and ended the game as a contest before the hour mark. There was time for Nonu to get a second try and for Australia to get a consolation try when they cross field kicked to Folau. Richie got a standing ovation when he was subbed and Edan Park enjoyed giving the he and other a good send off. I still think Nonu and Smith were lucky to stay on the pitch as Nigel decide not to use his cards. But all the old boys stepped up for their leaving party.

Ireland powered over for first try on the 11th phase showing the good ball retention we expect from them. Scotland struck back after an offload created an overlap out wide. Then the Scotland scrum half sniped over from the back of a ruck for their second and the lead just after half-time. Ire used the maul to regain the lead and get the match back on script. But a penalty to Scotland changed the lead again. Then some great lines from Ireland cut through the Scottish defence twice for Zebo to finish off. Then a funny one as Scotland broke through but lost the ball only to return the clearance kick for a try. They moved the ball the full width of the pitch to find the space and it reinforces that the kick chase has to be fully across the pitch. Ireland were showing some offloading which was not part of the game plan before but setup field position for a judicious cross field kick to seal the game. Again this was a good performance by Scotland but not the result.

France got an early penalty but the young guns for England showed their worth as quick hands from Slade along with dancing feet from Watson got the opening try. Watson was at it again a couple of minutes later as good running lines and hands from all the backs released him again. France stayed in touch with a couple of penalties but England survived Burgess’s yellow card without incident. Soon after halftime England stretched their lead with a clever cross field kick to May and that was to prove enough. In the last half hour of the game France scored the only points with a line out maul whilst Clark was off for 10 minutes. Neither side was a full strength and this was used to give game time to the ring players. It will be interesting to see the sides then they meet again next week in Paris.

I really don’t understand why Boks were in white, it made it confusing to watch. There had already been a swapping of penalties before South Africa pounded away at Argentina’s line. They finally ran out of defenders and Habana dotted down. Then some poor tackling allowed South Africa to pick up their second on the half-hour mark. South Africa were showing attacking intent and happy to play with some width. Unfortunately the rest of the game was down to kicks at goal as South Africa kept the Pumas at arms length.

Currie Cup

Lions 44 – 27 Pumas
Blue Bulls 36 – 12 Griquas
Western Province 9 – 3 Cheetahs
Sharks 33 – 25 Eastern Province Kings

I’m not doing writes up on this one but including the results as I am running a prediction league on SuperBru.

ITM Cup

Southland 23 – 23 Auckland
Waikato 20 – 35 Tasman
Bay of Plenty 20 – 11 North Harbour
Taranaki 14 – 19 Wellington
Otago 24 – 38 Canterbury
Counties Manukau 36 – 35 Manawatu
Hawke’s Bay 39 – 10 Northland

I’m not doing writes up on this one but including the results as I am running a prediction league on SuperBru.

Prediction Leagues

Join in the predicting fun, I’m running leagues for the Currie CupITM Cup and NRC. Also enjoy the excitement of the up coming Rugby World Cup by joining the August Internationals and Rugby World Cup leagues as well.

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