The Rugby World Cup is getting closer but are some teams getting more questions than answers? Here’s my review of the weekends action.
Japan 30 – 8 Uruguay
Italy 12 – 16 Scotland
France 25 – 20 England
Canada 23 – 41 USA
2 from 4, this really is a bad sign for my Rugby World Cup predictions.
Japan landed a much needed win after a poor Pacific Nations Cup both on and off the pitch. This is one that they were expected to win being 5 places higher in the World Rankings and already had several games to warm up. But they really managed to dominate this one with an 80 meter attack straight from the kickoff. They continued like that but their execution was lacking. It was a confidence booster but have they really learnt much that they didn’t already get from the Asian 5 nations?
Scotland finally got a win that their performances have been promising. They played pragmatic kicking game and took and early lead via the boot. Even though Italy dominated possession and territory both sides were 9-9 at halftime. The second half was much more even with both sides struggling to score. Eventually Italy broke the deadlock with a penalty. Some lovely support and hands from broken play opened up Italy and Scotland scored the winning try. Another confidence booster which Scotland will need and Italy got a run out but will need to show more attacking threat.
Discipline was a real issue for England again this week. In the first half France punished England for that and led 15-6 at half time. If anything England were luck that they didn’t lost a player to the sin bin as well for a high tackle. Then a moment of skill from the French cut open the English defence then another penalty stretched the lead to 25-6. The game was over or so everybody thought except the English players. Suddenly a miss pass found Cipriani who showed skill to get over the line. Cipriani was involved again as good hands opened up a small gap out wide for JJ who put it away. Suddenly England were within a score but it was way too little too late. England need to sort out their discipline and France need to execute more of that attacking threat. Thankfully the Rugby World Cup isn’t in France after seeing the state of the pitch which was a disgrace. Finally Michalak became the top points scorer for France during the game.
Canada took an early 6 point lead via the boot but two moves off the back of scrums meant that the USA took Control to leaf 6-17 at the break. Canada got themselves back into it in the second half with 2 tries both after several phase as Canada showed goo ball retention. Getting within 4 was as good as it got as USA ran riot in the last 12 minutes scoring 3 tries to 1 and a convincing victory.
Toulon 22 – 27 Racing Metro 92
La Rochelle 6 – 44 Clermont Auvergne
Bordeaux Begles 19 – 16 Castres
Grenoble 38 – 23 Agen
Montpellier 35 – 19 US Oyonnax
Toulouse 24 – 7 Brive
Stade Francais 34-18 Section Paloise
Eastern Province Kings 13 – 15 Pumas
Griquas 9 – 31 Cheetahs
Sharks 16 – 31 Lions
Blue Bulls 47 – 29 Western Province
Tasman 34 – 13 Bay of Plenty
Manawatu 21 – 28 Waikato
Northland 18 – 27 Southland
Otago 22 – 39 Hawke’s Bay
Auckland 30 – 24 Taranaki
Canterbury 20 – 15 Counties Manukau
Brisbane City 29 – 16 Perth Spirit
North Harbour Rays 29 – 45 Sydney Stars
Greater Sydney Rams 31 – 32 NSW Country Eagles
Queensland Country 31 – 39 Melbourne Rising