We have had another weekend of packed action as we build towards the Rugby World Cup. Here’s my round-up of the action.
Japan 40 – 0 Uruguay
Ireland 10 – 16 Wales
Scotland 48 – 7 Italy
2 from 3, not many people picked Wales beating Ireland.
Japan dominated this one as the score would suggest. Uruguay didn’t help themselves picking up a yellow card in the first 5 minutes. After that Japan scored at will often managing to use quick hands to create the overlap but also there were a couple of tries from broken play. That’s two wins to make the camp much happier after a mixed Pacific Nations Cup.
The Ireland Wales game was one where defences dominated. Wales were on top initially backing up a penalty with a mass maul to drive over for a try. Ireland quickly pulled back a penalty and then struck on halftime. A tap penalty was recycled and one of their locks powered through a couple of players to score and make it 10-10 at half time. The second half saw very little scoring as both sides defensive lines were resolute. Ireland did have the upper hand of possession and territory but their discipline let them down and two kickable penalties were all that Halfpenny needed to win the game. It’s interesting and rare to see a team kick more than Ireland but that’s what happened here in what wasn’t an exciting game to watch.
After 8 months without a win Scotland claimed two back to back. Scotland dominated this game from the start against what was a poor Italian side. The opening try came from a cross field chip, which unusually was from the middle of the park so not that much width to play with. Around that Scotland build their lead with three penalties earning them the right to be more expansive later. Italy did pull try back from a ship over the top but even that was a scramble as players tried to grab the ball. Scotland then stretched out their lead with another try just before half trim from the maul to lead 23-7. In the second half Scotland grabbed another try as they pounded the line then a big miss pass created space outside of the winger to go over. I then lost a little track but there were at least a couple of interceptions tries as Italy tried to chase the game but it was long gone.
World Cup Warmup Games
Canada 19 – 12 Glasgow
Barbarians 27 – 24 Samoa
Newcastle Falcons 27 – 7 Georgia
Nottingham 14 – 69 Tonga
It’s been difficult trying to keep track of all the rugby that’s been going on but I did get to see Barbarians v Samoa. There was a lot of the kind of rugby you would expect from these two sides. But I think that moment that Samoa’s World Cup opponents will have noticed is the red card. You rarely see punches thrown at this level because players know they will get sent off and I think that the Samoans can expect teams to try to get under their skin after seeing this punch after only 14 minutes. In the end the experienced Baabaas just had too much for the 14 Islanders.
Clermont Auvergne 25 – 6 Grenoble
Agen 9 – 20 Toulouse
US Oyonnax 37 – 19 Bordeaux Begles
Racing Metro 20 – 19 La Rochelle
Section Paloise 26 – 16 Montpellier
Brive 22 – 13 Stade Francais
Castres 24 – 9 Toulon
We are only two games in but already Clermont, Toulouse and Racing top the table. At the other end Toulon have surprisingly lost their two opening games.
Cheetahs 28 – 21 Western Province
Pumas 11 – 41 Lions
Griquas 32 – 46 Blue Bulls
Eastern Province Kings 20 – 24 Sharks
The Lions and Blue Bulls are both undefeated so far this season and the Kings and Griquas are looking for their first win.
Bay of Plenty 26 – 10 Southland
Tasman 41 – 21 Manawatu
Counties Manukau 11 – 35 Hawke’s Bay
Auckland 21 – 27 Canterbury
Taranaki 27 – 34 Otago
Wellington 29 – 0 Northland
Bay of Plenty 10 – 43 Waikato
Southland 25 – 26 North Harbour
Tasman are topping the Premiership with Canterbury close on their tails. In the Championship Hawke’s Bay lead Wellington by one point.
Sydney Stars 50 – 40 Queensland Country
Melbourne Rising 21 – 45 Brisbane City
NSW Country Eagles 13 – 37 University of Canberra Vikings
Perth Spirit 26 – 45 North Harbour Rays
We are only 2 rounds in and with teams missing some rounds it’s hard to draw any conclusions. However Brisbane City and Sydney Stars have two wins so far.