Weekend Rugby Review – 2 November

Wow what a rugby world cup final! But that wasn’t the only rugby this weekend, here is my review of it all.

Rugby World Rugby

South Africa 24 – 13 Argentina
New Zealand 34 – 17 Australia

2 from 2, a nice way to finish.

Argentina picked up an early yellow card and Boks took full advantage with ten points. Boks maintained their discipline and defence so that they snuffed out the Pumas first breaks and didn’t give up easy points. A couple more kicked led to a 16 point half-time lead. Pumas managed an early drop goal but South Africa came straight back with a second try. That showed their control of the game and they kept Pumas at arms length and a try as time ran out was little consolation but won more fans.

New Zealand came out with plenty of physicality and it doesn’t matter how good you are at the breakdown, if you’re going backwards your job is harder. This yielded an early penalty but Australia pulled it back with a penalty of their own even though they had little ball. Carter knocked over another couple of penalties but it looked like the All Blacks weren’t going to get reward for their first half dominance. Then the break through player of the year booted down out wide to give a 13 point half-time lead. An early Nonu try in the second half looked to have put the game to bed. But a Ben Smith yellow card helped them get back into the game. Two tries pulled them back within four points but the All Blacks showed their class. They went down the pitch and Cater knocked over a very good drop goal followed up by a penalty to seal the game. A breakaway try at the end was icing on the cake.

Aviva Premiership

Saracens 24 – 14 London Irish
Bath 28 – 38 Harlequins
Gloucester Rugby 24 – 22 Worcester Warriors
Newcastle Falcons 3 – 41 Exeter Chiefs
Sale Sharks 20 – 13 Northampton Saints
Leicester Tigers 24 – 16 Wasps

4 from 6, I like many others didn’t pick the two upsets.

Saracens took an early lead through the boot of Farrell that would go on to win the game. For all their territorial and possession dominance Saracens couldn’t capitalise and a converted try by Irish gave them a halftime lead. In the second half Saracens got the lead back when Irish lost a player to the bin and they grabbed a try. A second one when Irish were just back to 15 sealed the game. Irish picked up a consolation try but that won’t make their poor start to the season any easier to live with.

Discipline and Evans boot decided this one, in the first half Evans knocked over 4 goals but Bath managed a 1 point halftime lead through an Eastmond Try and Foods boot. In the second half Bath kept on giving up penalties within kicking range and Evans knocked them over. A couple of tries stretched out a wining lead and two tries in the last five minutes for Bath were far too little too late.

Warriors put up a massive fighting effort to push Gloucester all the way. In the first half Gloucester pulled away only for Warriors to fight back. Warriors discipline though was letting Gloucester to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Though missing their conversions let Warriors stay in the competition and even lead at one point. Gloucester’s half time lead was wiped out by a third Worcester try but they couldn’t hold on as the 150 tackles told in the end. Van Velze, Dowson and Cox all put in big shifts and it was another precious LBP towards survival.

Falcons scored first but it was their only score and after that they received a lesson in clinical rugby. Exeter racked up 5 tries in the first half securing the TBP along the way. Unsurprisingly the second half didn’t live up to the first and it wasn’t until after the hour mark that they added some more points. The game was well won by then so it didn’t matter.

Sale pulled off a major win that started out as a kicking dual as both sides picked up a couple of penalties. Sale managed to break the deadlock with a well worked try just before halftime. Another just after the break gave them the all important two score lead. Saints had the upper hand but Sale held out making 50 more tackles.

Tigers continued their good start to the season as Owen Williams got the start at 10 due to injury. Again Tigers are having to cope with injuries and we can only wait and see how much they get impacted. This weekend they go an early try and then kept themselves ahead through the boot of Williams. A yellow card in the second half for Wasps allowed them to get their second try and seek the win. A late try for Wasps added some respectability to the score line but little else.

NRC

Brisbane City 21 – 10 University of Canberra Vikings

Brisbane have been the pace setters all season and end it as unbeaten champions.

Pro12

Munster 32 – 28 Ulster
Scarlets 25 – 15 Newport Gwent Dragons
Zebre 26 – 15 Cardiff Blues
Connacht Rugby 14 – 9 Edinburgh
Glasgow Warriors 31 – 19 Ospreys
Benetton Treviso 3 – 27 Leinster

This is one that I write predictions and full reviews for but I am running a prediction league. Currently I’m 14th out of over 5,400 people, well happy with that!

Scarlets are unbeaten at the top of the table with the 4 Irish provinces chasing behind. Zebre have pulled away from the bottom of the table with two wins but Treviso are still looking for their first win.

Top 14

US Oyonnax 42 – 23 Section Paloise
Agen 28 – 23 Stade Francais
Bordeaux Begles 21 – 16 La Rochelle
Racing Metro 92 17 – 14 Brive
Montpellier 25 – 33 Toulouse
Clermont Auvergne 42 – 13 Castres
Grenoble 33 – 29 Toulon

Clermont are still top of the table even though Racing have won 1 more game. The bottom of the table is very tight with 6 teams within 4 points before there’s a gap to Toulon.

Prediction Leagues

The European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup start soon, I’ll be posting my predictions and reviews of all rounds. Click on the competition to join in the predicting fun.

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