Weekend Rugby Review – 28 November

We had another wonderful weekend of rugby as this year will go down as 1 of the best for November Internationals. We also had Aviva Premiership and Pro12 action, here’s my round-up of it all.

Men’s Internationals

French Barbarians 19 – 11 Australia
Canada 23 – 25 Samoa
Italy 17 – 19 Tonga
Japan 25 – 38 Fiji
England 27 – 14 Argentina
Scotland 43 – 16 Georgia
Ireland 27 – 24 Australia
Wales 27 – 13 South Africa
France 19 – 24 New Zealand

Germany 36 – 14 Brazil
Romania 36 – 10 Uruguay

8 from 11, the Pacific Island teams did better than I was expecting.

The Pacific Island sides had a great finish to the November internationals with them all winning. The game of note was clearly Tonga’s win over Italy for the only T2 win over a T1 nation in the window. Especially after Italy beat South Africa last weekend this a great boost for the game over there. We should also note Fiji’s win over Japan as we see Japan and Georgia as the sides challenging for inclusion in a T1 competition and shows that the game in the second tier is competitive and healthy on the pitch.

England continued their unbeaten run with a win over a tired Argentinean side who have racked up nearly 100K miles of flights this year. Thank you to the Eggchasers podcast for that nugget. That England achieved this after losing a player in the first 5 minutes is especially impressive. It required a big shift to cover that gap especially by Brown and May.  We saw this with 8 players making 10 or more tackles whist none did on the Argentinean side.

Scotland capped another good Autumn with a big win over Georgia but the real question is if they can carry this into the 6 Nations. We have seen them go well at this time of year several times only to regress a couple of months later. Georgia missed an opportunity to lay a larger claim to be included in the 6 Nations.

Ireland showed that they have developed some depth and can cope with the loss of players such as Sexton. Their 3 point win brings a halt to the Wallabies hope of claiming a grand slam.

Wales won the battle of the poor sides of the Autumn. Their coaching staff appear delusional saying everything is good as they won 3 out of 4 games but their performances were poor. The only side in more trouble are the Springboks. They lost here with many changes to the side and as continuity breads success this was a panicked called. There are calls for reviews when they get home and this story will run for sometime yet.

The All Blacks completed a successful year but the story here was how France managed to keep with their old style that we have seen over the last couple of games. It’s encouraging to see France regain their style of old and throw the ball around more rather than trying to just bash it up through their forwards.

Germany and Romania both completed successful windows of games and we still are waiting on a plan to grow the game in Europe with so many emerging nations doing well.

Women’s Internationals

England 39 – 6 Canada
New Zealand 38 – 8 Ireland
Spain 15 – 10 Scotland
France 31 – 6 USA

New Zealand cement themselves at the top of the World Rankings with a good series of games. England climbed above Canada to claim second place with victory this weekend.

Spain claimed a place in the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 that will be hosted in Ireland by beating Scotland in both of their 2 leg playoff games.

A big thank you to Women’s Rugby Comp for these updates, follow them @WomRugbyComp on Twitter.

Aviva Premiership

Bristol 16 – 21 Leicester Tigers
Northampton Saints 16 – 22 Newcastle Falcons
Exeter Chiefs 57 – 22 Worcester Warriors
Saracens 24 – 20 Gloucester Rugby
Wasps 34 – 24 Sale Sharks
Harlequins 21 – 20 Bath

4 from 6, I didn’t see Falcons and Quins winning.

Saracens maintained their lead at the top of the table but Wasps jumped over Bath into second. Leicester and Exeter maintained their chase of the top 3. Quins got back into the top half of teh table at the expense of Saints who had a player red carded in their loss to Newcastle. Newcastle’s good season continues and sees them on the same points as Sale and Gloucester. Warriors are now 8 points adrift of that pack and Bristol are a further 6 points back.

Pro12

Scarlets 38 – 29 Leinster
Glasgow Warriors 5 – 22 Ospreys
Connacht Rugby 18 – 7 Cardiff Blues
Munster 46 – 3 Benetton Treviso
Newport Gwent Dragons 27 – 19 Edinburgh

4 from 5, Zebre seem to be jinxed this season with their second game cancelled.

Ulster v Zebre was called off for a frozen pitch and as we aren’t into the coldest par to the year yet that has to be worrying for Ulster. That’s the second time a game involving Zebre has been called off this season with the first making it to half-time before torrential rain caused the abandonment.

Munster climbed above Leinster to top the table and the Welsh revival is apparent with Ospreys in third followed by Scarlets in fourth. Scarlets have been especially impressive as it looked early on that they would be in the bottom half of the table this season. Glasgow slip out of the top 4 and with Ulster having a game in hand could fall further. The Italian sides still hold the bottom 2 spots.

#RugbyChat

Join the #RugbyChat on twitter for an hour of discussion about the action this weekend. If you can’t make the hour then you can still give your view as the conversation keeps going over the following day.

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