Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tri Nations 2011 kicks off - 1st round of the wooden spoon battle?

Tri Nations Preview

State of the Nations


Up until last weekend, when the Samoans made merry with their reputation, I would have said the Wallabies were in pretty good nick, with a Reds Super 15 title in their midst, and the Waratahs also having had a decent season. What a difference a week in rugby makes (to borrow a phrase)! Again, to borrow a phrase, they completely ‘misunderestimated’ the Samoans, and overestimated their own abilities. Last week’s Wallaby offering was a cross between an 2nd team, a 3rd team , and that mangy dog that lives out of dustbins. This week, apparently, they are putting out their ‘A’ team. Prospects for winning the 3N – pretty dodgy.

New Zealand

New Zealand are always the 400 gorilla in the black corner, it’s not about beating them, but trying to lose by at little as possible. Are Australia and South Africa going to mount a serious challenge to their 3N title? Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. No.

Prospects for winning the 3N – excellent

South Africa

The Bok’s decision to send a B/C team over to Australasia effectively scuppers their chances of winning any away matches. They will have other excuses for losing their home matches.

Prospects for winning the 3N – slim to none

Australia vs South Africa

It’s old news that the Wallabies made a right bollocks of their preparation for this match by losing to Samoa. That’s one better than the Boks though, who haven’t played any warm up matches, and have no idea at present how bad they are. They face an underwhelming Australian scrum, and a backline that has world class elements in it. I wouldn’t really put Pat Mccabe in that category though, I’d rather have seen Fainga'a in there, or heresy after I dissed him last week, Giteau. Does Cooper have enough to work off him outside him? He didn’t really have his best match against the Crusaders when they put him under pressure, and he is sure to have the odd large Springbok strolling over his head.

The Bok scrum is adequate but not exciting with John Smit the only world class(ish) player, while their backline has pace to burn – Aplon, Basson and Mvovo are all seriously fast. I wouldn’t be scared to be tackled by any of them though, or rely on any of them to catch high balls. And we have Steyn and Olivier in mid field with all the creativity of a plank, so they are going to need to throw Lambie on if they can’t win it on penalties. Even then, there are no settled combinations, so it could come off swimmingly – or go horribly wrong.


If the Wallabies don’t win this one, their World Cup chances are fecked, and Ireland are looking good in their World Cup group. But they will beat this ragtag bunch of Boks, probably by a good margin.

South Africa: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 Juan De Jongh, 12 Wynand Oliver, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Danie Rossouw, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Johann Muller, 4 Flip Van Der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 John Smit (c), 1 Dean Greyling.

Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 CJ Van Der Linde, 18 Alistair Hargreaves, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Adrian Jacobs, 22 Patrick Lambie.

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.

Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Pekahou Cowan, 18 Nathan Sharpe, 19 Matt Hodgson, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Anthony Fainga'a

Sat - 23rd Jul 11 11:00 Australia vs South Africa

Sat - 30th Jul 11 08:35 New Zealand vs South Africa

Sat - 6th Aug 11 08:35 New Zealand vs Australia

Sat - 13th Aug 11 16:05 South Africa vs Australia

Sat - 20th Aug 11 16:05 South Africa vs New Zealand

Sat - 27th Aug 11 11:05 Australia vs New Zealand

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