Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ireland falter again Springboks (Can I kick it? Yes you can!) get a win, and Wales on fire

Where's Geordan? (Picture from )

Saturday , August 20
Wales 28 - 13 Argentina 
Scotland 23 - 12 Italy 
Ireland 22 - 26 France
Ireland France
What a pleasure after seeing the Boks kick everything, to see Ireland passing and running so freely. They started like a house on fire, and were good value for their 8-0 lead after Healy scored a try after a series of attacks. After that try though, things went distinctly pear shaped, and it was foul up bleeps and blunders central.  We seemed to kick quite often, and poorly, drop the ball and pass to no one in particular. That let France back into the game, and their confidence grew, the trys came, and they built up a handy lead. When we gifted them an intercept try the game was all over. What is it about Ireland and finishing strongly though? They started to click again in the last 10 minutes, and we fully deserved our two trys at the end. Who had good matches? Sean O’Brien made ground, Fitzgerald had a good break, Trimble continued his strong run of form, the front row was solid, and O’Connell is getting back to his best. Looking Iffy – O’Leary, who passed much better but made some real howlers too, and it wasn’t  Earls finest hour either. Felix Jones did fine until he went off injured, but really, where’s Geordan?
France meanwhile, have all the tools at their disposal, but Lievremont will no doubt still find a way to stuff it up. O from 3 is obviously not an ideal start for Ireland – I suppose we can only get better, just feel like we’re neeearly there, maybe once all the changes stop happening we’ll hit our straps.

Springboks New Zealand
So the Boks eventually open their 2011 account against a B All Black team. For the first 20 minutes, it looked like it was going to be a walkover, as the All Blacks shredded the Bok defense. But a combination of good scrambling defense, utter desperation, and a lack of composure in the last 5 meters by the AB’s meant that somehow the Boks survived, won a bit of ground, kicked a few penalties and hung in there, building up a lead against the run of play. They still look rusty as hell, and to say their play is one dimensional, is a vast overstatement of their dimensionality. Can I kick it? Yes you can! The only time Jaques Fourie touched the ball was when an All Black passed it to him. Fourie du Preez looks way off the pace, but they had a few bright lights, Bismarchk du Plessis was awesome, they had a very solid scrum, Heinrich Brussow is back big time, and Habana looks to be back into the groove. For the AB’s Slade had a few good touches, a few bad touches, and if Carter gets injured they’re shagged. Dagg was good in flashes, as was Kahui, but even the All Blacks can’t throw together untested combinations and expect them to click straight away.
Wales Argentina
This was an excellent game. Argentina were tough as teak, and dominated the first part of the game with both territory and possession. They had hardly anything to show for it though, and at the first opportunity presented to them,  Wales scored a try. they look sharp fit, and ready for the World Cup, they got better and better as the game wore on, while the Argies got steadily worse.  Stand out players for me were Knoyles, and Alun-Wyn Jones is in the form of his life. Nicolas Vergallo looked sharp for Argentina. Lee Byrne looks off the pace, as he would with such a long lay off.  The good times for Wales continue!
South Africa 18 - 5 New Zealand

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