Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wales and England fail, South Africa look like a bear trying to breakdance, and all too easy for Ireland

Craig Gilroy (picture

I started the weekend watching the Wales Samoa match, expecting to see Wales back in their groove. Well, if their groove is the inexorable slide to the bottom, they are firmly in position at the moment.  Samoa  are like an uncontrollable force of nature. They seriously need to sort their discipline out, and cut out the shoulder charges, swinging arms and high tackles. What they don’t need to sort out is their commitment, perfectly illustrated in the 73rd minute, just outside the Welsh 22, when the ball came unexpectedly out of a lose mall, and their number 10 Pisi came sprinting in and swan dived to claim the ball, like his life depended on it. Like his life depended on it. How many Welsh players could you say played like that. Samoa’s scrum was epic, how many points did they score from scrum penalties?Wales need to roll their sleeves up and learn to stuck in again – they are not exactly small guys,  but they are playing pretty timidly at the moment.

Next up was the England Wallabies match, where I though Australia were going to be eating humble pie. I think England are the one team the Aussies base their self esteem on- losing to New Zealand is not great, but losing to England is akin to a loss of manhood. So the Aussies played well then, and England basically didn’t. All that sniggering  before the match about the Australian front row was a bit off the mark. England areanother team that need a good kick up the arse. They could so badly do with Ben Fodden back, the one English back who can split defenses at will. Goode and Browne both looked workmanlike, Barrett and Tuilagi tackle well, but where are the offlads, the side steps, the running lines? The Aussie live to fight another day, while England have South Africa and New Zealand coming up. Gulp.

I recorded the Scotland South Africa and watched it with my finger hovering on and off the fast forward button. Let me tell you, that was by far the best way to watch it, for the brief flickers of excitement in between the grunt and toil. Last week, South Africa played badly in the first half, and well in the second. This week they mixed it up a bit, playing well in the first half, and badly in the second. Those crazy Springboks! They only have one game plan, which is 15 rather large gentlemen jumping on your head. They are trying to get a running game going, which at the moment looks like a bear trying to breakdance. Scotland scored one good try, defended well, and just need a bit of luck, and probably a better fly half to kick on and pick up another big scalp.

Ireland’s match was a bit of a letdown – not that we didn’t play well, and not that there weren’t some fine individual performances. Fiji, and their non appearance, was the problem. They looked they had better things to do, better places to be than at Thomond Park on a Saturday afternoon.  The Ulster backline – and Fergus McFadden – unleashed their full bag of tricks, with Gilroy, Marshall, Jackson and McFadden shining. After they ran in a few tries, I was hoping the game was going to settle down and we were going to see what their defence was like, but that never really happened. We could be looking at the bones of the next Ireland backline – but they are going to have to be tested by sterner attacks, and crack tighter defences before you could know that for certain.

Elsewhere, the all Blacks steamrollered the Italians, and probably the match of the weekend, France Argentina was on Setanta so I didn’t get to see it. Boo! Hopefully that Argentina’s loss softened them up nicely for next weekend.

International Match
Saturday , November 17
Italy 10 - 42 New Zealand 
England 14 - 20 Australia 
Scotland 10 - 21 South Africa 
France 39 - 22 Argentina 
Ireland A 53 - 0 Fiji 
Friday , November 16
Wales 19 - 26 Samoa 

No comments:

Post a Comment