Craig Gilroy (picture http://bit.ly/T55CUc)
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.
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