Thursday, September 12, 2013

" I will take the ugliest win in the history of the game as long as we can win."

 Aaron Smith (picture

A major distraction this week ahead of the great games coming up on the weekend, is the future of the Heineken Cup. The French clubs, in particular are flexing their muscles, and the English aren’t too far behind. Pretty ironic when the French clubs in particular didn’t seem that bothered to make an effort in the competition for years and years.  Just making clear it’s our straw, and don’t forget it! And quite convenient to sideline in particular the Irish clubs who’ve won it 5 times in the last 10 years. No doubt some deal will be hammered out and in fairness, a merit based qualification does make sense. Anyway, we’ll always to be able to say that WE won it when it was still a proper competition!

Meanwhile, Leinster continue their campaign against the Ospreys on Saturday at the RDS.  The big news for Leinster is the arrival of Lote Tequiri, to provide more backline cover.  I suppose that means we’ve replaced Isa Nacewa and Andrew Goodman with Tequiri and Zane Kirchener. I think we have pretty good cover now, especially when we have utility players like Fergus McFadden available.  Can we kick Welsh arse two weeks in a row?

The Ospreys started with a pretty strong 15 last week, and had various Lions and Welsh stars to come off the bench. They’re always a potent side, and we’ll have to bring our A game to beat them. They seem to struggle with Leinster though, and not play to their potential. Long may it last! I’m going with a decent home win.

Munster should notch up an easy win over Zebre, while UIster have to bounce back against a tough Glasgow side – they have the players, they just need to do the business, but I think they will this week. Jarred Payne spending a bit more time at 10? Just  saying. Connacht will find it tough, but maybe not impossible against the Blues. Parks is a points machine, watch out Cardiff!

Saturday morning will see me vegging out in front of the TV all morning. The All Blacks V the Springboks, followed by Australia V the Pumas. Yes please!

The Boks have an unchanged side, pretty impressive continuity and some luck with injuries. The All Blacks change 5, Nonu is back, Cane for McCaw, Messam comes in for Luatua. They are a bit worried about his match, the New Zealanders. They think they can be beaten, and that doesn’t happen too often.  The best quote I’ve seen is from SA coach Heyneke Meyer. "I am really happy we can score tries but on Saturday I will just take a one point win as well. I will take the ugliest win in the history of the game as long as we can win." Got to love him for the honesty! Shutting  Aaron Smith down is the key for the Boks. I still think the AB’s will win, despite the big raps on the Boks, but it won’t be in dignified fashion!

Australia are all over the place for the visit of the Pumas. Genia is benched, he’s looked tired and under pressure, and no surprise behind a crumbling pack.  That pack has to stand up and be counted on Saturday, anyway, anyhow, otherwise it’s going to be a horrible horrible day for Australian rugby. And the momentum is all with Argentina, even if I don’t like the way they’ve rejigged their team, I still think this is going to be their day.

RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , September 13
Zebre vs Munster 18:30
Ulster vs Glasgow 19:05
Cardiff Blues vs Connacht 19:05
Edinburgh vs Newport Gwent D'gons 19:45
Saturday , September 14
Leinster vs Ospreys 18:15
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso 18:30
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 14
New Zealand vs South Africa 08:35
Australia vs Argentina 11:05

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