Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ireland and Australia roar home, the All Blacks squeak in!

 4 March 2014; Ireland's Iain Henderson after a press conference ahead of their side's RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship match against Italy on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Press Conference, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
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Ireland put Argentina away fairly easily in the end, it wasn’t a complete performance, they butchered a few chances, and gave the Argentineans way to much space sometimes, but for a second string side, it’ll do. Iain Henderson was my MOTM, he was everywhere, and doing good things too. Robbie Diack had a solid game, as did Darren Cave, there’s a bit of settling in of the combinations, but that’ll come. Zebo worked really hard, and great for Marmion and Ah You to get their first caps. Argentina couldn’t oftenput the phases together to threaten, and their discipline is poor. But they’ll step up again next week no doubt.

First up Saturday was New Zealand taking on a weakened England side. Turns out it was just a well for the All Blacks they were playing a B team, otherwise they wouldn’t have escaped with an unconvincing win, where a draw would surely have been the fair result. England matched them physically, and found gaps in their defense they are going to have to plug in a hurry. Ma’a Nonu, looks past his sell by date, Brodie Retallick made far more telling mid field breaks. I’m really looking forward to the second test, where there are going to be some interesting choices for Stuart Lancaster, with a lot of in form players.

France surrendered as only the French can do, apart from a few flashes from Chouly and Fofana, it was a forgettable day at the office for them. Having said that, Morgan Parra put them on the front foot immediately when he came on , and with a bit more talent to start next week, they might not completely disgrace themselves. For Australia, Israel Folau must rub himself in Vaseline pre match, he was nearly impossible to tackle or grab hold off. Looks like the Wallabies are back.

The Sprinboks dished out a heavy defeat in the end to a World 15, even if the visitors had the upper hand in the first 20 minutes. The Bok scrum needs a bit of work, but I’m amazed at the skills that players like Bakkies have come back with from Europe, he could take Nonu’s place in centre tomorrow! Calling up all their overseas players means that the Springboks now have a pretty staggering wealth of players to choose from.

Finally, Scotland got the Cotter win off to a good start with a win over the USA. They’ve always had the pack, but add in players like Hogg and Visser, a solid looking 10 in Finn Russell, and things are looking up for Scotland.

Saturday , June 7
Australia 50 - 23 France 
New Zealand 20 - 15 England 
Argentina 17 - 29 Ireland 
South Africa 47 - 13 World XV 
USA  6 - 24  Scotland 

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