Rugby Union 2013 Thread

Discussion in 'Sports and Fitness' started by Jono, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    Good news about Wellington. Here's hoping there'll be no more drama on that front.

    No doubt the SA authorities would claim the 5pm starts are "family friendly" or some such drivel. More likely it suits the local broadcasters - and Europe as well - and those of us in the cool part of the world are irrelevant. Not that I'm cynical or anything, of course.
     
  2. NCC1701

    NCC1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Pretty much yeah. On the injury front both Cruden and Barrett are ruled out for at least two weeks, Colin Slade and Tom Taylor have both been called into the All Blacks squad to take over the number 10 jersey. I'd be surprised if Hansen gave Taylor the starting spot though seeing as it will be his first test match if he makes an appearance, so I'd say Slade will play his first international match since the World Cup quarter final against Argentina two years ago.
     
  3. NCC1701

    NCC1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Turns out I'm wrong, Tom Taylor starts at flyhalf for Saturday night with Slade on the bench, which is extra surprising because it will be only his second turn at flyhalf this year, the only other time was during a Crusaders training match so provided McKenzie sticks with Toomua it will be test rookie vs test rookie. Tony Woodcock will start his 100th test as well and Dane Coles gets Keven Mealamu's bench spot this week, and Charles Piatau takes over Ryan Crotty's bench utility position with Taylor able to move out of position later in the match if required.
     
  4. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Only one change for the Wallabies and it's a forced one with McMeniman out injured, Fardy starts at 6 and Douglas joins the bench.

    Glad to see McKenzie stick with the team, blooding a new team against a team that has been clearly ahead of everyone for the last few years always has that risk of getting ugly. It will be interesting to see if they can pick themselves up and how they deal with the cauldron of a pretty completely hostile crowd.

    Save the ABs imploded the Wallabies shouldn't win this game, but the important thing is whether we see improvements. We need to see a better defensive effort, a bit more ball control (a few less pushed offloads), a more consistent effort at the breakdown, and less errors in the scrum. I guess I could have summed that up with "less errors".
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
  5. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    McKenzie really hasn't got anywhere else to go, other than the human turnstile and a few others who aren't long term options (eg. Mitchell), and one swallow doesn't make a summer - last week was horrible but unless there's a total blowout it shouldn't get much worse (I hope).

    Dumb errors have been a "feature" of Australian rugby for far too long. It doesn't seem likely that they'll go away in a week, but the defensive effort must improve or there'll be another disaster regardless of who the All Blacks have at 10.
     
  6. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Beale has officially signed with the Tahs (probably the least surprising news since...something really unsurprising). It will be interesting to see where he slots into the team and whether the Tahs coach tries to continue with him at 10 or if he'll be fighting with Folau over fullback. The latter will be especially interesting if Folau spends some time at fullback for the Wallabies and does well.
     
  7. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    :sigh:

    A slight improvement - on the scoreboard, at least - but ultimately more of the same. Basically all the ABs have to do is turn up and wait for the stupid errors. They don't even have to play half-decently.

    Having said that, it never ceases to amaze me how simple they make rugby seem, whereas so often we make it look like raising the Titanic or building a space shuttle from scratch or something.

    Congrats to NZ. Eleven years and counting.
     
  8. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There was no doubt that NZ would wrap it up, but they still had to turn up and make sure of it, which they did. Save for a rush of blood to spread it quickly off a win against the throw at lineout time they should have kept their try line intact. Never looked really troubled.

    Good thing is there is two weeks until they face SA. The set piece needs a lot of attention. The lineout was a bit shaky, particularly after Mowen went off. NZ adapted well to the new scrum laws, the Wallabies didn't look like they picked up any lessons from the previous week and need to work on providing a better platform.

    No doubt given where the game against the Boks is expect a big QLD push for Cooper to start at 10 to being tomorrow.
     
  9. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Smashed by the Boks. Absolutely smashed. Terrible night for the country on and off the field.
     
  10. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    I don't even know what to say about that...effort hardly seems appropriate, as there was very little effort from anyone in a gold jumper.

    All credit to South Africa, but we were so dire it must have felt like a training run for them.
     
  11. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No surprise in the team announcement that Genia has been shifted to the bench. All could see he was off. Nic White starts after having about a dozen minutes in test rugby, not his fault as Deans never brought him on during the very tight Wales series last year and McKenzie has only taken Genia off with a few minutes left in the game. Mowen will captain.

    The prop rotation continues with Alexander on for Kepu with the only change in the team being Kuridrani coming onto the bench for Mogg. Apart from that its all the same from last week.

    Hard to see it as anything but a very close game given the Wallabies form and how competitive the Pumas have been in their last two. Travel might be a factor for the Pumas as they have been around the world in the last 3 weeks.
     
  12. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    Honestly, I'm pleased to see Genia benched. Whatever's going on with him, he's been very ordinary this year and seeing him take up the hideous Gregan-esque two-steps-and-pass routine has been awful. It's a shame Cooper wasn't dumped as well but I suppose we can't have everything.

    The forwards really, really have to get their act together or we face further humiliation. McKenzie's bullshit about "dumbing down" his game plan (there's been a plan??) is all very well but no one can do anything without the football and the forwards have to start securing it. Of course, Cooper will throw one of his stupid no-look passes and give it away again pretty much immediately but regardless, the forwards have to step up or we're screwed.
     
  13. NCC1701

    NCC1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Tight game as expected against the Pumas last weekend, the rain certainly didn't help but at least it wasn't as windy when we played them in Wellington last year, 28-13 at full time, we also lost McCaw at the worst possible time with the Springboks looming this weekend at Eden Park. After the trouncing they gave the Wallabies last weekend it's gonna take an epic effort to win tomorrow night, Liam Messam, Sam Cane and Ma'a Nonu are all coming back into the team and for Cane especially it will be the biggest night of his career so far.

    As for the Wallabies, damn, they have a lot to work on if they wanna win third place from the Pumas this year!
     
  14. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    It's mildly annoying that I won't see the All Blacks - South Africa game. Quite frankly, I'd rather watch it; if SA play as well as they did against us it should be quite a contest.
     
  15. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Said it would be close and you don't get much closer than 1 point, Wallabies 14 - 13 over the Pumas. The game was at Perth, but I wouldn't be surprised if they said it was actually at Wellington given how wet and windy it was. Leal missed 3 kicks, but they were tough against the conditions, which helped keep hearts in throats until the very end. A wins a win and at least the Wallabies don't have to have the ignominy of not wining at home.

    It was an improved performance. The forwards stood up and there was a more consistent defence of the ruck and very good contesting against the Pumas. Lineout went away towards the end, and the scrum was patchy, which is actually an improvement.

    Pretty decent game across the park from everyone. Fardy was again probably the stand out for the forwards. White showed enough to say he will be a good backup or stand in for Genia. Folua showed a bit more range with some decent kicking and his strength to score the try was what we've come to expect. Cooper was again average, but wasn't bad (no intercept passes for a change).

    Two weeks break until the Wallabies get to go to SA to be thumped by the Boks. Didn't see that game but it was on while I was packing away stuff and I heard the red card against the Boks. Bit of a shame for that to happen, but going down 29 - 15 even with that is a pretty respectable result. Also heard Carter got another injury, so that would have been disruptive for the ABs as well. Their game over in SA is going to be a belter.
     
  16. NCC1701

    NCC1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, the match was ruined shortly after half time after Bismark du Plessis received his second yellow card and thus a red as well, meaning we were playing a 14-man Springbok side for the rest of the match. Not to worry as the All Blacks seemed determined to play with as few players as possible in the last 10 minutes, with Keiran Read sent off for a professional foul in the NZ 22 - what the fuck was he thinking? - and Ma'a Nonu committing a late shoulder charge on Jean de Villiers - double what the fuck was he thinking? The man seems determined to try and be sent off in as many matches as possible this year, might have something to do with the rumoured move to France as no NZ franchise wants to touch him with a 10 foot pole anymore - nevertheless we got through on top even after losing Dan Carter early in the first half and Israel Dagg at the start of the second, not to mention Julian Savea failing the concussion test late in the second half and Sam Cane coming off to go to the blood bin about three times. All tries except Patrick Lambie's late in the second half were scored by forwards for a change, 29-15 at full time.

    Australia managed to scrape past an Argentine side that just seemed to be going through the motions, the famous South American scrum seemed to be held at bay by the Aussie forward pack remarkably enough, way too many errors from both sides to be celebrating anything though, 14-13 at full time.
     
  17. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    White and Hooper aside, I thought we were pretty ordinary, actually. The defence came good (not before time) - it was a remarkable effort to keep Argentina at bay as long as we did - but otherwise I can't say I was impressed. The scrum was ordinary and got worse when the replacements came on and while the forwards lifted their collective game in general play they need to perform at scrum time.

    It certainly wasn't a performance that any other major international side is going to be concerned about, and does nothing to convince me that significant improvement will happen any time soon.

    I liked the look of White. There was none of the hesitation that's been so apparent in Genia's game this year - no two-or-three-steps-then-pass nonsense, just clearing the ball and keeping the momentum going (until someone stuffed up). He overdid the kicking at times but as run-on debuts go, that was impressive.

    Cooper actually made a proper, legitimate tackle at one stage, which was one of the more extraordinary sights I've ever seen in a rugby game. Of course he was swatted aside like a bug for the rest of the game and did pretty much nothing, but nothing new there. He has to go.

    Really not looking forward to our return encounters with either SA or Argentina.


    Seems as though the Test across the ditch was...err...interesting. That return bout should be a beauty.
     
  18. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And the Brumbies lose another head coach...Jake White has apparently asked for a release from the final two years of his contract. Not clear as to why yet, but he has made it clear he wants to be a national coach again and I wonder if he's got something lined up.

    Not thrilled by the news and how un-thrilled I am will depend on the reasons behind his leaving. At the very least I can be happy with the fact he is leaving the place better off than when he arrived.

    Oh, and Ewen has made several changes for the game this weekend. Horwill (returning from injury) and Tomane (replacing JOC) come in which isn't a surprise, nor is Robinson (in for Scott Sio) on the bench (only surprise might be him not starting). Bit of an extra shuffle in the backs with Cummins also injured, so AAC is on the wing and Kuridrani starting his first game at outside centre. Also some new guy on the bench, who I'm sure is a QLD Red, but too lazy to look up his name right now. There will be some surprise over a non-change with Nic White starting again and Genia on the bench.

    Hoping that like the second AB game it will be a bit closer, though with it more to do with Wallaby improvement rather than opposition being off.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  19. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    The White thing is a bit of an eye-opener. He made a lot of noise at one stage about seeing out his contract, doing what he wanted to do there, other jobs weren't in the equation until he'd done those things etc etc - and now this. If it's really about spending time with his family at home in SA, that's reasonable and understandable. If it's some sort of dummy spit about not getting the Wallaby gig...well, that's another matter. Ultimately, the truth of the matter really isn't any of anyone's business anyway. It does give McKenzie a level of security that, so far, he hasn't even begun to earn. That part's somewhat unfortunate.

    I really, really hope O'Connor never wears a Wallaby jumper again.

    Robinson shouldn't have been dropped in the first place but his return is a bit of a surprise (to me, anyway). How the other changes work out remains to be seen. I hope we have a go and it isn't another embarrassing blowout.
     
  20. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    SA won comfortably 28 - 8 after going into half-time 23 - 3 up. Looking at just this you could think the Wallabies had a better second half as it was 5-all, but really they didn't have that much of a better second half as South Africa played half of the second half a man down in the forwards. In fact there were 4 cards, 2 to each and both losing a man in either half, though the SA first half card was at the cusp of half time so they went the first 9 minutes of the second without a player.

    The Wallabies did score a try, but it was a mix of decent vision from Cooper for a long kick to his winger and a very lax SA backline not paying attention and paying from a quick lineout.

    Scrum was again a mess. It looked better when Robinson came on, but it also benefited for extended periods against 7 men. Lineout was quite bad with poor delivery to the scrum half and then Sia'a not throwing straight when he came on.

    Nic White will be blasted for kicking too much (which I don't disagree with), but I don't doubt he was given orders to kick a lot. Genia came on at half time and they ran it more, but again Australia was chasing a lost game and had a numbers advantage. All that said, I doubt McKenzie will start White next week against the Pumas.

    With the cards it isn't hard to figure out it was a spiteful match, though any time you play against SA it tends to be that way due to how they often approach their rugby. The media here will probably but it in a better light than I have, but still not a lot of improvement for the Wallabies over McKenzie's time and they are still looking like they are the fourth best team in the RC.

    As for the Jake White situation, I'm still waiting to hear what he has to say, but I'm still on the forgiving side of the fence at the moment. As for his replacement, I guess it shouldn't be surprising to see the media bring up Dean's name, but I have to wonder if he would want to return to the Australian rugby scene given some of the stuff he had to put up with over the last 5 years.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013

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