Another good week of Rugby from the World Cup even if we had a few less upsets. Here’s my review of the weekend’s action.
Rugby World Cup
Argentina 54 – 9 Georgia
Italy 23 – 18 Canada
South Africa 46 – 6 Samoa
England 25 – 28 Wales
Australia 65 – 3 Uruguay
Scotland 39 – 16 USA
Ireland 44 – 10 Romania
Argentina got an early try but Georgia kept in touch during the first half through the boot of Kvirikashvili so they only trailed 14 – 9. Then early in the second half the game turning moment happened. Gorgodze, the talisman of Georgia, was yellow carded. During that 10 minutes Argentina racked up 21 points and the game was over. Argentina showed some dazzling backs play and look well prepared for this Rugby World Cup.
Canada got off to a good start with a try from van der Merwe. Italy though managed to strike back quickly and edged ahead just before half time. Italy were happy to give away possession and kicked the ball a massive 40 times from hand. They were happy that they could keep the Canadians out and in the end it proved enough. It’s a disappointing tactic from a tier 1 side playing a tier 2 side.
Samoa competed well in the first half and for all the talk of the Boks bouncing back their only try came from an interception. South Africa had dominated possession and territory and that continued in the second half. In the second half the Boks ticked up the tries as all that defence began to tell and they cashed in with a couple of extra ones at the end.
England started dominant in the set piece but this was evened up by Wales winning the breakdown battle. England managed to stop in fringing at the break down and release their dangerous back three to score a try and lead 16-9 at halftime. England had more possession and territory but were losing their heads and infringing again at the breakdown as Wales kept in touch. Wales then suffered more injuries and with players out of position could easily have panicked. They didn’t and a wonderful try evened up the score before a penalty proved enough to win the game. The difference was composure and taking chances when they were available.
Australia with lots of changes cruised to an easy win. Two tries in the first ten minutes meant it was over as a contest as soon as it began. The only points that Uruguay got was form a late tackle by Skelton and to my mind he is a penalty magnet.
Scotland only managed two penalties in the first half as the USA built up a 7 point first half lead. Any chances though of another upset were put to bed early in the second half as Scotland dominated and their wings picked up a couple of tries. USA did pull a penalty back but three more Scotland tries secured the TBP win.
Ireland picked up a regulation win against Romania. This was another one that was clear early on who was going to win but it did take the men in green a full hour to pick up the TBP. The fact that this one sided affair was played in front of nearly 90,000 people shows the appeal of this Rugby World Cup.
Sharks 13 – 17 Blue Bulls
Cheetahs 31 – 73 Lions
Western Province 50 – 19 Pumas
Eastern Province Kings 40 – 37 Griquas
Lions are still unbeaten and clear at the top of the table. Girquas bring up the rear after Kings get their second win.
Canterbury 18 – 17 Waikato
Hawke’s Bay 17 – 12 Auckland
Northland 5 – 37 Bay of Plenty
Counties Manukau 42 – 33 Tasman
Otago 61 – 7 Southland
Manawatu 31 – 17 North Harbour
Waikato 14 – 21 Wellington
Canterbury 21 – 24 Taranaki
Canterbury go top of the table as Tasman slip up. Hawk’s Bay winning their Ranfurly Shield match means they top the Championship.
NSW Country Eagles 16 – 24 Queensland Country
North Harbour Rays 37 – 63 University of Canberra Vikings
Perth Spirit 31 – 21 Melbourne Rising
Sydney Stars 44 – 32 Greater Sydney Rams
Brisbane and Vikings are both still undefeated whilst the Rams are still looking for their first win.