A full weekend of rugby from across the globe to cover. The headlines come from the Rugby Championship for good reasons and Top14 for bad reasons. Here is my round-up of all the action.
New Zealand 57 – 22 Argentina
Australia 23 – 17 South Africa
2 from 2, still 100% for the Championship!
Argentina really put it to the All Blacks in the first 50 minutes. Showing that teams can breakdown the All Backs defence and it was impressive how the went up the middle using the offload. However they couldn’t keep up the pace and New Zealand’s bench saw them pull away in the last half hour. Where the Pumas let themselves down was tackling, they only made just over 70% of their tackles. The Wallabies were the same so is it New Zealand causing the tackles to be missed rather than their opposition making mistakes?
The Springboks pulled out an early lead with a couple of tries in the first quarter of the game. The Wallabies defence though was much more aggressive and they contained the Springboks from then on, causing 20 turnovers. The Wallabies scrum was also much improved even if their lineout wasn’t to give them a platform. They took something like 18 phases for the Wallabies first try. They showed they could retain the ball but lacked the cutting edge to take full advantage. For the Springboks there are still questions about what style they are trying to play.
Worcester Warriors 23 – 23 Gloucester Rugby
Sale Sharks 19 – 10 Harlequins
Bath 58 – 5 Newcastle Falcons
Leicester Tigers 22 – 34 Wasps
Bristol 10 – 32 Northampton Saints
Exeter Chiefs 13 – 34 Saracens
3 from 6, not a great week even with the draw.
The week has got on top of me so sorry there isn’t the normal full overview. Warriors have done well to reply after Falcons and Bristol had good starts to the season last weekend. It’s promising to be a real battle at the bottom end of the table. Saracens have started the season where they left off last season and already they are looking like the team to beat again. Wasps and Bath have also had good starts to the season and whilst Wasps can be expected to continue this, it’ll be a few weeks before we know it this is the honeymoon period for Blackadder or if he has turned ting around quickly.
Newport Gwent Dragons 11 – 6 Zebre
Edinburgh 20 – 9 Scarlets
Munster 23 – 24 Cardiff Blues
Glasgow Warriors 33 – 25 Leinster
Benetton Treviso 11 – 22 Ulster
Connacht Rugby 11 – 32 Ospreys
4 from 6, the Welsh sides are really stepping it up this season.
Dragons confirmed that they are the best of the bottom pack of teams. Across the rest of the games there are signs of a Welsh revival with the Cardiff picking up an impressive win at Munster and Ospreys winning at Connacht. Other than that Glasgow are looking mightily impressive and Ulster could be the pick of the Irish teams this season.
We are only 2 games in so the table doesn’t mean much but Ospreys are top and Connacht are bottom.
Stade Francais 29 – 25 Castres
La Rochelle 43 – 18 Lyon
Montpellier 41 – 13 Section Paloise
Bordeaux Begles 40 – 20 Bayonne
Clermont Auvergne 47 – 10 Racing Metro 92
Grenoble 36 – 23 Brive
Toulouse 15 – 32 Toulon
5 from 7, for the first weekend there were no draws!
La Rochelle top the table by a point from Clermont with a rejuvenated Stade 2 further points back. Every team has won a game this season and only 5 points or a bonus point win, separates fifth to fourteenth. Grenoble are currently last but clearly that could change quickly with a good couple of results.
The down side is the 3 red cards and eye gouging incident from the Grenoble v Brive really put a downer on the weekend. I hope that the French authorities deal with it harshly and quickly.
Griquas 46 – 22 Boland Cavaliers
Lions 58 – 32 Western Province
Sharks 30 – 38 Cheetahs
Pumas 14 – 41 Blue Bulls
3 from 4, the Cheetahs are really stepping it up this season.
The Cheetahs have a perfect record at the top of the standings and have a game in hand over both the Sharks and Bulls who are 4 points back. The Kings with only 1 bonus point so far are looking favourite to finish last.
Hawke’s Bay 24 – 25 Auckland
Taranaki 30 – 14 Southland
Bay of Plenty 52 – 25 Northland
Counties Manukau 27 – 28 Wellington
North Harbour 29 – 25 Manawatu
Otago 30 – 27 Tasman
Canterbury 63 – 7 Hawke’s Bay
Auckland 32 – 35 Waikato
5 from 8, an average week with the picks.
Canterbury are clear at the top of the table with a game in hand over second places Auckland. At the other end Hawke’s Bay are looking relegated with 5 losses and no wins so far this season.
In the Championship Otago lead the way with 5 wins, Wellington are in second but even if they win their game in hand with a bonus point will still be 6 points back. It’s a long old season for Northland and Southland who both are winless so far this season.
Western Sydney Rams 24 – 30 Perth Spirit
Queensland Country 22 – 30 Sydney Rays
Brisbane City 20 – 52 University of Canberra Vikings
NSW Country Eagles 32 – 30 Melbourne Rising
4 from 4, but the Rising so nearly upset the apple cart.
The Rays and Eagles maintained their perfect records to top the table. It’s becoming increasing unlikely that Brisbane will defend their title with 2 losses already this season and they are hampered by injuries. The Rams and Queensland Country are still looking for their first wins of the season.
Join the #RugbyChat on twitter for an hour of discussion about the action this weekend. If you can’t make the hour then you can still give your view as the conversation keeps going over the following day.
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