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General Chat Thread, Autum Rugby Internationals in General; So after a shaky start last week, chance for the home nations to up the ante this weekend- what are ...
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    CPLTD's Avatar
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    Autum Rugby Internationals

    So after a shaky start last week, chance for the home nations to up the ante this weekend- what are peoples predictions?

    Last week I thought Wales were badly let down by Stephen Jones- if he'd slotted his penalty just before half time would have been a different game. I also would have liked to see Martyn Williams against Pocock as he needed shutting down early on. Finally attacking the Australians wide without any build up to suck in defence was tactical suicide- needed alot more pick and drives at the fringes.

    As for the England game, only caught a glimpse of the highlights- thought Mealamu was lucky to stay on after the flying head butt but then again Dylan Hartley wasn't exactly innocent with a cheap shot on McCaw. What did others make of it?

    Mark
    Last edited by CPLTD; 12th November 2010 at 12:50 PM.

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    pooley's Avatar
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    Same as you really, I though wellies (SJ) and and Mike Phillips had a poor game, backrow played well but JT didn't show up much in the loose, he needs a much better game this week. Nice to have some size on the bench to help the pack, and thank *deity* that Hook is back at centre and enormow-jaw is back at fullback. We were naive last week, we mashed them in the scrum, any unkickable penalty or free kick we should of chosen the scrum option! I expect England to bemore rutheless this weekend against them but I still think Australia will have too much behind... It will be close!

    Australia by 5
    Wales by 3
    NZ by 17

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    CPLTD's Avatar
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    I admire the faith Pooley! I'm not sure we'll do the boks though, got a lot stronger scrum than the aussies and will play 10 man rugby if they have to. Saying that though with the changes in the Welsh pack and if Phillips makes up for last week it could be one heck of a battle up front!

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    Gonk's Avatar
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    I'll be there on Saturday to see the Boks crushed by the mighty Welsh scrum (OK, perhaps not as the Boks can actually scrummage). I agree, it will be tight; however, we will be a more creative side than last Saturday with James Hook playing at 12 so we hopefully cross the whitewash more often!

    The backs were poor and as pooley says naive, Mike Phillips hasn't got match fitness but he is that extra back row you need. Count was a bit off with the kicking and perhaps should have handed the duty over the Hook. As much as I'm, loathed to say it, we do need Gavin Henson at 12. We miss his creativity and the deft passing. The holy trinity would be Hook (10), Henson (12), Roberts (13).

    I think the management are looking beyond the next world cup hence Sam got the nod. I believe that Sam Warburton will be Wales' No 7 for years to come. He's a more destructive player than Martyn, but as yet, hasn't not learned the finer points of the dark arts of the ruck and maul. He needs the game time if he's going to fill Martyn's boots.

    Gethin Jenkins. What a player. if he plays like he did last weekend, I really believe that SA will have a tough time in the loose. Is there a better prop in world rugby right now?

    As for the rest, no one played badly. We just weren't creative or smart enough. Lets see what Saturday brings.

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    CPLTD's Avatar
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    Fair point on Warburton, he's got some dam big boots to fill taking over from Martyn- to my mind the best flanker of the last 10 years (and yes I stand by he's better than McCaw- when your playing on the back foot as much as Williams has it's the mark of a great to still perform!).

    I don't know about Gav just yet, I’d like to see how he's playing for sarries before he starts getting a red shirt on; 18 months is a long time, though he should have kept his side step with his current training

    As for Gethin, only person to come close to him would be the Saints Tonga'uiha and even then with a scrum after 75min my money would be on Gethin every time- the mans a machine!

    Gonk- you lucky bugger with tickets for that encounter!

    Mark

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    Right - clear the way for my opinion...

    Front Five last week were immense - although the Aussie scrum was terrible. Wales should have had a penalty try at one point and if the Aussie scrum was being constantly penalised then there should have been a yellow card early in the game. Another point is that the terrible pitch didn't help. Not sure why Gatland took off Mathew Rees and Gethin Jenkins - two of the best players on the pitch.

    Flankers were very good. Happy with them. As was JT at 8. No need to see Ryan Jones back there any time soon.

    9 - Phillips - his strength will be good tomorrow but as a previous poster has pointed out he is off match fitness. He is slow and cumbersome. I'd start with Richie and bring Mike on as an impact player on 60 mins.

    10 - SJones - again a reliable kicker usually but bring him on at 60. Not sure who to play there. I'm not fussed on Biggar. Hook maybe but this would mean no creative centre.

    Shane and Will were anonymous.

    Bishop in centre is excellent but Shanks is a bit slow these days - an excellent servant of Welsh rugby but time to go now.

    Hook at full back? I'm glad Byrne is back.

    As for comments on Gav - bring him back ASAP.

    Good luck to George North tomorrow. I hope he does really well.

    And I shouldn't really say this but I think England will thrash Australia tomorrow in the scrum - but can their backs take it to the Aussies?

    Gareth

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    Well what a game on Saturday for Wales. A game that should have been closed out and won by the men in red. Gutted and as Warren Gatland said - 'same old same old'. Feckin' useless.

    Gutted for Shane Williams who dislocated his shoulder - albeit rather quickly. Apparently it popped out and back in. Well done George North - very impressive debut.

    Once again, Gatland took off his best players during the game. Mathew Rees was taken off - no idea why.

    Nice to see Mike Phillips a bit quicker and back to best.

    All in all - enjoyable game.

    And in fairness - well done England.

    Gareth

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    My favourites, Wales, gave much reason for hope in the match. Disappointed they didn't win.

    As for England, husband is trying not to gloat too much in Sydney as he fears the Ashes will give his colleagues ample opportunity to get their own back!

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    Gonk's Avatar
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    Its Monday so its time to pick over the bones of the weekends action...

    Lets begin in Cardiff with Wales v South Africa.

    George North, what an introduction to international rugby! Crossing the whitewash twice on debut and he looked good going forward and he didn't look too bad when on the back foot. I think we've found someone who is potentially a world class finisher.

    As for the rest of the backs, our Centres looked good. Shanklin played well but should have passed rather than kicked, Hook was his creative self in the midfield. Shane was busy looking for work. Steven Jones had a good controlling game at 10 but again his kicking was wayward with both he and Hook missing penalties. I know that tries win matches but at international level, six point is six points and in this instance a win for Wales.

    As for the Forwards, well in all honesty against what is regarded as on of the best forward packs going, Wales were awesome. As the South African I was sat next to said "We're lucky that Gethin isn't playing or we'd be dead and buried." Paul James stood up well against his opposite number and again Hairbear nullified the Beast. JT stood up well in the loose and when Ryan Jones came on he just got knocked backwards. Sorry Ryan, I think your time is up as No 8 for Wales.

    Martyn Williams, yet again showed why he is the best 7 in world rugby. I agree with my esteemed college that everyone bangs on about McCaw being the best 7 but Martyn just has that something that put his part from the rest. I personally think its a style thing big and brash meets stealth and subtle.

    For Fiji, I'd like Warren to take a chance and play Hook at 10. Biggar isn't a first choice international player, sorry. He's going to be the Ceri Sweeney of this squad.

    Lets move on to England. they played well and won the game. I've seen some bits in the press that make it sound like Australia didn't really turn up and play. I didn't watch the match so I'll just say well done.

    Scotland... oh dear... I think it was a lesson about strength in depth and that there is still a lot to do.

    Ireland - I think that you need to gets some youth into that side pretty sharpish. Heaslip is the standout of an ageing side.

    More comment and discussion next week

    Ross.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Wales should have done alot better than what they did, but credit to them for playing well...
    Scotland needs vast improvement, they went from holding SA to a close game last year to a stupidly high defeat...
    England played great but there is still room for improvement
    Ireland again could improve, but they have no decent up and coming stars to fill the slots needed.

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    pooley's Avatar
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    Only watched the Wales game so can't comment on the others.

    Forwards were again immense, front 5 dominated and the backrow showed up well around the park. Phillips had one of his best games at 9 in a long time, would of liked to see Richie Rees get on for more than 10 mins at the end though. Wellies (SJ) is starting to show his age, he is solid and mostly dependable but we need a more creative force behind the scrum. Centre partnership was great, hook with the flair and Shanks with the grunt, back 3 were spot on, North's tries were top notch, Shane busy and Byrne doing what he does best.

    I think we need to look at how we use our subs, unless Matthew rees and Powell had put their hands up and said they were tired there was no need to take them off. Powell was playing with some aggression that we have previously lacked and Rees must be top carrier for Wales. Ryan should of come on for Lydiat if at all.

    Another step closer, another exciting game. As for Fiji, I wouldn't make more than 2 or 3 changes, this team needs a win and Fiji made France work for their win on Saturday so we can't underestimate them!

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    pooley's Avatar
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    And don't get me started on Steve bl888y Walsh!!!

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    Gonk's Avatar
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    All I can say is you can tell he's not very good when the SA supports are shouting "the referee's a <insert expletive here>" and they're getting the decision :S

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    CPLTD's Avatar
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    Yeah have to say, you can see why Mr Walsh has been in the refereeing wilderness for some time...

    I thought Wales needed a far more clinical second half, as the first 40 mins was the worst SA performance in a long time and we needed to shut the game out. Cracking debut for George North, that’s got to be a heck of a feeling for anyone let alone an 18 year old lad! I thought we could have used Roberts in the centre, just a bigger impact player than Shanks.

    As for England well, they certainly brought out there A game (about time too!), was pleased to see the Northampton lads all having solid games, think if Courtney Lawes carries on developing he could be a mainstay of the England pack for years to come- He was good enough to force my mate out of the Saints team and down to Wasps and James Cannon is not a bad player by any stretch of the imagination!

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    CPLTD's Avatar
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    So this weekend’s predictions:

    Wales V Fiji- Wales by 15 points+ (it had better be to lay down a marker for RWC 2011!)

    England V Samoa- going to be a physical one with a few yellow cards thrown out, England to win but tough to say by what; if they keep going from last week the islanders could be in line for a thumping.

    Ireland v New Zealand- New Zealand by 10; Ireland have gone for a quite brave move in not starting O'Gara but think NZ will prove too strong up front.

    Scotland v South Africa- SA by a cricket score I’m afraid to say, be good to see how Joe Ansbro gets on but after their hammering at the hands of NZ I think SA will be looking to make up for a poor start against Wales last week.

    Whatever the result I’m just happy to have some decent rugby to watch on the BBC!


    Mark



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