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Which Tyler

Rugby IV - Striking Hookers Are Back In Fashion

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It's been a while Pod, good to see you back posting.

On 15/06/2016 at 2:00 PM, Which Tyler said:

Charlie Morgan of RW turns his attention to the breakdown from Aus v Eng 1st test.

http://www.rugbyworld.com/countries/england-countries/analysis-sights-sounds-breakdown-battle-england-australia-58824

These articles are always worth a read; even when he looks at a match or player you're not interested in. Properly intelligent and actually knows what he's talking about - which is why he can't get a job in the mainstream media.

Yeah, Charlie Morgan's really good. Another good rugby writer is Murray Kinsella, although he generally tends to focus on Irish rugby. Here's a decent article he's written on Australia's attacking shape though.

Anyway, this weekend's games.


New Zealand v Wales: Interesting to see New Zealand have dropped Julian Savea. He's obviously massively talented but he has often looked like he was coasting over the last couple of years, he frequently just doesn't look fit. Whitelock back in the second row is a boost though. For Wales Charteris in the side is a boost as well but I'm not a massive fan of moving Liam Williams to the wing, who was excellent last week, to play Patchell at 15. Overall it feels like last week was Wales' chance and I'd expect New Zealand to be better with a game under their belts, so I'd expect a reasonably straight forward win for the All Blacks.

Australia v England: This is an interesting one, both sides caused each other a lot of problems in different areas last week so I think it's going to come down to which sides learned their lessons best. For Australia Pocock out is a blow. I like McMahon but I'm not sure sticking with the 2 opensides format is the way to go when you're not trying to accommodate a player of Pocock's class. For England Burrell out is no surprise, I'd still ideally rather not have Farrell at 12 but you can't argue it's not worked out ok so far. I'm not sure about a 6-2 split on the bench to get both Lawes and Launchbury in but I am glad Clifford is included. Overall I think with home advantage I'd expect Australia to win a tight one.

South Africa v Ireland: I've got no idea what the hell is going on in this series. If I was Coetzee I'd have definitely made more changes after last week's performance but I suppose you want to give guys a chance to prove themselves under a new regime, also, unfortunately there would be political problems with dropping some of the players who were underwhelming last week. I do think Jantjies in at 10 should improve things though.

Ireland have, rather strangely, with a historic series win up for grabs decided to pick a weaker side. Quin Roux's not even making the Connacht team and if he'd opted for South Africa probably wouldn't even make the top 10 of their locking options, Dillane drops out completely and I like Olding but a Jackson Olding 10/12 combination looks worrying in defence up against the Springboks.

So, yeah, not the strongest South Africa side but I'd still expect a fired up Springbok team playing at altitude to comfortably beat that Ireland side. If you'd asked me before the game last week though I'd have laughed if you'd suggested Ireland could pull out a win playing with 14 men for that long so who knows what the fuck is going to happen? :dunno:

 

Edited by ljkeane

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England win the series in Australia. That's a great result for England. I thought getting a win in Australia following on from the grand slam would have been a positive, to win the series is a massive boost. I do have to say I've got no idea how England have won that game, you just don't spend that much time pinned on your own line making that many tackles and not concede, really strong defence from England but the Wallabies will be kicking themselves over not taking the points from some of their penalties.

In the New Zealand Wales game we talked last week about Wales running out of steam in the second half, and they did to extent today, but the key thing for me was their set piece going to shit, particularly their lineout, so the ball just kept coming back at them. The All Blacks given that much ball in the opposition half were always going to score.

It was interesting to see Wales doing quite well playing a wide game in attack. I thought going into the series they might try and target Cruden but they were actually quite successful getting round the outside of the Kiwi defence. From a Wales point of view that's a pretty significant change in their attacking philosophy and hopefully one they keep up. From a New Zealand point of view I wonder if that's a problem with the loss of Conrad Smith's decision making in the 13 channel or it's just a reflection of some teething problems with their new midfield.

Edited by ljkeane

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Fantastic defensive performance from England. I don't know how they were all still upright, let alone able to score a breakaway try. So very happy!

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South Africa really don't look too flash. That was a fair way short of the strongest Irish side and they've just scraped a win in the end, it being on the Highveld was probably a bit of a factor in that as well. I really thought they'd bounce back more convincingly. Still they did improve in the second half, you'd have to think Combrink and Whiteley will start next week and someone for Malherbe. That should improve them a bit.

From an Ireland point of view it was a good effort but it does feel like a bit of an opportunity missed. If they'd had a bit more strength in the squad to come off the bench they might have clinched a series win.

Edited by ljkeane

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Stirring fightback in the second half but that does not change the fact that we were dreadful in the first half (we never looked like we could score a try, repeatedly lost the ball in contact and booted a number of aimless kicks into the Irish half). The string of unforced errors was embarrassing. The Lions players coming off the bench saved our butts - Whiteley and Combrinck were fantastic and surely must start next week.

Over the course of two Tests, Ireland have been by far the better side, which is doubly concerning since their squad is well below full strength. Based on the performance over the two Tests, I'd have to say that Ireland are favourites going into the series decider in PE where altitude will not be a factor. If someone had made that statement to me three weeks ago, I'd have laughed at them.

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England U20s were fantastic last night. South Africa didn't know what hit them. We should see Ireland off comfortably in the final, but then again I picked Argentina to beat them and they were thrashed, so what do I know.

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7 hours ago, Hereward said:

England U20s were fantastic last night. South Africa didn't know what hit them. We should see Ireland off comfortably in the final, but then again I picked Argentina to beat them and they were thrashed, so what do I know.

I don't really know how to judge this year's teams as England were dire in the Under 20 Six Nations (Ireland weren't too flash either) but they've looked really good at the Junior World Championship. The addition of guys like Mallinder, Williams and Evans who've been playing senior rugby is obviously a boost but even the guys who did play look miles better so I think you have to give Haag taking over from Callard a lot of credit. Based on the Six Nations I thought the pack was rubbish but they've looked excellent so far.

Still, I do wonder if it's just a bit of a weak year in general.

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I think the big thing is Haag for Callard.

We've known for a long time that Callard is pretty useless as a coach (with the possible exceptiong of kicking coach); whilst Haag is a broadly competent prem level forwards coach. Factor in Rory Teague helping out the kids, and the return of a few Prem players, but I think it just shows the difference a good coach makes (see Eddie Jones taking over from Burt, or Ali Hepher taking over from... Callard)

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Gethin Jenkins and Bradley Davies out for Wales for the 3rd test. Wales would have wanted to break it's 100% losing record in New Zealand vs the ABs in this series, so even having lost the series already they would still have been strongly motivated to win this game. But this is a big blow to climbing that mountain.

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Last round of the Summer tours tomorrow then. I have to say regardless of how tomorrow's games go this has been the best set of June tests I can remember, certainly the most competitive.


New Zealand v Wales: A lot of changes for New Zealand but they still, unsurprisingly give how well their Super Rugby sides are going, look fairly strong. It'll be interesting to see how Dixon and Squire do and the since the midfield hasn't been great it's probably a good chance for Moala to show what he can do. I'm not a massive fan of Tu'ungafasi though, I still remember him getting absolutely mullered by Lee at the Junior World Championship. No real shocks for Wales but hopefully they're sorted their set piece issues and they keep up their new attacking game plan. Overall despite the changes it's hard to see anything but a win for the All Blacks but we should get another competitive game.

Australia v England: It looks like England are pretty determined to go for the whitewash as there isn't much experimentation with their side, Harrison is probably the most like for like replacement they have have for Haskell and Yarde steps back in for Nowell. I'd have liked to have seen a bit more of an adventurous side with Clifford starting and Slade involved in some capacity but it's hard to blame Jones for sticking with a winning formula.

It's not much of a surprise the Wallabies have made a few more changes. Toomua in as a second distributor in the backline I think will be a real improvement. I can see why they've gone with Skelton to add more bulk in the pack to get them over the gainline but it'll weaken their lineout, which was one of their better areas in the second test, and I not convinced he's fit enough for test rugby. I think what they should have done was pick an actual number 8 in the backrow.

Anyway I think think Australia should win this one, there hasn't been a lot between the sides in the first two tests and with the series won England might just lose a bit of intensity.

South Africa v Ireland: Back to sea level and Ireland bring back in the players they rested so they definitely have a stronger bench, I'm looking forward to seeing Healy in particular, so in theory they shouldn't fade in the second half of this game. Losing Payne and Henshaw are big blows though, although, again, I'm looking forward to seeing how O'Halloran does, and I just can't help thinking they missed their chance last week. I still don't think South Africa are picking their best side for whatever reason but with Combrinck and Whiteley in they're picking a better side and they started to find their rhythm in the second half last week. With them starting to look a more cohesive side and home advantage I'll go for South Africa to pull out a series win.

 

 

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On the one hand - Yay!

First team to whitewash the Aussies (in Aus) since the All Blacks of 1951 (apparently)

 

On the other; Stuart Barnes, could you please, please, just fudge off!

"If you take away England's tries, and the boot of Owen Farrell, England would have gone down easily today" FFS

Edited by Which Tyler

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What a game! It's even managed to cheer me up a bit after Thursday.

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Pretty dull Japan game - there's only so many times I can watch games being won by Laidlaw's boot (though Pyrgos got a couple in) until it all just becomes a bit pedestrian 

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Fantastic result for England. Before the series I though one win would have been a decent result and two an excellent performance, I didn't even consider England getting the whitewash. A phenomenal improvement since the World Cup.

England actually didn't defend particularly well but I can't really say I'm too fussed. They definitely tried to up it a bit in attack though and it's pretty clear they're trying to play in a variation of the quick rucking style Jones had Japan and the great Brumbies sides he coached playing. It'll be interesting to see how it develops, they looked pretty good at times but the thing for me is it's different to how pretty much all other major teams are trying to play. I think there's been a bit of a theme over the past few years of trying to echo elements of how the All Blacks play (pretty understandably) but this isn't really something they do.

Australia were definitely better to be fair. Having a second pivot at 12 is definitely better for them and I was wrong about the selection of Skelton. With England trying to go through the phases his physicality in defence was one of the real things which disrupted their gameplan. They really weren't far away from winning the game again but I doubt that's too much of a consolation.

The South Africa Ireland game wasn't as fun but I do think the better team won, Ireland never really looked like scoring a try while the Springboks had 15 men on the pitch. You could argue Le Roux should have been sent off, and you probably could make a case he technically should have been, but the thing for me is he was definitely going for the ball and it's not like he's even run through straight under O'Halloran's legs either, it's just an unfortunate collision. I just don't think we should be sending people off for genuine attempts to compete for the ball unless there's absolutely no margin in the laws for any leeway.

Wales will be pretty disappointed with their effort this morning. The All Blacks are a brilliantly clinical side so I do think there's a bit of a tendency to ascribe any tries conceded against them to brilliant attacking play on on their parts but I thought there was some pretty poor defence by the Welsh regardless of who they were up against. The kick chase was shit for the 2 tries plus the disallowed Moala try in the first half, Barrett's a class player but he's not a big guy so he shouldn't be crashing over defenders off first phase ball like he did for his first try and for his second Amos jumps of the line for no apparent reason. I know you can look back at most tries and pick out someone making a defensive mistake but this is all pretty basic stuff.

Credit to the All Blacks as well though. They were a lot better in defence, they'd clearly worked out the Welsh gameplan from the first two games and they really upped their linespeed to cut off the wide ball. In attack even though I wasn't too impressed with the Welsh defence they definitely cut down on their errors from the first two games and looked a lot more cohesive.

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Also thoroughly enjoyed England's U20 World Cup win. Mallinder is an absolute dream of a player. God knows how they'll fit him in to the senior team, but he will very shortly be good enough. After s decade with a dearth of decent centres, we now have to choose between him, Farrell, Joseph, Slade, Daley and Tuilagi. 

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I haven't watched a great deal of Super Rugby this year, the new format's a bit of a mess, all the Australian sides have been subpar and the Jaguars were a bit disappointing but I am quite looking forward to the final tomorrow. The Hurricanes have been good again this year, which wasn't necessarily a given with how many key players they lost from last year but the Lions have really stood out, they've probably played the best rugby to watch I've seen from a South African side. The Lions might regret sending a reserve side out to Argentina in the last round of the normal season though, if they had home advantage I'd say they were definite favourites but going to New Zealand and getting a win is a big ask.

On the definitely not professional rugby front my club have the England defence coach Paul Gustard coming down to run a session next week so that'll be interesting. On the downside his defence tends to be very linespeed orientated so it might not be too much fun.

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Southern Hemisphere games starting this weekend with Australia vs New Zealand. Nice.

Tremendous pairings all across the field if you look at those line-ups.

 

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Unfortunately the Wallabies aren't causing New Zealand any problems at all. It's not exactly a surprise given Australia were whitewashed by England and how bad their Super Rugby teams have been but I was hoping the return of some of their overseas players might make a difference.

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Thank goodness those filthy Aussie scum planted secret listening devices to discover the All Blacks' game plans.

Imagine how embarrassing that mauling would have been if they hadn't known what the ABs were going to do.

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