Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ljkeane

Rugby: Building up to Japan

Recommended Posts

So I guess I'm going for South Africa tonight since they should have a better chance of defeating England than Wales would. Although I think Wales probably have more of an x-factor than South Africa, who are more of a known quantity...

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Closer game than yesterday but it is a bit scrappy. Both sides seem a bit reluctant to take much of a risk with ball in hand.

The power of the South African pack does seem to be getting them on top a bit though despite it not being reflected by a big margin on the scoreboard. Wales need to find a way to start moving the Springbok forwards around a bit because running straight at them doesn't look likely to work out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been a bit of an arm-wrestle with lots of tactical kicking and not many out and out chances. Both sides resorting to kicking a lot rather than building up phases. On the strength of the play in this half just gone, I don't think Eddie Jones and England will be worrying too much...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty dour game, but South Africa edged it. Wales played a good game according to their strengths and might well have taken it another day.

On this basis you have to think England will take the World Cup. Even though it's a final, it will be a more open game and although the South African defence held up tonight, they just ran out of ideas against Wales and couldn't pull the trigger on any attacking plays. I don't think they'll be able to pose much of a scoring threat against England.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tight game. Obviously Wales weren’t far off but I do think South Africa were the better side and deserved the win. They’ll probably have to play with a bit more ambition if they want to win next week though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, ljkeane said:

They’ll probably have to play with a bit more ambition if they want to win next week though.

Looking at this match, I don't know if they can. It was obvious this style of game suited the Welsh but South Africa couldn't crack them open, I doubt they'll have much more luck against England.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Jeor said:

So I guess I'm going for South Africa tonight since they should have a better chance of defeating England than Wales would. Although I think Wales probably have more of an x-factor than South Africa, who are more of a known quantity...

You think? Personally I'd fancy England's chances more against South Africa. The last competitive game, and warm up games were both won by Wales. And Warren Gatland is a whole lot more familiar with England's frailties simply due to playing them more regularly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Jeor said:

Looking at this match, I don't know if they can. It was obvious this style of game suited the Welsh but South Africa couldn't crack them open, I doubt they'll have much more luck against England.

I don't know, they're obviously always going to play a somewhat confrontational, attritional style of rugby but I think they'd clearly made a deliberate tactical choice to kick a lot even by South African standards. There's some logic to that against Wales without the counterattacking threat of Liam Williams but probably not against England. It was only last summer they scored 42 points against England in one game with fairly similar sides to what we're likely to see in the final (admittedly England didn't have Tuilagi or Underhill who're likely to be big factors). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Phew! That was close. It wasn't a pretty game by any means but I think SA did just enough to deserve the win. This game was expected to be a war of attrition with lots of kicking from hand and that's exactly what happened. SA will have to play a lot better to have a chance against England though.

 

13 minutes ago, Jeor said:

Looking at this match, I don't know if they can. It was obvious this style of game suited the Welsh but South Africa couldn't crack them open, I doubt they'll have much more luck against England.

Tbf, the Welsh are ferocious in defence. There have been a number of games over the past year or so where you'd think they should have lost only for them to pull out a massive defensive performance and win. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think in pure rugby terms I'm actually looking forward to the 3rd place match more than the final - it'll be a real clash of styles and I hope Wales can make a good game of it.

I have this feeling the final between England and the Springboks will either be a one-sided thrashing, or else a tense, tentative match that won't be particularly easy on the eye.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congratulations England, you worked out the ABs and the ABs had no answer. Sad for Wales not making their first finals.

I think England will do the job vs South Africa.

Interesting stat: every team in the semi-finals scored exactly 1 try.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a shocker from the All Blacks. Holy hell they were bad. 

Someone had a nice quote on twitter saying this AB team was like an old Honda, only gear it had was reverse and took 80 minutes to warm up.

The danger when stating how underwhelming the AB's were is to understate how good England was, and to dismiss how these things are related. Hence my thoughts in bullet points:

  • For England, Tuilagi, Curry, Underhill and Itoje stood out to me
  • At the same time, every single England player played an excellent game and most of them surpassed their AB counterpart.
  • All in all an incredibly good performance by England, which does not surprise me one bit. I had rated them as secondbest going into this tournament behind the AB's. They kept them on the back foot from minute one and the AB's lost confidence, Barrett and Mo'unga had quiet games and that was crucial.

However for the AB's...

 

  • These current wingers are not up to the hallowed and legendary status of All Black wingers of the past. Rieko was on the bench or not selected, Savea and Milder Scudder not even selected for the tournament. Reece and Bridge seem like moderate, acceptable quality wingers on a team, not standout wingers.
  • Steve Hansen's surprise move didn't work. 
  • Perhaps the writing was on the wall that this AB team isn't as good considering one or two surprise losses this year in Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup games. I sort of dismissed those as one-offs but it seems now I was wrong to do so.
  • I think Sonny Bill should have started. But then I often say that.
  • I wonder if this team will be able to raise its level and to become nearly as good as the glorious team from 2015 with Conrad, Nonu, Carter, McCaw, Savea, Milner Scudder. It seems like in all those positions the team got weaker, which surprised me. I do like Jack Goodhue. They will need a new no.8 with Read retiring. The two lock will stay on for a while longer which should be a big relief, Big Sam and Retallick still one of the three best pairings in international rugby.

But man, to be so completely outplayed like that, to be so error prone, it was turnover ater turnover for England, penalty on penalty, just shocking to see an AB side flail like that.

Edited by Calibandar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Calibandar said:

What a shocker from the All Blacks. Holy hell they were bad.

The two things that stood out for me that game were the lack of intensity at the breakdown, where they seemed consistently overmatched by England, and the absence of at least a couple of barnstorming, line-breaking runs from the backs that we're used to seeing from NZ. I think you're probably right that the wingers are not up to scratch, although no doubt part of it was due to England defending really well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Calibandar said:

What a shocker from the All Blacks. Holy hell they were bad. 

Not as shocking as it should have been unfortunately. The significant cracks in the 2019 ABs had been exposed for the world to see in the couple of months prior to the big show and - to artlessly mix metaphors - you don't give Eddie Jones that much of a sniff without him driving a jackhammer at them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

both teams unchanged bar injury (Kolbe returns for SA, Spencer to bench for England)

 

The Scrum Half, England had borrowed from Suntory to "play like Genia" in training; has left the squad now, with best wishes, and a signed shirt, and a place in the stands with the rest of the England squad...

 

Edited by Which Tyler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/29/2019 at 12:10 PM, Calibandar said:

What a shocker from the All Blacks. Holy hell they were bad. 

Someone had a nice quote on twitter saying this AB team was like an old Honda, only gear it had was reverse and took 80 minutes to warm up.

The danger when stating how underwhelming the AB's were is to understate how good England was, and to dismiss how these things are related. Hence my thoughts in bullet points:

  • For England, Tuilagi, Curry, Underhill and Itoje stood out to me
  • At the same time, every single England player played an excellent game and most of them surpassed their AB counterpart.
  • All in all an incredibly good performance by England, which does not surprise me one bit. I had rated them as secondbest going into this tournament behind the AB's. They kept them on the back foot from minute one and the AB's lost confidence, Barrett and Mo'unga had quiet games and that was crucial.

However for the AB's...

 

  • These current wingers are not up to the hallowed and legendary status of All Black wingers of the past. Rieko was on the bench or not selected, Savea and Milder Scudder not even selected for the tournament. Reece and Bridge seem like moderate, acceptable quality wingers on a team, not standout wingers.
  • Steve Hansen's surprise move didn't work. 
  • Perhaps the writing was on the wall that this AB team isn't as good considering one or two surprise losses this year in Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup games. I sort of dismissed those as one-offs but it seems now I was wrong to do so.
  • I think Sonny Bill should have started. But then I often say that.
  • I wonder if this team will be able to raise its level and to become nearly as good as the glorious team from 2015 with Conrad, Nonu, Carter, McCaw, Savea, Milner Scudder. It seems like in all those positions the team got weaker, which surprised me. I do like Jack Goodhue. They will need a new no.8 with Read retiring. The two lock will stay on for a while longer which should be a big relief, Big Sam and Retallick still one of the three best pairings in international rugby.

But man, to be so completely outplayed like that, to be so error prone, it was turnover ater turnover for England, penalty on penalty, just shocking to see an AB side flail like that.

Savea is a total also-ran now, sadly. I don't see him ever coming back to international quality. Bridge is a brand new talent and I think he'll be good. I personally don't want to see Reece in the black jersey again, not because he's a bad player, but because he's a convicted domestic abuser and I don't think he deserves to wear the jersey at least until he's genuinely redeemed his character.

I don't think the ABs played terribly, they were just made to look so by an exceptional England. The ABs showed themselves to be better than every team in the comp except England, and honestly I don't think any team other than England would have won that Semi final.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

Savea is a total also-ran now, sadly. I don't see him ever coming back to international quality. Bridge is a brand new talent and I think he'll be good.

Yeah, Savea's done as an international class winger. Bridge is a good player but he doesn't really offer the x factor on the wings the All Blacks usually have from at least one winger. I suppose they'll be hoping Rieko Ioane will recover his for to offer that, they could do with his brother stepping up to match his level of talent in the back row for that matter as well. 

Regarding Saturday's game I think there's been a little bit too much writing off of South Africa's chances for my liking. England have played better than the Springboks at this World Cup but they played 4 times last year and it was 2-2 with England probably a bit lucky to come up with 2 wins. There's really not a lot between the two sides.

It's interesting that the England tour of South Africa in 2018 was a bit of a turning point for both sides. Obviously for South Africa getting Erasmus in has coach has lead to a significant improvement on the previous couple of years. Jones had a pretty successful first two seasons with England but things fell apart a bit in the 2018 Six Nations and there was a move away from the Hartley, Robshaw, Haskell etc experienced group to bringing in more dynamic younger players that summer.

Thinking back on those games in terms of tactics Jones clearly thought he'd identified a weakness in the Springboks defence out wide and it sort of worked with England jumping on South Africa to take an early lead in both tests, the problem was the Springbok pack took over from there and they ground England down in both games to pick up the win. I wonder if that's something they'll try again with picking the Ford/Farrell axis in midfield but they'll hope the addition of the likes of Underhill and Tuilagi will help them match up to any South African backlash better.

Anyway, I'm a bit nervous and I don't think there's a lot between the sides but with England's better recent form I'm going for an England win.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×