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ljkeane

Rugby: A New Dawn

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Fair play to Saracens.

Whatever you think of their salary cap antics they never broke any rules for the European competition. When you consider how many players they've lost to come to within five minutes of making the final is a fantastic effort. They couldn't really impose themselves in attack with the players they had left but the defence was still suffocating and it was only when they were running on fumes that Racing were able to get any joy.

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International test rugby this Sunday between Australia and New Zealand.

WALLABIES:
(1) James Slipper, (2) Folau Fainga'a, (3) Taniela Tupou, (4) Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, (5) Matt Philip, (6) Harry Wilson - debut, (7) Michael Hooper - captain, (8) Pete Samu, (9) Nic White, (10) James O'Connor, (11) Marika Koroibete, (12) Matt To'omua, (13) Hunter Paisami - debut, (14) Filipo Daugunu - debut, (15) Tom Banks
RESERVES: (16) Jordan Uelese, (17) Scott Sio, (18) Allan Alaalatoa, (19) Rob Simmons, (20) Rob Valetini, (21) Jake Gordon, (22) Noah Lolesio - debut,  (23) Reece Hodge

ALL BLACKS:
(1) Joe Moody, (2) Codie Taylor, (3) Ofa Tuungafasi, (4) Patrick Tuipulotu, (5) Samuel Whitelock, (6) Shannon Frizell, (7) Sam Cane - captain, (8) Ardie Savea (9), Aaron Smith, (10) Richie Mo'unga, (11) George Bridge, (12) Jack Goodhue, (13) Rieko Ioane, (14) Jordie Barrett, (15) Damien Mackenzie
RESERVES: (16) Dane Coles, (17) Karl Tu'inukuafe, (18) Nepo Laulala, (19) Tupou Vaa'i - debut, (20) Hoskins Sotutu - debut, (21) TJ Perenara, (22) Anton Lienert-Brown, (23) Caleb Clarke - debut

NZ should be comfortable favourites but I honestly believe Aus have the better long term coach in Dave Rennie. He's as mercurial as they come and he's patient. The pool of players he has coming through the Australian rugby system is relatively young and inexperienced but I sense the ceiling they can reach under Rennie could be very high within a few years.

I'm beginning to loathe the NZ habit of selecting players out of position. It's both a testament to the development of players who can cover multiple positions, and a bane when you can't or won't select a player at their best position or the best available player for a position. Jordie Barrett is only an adequate test winger, but has matured into a fine fullback this year and should be given the opportunity to start there.

Also great to have this played in the day time, Wellington forecast is cloudy with the prospect of evening showers.

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5 hours ago, ithanos said:

I'm beginning to loathe the NZ habit of selecting players out of position. It's both a testament to the development of players who can cover multiple positions, and a bane when you can't or won't select a player at their best position or the best available player for a position. Jordie Barrett is only an adequate test winger, but has matured into a fine fullback this year and should be given the opportunity to start there.

The All Blacks have been pretty consistent with their two fullbacks in the back three for a while. They seem to like the added security. On top of that I don't think they're too confident with McKenzie's defence but they've been struggling a bit with rush defences for a while so they want the extra distributor in the side. I do think Caleb Clarke looks like a world class winger in the making though so it'd be good to see him.

I didn't really watch much of the Australian competition post lockdown so I don't have any real opinion on how good their side look but I agree about Rennie. He should be a good coach for them.

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Cracking game in Wellington.

Some good early signs for the Rennie Wallabies regime. They were the better side for the majority of the match and they really should have won. Having said that they really should have won and the number of turnovers that they conceded at the breakdown will be a bit of a concern. Also a bit of game awareness and just dinking over the gimme dropgoal after the ball came back off the post at the end would have been nice.

From the All Blacks point of view they were still pretty clinical when given the chance (other than Ioane bouncing the ball over the line which probably would have won the match for them) but they really need to find a way to get themselves on the front foot a bit more. Teams seem to have decided they vulnerable to aggressive rush defences, Mo'unga took an absolute hammering, and they need to find a more effective way of negating that.

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Great game, although some fairly big refereeing mistakes. That being said, without the mistakes it wouldn't have had as much drama as a tie with so much play beyond the buzzer. I'm surprised no one seriously went for the drop goal attempt in injury time, there was ample territory and opportunity to do it.

Australia look like a promising side again but I don't know how much of that is due to the ABs being a bit off the pace from what we have come to expect.

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Well that was a very scrappy Champions Cup final. Not exactly the kind of game Exeter would have wanted but they manged to pull out the win. It also featured the most Finn Russell game ever from Finn Russell; create a couple of tries for your team with brilliant play on the gainline and hand a couple back with an awful pass for an intercept and by dropping the ball over your own tryline. 

In Southern Hemisphere news South Africa have pulled out of the Rugby Championship. Which is unfortunate but if they don't think they can safely take part then fair enough.

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Wallabies team
1. James Slipper
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa **Form change
3. Taniela Tupou
4. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
5. Matt Philip
6. Ned Hanigan **Form change
7. Michael Hooper
8. Harry Wilson **Position change
9. Nic White
10. James O'Connor
11. Marika Koroibete
12. Matt To'omua
13. Hunter Paisami
14. Filipo Daugunu
15. Tom Banks

Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Scott Sio, Allan Alaalaota, Rob Simmons, Liam Wright **Form change, Jake Gordon, Jordan Petaia **Return from injury, Reece Hodge

All Blacks team:

1. Joe Moody
2. Dane Coles **Form change
3. Ofa Tuungafasi
4. Patrick Tuipulotu
5. Tupou Vaa'i **Injury change
6. Shannon Frizell
7. Sam Cane - captain
8. Ardie Savea
9. Aaron Smith
10. Richie Mo'unga
11. Caleb Clarke **Injury/Form change
12. Jack Goodhue
13. Anton Lienert-Brown **Form change
14. Jordie Barrett
15. Beauden Barrett **Return from injury

Reserves: Codie Taylor, Alex Hodgman **Form change, Nepo Laulala **Injury return, Scott Barrett **Injury return, Hoskins Sotutu, TJ Perenara, Rieko Ioane, Damian McKenzie


Team sheets for the second test between Australia & New Zealand today at Eden Park. Weather is mainly fine.

Rennie's rewarded his back-line by naming an unchanged line up and made a couple changes in the pack to shore up some deficiencies from last week - namely Paenga-Amosa at hooker for a better line out throw and shifting Wilson to No8.

The All Black changes are a mixture of injury and form, and there's a possibility Reiko Ioane may have to pull out if he doesn't pass a physical this morning. With the young lock Vaa'i starting it would be a nice challenge to see what he can produce. If anything the NZ bench is stronger than it was last week (if Laulala and Scott Barrett are fully recovered from injury) and this could be the key going into the final acts of the game.

-----

Making the trip out to my sister's place to watch the game live with her family. They're out by Penrith Panthers way so they'll be buoyed by the win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs in last night's second NRL preliminary final. Souths did well to keep in the game I thought but that young Penrith side seemingly has no fear. The'll need to cut down on those errors if they're going all the way in next week's grand final against the Melbourne Storm.   

 

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Not as good a game between New Zealand and Australia as last week but it was interesting.

I thought the All Blacks might tighten things up after being on the wrong side of possession and territory last week but they did the opposite. They seem to have decided that they are the better side in unstructured play and tried to create of much of it as they could. Fair play to them, it worked and they were deserved winners.

From an Australian point of view they still played some good rugby ball in hand but quite a lot went wrong for them. Last week they had a bit of tendency to turn the ball over at key points, I thought they'd have improved on that front with a week to work on it but they really didn't. They bombed three clear try scoring opportunities by coughing the ball up in various ways and, although they were clearly second best in the game, if they'd taken a couple of them they'd have been well in it. They also missed a lot of tackles. A lot. Ok the All Blacks have a lot of good ball carriers who're difficult to tackle but you can't miss that many tackles and expect to win an international match.

Beyond all that I think the Wallabies just got sucked into playing the kind of game New Zealand want to play which is never ideal. It's ok to slow the game down a bit occasionally.

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Koroibete failing to score his second try came at a critical point. Kudos to Mo'unga for sacrificing his frame until Leinert-Brown could come and assist. But agreed about the Aussie errors, no excuses with the pitch and conditions. I got to say, daytime rugby on a fine day in front of thousands looks magnificent.

Australia & Rennie will take more out of that loss than what New Zealand will take from the win. The next match, in a fortnight, is in Sydney and should be more of a contest.

With regards to South Africa pulling out of The Rugby Championship, I'm not surprised. Their local Super Rugby competition has only just started so they would've been under done had they sent a team, definitely not ideal. It also mean SA would potentially go into the Lions series next July (global disasters pending) without playing any tier 1 tests since the WRC2019.

 

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On 10/17/2020 at 9:59 PM, ithanos said:

They're out by Penrith Panthers way so they'll be buoyed by the win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs in last night's second NRL preliminary final. Souths did well to keep in the game I thought but that young Penrith side seemingly has no fear. The'll need to cut down on those errors if they're going all the way in next week's grand final against the Melbourne Storm.  

Well that didn't go particularly well for Penrith. I thought they were the better side for the first half an hour or so but Melbourne ended up winning that period 16-0. After that Penrith never really looked like hauling them in even with a slightly nervy finish for Melbourne.

A bit of a scrappy game to restart the Six Nations in Dublin. Both sides' ball security wasn't great but Ireland's quality eventually showed. It does set up an exciting looking final round next week with three sides in the mix to win the championship.

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Yep, pretty hard lesson for Penrith there. A bit of back luck, or good luck going with Melbourne, in that opening period. Still a very young Penrith squad and I wouldn't be surprised to see them in the finals or near about next season.  

Haven't caught the Six Nations opener but saw extended highlights of the Wales v France friendly and the French look very enterprising.

 

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