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ljkeane

Rugby: A New Dawn

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On 10/31/2020 at 7:49 PM, williamjm said:

There will be some concern about the injuries to Russell and Hastings with the Autumn internationals (or whatever they're called this year) coming up, I'm not sure who would be the fly-half if they were both injured, maybe Duncan Weir?

Going back to this both Russell and Hastings are out of the Autumn Internationals. Which is a bit of a blow for Scotland. I think Weir was the travelling reserve for the Wales game so I'd assume he's next in line.

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1 hour ago, ljkeane said:

Going back to this both Russell and Hastings are out of the Autumn Internationals. Which is a bit of a blow for Scotland. I think Weir was the travelling reserve for the Wales game so I'd assume he's next in line.

Weir is a competent fly half with plenty of experience but he's not the same attacking threat that Russell (or Hastings) are so I think this does weaken the team.

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An historic win for Argentina against New Zealand today, 25:15. I've got to find some extended coverage but the update feeds I've been following suggests an inspired attitude by the Pumas on both attack & defense, and ill discipline & poor handling on part of the All Blacks. Well done Pumas, its been a long time coming.

Edited by ithanos

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Great game. Honestly I thought Argentina were going to struggle with their less than optimal preparation against a New Zealand side already with games under their belts but Argentina were fantastic. Having talked about Australia's poor tackling costing them in one of the earlier games this morning the Pumas' tacking was really good and the All Blacks got ragged in the face of it pretty early in the game and never recovered.

A bit of a concerning game for Wales last night. I know Pivac wants to change how they play to a more attacking style and that might take a bit of time but they need to get some front foot ball to play that way and they got completely blown away up front. Lowe was good in his first game for Ireland.

On the England game today I'm not a huge fan of the side Jones has picked again. I really think he needs to start picking a more dynamic balance in the backrow. I've got no problem with having a look at Willis but don't pick a second row alongside him. In general I'd like to start seeing a bigger ball carrier at six. I know Curry and Underhill are both excellent  but I think Jones needs to make the tough choice and just pick one at openside.

Finally it's a bit disappointing to see France Fiji called off due to covid in the other group. I think that was likely to be the best game in that side of the tournament.

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1 hour ago, Which Tyler said:

RIP Christophe Dominici.

One of the greats, and only 48!

Wow, that's terrible. It sounds like it may have been suicide too. :frown5:

When I think of French flair it's always Dominci and Bernat-Salles carving up the All Blacks in 1999 that comes to mind.

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Well that went a bit wrong for Argentina.

The All Blacks played a lot better and they'd obviously had a bit of tactical adjustment to negate the Argentinian defence. The kicking game in behind Argentina and short passing worked pretty well.

Having said that despite New Zealand playing well I think Argentina have to look at themselves a bit. Ledesma carries a lot of the blame for ringing all the changes, especially in the tight five. They clearly didn't want to play in their own half but with the set piece going wrong and, apparently, only one kicking option in Sanchez they just set themselves up to spend the entire game defending. They did still defend pretty well until they conceded the soft tries at the end which in all likelihood cost them the chance of winning the tournament next week.

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England are a bit of a chore to watch at the moment. They're obviously difficult to play against and they never really looked liked losing today but it'd be nice if they played some rugby now and then. It doesn't feel like there's been much progression since the World Cup.

Wales were ok. They did have a lot of injuries today so it was always going to be tough but, again, they never really looked like beating England. They could do with showing some progression too.

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So England win the Autumn Nations Cup. It's not really a great look for them how much difficulty they had putting away a reserve French side though. It really exposed the limitations of their gameplan when the can't bully the opposition. On the other hand it was a cracking effort from that largely inexperienced French team and a good demonstration of the depth they have at the moment.

With the end of the international rugby season for 2020 it does seem like a good time to start picking theoretical Lions sides. I'm struggling to remember a few of the games from the start of the year but I'll give it a go.

1. Vunipola. A strong position with several good options but Vunipola's the front runner.

2. George. Pretty nailed on I think.

3. Furlong. Sinckler's probably the form player at the moment but Furlong's got enough credit in the bank that if he comes back next year and hits his best form it should be his shirt.

4. Itoje. Very nailed on.

5. Ryan. It'll be very competitive trying to win the position alongside Itoje in the second row but I think Ryan's probably the frontrunner at the moment.

6. Doris. Not a strong position at the moment. You could play Curry there like England do but I think it'll need a more physical presence there against the Springboks. Doris plays 8 more often but he has played 6.

7. Curry. A very strong position. There are four or five players who I'd have no concern about starting there and a bunch of others who could be good given the chance. Still, I think Curry's probably the stand out flanker in world rugby at the moment.

8. Vunipola. He's not quite the force of nature he was a few years ago with ball in hand but he's still the best ball carrier available and I think it'll be needed.

9. Price. Another weak looking position. Murray hasn't been playing well for a while, Youngs might be an option if they want to kick the leather of the ball (not out of the question) but not otherwise and none of the Welsh nines really stands out at the moment.

10. Ford. I think it might end up being Farrell but Ford's definitely playing better rugby at the moment. Russell's talented but I don't think there's any chance of Gatland trusting him.

11. May. He's steadily worked his way into being probably the best winger in NH rugby.

12. Farrell. I'm not a huge fan but there's not really another stand out option at the moment so if he's not at 10 he'll probably be 12.

13. Tuilagi. Pretty nailed on if he's fit I think.

14. Liam Williams. I think he's pretty nailed on to be somewhere in the back three.

15. Hogg. He could do with ironing the occasional mistake he's prone to but he is the most dangerous option there.

 

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So the Champions Cup has been hit pretty badly by covid this week with 3 cancellations and one game up in the air with Toulon having, fairly reasonably I think, concerns about playing Scarlets. With this many games off you'd have to worry about how the tournament's going to go over the next few months and even if it's ok from here the potential of losing the current champions and probably pre tournament favourites in Exeter due to a cancelled game would be a blow.

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