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ljkeane

Rugby: A New Dawn

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Pretty disappointing game from the Lions. It was pretty obvious they were going to try to kick the leather off the ball once they went for Murray over Price but they pretty decisively lost the kicking battle and this week the substitute forwards really struggled. Once they went more than three points behind they were in trouble because there was clearly no plan for actually trying to play any rugby ball in hand.

Just overall in terms of how they played, yeah, it did work in the second half of the first test but I can't help feel like going for a contestable kicking and defence style of play isn't going to be an effective longterm strategy against South Africa, it's definitely right in their wheelhouse. Plus if you're going to play extremely negative rugby you kind of need to win to get the fans onside.

From a South African point of view they'll be pleased with that, especially given they lost Du Toit early. Very good decision from the coaches to go with three second rows to really disrupt the Lions lineout and once that happened the Lions never recovered.

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A fairly error strewn game between the All Blacks and the Wallabies this morning with both sides looking a bit rusty but it's good to see two sides actually trying to play with ball in hand. It'd be nice to see some of that this afternoon but I'm not too confident. Australia were actually well in that game and if they'd been a bit more clinical about taking their chances they'd have had a good chance of getting a win. Even if Lolesio had had his kicking boots on it might have been enough.

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Gawd dammit, the shops across the road from my home here in Sydney include no less than six barbers or hair-salons, and none have been open for the last seven weeks due to Covid restrictions. Today I bit the bullet and cut my own hair, or at least half it before my trimmer blunted and I had to put two masks on and go to the supermarket across the road and buy a new beard & hair trimmer to finish the job. My self haircut looks better than some of the mops I saw in that All Blacks/Wallabies game.

I do like how Australia have gone back to the Gold jersey, that's ominous.

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Heh, last minute Morne Steyn penalty to win a Lions series in South Africa, I've seen that one before.

Miles better game than the previous two though. Finn Russell was absolutely brilliant when he came on at picking off the Springbok rush defence. To be honest I was always a little concerned he was too flakey to rely on but, fair play to him, he was great. The Lions will be a bit disappointed with the number of chances they missed when they were on top but, credit to them, the South African defence was excellent and Pollard missed a number of straightforward kicks too.

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That was a nail-biter. Best match of the series. We were poor in the 1st half but came back well in the 2nd to get the win and take the series. Not the best rugby on show in the series as a whole but I'll happily take the win especially considering our lack of match preparedness (just the one Test played against Georgia since the WC final).

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The final score didn't really reflect how close the game between New Zealand and Australia was this morning, the Wallabies were well in it for about 60 minutes of the match, but you can't help but feel the Wallabies need a bit more composure at key moments. I think there's a lot to like about the Dave Rennie version of the Wallabies, they look really good ball in hand, but if not for a pretty soft intercept try they probably go in at half time in front and the 10 minutes when they were a man up was absolutely terrible. Maybe the All Blacks turn it on and win anyway but Australia don't need to make it so hard for themselves.

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55 minutes ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

Coronavirus outbreak in New Zealand might well bugger up the third Bledisloe Cup match.

Bledisloe's locked up for another year, so the scheduled third match between AUS & NZ in Perth would just be a Rugby Championship game. The ABs may be given dispensation to get out of NZ, but I doubt WA will let them in. 

The outbreak in Auckland now traces back to the 6th Aug, before the first match with 47,000 in attendance. :unsure:

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Speaking of Australian rugby the number 8 last time they won the Bledisloe Cup, Toutai Kefu, was apparently stabbed after confronting a group who had broken into his house. It's good to hear he's out of hospital but it sounds pretty horrendous. 

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Seems fair.
We've spent the last 12 months saying "Rugby Against Racism" whilst turning a blind eye to a racist logo, bar names, the tomahawk chop and plastic headdresses.
Nobody can make Exeter change their branding, but clubs can ban the racist aspects from their own grounds.

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I see Exeter are really keen to put to bed all the claims of cultural insensitivity and show that they've grown and learned from their mistakes, and unveiled their new mascot Tom-a-hawk.

Because when someone points out that youre being racist, and you acknowledge the fact, trolling them is the perfect reaction!

 

https://mobile.twitter.com/i/web/status/1436734306580324354

Edited by Which Tyler

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Double header in Queensland today.

Argentina vs New Zealand first up. Watching it live I thought the Argentinian defense was solid & committed - yet the score board kept sprouting up in NZ's favour, in the end too clinical when presented with scoring opportunities.  

The game between by South Africa vs Australia was riveting from start to finish. SA may rue their poor performance but I had a feeling Australia were going to be within striking distance near the end and then took the opportunity to seal the win when it arose. I'm so happy for Quade Cooper, cool, calm collected throughout - what a return to the test match arena!

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Good game between Australia and South Africa. I thought the Wallabies did some good things in their games against New Zealand but they really lacked composure at the key moments. Quade Cooper isn't someone I'd generally associate with composed leadership from the flyhalf role but, fair play to him, they did look a lot better with him at 10.

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Having Samu Kerevi to support Cooper has certainly paid dividends for Dave Rennie. Kerevi was the Wallabies most dangerous back before he left for Japan a few years back. Cooper won't be the future of the Wallaby backline but as long as he's healthy and maintains form his presence may prove invaluable until Lolesio gets some mojo back. With the outstanding Hooper leading from the front, and Koroibete on the wings there's more than enough talent to build a competitive team for next World Cup.

Cooper has certainly matured with his play, and more importantly with the person he presents himself as these days.
Great after match interview here offers some insight in that journey. I'm reminded of Jason Robinson and the influence Va'aiga Tuigamala had on him when they were both at Wigan in the mid 90s.

Next week's double header is at Suncopr Stadium in Brisbane. Unfortunately the latter game between Arg/NZ clashes with the NRL 2nd week finals match between Penrith vs Parramatta.

 

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Another double header in The Rugby Championship, this time the teams have moved up the highway to Brisbane with Aus vs SA up first. Entertaining first half so far with the Australian back line showing their willingness to spread the ball. SA keeping in touch with Handre Pollard's boot. I honestly can't tell who will have the momentum in the second half, just hope its not decided by the referee and TMO.

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Another great game between these two teams. Last week's game was snatched away by the last minute penalty by Quade Cooper, this week was a much deserved victory. I can appreciate South Africa taking opportunities to move the ball when offered, but (if I were a SA supporter) I would've preferred to win ugly than to succumb to recent media about playing boring rugby - win first, play pretty if warranted. On Australia's part, this team is showing its potential. Take out the results against NZ and Rennie's test record against other nations is looking very good. The presence of Kerevi in the centres is having a great effect. Paisami and Ikitau are benefiting from this. I haven't given up hope on the young Lolesio, lets hope he can recover under Coooper's resurgence. Add in Tupou, a much better starter than sub IMO, Lachie Swinton, Andrew Kellaway, this team might be a dark horse for 2023.  

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Another good win for the Wallabies. I thought they were in trouble when their play under the high ball went to shit after Banks went off but the Springboks defence just couldn't handle them ball in hand. One of the problems with a really aggressive rush defence like South Africa play is if you miss tackles on the inside you're really struggling so the fact that they just couldn't tackle Kerevi one on one really caused them big issues. I think playing Mostert in the back row was probably the wrong call, he's fine if they can keep the game tight but with Australia looking to up the tempo whenever they could they could have done with a more mobile back row.

Just as an aside I think this really showed how the Lions got their tactics wrong for the South Africa series. It was pretty obvious from the third test when Russell came on anyway but buying into the way the Springboks want to play the game clearly isn't the way to beat them.

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The expected arm wrestle between NZ and SA. Too much pride for SA not to turn up and up their intensity and stick to what has worked for their set up, putting pressure on NZ forcing them to make errors.

Edit: this is actually the game I hoped between these two, at least from South Africa. Even with The Rugby Championship now secured by NZ, fans back home, unfortunately, will ravage this performance from their team. Cool thing is, they get to do this again next week.

Australia vs Argentina coming right up at the same stadium.  

 

Edited by ithanos

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Cracking first half between South Africa and New Zealand in the final game of The Rugby Championship 2021. SA came out with clear intent, and although they've continued with their tactic of going to the air they've peppered it delightfully with some excursions out wide. But, as is often the case, NZ only needed a couple chances in opposition territory to spring a dozen points out of sharp play - heading into the half 20:14 up. 

Earlier Australia had dispatched a spirited Argentina missing several players who made the poor decision to cross over the QLD/NSW border and found they couldn't immediately cross back without an enforced quarantine.  

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11 minutes ago, ithanos said:

Cracking first half between South Africa and New Zealand in the final game of The Rugby Championship 2021. SA came out with clear intent, and although they've continued with their tactic of going to the air they've peppered it delightfully with some excursions out wide. 

I’m not sure the Springboks have changed much, they’ve just won a few more of the contestable high balls. The up tempo game New Zealand are playing though looks to be causing them a few problems. The kick chase on the Jordi Barrett break towards the end of the first half was very ragged.

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