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David does RWC – Days 12, 13 and 14

The 2011 Rugby World Cup is well under way in New Zealand, and we’ve sent our Chief Rugby Analyst David Shipton along to cover the entire tournament for us (well… not really. He lives there.)

RWC Days 12, 13 and 14

As per the last article I want to start this one with a bit of a rant. I was watching Argentina and Scotland play in really bad conditions, and couldn’t happen to notice that there was quite a high injury toll during the match. Now, if the injury to the player is serious enough, the ref will stop play and award a scrum. This is generally also done to stop the injured player and the medics getting in the way of the game.

However, on Sunday night I watched as Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe got what seemed to be a serious enough injury, yet nothing was done about it. A couple of seconds later the play was round him, and he couldn’t get out of the way (he had done something to his knee and therefore could not walk off). There were several Argentinean rucks only meters away from where he lay with a medic guarding him, and on several of them he influenced the play. Now this is just unacceptable. You cannot have an injured player influencing the game like Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe did (no fault of his). He should have been allowed to go straight off instead of having the possibility of a ruck potentially forming near or even on him, and having an influence on play.  The IRB have dropped the ball on this one for me.

 

Games

Australia predictably beat an under strength USA side by 67 – 5, but the victory has come at a high price as they have sustained several injuries in the process. Rob Horne has a fractured cheekbone, Pat McCabe dislocated a shoulder, Wycliff Palu and fullback Kurtley Beale both came off with hamstring problems and outside centre Anthony Faingaa was knocked out.  The USA fought bravely for the first half, keeping the score down to 22 – 5 at half time before the Wallabies finally clicked into gear and started doing the basics a bit better to easily romp home.

England powered to a 10-try 67-3 victory over Romania. A hat-trick for wing Mark Cueto and fellow speedster Chris Ashton propelled England to an impressive victory that sees them remain firmly on course for the quarter-finals. They were much better in this game, with the signs looking a lot better for the English then it did last week.

Three tries in the opening 20 minutes set up a comfortable victory over France, but New Zealand know they have plenty of room for improvement following their 37-17 win. After withstanding a French onslaught for the first 10 min, the All Blacks went on a scoring rampage for the next 10, effectively sealing the game then and there. They had their bonus point try soon after half time, before letting in a couple of soft (one controversial) tries before ending the game with a SBW try.

Samoa celebrated a gritty 27-7 victory over Fiji in a game that disappointed most who watched it. With expectations at an all-time high, a full house of noisy fans and organisers dubbing the game a ‘symbol of the tournament’ prior to kick-off, these great rivals produced a contest brimming with heart but sadly lacking in quality for long periods. In the end it was Samoa’s dominance of the set-piece and greater control won the day, instead of the running rugby that most expected.

The green army was once again out in force to watch Ireland comfortably defeat a spirited Russia 62-12. Roared on by sea of green, Ireland raced to a 17-0 lead in no time before they struck a flat patch before scoring three quick tries before half-time. The Bears trailed 43-0 early in the second half but came out of hibernation. But the tiring Russians fell away in the final 20 minutes as Ireland crossed for another four tries.

A late converted try from Lucas Amorosino gave Argentina a 13-12 victory over Scotland. Scotland looked to have the game under control with only a few minutes left in the game and a six point lead. They went for a drop goal and missed, which gave Argentina possession, to which they worked up field to score a miraculous try. The game was played in the driving rain, which lead both sides to play a more conservative game.

 

Tips

Wales should roll Namibia. Question is, by how much?

Canada and Japan should be a much closer game and better to watch. Both are evenly matched and have pushed France. Should be a good game but I think Japan will take this one. Just.

Italy should be too good for the USA, but stranger things have happened at the World Cup before….

That is me for this one. Hope you enjoy the rugby!!!

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