Home > Rugby, The Drawing Board > The Drawing Board (3/8/11)

The Drawing Board (3/8/11)

Welcome to the Drawing Board, Who’s Playing Who?’s one stop rugby shop. We’re only just over a month out from the start of the World Cup and it seems that everything is all go in terms of preparation for the big event. Whilst the players in the northern hemisphere are taking a break (and also the “injured” Boks!!), there are still positions to be played for in the southern hemisphere’s squads with the Tri Nations now in full swing. Firstly, here is the news.



  • The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) has announced that Southland were the only provincial rugby club to breach the new salary cap last year.
  • Alby Mathewson (who left Wellington to get away from Piri Weepu and have game time) has shrugged off the threat of Piri Weepu’s shock signing with the Blues.
  • Matt Giteau has again been overlooked as the Wallabies named a 24-man touring party for Saturday night’s Tri Nations Test against the All Blacks in Auckland. Nathan Sharpe and Nick Phipps also miss out
  • Lewis Moody looks set to resume the England captaincy for Saturday’s sold out Rugby World Cup warm-up clash with Wales at Twickenham.
  • The All Blacks and England have unveiled new shirts. Both are black.
  • The Springboks have released 23 players from their camp and made them available for Currie Cup selection. It contains eight players on the “injured” list


ITM Cup/Currie Cup Roundup

It’s full steam ahead for both these competitions. There is almost non-stop rugby this year, with the end of the ITM Cup signalling the beginning of the Rugby World Cup (RWC).

The Griquas claimed their first win of the new Currie Cup season by surviving a spirited second-half fight back from the Pumas to record a 40-33 victory to kick off another round in the Currie Cup. Five tries in the first half was enough for the Natal Sharks to record their third straight victory of 2011 Currie Cup with a 43-34 win over the Free State Cheetahs whilst the Western Province left it late to secure a four-try bonus point over rivals the Blue Bulls, eventually winning 35-7. In the last game of the round, the Golden Lions survived a late fight-back from the Leopards to prevail 53-36 in a 13-try thriller.

In continuation of round four action in the ITM Cup, Wellington recovered from conceding a try inside the opening 30 seconds of the game to defeat Canterbury 37-28, whilst Taranaki came from behind to beat Northland 23-16. A clinical display from Hawke’s Bay saw them despatch North Harbour 39-10 to kick off round five action. Southland retained the Ranfurly Shield following a tense 22-14 win over Counties Manukau whilst later on in the day Waikato despatched Tasman 33-6 in Hamilton to record their second win of the ITM Cup. Elsewhere Northland picked up their second win of the new ITM Cup season by edging out Otago 20-17 in a topsy-turvy contest. Canterbury managed to bounce back from a difficult week beating Manawatu 42-15. Taranaki then compounded Auckland’s recent misery in the ITM Cup with a resounding 39-11 win while Bay of Plenty hammered Wellington 32-0 later on in the day. To kick off round six, North Harbour could not prevent a 32-21 loss at home to Manawatu. Elsewhere Tasman recorded their first win of the ITM Cup with a hard-fought and shock 21-19 win over Hawke’s Bay in Napier.


All Blacks 40 – 7 Springboks

In another rather predictable result, the All Blacks gave the “injury” depleted Springboks an old fashion hiding.  Like last week, they put up a good fight in patches, but the Springboks were always fighting a losing battle. The All Blacks scored six tries in total, including two each for Cory Jane and Zac Guildford, while fly-half Dan Carter regained the world Test points scoring record despite struggling in tricky kicking conditions. In fact, the margin of victory would have been much greater had Carter been more accurate with the boot, having a rare off night. However, in his first kicking act of the game in the third minute, Carter passed the world record of 1,195 points held by England’s Jonny Wilkinson by landing a penalty goal. He also put in a good showing at first five, controlling the game well and showing off his running game.

After a bit of a settling in period, the All Blacks burst into life with a couple of well-taken tries in a matter of minutes. Wyatt Crocket scored his first test try, benefiting from a Jimmy Cowen break and the All Blacks exploiting an overlap close to the line. Then, from the restart, Ali Williams found space and the ball was moved to Carter, who slipped a kick through. Nonu elbowed his way past several South Africa defenders, regained the ball and set up a ruck, which saw Carter get the ball and run before slipping a pass to Guildford, who raced 40 metres to score his first Test try. The Springboks finally got themselves on the board on the half hour. Mistakes by the All Blacks saw the ball kicked to the corner after a penalty conceded by captain Richie McCaw. South Africa opted not to take the kick for goal and had their reward when captain John Smit drove over for the try beneath the posts, with Steyn adding the conversion. It didn’t take long for the All Blacks to extend their lead however, with Jane scoring the first of his tries.

Jane had his double soon after the break, with another well taken try.  The All Blacks kept the scoreboard ticking, with Dan Carter nailing some penalties during a period of Springbok resistance. However the Boks could not add to their points tally, eventually leaking a couple more tries to add to their embarrassment. The All Blacks will be pleased with this result; they played really well and deserved the victory. The Springboks will be bitterly disappointed, but can take some positives out of the match, with their attack not looking too bad for a second rate side.


All Blacks v Wallabies

Now, this is the game that everyone has been waiting for. Ever since the Springboks announced that they were sending an under strength side over this was always going to be the first true test of either side’s strength. Both sides will be better for their hit outs against the island nations and the Springboks. What we learnt from those exercises is that the Wallabies don’t have the same amount of depth as the All Blacks do.

Both sides will want to show how they are going in their RWC preparations, with both of them looking to name close to full strength sides. The All Blacks have had the luxury of resting some of their stars after a long Super Rugby season, whilst the Wallabies side have had a chance to catch their breaths this game. The upshot of that is that we should have a great game on our hands. Players will want to take every opportunity presented to them as they want to stamp their mark before the RWC.

There are potential mouth watering match ups all over the park in this one. As per the Super Rugby final, it looks set to be another battle between Dan Carter and Quade Cooper. These two may go up against each other another couple of times this year, and will be looking to get one up on the other. The centres will be another good match up, with Adam Ashley–Cooper looking to stamp his authority against a star in Conrad Smith. Fullback and open side flanker are other big match ups, with Kurtly Beale and David Pocock looking to get one over Mils Muliaina and Richie McCaw.

For me though, this is going to be won in the forwards. The backs of both sides are both explosive and can do some serious damage, but they will need good ball to do so. This is provided to them by the foundation that their forwards lay for them and this is where I think the All Blacks may have an advantage. They possess the better scrum and have a potent line out. Overall, I think they have the better loose forward trio, with Rocky Elsom providing the weak link for the Wallabies. I’ll be hoping for a cracker, but in my view the All Blacks are going to take round 1 by less than 12.

So until next time, all the best and we will see you next week on the Drawing Board.

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