David does RWC – Days 4 + 5 + 6
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 4 + 5 + 6
We have had a fair bit to be excited about over here in NZ. The rugby action has been good for the most part, with games being well attended and played in good spirits. There have been a couple of good ones to boot and plenty of well worked tries as well. We move more into the second round, with some of the bigger teams playing over the weekend. Firstly though, here is a look at what has happened with days 4, 5 and 6.
Samoa gave Namibia a thrashing, but may have paid a high price in doing so. Fly half Tusi Pisi (left hamstring) and blindside flanker Taiasina Tuifua (rib) were forced off the field after 30 minutes and are doubtful for their match against Wales. Human wrecking ball Alesana Tuilagi was at his destructive best against Namibia, scoring a hat-trick of tries, while flanker Maurie Fa’asavalu and man-of-the-match George Stowers were strong in the forwards as they led Samoa to a 49 – 12 victory.
Tonga went down 20 – 25 against Canada. They lost me money. I don’t like losing money. They really are not in my good books now. Tonga let a seven point lead slip with only 15 minutes left to lose. This does not please me. Enough said.
Scotland survived a tough encounter against Georgia to win 15-6. The Lelos had their opportunities but lacked the composure required at key moments to turn those chances into points. They conceded 14 penalties, more than double Scotland’s total of six. The majority of the second half was played in Georgian territory with the ball in Scotland’s hands as they searched for a breakthrough, but tries were not forthcoming. Instead they had to be content on learning their three times tables in the wet.
Whilst Tonga decided not play nice and lose me money, the USA managed to prove a winner by beating Russia 13 – 6. It really made my day. Seriously though, they proved a good bet and made me money. I like the USA now. However it would have been nice if they had translated their dominance into more points, as the Russians nearly gave me a heart attack towards the end. After being pushed around by Ireland last week, the USA forward pack were impressive at set pieces, winning five lineouts against the throw (including two in a row late in the game when they were defending on their line) and holding their own against the Russian scrum. That momentum allowed the Eagles to throw the ball wide early and often, and slick backline work paid off in the 19th minute when Roland Suniula linked with his brother Andrew to send scrum half Mike Petri scampering away to score under the posts. This was however a false dawn, as there were no more tries in the game.
Despite losing a heap of players who were “injured”, the All Blacks still managed to put in a dominate performance against Japan and take the game 83 – 7. The All Blacks ran in six first-half tries and added another seven in the second to inflict the first real blowout of Rugby World Cup 2011. They were just too good. The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Japanese wing Hirotoki Onozawa, who ran in his team’s only try on 58 minutes when intercepting an attempted offload from fly half Slade.
Well, that’s me for now. Stay tuned for more RWC action coming your way soon.