Home > Rugby, Rugby News, The Drawing Board > The Drawing Board (29/06/2012)

The Drawing Board (29/06/2012)

Hello and welcome to Who’s Playing Who?’s weekly rugby blog. This week has seen the conclusion of the northern hemisphere’s tour of the southern hemisphere.  This also concluded the first ever break in Super Rugby history. Super rugby will be making a return this week, with most teams still desperate for points as the log remains quite jammed.

Foreign affairs

Australia 20 – 19 Wales

Australia edged out Wales in their third and final Test to complete a 3-0 series whitewash.After falling to narrow losses in the opening two Tests Wales only had pride to play for in Sydney, but they looked on course to seal a first win over the Wallabies in their own backyard since 1969 when Leigh Halfpenny struck a late penalty, following tries from Ryan Jones and Australia’s Rob Horne. But Berrick Barnes stepped up to break Welsh hearts again with a 75th minute match-winning penalty.

Man of the Match: The Wallabies’ stand-in skipper David Pocock was once again a key factor in his side’s victory with a typical all-action display.

Key Moment: Wales were no strangers to referee Craig Joubert’s whistle with 14 penalties going against them but they could have no argument about the ‘truck and trailer’ call in the 72nd minute cleverly won by the Wallabies deep inside their own half. Two minutes later Australia’s Berrick Barnes kicked what would be the match-winning penalty.

New Zealand 60 – 0 Ireland

New Zealand powered to a record victory over Ireland in their clash. The All Blacks’ impressive nine-try showing propelled them to their biggest-ever winning margin against Ireland while a resolute defensive display also kept their rivals score-less for the first time in 88 years.

Twenty five minutes of genius from fly-half Aaron Cruden laid the foundation for their stunning triumph with a brace of tries from Sonny Bill Williams and Sam Cane breaking the back of Ireland’s challenge.

Man of the Match: All Blacks flanker Sam Cane was superb in his first Test start – racking up 20 tackles and two tries in the process. An all-action hero seemingly ready to join a long list of New Zealand greats to have worn the No.7 shirt with great distinction.

Key Moment: The game was already won but Hosea Gear’s brutal dismissing of Keith Earls summed up the All Blacks’ superiority. The rampaging Kiwi winger smashed through his Irish rival’s attempted tackle leaving the latter flat out on the turf, dazed and confused.

South Africa 14 – 14 England

England ended their tour of South Africa on a positive note as they fought back to claim a draw. Danny Care gave them an early lead by marking his international return with a try but JP Pietersen looked to have given the Springboks a decisive edge just after the hour. England did not wilt and Owen Farrell’s second penalty of a disjointed and scrappy contest played out in wet conditions secured a draw.

Farrell even had a late chance to win the game but sliced a drop-goal attempt horribly wide. But after defeats in Durban and Johannesburg – and nine in succession in total to the Springboks – England will have been happy to settle for only the second draw in history between the two sides.

Man of the Match: England were up for this one and their impressive effort and industry was emphasised by the endeavour of flanker Tom Johnson who continues to impress despite being a newcomer to the international stage.

Key Moment: England captain Dylan Hartley was sin-binned for deliberately killing the ball in the second half and his side held out in his absence only for South Africa’s JP Pietersen to cross just as he returned to the fray.

Tips

HIGHLANDERS v CHIEFS  – The Highlanders have lost some of the players who were so impressive when they beat the Chiefs in Hamilton at the start of the competition, and with it has gone some of their momentum. Nonetheless, the knowledge they have beaten the Chiefs and know how to do it should inspire confidence, and this one could be very tight. However, I think that the Chiefs should take it out by a slim margin.

REBELS v REDS – Both sides look strong, with their marquee players coming back from injury. The Reds have Quade Cooper who will join Will Genia in spearheading a full-strength backline. The Rebels though have Kurtley Beale at fullback and James O’Connor returning from injury and down to play flyhalf, plus the motivation of wanting to give the legendary Stirling Mortlock a fitting send-off in what will be his last home game. So while the Reds should be take it out, it might be close.

CRUSADERS v HURRICANES  – Dan Carter isn’t there, so Tom Taylor plays flyhalf – and there is a massive difference when that happens. Richie McCaw moves to No 8 for the injured Kieran Reid, which on the evidence of the All Blacks’ rout of Ireland last week may not be too much of a train smash. Another All Black out is Israel Dagg, while Tom Marshall is also sidelined. But the Hurricanes also have All Blacks missing to injury (Corey Jane and Victor Vito) while they are still waiting on the fitness of Jack Lam. It should be an interesting game, but I think the Crusaders will get up.

FORCE v BRUMBIES – The Brumbies have five Wallabies in two for this one and Sam Carter is back so they should be favourites to beat a Force team that will be playing to give veteran Nathan Sharpe a fitting send-off as he plays his final game in Perth. He will be joined in the team by one other member of the inaugural Western Force team, Richard Brown. All the emotion and sentiment is sure to rouse the Force, but you fancy that Jake White’s men should be too wily to be caught out.

STORMERS v LIONS – Tyrone Holmes against Derrick Minnie wasn’t something the Stormers would have been anticipating as a match-up for this game when they looked ahead at the start of the season, but so far Allister Coetzee has been pretty accurate when it comes to throwing players into the deep end and getting them to swim. The Stormers know this one will be tough, they accept that, but the injuries that have seen them play so significantly under-strength for so long have only served to strengthen the resolve of the unit, as we saw at Loftus last time out.

BULLS v CHEETAHS – The Cheetahs didn’t have many Springboks involved in the series against England but they did end up losing their next best player after Johan Goosen in the form of Coenie Oosthuizen. That is a significant loss, and it is interesting to see WP Nel playing off the bench in this one. When it comes to name players, it looks like Heinrich Brussow versus a quasi-Springbok team. The Bulls have dominated the Cheetahs for a while now in this competition and that trend should continue.

 

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