Monday, November 19, 2012

End of Year Tours 2012 - Week Two - Highlights wrap

With the seedings draw for the 2015 Rugby World Cup not far off, these Autumn International results are more significant than ever. To make sure you're up to speed, we've archived highlights and full match replays of the main games.

Today the latest IRB World Rankings were released and as you can see below, New Zealand occupy top spot for the third year running, but a little further down we saw some changes as Wales dropped two places following their loss to Samoa.

Come two weeks time, the top four sides will avoid each other in the draw, and the three sections would be as follows: Band 1: New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, France; Band 2: England, Argentina, Ireland, Wales; Band 3: Samoa, Scotland, Italy, Tonga.

View the full rankings on the IRB website here

Featuring highlights of all of the weekend's games wasn't feasible, so instead we've provided a short recap, followed by links to quick highlights and archived full matches.

Wales vs Samoa
On Friday night Wales slumped to their fifth successive defeat as Samoa brought dominated physically after scoring early on. Kahn Fotuali'i marshalled his troops superbly as the Millennium Stadium sat in stunned silence. Wales face the All Blacks next.
Highlights | Full Match

RFU Championship XV vs New Zealand Maori
The New Zealand Maori side are touring the UK and following on from their midweek loss to Leicester, they took on a RFU Championship XV in Doncaster. The game was closely fought for a long period, before the tourists let loose and ultimately came away with a big win.
Highlights | Full Match
Scotland vs South Africa
Scotland hosted the Springboks in a game that wasn't thrilling by any stretch of the imagination, but resulted in a good win for the visitors, bouncing back from the 2010 defeat. Scotland suffered their second loss in a row, albeit to the number one and two ranked teams.
Highlights | Full Match

England vs Australia
England were in buoyant mood following their big win over Fiji a week earlier, while the Wallabies needed to bounce back from their loss to France. They did so thanks to a Nick Cummins try and some good kicking from Berrick Barnes. England host South Africa next.
Highlights | Full Match
Italy vs New Zealand
The All Blacks were made to work hard for their 42-10 victory over Italy in Rome. While the first half was a fairly tight affair (the All Blacks led 13-7 at the break), in the last fifteen minutes of the game they let loose, scoring three tries, as Julian Savea picked up a brace.
Highlights | Full Match

Ireland XV vs Fiji
A strong Ireland XV side ran riot  at Thomond Park, scoring eight tries against Fiji in a non-Test cap match. Speedy winger Craig Gilroy picking up an impressive hat-trick. Ireland face a far sterner test this coming weekend, when they host Argentina in Dublin.  
Highlights | Full Match

France vs Argentina
France are looking good value for their top four placing on the world rankings following the good showing against Argentina in Lille. Wing Vincent Clerc scored twice, while flanker Yannick Nyanga scored a fantastic solo effort.
Highlights | Full Match

Elsewhere, Tonga beat the USA 22-13, while Canada beat Russia 35-3. You can view full match replays of those two games on the official IRB website here.

If you spotted anything in particular that you think should be featured on RD, please get in touch by sending a quick message on Twitter, Facebook, the requests section, or by email.

On a sidenote, our live video stream of the Italy vs New Zealand match was a huge success. The feedback was great and the quality of the video was excellent. If all goes well, we'll do the same for Italy vs Australia this coming weekend.

Posted by Rugbydump at 4:13 pm | View Comments (20)

Posted in End of Year Tours 2012

Viewing 20 comments

Ottawa Rugger November 20, 2012 4:35 am

I was wondering where some of these highlights were! Boy rugbydump, that's quite the delivery you gave us. Saw Wales v Samoa and England v Australia live but really appreciate the highlights for the Ireland v Fiji and some of the others.

On a somewhat related note, it may not be Tier 1 quality, but the match between Canada and Russia deserves watching if any of you get a chance. There were some quality tries scored by Canada's #14.

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Pretzel November 20, 2012 1:26 pm

I was actually amazed when I typed something into google like "international rugby match fixtures" and got a massive list of those each month (which I have since lost) and it had hundreds of fixtures. It was amazing to see how many "lower ranked" international rugby teams that had fixtures.

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Guest123 November 20, 2012 2:52 pm

Looking at the complex ranking system, neither wales nor samoa lose points if they lose this weekend due to the ranking differences between the teams. Samoa don't play in two weeks. So if wales lose to Australia they will lose points, enough to drop them below samoa. So if wales don't win one of there remaining matches they will be in pool 3 for the draw.

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Benny November 20, 2012 4:40 pm

There is a risk that Wales will fall out of the top 8 and NZ will be stuck with only Scotland as a warm up during the pool stages, as happened in 2007. This is terrible news. We need to make sure we don't beat Wales by more than 15 and perhaps give Gatland a few tips on beating the Aussies the week after. Fingers crossed the French don't fall into their old pattern and disintegrate vs Samoa.

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ConnachtMan November 20, 2012 4:48 pm

Ireland are struggling for form and the Argies will be up for the game at lansdowne road this weekend, Fiji were a non international which is a serious inditement of how the IRB is treating lesser nations. Most of the Fijian front line XV were not released by clubs....

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Facepalm November 20, 2012 6:32 pm

It was non-capped because it was played at Thomand Park when the Aviva stadium is the only one with international rights. E.g. if it was Ireland vs New Zealand it would still of been non-capped.

Nothing to do with the IRB....

Nothing to do with indifferent treatment of lesser nations...

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macmurchu November 20, 2012 6:42 pm

So there! A comprehensive answer...

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Eggman November 20, 2012 8:07 pm

Do you know why it wasn't played at the Aviva Stadium?

Another point he raised was that many of the best Fijian players weren't released for the Autumn Internationals by the French clubs. This is only partly the fault of the IRB, who could've forced the clubs to release them. However, apparently, they're only allowed to do so if the Fiji Rugby Union would've complained to the IRB. However, the Fijians are reluctant to do so because that might jeopardize the Fijian players contracts with the French clubs..
So just generally a huge mess with the Fijians suffering the consequences and the French clubs profiting

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Pretzel November 21, 2012 1:44 am

Eggman, there is definitely a yes an no to the "So just generally a huge mess with the Fijians suffering the consequences and the French clubs profiting" comment...

The Fijian international rugby team suffered as it did not field it's best team, however it gave a huge number of "second string" players a chance to get out there and play and potentially prove something. The individual Fijians playing for French clubs are probably making a fairly tidy sum of money, so again, they hardly lose out, especially if their families are back home and they send money back to them... seems like everyone wins all round actually...

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Jon November 21, 2012 4:11 am

All due respect, but how does everyone win out?
You know doesn't win out? Fijian fans and supporters. The international reputation of Fiji. The integrity of international rugby.

All these things suffer when Fiji gets treated this way.
Which has a flow on effect to Fijian rugby as a whole, in terms of revenue (less competitive - less sponsorship), reputation and directly effects Fiji's chances of getting a better world ranking, which affects them at World Cup time. Not only that but the popularity of the game suffers if the national team is uncompetitive.

If it were your national team I doubt you'd be so quick to look for the silver lining. I know if Australia couldn't get access to their best players because of the narrow interests of some clubs sides, I'd be furious and disillusioned.

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Full Back November 21, 2012 5:16 pm

Just a couple of quick points;
Argentina did not have a full compliment ot choose from for all of their championship games due to club duties.

Ireland did not field a first 15 or anything near it, so if anything it shows the (understandable) lack of depth of the Fijian outfit. They have some great talents despite the small pool of players they have to pick from but they're always going to suffer when they don't have a full compliment. It's hardly the Irb's fault though.

I would go so far as to say that if there wasn't a silver lining for Fijian rugby, the choice to not play was always there, thomand park is not around the corner for them. If they came to play rest assured they have their reasons.

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Jon November 22, 2012 1:09 am

Full back, how would that help Fiji? To not play at all?

So their choice is to not have a full team (despite the IRB rules, and the blatant double standard that tier two countries get treated with in comparison to tier 1) or to not play at all?

What should bloody happen is that they get the players they select and the IRB punishes clubs with fines and suspensions if they see any sign they are not releasing players.

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Full Back November 22, 2012 2:25 pm

We're here arguing about something that for all we know is a non issue amongst Fijian management. I'm sure their concern is getting a fit and prepared squad to the next world cup. They're hardly going to make it into the top 8 in any case, so at least they get some second string players some experience.
My point is if Fiji come to play they're always going to get something out of it, otherwise they wouldn't come in the first place. We agree on that point, we're just saying it differently.

How would your system protect the clubs at this stage? Are their investments in the game to be ignored?
Let's not forget that the Fijian first team is ranked where it is because their better players benefit greatly from their experience in France.
They already have problems with depth, if you only ever play the first team they'll have some serious injury woes to deal with sooner or later. As I pointed out, hardly a first team from Ireland(Heaslip, Cronin, Ross and Murray the only regular starters on the pitch at the start), the difference is the depth overall.

If besides all this there's problems with how FIjian rugby is treated then by all means it should be looked into, but I have to wonder what a big difference we would see if it weren't the case. Do you think they could compete with England, Wales, Ireland and Argentina for a band 2 spot? Not impossible, but I reckon it's a stretch.
They need to look to discipline and structure(on the pitch I mean) before they look at anything else in my opinion.

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jon November 23, 2012 7:40 am

Fullback, yes Fiji are absolutely concerned :

Read any or all of those articles.

Further to that, you're applying standards to Fiji you would not accept if it were your own team in the same situation. It's patronising to think that Fiji doesn't care about having their full strength team available or that they don't care about results.

When you say it gives them an opportunity to blood youngsters, that's exactly what they do during the Pacific Nations Cup every year.

Not only that, but this club control of players is not only confined to the November Internationals, French clubs even pay players to not go to World Cups!

It's a disgrace, undermines international rugby and shows how little the big countries care about the small countries and actually having a competitive world game beyond the top eight teams.

And to answer another question of yours, yes with a full strength team Fiji is capable of the same upsets Samoa achieves, absolutely. As evidenced by their quarter final appearance at the 2007 World Cup, something other big nations like Ireland and Wales could not achieve.

And further, sure Fijian players get benefit from French clubs. But what's the point if they then are basically blackmailed into not representing their country? At that point, while it provides financial benefit to the player, it damages Fijian rugby as a whole and benefits the French club scene at Fiji's expense.

Especially when you have the big teams then recruiting these players for their own national teams.

It's a disgrace.

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Full Back November 23, 2012 1:03 pm

ok so patronising really doesn't come into it but I don't want to get pedantic about semantics! ;) In any case I wasn't being condescending, just practical. I didn't say they don't care about it, but it's obviously not an issue that came about today or yesterday. So when the Fijian management organised their autumn tests they more than likely did so with the intention of improving their squad.
From there to saying that they're treated fairly is a big stretch, you seem more informed overall than I am on the subject so I'll give you your dues, but I just don't think that the top 8 became the top 8 due to special treatment. I remember Argentina put forth similar issues some time back, but they got around it somehow. I think alot goes down to the will of the players, you can see that in the way that they play.
Do Samoa get better treatment or do their players make different choices?

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joeythelemur November 20, 2012 6:30 pm

Thanks for these clips RD! I have been wondering though if the NZ/Scotland highlights were up somewhere from week 1. I saw a full replay link, but not a highlights package. I got a few from one of the NZ websites, but they were pretty poor.

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Rugbydump November 21, 2012 6:59 pm

They weren't archived in the same way I'm afraid. If time permits, they will be soon. Otherwise do a quick search on Youtube and I'm sure you'll find something. Glad you enjoyed what is here though.

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never2much November 21, 2012 2:06 am

It's worth just making the point of what a great post this is RD. All that top footy at one's fingertips. Thanks again.

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Rugbydump November 21, 2012 7:00 pm

You're welcome, glad they came in handy.

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cheyanqui November 21, 2012 8:21 pm

Anyone know how two matches in a given week are treated?

For example, Spain played two matches. Does the IRB calculate a mid-week ranking and then apply that to the end-of-week game?

Not that too many people here are losing sleep over it, but still curious

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