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Manu Tuilagi vs Jean De Villiers in the first Test in Durban

I agree that from what I saw of the series JDV did win this battle, mostly because he's just a better player. I only see Tuilagi every now and then and maybe I'm missing something but, as ilovebacon says, he's a great battering ram but it seems to so often just end there. I think he needs the support of creative runners with better lines than England can offer at the moment, someone to offload to after the bash.

2 Years, 1 Month ago

Sonny Bill Williams puts the shoulder in against the Highlanders

On the first tackle, if you actually look at the video, Williams' head and eyes follow the ball and he half pulls out of the hit, he actually stands still and doesn't take another step forward. If he wanted to he could've gone right on through the guy and if there was no wrap I would have no problem with a card. But I'm OK with the penalty although I've seen worse not given.
The second time he tackles the same guy entirely legit and dumps him on his side. How is that not OK? As SBW runs at him, the #5 puts his elbow out, Williams makes hard first contact but I can't see anything high and even you admit only to "what looks like something pretty high". Well I can't see it, none of the refs did, and I don't think you can either. Another Highlander player starts wrestling SBW off the ball and that's when the handbags come out.
A few days ago it was all about what a good guy SBW was by showing concern for an injured Earls, now he's a nasty ego-monster. I don't buy it.

2 Years, 1 Month ago

Sonny Bill Williams puts the shoulder in against the Highlanders

A lot of moralizing going on here. It was a shoulder charge, I've seen a lot worse and plenty of them.. a penalty's fine. The ref did OK, let play go on while the assistant ref kept an eye on things. Then there was a bit of mouthing off and pushing and shoving. No big deal.
As far as SBW's career, start living in the real world, at this level players are moving round all over the place trying to make the most of their few years at the top because it doesn't last for long. They have every right to look after themselves and their families however they want. I don't think the other players are going around muttering about loyalty, they're saying 'good luck' and many of them are wishing they had the talent and drawing power to get the sort of opportunities that SBW is being offered.

2 Years, 1 Month ago

USA Eagles have two players red carded in loss to Italy in Houston

In a top level comp pretty much anywhere in the world these hits, in isolation, would both be yellow. If he'd given a yellow for the first and a general warning to both sides, then I wouldn't argue with a red for the second. By giving a red for the first hit the ref left himself nowhere to go for the second one.

2 Years, 2 Months ago

Argentina snatch victory from France with late try in Cordoba

Calm down Tito. I think the comments on here about the commentators are mostly friendly and saying that they enjoy the difference in style. And I don't think you can seriously claim that the Pumas are the only players who are proud to play for their country, I guarantee it's the same feeling for anyone playing test rugby.

2 Years, 2 Months ago

The Wallabies snatch dramatic win over Wales at the death

The rolling maul has sometimes been such a strong point of the NH forward game in recent years, it's ironic that it should have been the final decisive tactic by Australia in this test. Perfectly executed for about 15 metres, it eventually drew the penalty in the way England so often did in their WC heyday. I can't help thinking that if Wales had managed to win the game with a similar move a lot of comments would be about how brilliantly done it was. I agree with Jon that although by no means a great unit, this is a solid Wallaby pack and in the end it was their execution of the last maul that set up the win.
Looking again at Genia's blooper that lead to Wales' second try, his extra-enthusiastic celebration at the end must've been 50% pure relief.

2 Years, 2 Months ago

Dan Carter breaks Irish hearts as the All Blacks take series win

It's a scandal .. for 107 years, no matter who the refs are or where they come from, north or south, they continue to refuse to let Ireland beat New Zealand at rugby union. Nobody has ever given me any reason why this conspiracy goes on, but it's just so obvious and something should be done about it! Obvious, that is, except to those of us who watch really closely and come away thinking that the breaks seem to clearly go both ways and both sides got away with a lot stuff. In the interests of a flowing game I prefer that, to every single transgression being whistled.
Ireland were so much better than in the previous test that some people claim they were plainly dominant. In reality the teams looked evenly matched for most of the game and there were periods when each had the upper hand but I don't think either side dominated. Both had enormous defence, line-breaks were at a minimum and it was a tough, hard fought, old school test, a bit like some of the classic NZ/SA arm wrestles that we've seen down the years, and that's as absorbing as rugby gets.
I don't think Ireland were unlucky to lose but they were unlucky not to draw and the NZers I've spoken to think so too. Carter's drop-kick looked like a sack of spuds going over the bar but you don't get the ABs' winning % against all-comers, with all sorts of refs, in all conditions, home and away, without finding a way to win the close ones more often than not.
Looking forward to the next test and I have no idea how it's going to go, which is just the way I like it. Last thought, I had the Sky commentary and now I can't ever take any complaints about bias in SH commentary seriously again, not that I did much before anyway.

2 Years, 2 Months ago

Scotland go two from two as they beat the Flying Fijians

The irony of your post is that you accuse NZ of poaching and then go on about how well Visser's career prospects are looking. The most prominent recent AB with Fijian heritage that I can think of is Rococoko who went to NZ as a five-year-old.
On the other hand Visser was already a mature rugby player in the Netherlands when he was scouted by the Newcastle Academy during a sevens comp and lured into UK rugby.
I've got no problem with that, but if you're going to talk about poaching I know which of those scenarios fits the definition best.
Anyway, Visser looks a good player and if he can inject some life into the Scot's backline then good on him.

2 Years, 2 Months ago

The All Blacks turn it on at Eden Park with big win over Ireland

If there is a Pocock/McCaw debate it isn't settled by one test match. Personally I'd put them both in my World XV and let them sort out how they want to pack down. I haven't seen much of Brussow lately but I know how good he can be, but in Brisbane the second and third best loosies were daylight and daylight. You'll get no argument from me there.

2 Years, 2 Months ago

The All Blacks turn it on at Eden Park with big win over Ireland

Thanks for the full match replay RD, just caught up with the first 30 min which I'd missed. On McCaw, if he's losing it then I don't see much evidence of it in this game. But maybe he's come back to the field a little and is only as good as Pocock these days, which makes them both still the best #7s going round. Way too early to even consider putting him out to pasture.

2 Years, 2 Months ago

 
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