Northern Hemisphere to win the first round battle

Poth Ale Roar Rookie

By Poth Ale, Poth Ale is a Roar Rookie

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    England's Mathew Tait, left, and Jonny Wilkinson. AP Photo/Matt Dunham

    It’s less than 48 hours to kick-off the first of the November Internationals series when Wales take on Australia at the Millennium. At the same time, in another part of Britain, England will be quietly chewing their knuckles as they prepare to take on the All Blacks.

    Three hours later, attention will switch across the Irish Sea to the revamped Lansdowne Road’s inaugural rugby match, where Ireland will be pawing the ground to let loose on an injury-ravaged South African team fielding only nine regular Springbok players and to make it four in a row on their African opponents.

    Wales, whilst down a few of their more experienced or talented players such as Roberts, Halfpenny and Lee Byrne, should be able to account for Australia coming down off their high of a last-miunute win against New Zealand – particularly if Quade Cooper is playing and Kurtley Beale eats some dodgy Welsh Rarebit the night before.

    England, desperate to be back where they were nine years ago, are straining at the leash to get physical with the New Zealanders at their Twickenham HQ. With an untested centre pairing at the heart of the New Zealand backline, England will be looking to expose early on the frailties of the New Zealand defence, as happened with the Australians last week.

    England should come out on top in what will be a tight finish.

    With South Africa in disarray, the question for the bookies on the Bokkies is not if they lose, but by how much. Fifteen seems to be the general consensus of the lunatic fringe.

    Peter de Villiers is destined to be crowned SARU King if he manages to win this one, with a crew of newbies and half crocked old-timers, tired and worn out from their Tri-Nations and Currie Cup matches.

    Murphy’s Law could well be in his favour.

    All in all, having delphically studied tea leaves all the way from China and Assam, checked the firmanents for optimum astral positioning, peered long and hard into three different 24 per cent minimum lead crystal spheres, it could be a satisfying rugby weekend for Northern Hemisphere rugby fans.

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    The Crowd Says (131)

    • November 5th 2010 @ 3:23am
      wannabprop said | November 5th 2010 @ 3:23am | ! Report

      Pots, this appears to be in the style of some ‘regular columnists’ looking for volume of ‘hits’. Are you looking for a paid (wind up) position? But I’ll bite anyway – could you elaborate further on your reasoning for Northern Hemisphere dominance, for example, ‘particularly if Quade Cooper is playing…’ And I’m not for a minute saying you’re wrong… Should be interesting this weekend.

      • Roar Guru

        November 5th 2010 @ 9:15am
        Poth Ale said | November 5th 2010 @ 9:15am | ! Report

        wannabprop – my headline for this article was “November internationals weekend 1” Very boring. The editors in their wisdom decided to put in the more provocative headline.

        The Quake Cooper line is an intentional wind-up given his turnstile qualities which are on a par with the celebrated Mr O’Gara. Likewise, the intended humour in positing that Beale would be subject to food poisoning. (Without him, Australia actually would have problems – in my view)

        Henry has gone for an untried centre partnership even though it involves Nonu and Saint Sonny Bill. England are England and one of the few teams to have beaten NZ home and away – even though they don’t play them as regularly as Australia and South Africa.

        Ireland are the bookies favourites to win. The lunatic fringe likes a 15 point margin. I don’t. i said that Murphy’s Law could swing in PdV’s favour, so Sa could win this one.

        Thus it could be a satisfying weekend for NH fans. I didn’t say which ones though.

        • November 5th 2010 @ 10:47am
          wannabprop said | November 5th 2010 @ 10:47am | ! Report

          Surprised to see Sonny Bill chosen at 13 – after all, he’s been playing at 12 for Canterbury hasn’t he? From all reports he’s still a bit lost in defense, so why debut (and start) in the most difficuIt position to defend. Looked to me that the ABs were managing his transition very well (unlike the Wallas with Tahu), but this selection shows some contempt for the English midfield. Perhaps Henry figures the Eng attack is so pedestrian, SBW will be able to play himself into the role during a test match no less! Still, it would’ve made more sense to bring him on off the bench, no?

          I’m a tad edgy about the Wallas/Wales match. Will the WBs be focussed after HK? And the scrum appears to have regressed 2 years. I’m especially clueless as to what will happen in the Ireland/SA game – although I’d probably put my money on the Irish backs to take it out – SA look tired as well as disrupted.

          Really peeved Aust/Wales and NZ/Eng games are on at the same time. No benefit of replays where I am. Don’t remember this being the case before? Anyway, can’t wait!

        • November 8th 2010 @ 5:04pm
          Nappy Rash said | November 8th 2010 @ 5:04pm | ! Report

          Uhm, u were saying??

    • November 5th 2010 @ 3:44am
      Seiran said | November 5th 2010 @ 3:44am | ! Report

      ‘it could be a satisfying rugby weekend for Northern Hemisphere rugby fans.’

      But it won’t be.

      I will give you the Irish match but I don’t think Wales and England stand a chance.

      Pots, could you also please elaborate on your suggestion that Wales will be able to account for the Wallabies ‘particularly if Quade Cooper is playing’. We are all aware that Quade has a defensive flaw, but if this is your reasoning how do you see Wales approaching this? How also do you see Wales defending against Quade Cooper? Seeing the AB’s and Boks struggled to contain him how are Wales going to achieve this?

    • November 5th 2010 @ 3:52am
      Cattledog said | November 5th 2010 @ 3:52am | ! Report

      Aaaah Pots, you been into that brew again, haven’t you! But a nice post, sure to get the tongues wagging and the collars a bit heated. After the emotion of last weekend both SH teams have to lift considerably for the Wales and England clash respectively. The 3rd SH team, well, you could be right. As wannab said, it should be interesting.

    • November 5th 2010 @ 4:02am
      Viscount Crouchback said | November 5th 2010 @ 4:02am | ! Report

      Steady on, old chap – I know I criticised your Celtic pessimism a while back, but I fear you have swung from one extreme to the other! Still, I hope you’re right. I give England and Wales a fair chance, but I don’t fancy Ireland’s flimsy tight five up against a steaming Bok pack. Something tells me that Mick O’Dricscoll and Tony Buckley won’t be thanking D’Arcy for his rather silly “we’ll bully them” comments!

      • November 5th 2010 @ 4:07am
        Ben S said | November 5th 2010 @ 4:07am | ! Report

        I’m sure Buckley is positively terrified of Mtawarira, VC!

        • November 5th 2010 @ 4:17am
          Viscount Crouchback said | November 5th 2010 @ 4:17am | ! Report

          That will be an interesting match-up: two hefty chaps who can’t scrummage for toffee (although Beast’s scrummaging is much less of a liability than Buckley’s). However, I shiver at the thought of what Bakkies Botha will do to poor Mick O’Driscoll. Frankly, it’s a dreadful Irish tight five. They’ll need to give the ball some air and hope their excellent backs can give them a chance. The Bok back-line looks pretty rum itself.

    • November 5th 2010 @ 4:38am
      Ben S said | November 5th 2010 @ 4:38am | ! Report

      I don’t think that it’s a great Irish tight five, VC, but when was the last Irish great tight five? O’Connell took the lineout apart last year, and I imagine that had as much to do with Smal as it did with O’Connell. Mtawarira and Du Plessis are some of the most mediocre Test props currently plodding about, plus there is no Smit with his huge gait in the middle. If the scrum starts collapsing and not go backwards like it did last season then we’re going to get arbitrary calls, so I wouldn’t be too over concerned if I were an Irish fan.

      For me the thrust of the issue is what style of rugby SA want to play. If they want to kick and maul then they’ll come a distant second because all Ireland need is parity and I would expect them to get it at home on a damp winter field. Matfield looked washed up during the 3N and the CC, and Botha is an antique IMO. O’Driscoll and Buckley played well on tour in the summer, so I shall hold my judgement. It’s not often that you get one-on-one matchups in forward play so to that extent comparisons between Botha and O’Driscoll are cosmetic, so which pack will be better drilled, more committed and more dynamic on the day? I say Ireland, all day long and twice on Sundays.

      • November 5th 2010 @ 4:48am
        Viscount Crouchback said | November 5th 2010 @ 4:48am | ! Report

        No doubt Smal’s influence is helpful, but O’Connell was dominating lineouts long before the South African came on the scene. The Hayes-POC combination will be sorely missed at lineout time and I expect Matfield to wreak havoc. Mick O’Driscoll is not a Test player by any stretch of the imagination.

        Scrummaging-wise, I agree that the South Africans are no great shakes but I expect their ferocity at the breakdown to startle the Irish. I would take every single Bok tight five player over his Irish opposite number every day of the week. Let’s not forget – this is almost the Munster tight five that was taken apart in Biarritz in the Spring. They are distinctly mediocre and I expect the South Africans to prove it.

        • November 5th 2010 @ 5:00am
          Ben S said | November 5th 2010 @ 5:00am | ! Report

          That’s true re: O’Connell. What I meant to say was that O’Connell dominated Matfield in the air last season. That he didn’t during the Lions tour leads me to conclude that Smal is as important as O’Connell when it comes to the Matfield. I agree that O’Driscoll isn’t a Test player, but as long as he does a passable imitation of one then I think Ireland will be OK.

          I think the Biarritz tight five is probably better than the SA tight five, and the Ireland pack has Best in it, and Tony Buckley whose overall contribution in the loose could prove vital. Remember that this is arguably a weaker tight five than the one that was so lamentable in the 3N. Mtawarira and Du Plessis can’t scrummage, Smit’s leadership is not there, the SA pack was poor in the 3N, Burger is also absent, Stegmann is a rookie, the SA pack have long had troubles in Europe, Matfield isn’t any younger. I can’t find many plus points, VC.

          I fancy Ireland to do OK at the breakdown. Ferris is ferocious as anything in the SA pack, and it’s a SA pack minus Burger, who had a very good TN. I say Ireland up front. I just hope Sexton’s kicking is consistently good.

          • Roar Guru

            November 5th 2010 @ 8:20am
            Rusty said | November 5th 2010 @ 8:20am | ! Report

            I would feel better if Alberts was fit and playing instead of Spies. Other than that I think the Bok pack will shade their rivals . What I dont see is the candyfloss midfield holding up…

          • Roar Guru

            November 5th 2010 @ 10:35am
            Rusty said | November 5th 2010 @ 10:35am | ! Report

            Just a word on the nutter that is Burger – we are really going to miss his workrate around the tackle and it looked like he was developing his game on from just being a bash it up merchant. What I want to say is – how hard is this fellow?

            Last Sat he took a heavy blow about 5min before the end of the first half and was down for quite awhile before getting up and playing out the last few minutes with some more tackling and a carry or two. Comes out and plays the full second half in typical robust manner as if nothing happened. Turns out he had broken a rib – thats pretty substantial injury to play through when your job is to tackle and carry

            Not like its the first time – considering when he did his neck playing Scotland, it was only during the flight/bus(?) back when he turned to the coaching staff and admitted some discomfort and loss of feeling in one arm that they realised something wasnt right. Couple of fused verterbrae later…..nutter

          • November 7th 2010 @ 5:17am
            Viscount Crouchback said | November 7th 2010 @ 5:17am | ! Report

            I think it’s fair to say I called the match fairly accurate eh, Ben?

            • November 7th 2010 @ 5:54am
              Ben S said | November 7th 2010 @ 5:54am | ! Report

              Just seen this, VC, after having responded to you on another thread. Yes and no. 😉

              Spot on about O’Driscoll, and also about Buckley. I had such high hopes for him in the loose, but clearly it’s not to be. I was pretty unimpressed with the SA front row, but the Irish 2nd row lacked bulk, which shifted the balance, and that was all too evident. I think Court improved the scrummage and deserves another go. Matfield was excellent in the air, and the SA pack looked less lethargic than they did in the 3N. Perhaps the wet field was easier on Matfield’s old creaky knees?

              Ireland made a lot of mistakes, and SA were pretty one-dimensional – one for the purists. I did think Ruan Pienaar was very tidy, and Aplon is a potential livewire, but not much to shout about otherwise. If Ireland don’t pick themselves up form this loss then I think they are in big, big trouble.

              • November 8th 2010 @ 1:26pm
                Suzy Poison said | November 8th 2010 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

                The difference was Matfield did the lineout calls in Xhosa, this time and it worked a treat.
                Word from the Bok camp is Gert Small (Ireland forwards coach) knowledge of Afrikaans
                meant in previous meetings, by half-time, all the lineout calls were all worked out, and hence Ireland dominance in this facet before.
                Secondly the Bok pack looks a lot more menacing with the three B’s fresh, after long layoffs.
                I am talking about Bismark, Beast and Bakkies. Beast and Bismark didn’t play in the Tri-nations,
                and Bakkies is on some kind of spiritual redemption mission. Previously the Bok pack was carrying two passengers, Spies and Smit, now there is only one, Spies.
                In the end, thanks to more subtistution lunacy by “The Clown” the Boks scaped it. Adri Jacobs is a turnstile in defence. Luckily we get Frans Steyn back for Wales.
                Also the weather really played into the Boks 10man game plan. Had it been dry, the Irsh backline is far superior, Ireland would have been far more dangerous.

    • November 5th 2010 @ 5:10am
      Darwin Stubbie said | November 5th 2010 @ 5:10am | ! Report

      You’d take this far more seriously if the writer had submitted for posting a betting ticket where he’d place a few hundred quid boxing the 3 forecasted results .. otherwise as has been noted – more a poor vehicle to garner over-heated reaction ..

      • Roar Guru

        November 5th 2010 @ 5:56am
        Poth Ale said | November 5th 2010 @ 5:56am | ! Report

        04/11/2010 17:41 Bet Stake Ireland v South Africa – South Africa by 6-10 @ 5/1
        04/11/2010 17:41 England v New Zealand – New Zealand by 11-15 @ 5/1
        04/11/2010 17:41 Bet Stake Wales v Australia – Wales by 1-5 @ 7/1

        That the kind of thing you mean, Darwin?

        • November 5th 2010 @ 6:00am
          Ben S said | November 5th 2010 @ 6:00am | ! Report

          I’ve got a pony on Ireland at 4/5. Easy money, Pot.

        • November 5th 2010 @ 6:33am
          Darwin Stubbie said | November 5th 2010 @ 6:33am | ! Report

          no, no – what I meant was instead of the normal rubbish photo that the editors select to accompany a blog (in this case a dour looking Wilko – when surely it if anything it should be of him in joyous rapture – to add substance to your predictions) .. that perhaps you may have scanned and submitted for inclusion your actual Willy Hill betting slip – detailling a decent outlay with the odds obtained for boxing the 3 results coming in (possibly 20-1 I would have thought) …

          • Roar Guru

            November 5th 2010 @ 8:00am
            Poth Ale said | November 5th 2010 @ 8:00am | ! Report

            My predictions could go either way, Darwin.

            Saying someone should win, does not mean I’m saying they will win.

            I mean, how likely is it that Beale will get food poisoning?

            And it’s the bookies who have made Ireland favourites, not me. What I said was that Murphy’s Law could swing in de Villiers favour.

            I did say I’d delphically studied the tea leaves….that leaves things amibiguous,double-edged, equivocal….

            • November 5th 2010 @ 8:18am
              Darwin Stubbie said | November 5th 2010 @ 8:18am | ! Report

              of course they could go either way – that’s why these an active betting market …

              all I’m saying is wrapping your 3 picks (which would get tasty odds) and bunging a wedge on it would have given a bit more gravatis to your piece ..

              • Roar Guru

                November 5th 2010 @ 8:29am
                Poth Ale said | November 5th 2010 @ 8:29am | ! Report

                What three picks?

              • November 5th 2010 @ 7:51pm
                katzilla said | November 5th 2010 @ 7:51pm | ! Report

                I got odds of 8.43 for all 3 results to go my way.

                Ireland -4
                NZ -14.5
                Australia -9

              • November 6th 2010 @ 11:03pm
                Ben S said | November 6th 2010 @ 11:03pm | ! Report

                That’s not a bad trio, katzilla.

      • November 10th 2010 @ 8:50pm
        C.H. Oker said | November 10th 2010 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

        You seem to forget that the Boks put this side together 2 days after the bruising curry cup and 5 days before the Irish test…only flew in on Thursday….and yet, still won (away from home!)… and the AB’s aren’t “on the verge of greatness” as u all blabbled about…they just peaked early (oops! again)….and it’s nice to see that u are all quiet about your head-butting pensioner after u couldn’t stop talking about Bakkies Botha …funny how that works, but hey, next year is the RWC and the boks will once again win WHEN IT COUNTS!!! Enjoy your highs while it lasts….see u at the RWC!

        • November 11th 2010 @ 8:25am
          Winston said | November 11th 2010 @ 8:25am | ! Report

          Bit soar about the tri nations are we?

          • November 11th 2010 @ 11:18pm
            C.H. Oker said | November 11th 2010 @ 11:18pm | ! Report

            Tri nations? what tri nations??? I guess I can say the same about your S14 campaign but hey, I don’t harp on the past…

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