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Around the grounds from rugby’s first weekend of June internationals

Blaise McKee Roar Rookie

By Blaise McKee, Blaise McKee is a Roar Rookie

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    The first weekend of international Tests for this June period produced many close encounters, with exciting series to come.

    Georgia (16) defeat Tonga (15)
    The first game of the weekend saw the Lelos take on the Ikale Tahi in Suva, Fiji.

    The game was a physical affair, with both teams aiming to stamp their dominance early. The Tongans struggled with their handling and gave the ball away too much, which played right into the Georgians’ hands, whose dominance at scrum time proved a huge factor in the game, as they were easily able to progress down the field through penalties.

    The Tongans showed what they could do in the last ten minutes, scoring twice, but it was too little too late, with the Georgians’ boring but effective play getting them the one-point win.

    Fiji (24) defeat Samoa (22)
    The Fijians were the better team for most of the match and looked like they were going to pull away when they went up 24-3 with about 30 minutes to play, but their ill-discipline (three yellow cards) let their opponents back in, with two tries in the last ten minutes.

    Ben Volavola directed play well, while also slicing through the Samoan defence for a try of his own. On the Manu Samoan side, Melani Matavao’s energy and speed provided problems for the Fijian defence.

    New Zealand (52) defeat France (11)
    The French looked like they would continue their habit of being the All Blacks’ bogey side, playing a great first 40 minutes, where they physically smashed the Kiwis and took their opportunities.

    The second half was a different story.

    A controversial yellow card in the 51st minute provided New Zealand the advantage they needed and they proceeded to run away with the game, their ability to score points on show. The home side’s bench was incredible, with Damian McKenzie the stand-out.

    For the French, there were positive signs and while they can count themselves a little unlucky, they also completely shut down after the yellow card. Hopefully they can be back to their physical best next Saturday in Wellington.

    Australia (18) defeat Ireland (9)
    The Wallabies faced a physical, forward-dominant Irish side, but defended well and upped the tempo in the second half to get the win.

    The one real area for improvement comes at lineout time, with debutant Brandon Paenga-Amosa struggling early in the game.

    Ireland will be disappointed with their performance, having struggled in attack – they didn’t have the x-factor to break the strong Wallaby defence.

    South Africa (42) defeat England (39)
    The final game of the weekend was a high-scoring shootout, which suited the South Africans more than the structured English.

    Engalnd amassed a 21-point lead inside 20 minutes before the Springboks found their groove and began to claw their way back, with halfback Faf de Klerk in everything for the home side.

    The English also suffered from poor discipline, giving Handre Pollard too many opportunities at goal.

    Questions surrounded the South African back three coming into the game, but S’busiso Nkosi and Aphiwe Dyantyi were standout performers, showing great pace and footwork, while Willie le Roux was at his best at the back.

    Other results
    Japan (34) defeat Italy (17)
    Wales (23) defeat Argentina (10)

    Rebuild announcement

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    The Crowd Says (45)

    • June 11th 2018 @ 2:56am
      Carlos the Argie said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:56am | ! Report

      Argentina should have chosen the Jaguares to play instead of the Pumas.

      Oh, wait! Same guys, different coach.

      They looked like a completely different team on the pitch. Maybe coaches matter.

      • June 11th 2018 @ 6:39am
        Londoner said | June 11th 2018 @ 6:39am | ! Report

        Was thinking exactly that……sure Wales competed at the breakdown in a very effective way, and Argentina were not able to out muscle them the way the Jags can beat up a Oz Super Rugby Pack, yet it was clear that the players were not playing with the same zip and confidence they do with Ledesma.

        Ledesma should run both teams. Further, they have to pick European based players. Maybe put a limit of 7 in a squad of 23, but pick them! As the team needs players who play in other environments.

        With the WBs, I think they have been underestimated. They will see off Ireland next week I feel. They have some real talent in the Backs, that Ireland will struggle to contain. Should have been 3-0 on Try count but for poor referring decisions.

        France, its sad however right now, they seem to compete with Argentina for title of worlds 8 or 9th best team…..I will be shocked if they ever beat NZ again unless they find some really quality pathways for bringing players through particularly at SH and FH….

        • June 11th 2018 @ 6:54am
          Carlos the Argie said | June 11th 2018 @ 6:54am | ! Report

          HI L!

          The Pumas team issue is very disturbing! Nico Sanchez is going to France next year. The RWC is next year. Hourcade had a huge opportunity to bring some players in some key position for close observation. For example, he could have brought Urdapilleta or Patricio Fernandez to back up Sanchez. It was also clear that props are needed. Once, I can’t recall if it was Botta or Chaparro went out with a blood injury in the 60th minute, they bring a prop that has never played before. He stays for 2 minutes while they patch up the injured one. Then he goes out. Not 5 minutes later, he is replaced by the new prop. This was so surreal! Then injured prop should have stayed out, after all it was already 60 minutes played….

          Then, in the second half when Sanchez was out, Gonzalez Iglesias takes the fly half position. He stands very deep, takes the ball STANDING and then shuffles backwards BEFORE passing the ball to another player who is also standing. Clearly, the Welsh defense loved this. In the first half when they had so many mauls close to the line, they used exactly the same play every time. Forget about Plan B! There was not even a Plan A.5!

          The Argie fans are complaining that the scrum was changing the way the locks grabbed the props in the scrum. Under and between the legs instead of around the hip. I don’t think it is a big deal itself. As flanker I always preferred the under/between because it gave me more room to push. The point is that Jaguares and Pumas, the same players (!), are told to grab differently depending on the coach.

          There is something that has been smelling rotten at the Pumas for a while, Hourcade’s record is appalling. And he stays! No shame.

          • June 12th 2018 @ 7:15am
            Londoner said | June 12th 2018 @ 7:15am | ! Report

            Thanks for the detailed info from Argentina! I did notice how static the Pumas were compared to the Jaguares and this was not all down to the tough tackling Welsh.
            Prehaps the players are not only confused by the Pumas coach tactics but also want to get him gone, and as such are not playing at their full potential?

            Its been said a good coach makes a team 10% better. A bad one 50% worse……hopefully Argentina change soon, You do wonder how good they would be with a decent management set up, and picking the best players…

            All this said I have a feeling come RWC19, they will make the QFs or better. Ive only seen NZ batter them in the last couple of years, the other losses are far more marginal even when the score had blown out a little.

            Lastly it was great that a TV channel in the UK picked up the game. Pumas tests are very good TV as it’s Somewhere in the Rugby World out of the Anglosphere or France which is rare!

      • June 11th 2018 @ 11:45pm
        Ex force fan said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:45pm | ! Report

        Coaches matter a lot. Rassie replaced Toetie and the Boks also look much better.

      • June 13th 2018 @ 6:24pm
        Just Nuisance said | June 13th 2018 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

        The Pumas were a bit disappointing Carlos. And yes ask any Bok supporter and we will tell you just how much coaches matter.

    • June 11th 2018 @ 4:36am
      KenoathCarnt said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:36am | ! Report

      So great to see so many new faces in the Wallabies there is alot of talent. The only thing I fear is that we eventually we have to verse NZ and it will feel like I have just rode a bike with training wheels for the first time looking back at my dad with a smile then get jumped on beaten repeatedly training wheels taken and bike left in a ditch unsalvageable.

    • June 11th 2018 @ 4:56am
      felix said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:56am | ! Report

      My team of the week : Beast,Taylor,Franks,Snyman,Whitelock,Pocock,Cane,Vermeulen,De Klerk,Barrett,North,Beale,Williams(Wales),May,Le Roux. 1 to15

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 4:57am
        Corne Van Vuuren said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:57am | ! Report

        Snyman had a great debut

        • Roar Guru

          June 11th 2018 @ 12:14pm
          Ralph said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

          I thought your inexperienced wingers got skinned early in that game Corne.

          • Roar Guru

            June 11th 2018 @ 1:28pm
            Corne Van Vuuren said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

            Yes, initially I thought it was going to be a major failure selecting two rookies out wide, but Rassie explained after the defensive structures was misplanned by him

      • June 11th 2018 @ 8:20am
        Dan from Fiji said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:20am | ! Report

        I can’t believe I am saying this but, Hooper played so much better than Cane. Hooper for your #7

        • June 11th 2018 @ 8:44am
          Jacko said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:44am | ! Report

          Spot on……I cant believe you are saying that

          • Roar Guru

            June 11th 2018 @ 12:17pm
            Ralph said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

            Cane did not look happy all match I thought.

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 8:35am
        Harry Jones said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:35am | ! Report

        Kitshoff and DHP, please.

    • June 11th 2018 @ 5:05am
      P2R2 said | June 11th 2018 @ 5:05am | ! Report

      …so the French smashed the Kiwis and the Irish were physically dominant but didnt smash the Aussies….wow

    • Roar Guru

      June 11th 2018 @ 5:16am
      Machpants said | June 11th 2018 @ 5:16am | ! Report

      What really impressed me about the wallabies, individually, was some of the venom in the tackle – where did that come from. It was awesome to watch. They also asked well organised, to I haven’t watched a second time to really see. But did the musical chassis defence work or was it not really used.

      Also the outside centre rushing Beale, who sat quite deep, five times in the first half was so bad. The Irish left so much space wide with those ineffective tackles

    • June 11th 2018 @ 5:22am
      felix said | June 11th 2018 @ 5:22am | ! Report

      Snyman was exceptional,he outplayed Itoje in my view.

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 6:24am
        taylorman said | June 11th 2018 @ 6:24am | ! Report

        Not saying a lot lately but its when debutants step up like that that makes the difference. Said before the match that that must happen to have a chance. Snymans a great story for SA rugby. One of hope.

      • June 11th 2018 @ 6:59am
        Carlos the Argie said | June 11th 2018 @ 6:59am | ! Report

        Itoje has been overrated by a long amount for a very long time. His primary role yesterday was to hit Faf de Klerk any opportunity he could. He was a plain thug. Vunipola got the YC for a stupid shoulder charge to Faf when it meant nothing, but Itoje had been doing that the whole game. So many times just whacking the little guy after he got rid of the ball. Faf never objected, kept his cool and continued bravely.

        I give kudos to the Boks for not overreacting to Itoje’s thuggery. I wonder if it was EJ’s strategy to try to unsettle Faf. Well, if it was, it didn’t work.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 9:12am
          In brief said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:12am | ! Report

          So when Faf kept tapping Itoje on the head I guess he was just looking for knits? Or maybe objecting and reacting…😊

          • Roar Guru

            June 11th 2018 @ 10:25am
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:25am | ! Report

            I was actually pretty entertained by the “duel” between Itoje and Faf. Both clearly tried to wind each other up and Faf won round one in all regards.

            • June 11th 2018 @ 10:35am
              Old Bugger said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

              Surely you are joking…??? One player is 6’5″ while the other is 5’6″ or thereabouts. I give kudos to FdK for continually rising after each tackle, to just get right up the big guy’s nostrils. That’s exactly what mischief you’d expect from an HB……well done Faf.

              • Roar Guru

                June 11th 2018 @ 11:56am
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

                Joking about what OB? Did you read my comment at all?

              • June 11th 2018 @ 3:12pm
                Old Bugger said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

                Faf was trying to play rugby at speed, hoping to catch the Rosies out of breath in the high veldt. While MI spent most of his time trying to stop him from doing so and helping his side, manage the altitude.

                If anything was entertaining, it was the fact that Faf, kept bouncing back up while MI, kept wondering what type of batteries the little fella, was running on…..but, it wasn’t a duel at all considering this was probably the first series that MI has played in SA, let alone at altitude.

                He was cleaned out by Faf – figuratively speaking.

              • Roar Guru

                June 11th 2018 @ 6:32pm
                taylorman said | June 11th 2018 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

                Sucked Maro right in didnt he, looked silly flopping on the ground while Faf ducked under and scored.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 9:57am
          JimmyB said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:57am | ! Report

          You don’t half talk a lot of nonsense.

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