The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement

Meltdowns and mayhem: Was that the greatest six hours of rugby ever seen?

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Replay
Cancel
Next
Expert
20th November, 2021
45
2592 Reads

There’s that saying in show business that you should always leave the audience wanting more. Well the top tier teams definitely left rugby fans desperate for more after Sunday’s Tests in the Spring Tours.

In an incredible climax to their campaigns, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand went to war against England, Wales and France respectively with each match being better and more exciting than the one before. It was six hours of rugby that you just couldn’t take your eyes off.

First, England were moments away from losing at Twickenham to South Africa as both sides bashed the living daylights out of each other in a replay of the World Cup Final 2019. England had been penalised to death, gave away 18 penalties, went down to 14 men for 10 minutes, were missing their skipper and lost their power centre to injury in the opening few minutes…. but still the World Champions couldn’t kill them off. With the final seconds of the match ticking away England somehow earned a penalty within range and of course the young star Marcus Smith slotted the winning kick as Twickenham erupted.

Smith looked good all game long and Freddie Steward at full back looks better every match and almost single handedly diffused the Springboks aerial bombardment with soaring take after soaring take.

Advertisement

The Boks did their part to make it a great spectacle but when inspirational skipper Siya Kolisi was yellow carded for a tackle in the air, England took their chance. There was something so meaningful about it being Kolisi that was yellow carded. He’s been such a wonderful player and ambassador that with him being sent to the naughty step you could almost feel South Africans around the world saying “No, surely not Siya!”

Then the Wallabies and Wales turned what could have been a boring one way game into an even more tense affair in Cardiff. When Rob Valetini was red carded in the 15th minute everyone thought the game was done but the Wallabies showed wonderful spirit to not only stay in the game, but with just minutes to go, take the lead. This game was made for the courageous Michael Hooper but with him out injured, it was old hands like Kurtley Beale and new talent Hunter Paisami who stepped up to help Australia stay in the fight.

Yes the Wallabies Spring Tour has been a failure as they went winless in Europe for the first time in 45 years. But performances like today showed that the Wallabies do have a culture and bond that they can build on.

There is plenty to do but let’s focus on the positives and there were definitely some today. No one wants to blame the refereeing but even the diplomatic Dave Rennie came out and called some of the decisions from ref Mike Adamson “horrendous” afterwards. It was a frustrating game from a refereeing point of view for sure and there will be plenty of passionate debate about Adamson’s performance but every great story needs a villain doesn’t it?

Let’s not forget the way Wales – who should have put the result to bed much sooner – battled their way to a penalty right in front of the posts as the full time siren sounded.

That just left the All Blacks and France and with many in the sport expecting a Blacklash after last week’s loss to Ireland, fans braced themselves for what would unfold in Paris. Hopefully they braced properly because the next 80 minutes were astounding. The French coach had said during the week that his side couldn’t do what Ireland did in beating the All Blacks by nine points. He was spot on. They beat them by 15 points.

Advertisement

The ferocity and power of the French attack was the sort of thing that makes you cringe with every hit as they flew into the New Zealanders phase after phase. It was combined with just the right amount of Gallic flair and when the French counter attacked from behind their own try line and almost scored the most wonderful try, fans were left in an ecstatic and exhausted state.

We’re lucky that there wasn’t a fourth game like this – not even Sting could handle that much sexy rugby for eight hours!

Sports opinion delivered daily 

   

Advertisement

As the crowds around Europe cheered for more, the players took their leave and headed off for celebrations and commiserations with fans from all sides hugely grateful that they had been able to witness six hours of pure rugby joy.

It’s sad that the international season is over, but you know what they say. Always leave them wanting more.

close