Sunday, 19 August 2012

Rugby Championship - Australia v New Zealand

Well, after years of talking, the Tri-Nations is consigned to the history books, and The Rugby Championship is now a reality.

However, its not so much a massive redesign or reboot for Southern Hemisphere rugby as much as shifting the deck chairs to a more natural layout – that of Argentina being allowed to play with the main SANZAR nations. (We still need work on helping the Pacific Island teams between Rugby World Cups, but these wheels turn slowly).

Last night’s game between the Wallabies and the All Blacks was not a classic. Indeed, the game was stripped of being any sort of spectacle by referee Rolland’s incessant whistling. If my pipes at home degenerated to that sort of stilted flow, I’d be moving into a hotel for the night.

Let’s face it. Australia were shocking ... yet they still sat for a time really only one score behind a very rusty All Black side. This is a step up from Ireland, both in pace and in rivalry, but when we play away against South Africa and Argentina we must not produce that error rate. We’ll lose.

We miss Jerome Kaino and Brad Thorn immensely ... however,  they are G-O-N-E. It is Conrad Smith’s injury-enforced absence is most noticeable and more worrying. The ‘experiment’ of Williams and Nonu as our 12/13 axis failed, it looked haphazard and confused ... Ma’a will have to play better than that to stay in the team. He has done it before, but perhaps Ellison or Ben Smith may nudge a start next week.

So ... 6.5 out of 10. Players are warming up and stepping-up from Super Rugby, but next week in Eden Park requires a much more decisive result, and the forwards need to really dominate ...right there in plain view, not just on the stat sheet.

Our handling needs to massively improve, the passing was not as slick as we demand, yet after 80 minutes of rugby we now already have one hand on the Bledisloe again.


Anonymous said...

They are two awesome teams to watch. It would be great to have 6 Nations hospitality tours and see the strongest rugby teams play. It's really so thrilling.

Phil @ Dumptackle said...

Interesting that NZ made twice as many tackles yet missed half the amount of the wallabies.

I agree with you that the back line didn't function quite as usual without Smith, but considering the options, I imagine he will stick with Williams and Nonu in the centres.

The two played a big part in the two tries too, acting as running threats/ decoys from set play. You could see the wallabies were worried about much space was Dagg left in for the first try??

Ferdy said...

Interesting to hear your comments about this match. I had no chance to watch it (well, I did, I was in Norwich and went to a sports bar but the mean landlady turned it over to the cricket at half time). I must have seen the good phase of All Black play at that stage.

Why is no-one calling this the 4 nations?! The 'rugby championship' sounds clunky imho. Are we worried we are too copy catty with the NH? Do you know the reasoning about it Lu?

Great graphic and thanks for the write up.

Agree with anon's comment too...would love to have a NH V SH cup.