The Game for Those with Odd-Shaped Balls (the Rugby thread)

Another round of the Six Nations takes place at the weekend. Wales have made ten changes to their starting XV and some claim this is a slight on Italy: let's see what the result is. Meanwhile Mike Brown has been dropped from England's starting XV and Dylan Hartley is out injured. I can't help thinking this could be a "tactical injury" as most clubs in the Premiership have a better England-qualified hooker, and that includes his own club. France v England won't be pretty but England ought to run the fat boys off the park if Ford and Farrell kick well.

Comments

  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    England are playing at Stade de France so don't write off the French too soon.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    England are playing at Stade de France so don't write off the French too soon.

    How prescient that proved to be. England were slow in thought and deed and George Ford looked very unhappy when he was replaced, possibly thinking he's got to fight hard to get back into the team. Otherwise we just have to get that back row sorted out.

    In Dublin, Ireland beat Scotland so they take the championship. They beat Scotland by a greater margin than the Scots beat England, so an Irish win at Twickenham would appear likely however, excepting Italy, every match has gone to the home team this season, so an Ireland Grand Slam isn't a foregone conclusion.
  • FirenzeFirenze Heaven Host
    I was just thinking Scotland seem not to shine outside of Murrayfield. But I think Ireland, even without the home advantage, have it in them. Plus it’s not as if there isn’t the odd Irish person in London...

    Talking of support, I see the Princess Royal was in the stands in Dublin. Never misses a Scotland match afaics.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host
    edited March 11
    Indeed - she seems to be very supportive of the Scottish team. It's a shame Ireland had to stuff Scotland, but congratulations to them anyway - they really seem to be doing well this season.
  • Too many mistakes by Wales in the first half ... no momentum.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    Too many mistakes by Wales in the first half ... no momentum.

    That was true - their first half tries were thanks to a missed tackle and an interception but there must have been something in the half-time oranges because they were much more of a team in the second half, especially when they were a man short, and ended the game playing some very good rugby, even allowing for Italy being knackered.
  • I was there! The atmosphere was fantastic - the Italian supporters really appreciated that the Stadium Choir (this IS Wales!) sang O sole mio for them.

    The refereeing was dreadful - and it was Jérôme Garcès again: he seemed incapable of settling the scrum in good time, and generally nit-picked so that the game was bitty at times.

    Very good to see George North back on form.

    The prospects for the coming weekend are interesting, to say the least.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    With Ireland out in front and Italy trailing the minor placings are all up for grabs as England, France, Scotland and Wales have all won two and lost two. Essentially any of those sides that loses will go to fourth or fifth while those that win will go second or third, depending on bonus points, points difference etc.

    Although the Italy v Scotland match is in Rome I expect Scotland to win comfortably, then England host Ireland who are looking for a Grand Slam at Twickenham, where England haven't lost since the 2015 World Cup debacle: that will be very close but I reckon an Irish win although England will get a losing bonus point while Wales will beat France. Indeed, I hope they beat France hollow and look forward to Taulupe Faletau knocking down their #10 as conclusively as he did Italy's #10 last week.
  • I think Ireland are in with a shout to win at Twickenham, perhaps buoyed-up by reporting of yet more "unfortunate" remarks by Eddie Jones.

    England aren't a bad team, but I fear that EJ's stated belief that England can win the RWC in 2019 may come back to haunt him if they are beaten on Saturday.
  • FirenzeFirenze Heaven Host
    Stay me with flagons, that was a damn close-run thing. If it were not for Laidlaw...
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host
    Well done Ireland, and well rescued, Scotland! :smiley:
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    Piglet wrote: »
    Well done Ireland, and well rescued, Scotland! :smiley:

    And well held-on Wales! They had virtually no ball in the second half (something to do with missing 26 tackles) and conceding penalties that Trihn-Duc missed!.

    EJ says that "some have played their last game for England" but we are spoilt for choice. I’d cast a critical eye over the entire pack for a start. Watson & Te'o had poor games today too. That's the problem with having so many players to choose from: it's easy to select good players that don't form a good team.
  • I think the final score-line flattered England: Ireland could have (should have?) scored a couple more after the interval but at first seemed, correctly, more concerned with keeping England out and then, latterly, knew all was won and safe so why bother.

    Well done Ireland, and on St Patrick's Day, too - not too scummy, eh, Mr Jones!

    Think Wales were good and made the best of a scrappy match: have we finally learned how to "win ugly?" Whatever, second in the table ain't bad.

    Poor Italy, they deserved more: certainly yesterday's performance gave the lie to those who say they should be dropped from the Six Nations in favour of Georgia.

    Now we all wait with bated breath to see (a) who EJ decides to drop from his squad, and (b) which country he decides to bad-mouth next. Only another 78 weeks to the World Cup in Japan :smiley:
  • So, Bristol clinched the Championship today, and with it won promotion to the Premier League for next season. I can't imagine that this attempt is going to go any better than the last one, but you never know...
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    So, Bristol clinched the Championship today, and with it won promotion to the Premier League for next season. I can't imagine that this attempt is going to go any better than the last one, but you never know...

    So far only two sides have managed to "bridge the gap": Exeter Chiefs were promoted in 2010 and have since secured their place, while Worcester Warriors have been up and down a bit but look safe, for this year at least. A few others have been one year wonders, such as Rotherham, London Welsh, Leeds/Yorkshire Tykes/Carnegie and going back a bit I think Richmond and Bedford were there for a while. Now London Irish look doomed despite seeing off 'Quins: I'd far rather see Northampton go down; I don't like either of the big East Midlands clubs but "Saints" are a snarky lot who could use taking down a peg, not to mention playing against the Cornish Pirates (aka Exeter Chiefs B team).

    I hope Bristol get more players in sooner than they did last year, if only to improve their depth.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    144-0. Yes, I though it was a cricket score when I first saw it, but no, it's a Rugby League score from the professional game.

    It's awful to be beaten like that, and not much better to win like that either.
  • Mike Tindall has had his nose fixed! LOOK!
  • I made references to "Judgement Day" in yesterday's sermon. Strangely enough (being in Cardiff) I got a couple of loud cheers when I mentioned that the Scarlets had slaughtered the Dragons. (The Blues, of course, narrowly lost).
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    Battered but unbowed. This is amazing!
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    The end of season shindig that is the Avila Premiership final was won by Saracens on a day that showed why rugby is a winter game. Also (just my opinion) the state of the players at the end and the reliance on substitutes shows that they are too big and too powerful for their own long-term good. Billy Vunipola is hard as nails but he is mostly injured, Exeter’s Dave Evers is in the same state and Manu Tuilagi probably hasn’t started twenty games in the last three seasons. All the tinkering with the laws for players safety ignores the fact that the amount of kinetic energy of one big player tackling another is inherently dangerous, so that leaves one factor-weight. In some other sports excessive weight gives an advantage at the cost of safety and I believe the same is true of rugby, so in addition to safe tackling rules, I’d have a 100kg/220lb weight limit. We’ll still have players able to make an impact but technique will play a greater part
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    And it is All Blacks 26 France 13
    Wait, no! It is All Blacks 15 France 14!
    The officials wrecked a potentially good contest..again!
    Would have been angry if I had paid money to watch it.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    At long last England win! Against South Africa and in South Africa too.

    EJ is going to have to find a way to train his players without breaking them though. That, or select players who don’t break so easily
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    Also very close game Ireland 20 Australia 16. Aussies had the best of the last quarter but couldn’t score. Interesting in these close games that sides still decide to not kick points on offer.
  • GeorgeGeorge Shipmate
    The Rugby Championship against the Boks and the Wallabies is going to be a lot more interesting this year. End of year tours are becoming the highlight though, problem is your getting sick of it all by then.

    Bring back proper tours!
  • Meanwhile in continental Europe we have had our own Grannygate. The result was that Romania, Spain and Belgium got so many points deductions for fielding ineligible players that Russia qualified for next year's world cup in Japan. And Germany have a playoff against Samoa for another spot.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    Can’t do links on my iPhone but I see that Sam Warburton has retired. He’s just 29 but he’s done everything short of winning the World Cup, which he could have done in 2011 had he not been sent off in contentious fashion.

    Anyway, enough regrets and “if onlys”. He really was a great player. I don’t think there was much between him and Richie McCaw, but McCaw was better at bending the rules, shall we say, which is always worth a few points.
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    Such sad news - the official stuff from the WRU is here.

    As you say, a wonderful player, and generally above bending the rules.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    And there's more. Exeter's prop forward Carl Rimmer has had to quit after a stroke, at the age of 32. Not as illustrious as Sam, but sad and worrying at the same time. Hopes and prayers for him.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    Go on, guess which players have got into trouble even before the season starts? Yes, enfant terrible Danny Cipriani (night club kerfuffle) and Rugby’s Rooney, Chris Ashton (red card for punching an opponent). What is it with these two? Dolts.
  • Agree with the appellation of dolt.

    Don't agree with enfant terrible: Cipriani is 30, Ashton 31.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    OK, that’s not the term now, but Cipriani has never grown out of it. Ashton must be one of the most stupid people to have played international rugby.
  • There is an opinion piece in the sports pages of today's Timeson the subject of Ben Stokes, Ashton and Cipriani (won't link because people say they hit a pay wall, sorry). In particular they contrast the near universal joy which greeted the verdict in the Stokes trial and his immediate readmittance to the test team with what would have been the reaction had he been a footballer.
  • Now Chris Ashton has been given a 7 week ban for his tip-tackle during the pre-season (hardly "friendly") against Castres.

    Normally it would have been a 6 week ban but the panel cited his dismal disciplinary record - and it is:
    • March 2016 - 10 week ban for eye gouging
    • September 2016 - 13 week ban for biting
    Yet it seems likely that Eddie Jones is still going to include him in the squad. What kind of message does that give the young and impressionable?
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    Seems to me that something akin to a wall of silence has been built around Danny Cipriani's night club to do. Maybe off-field incidents don't matter so much to the RFU. I also think a record like Ashton's would deserve more than just an extra week.

    If Ashton gets straight back in the squad it sends a lousy message to at least a dozen other rugby players too, many of whom are not so young but have hopes of playing at the top level. That said, EJ probably shares my view thaat Ashton could be very effective with Cipriani at #10.
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    RSA hang on to beat the All Blacks 36-34. How did that happen given that AB's had about 78% of the ball? Sometimes you get lucky viz all those missed conversions but you got to say the result is good for rugby with a rematch in a weeks time in South Africa.
  • And Argentina beat Australia, making two unexpected results in one weekend.
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    All Blacks beat RSA 32-30 in the last minute.
    How do they keep doing it.
    Do refs actually favour them? In this game, a last minute penalty resulted in a driving mall that led to a try. The game was the Springboks for all money!
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    MPaul wrote: »
    All Blacks beat RSA 32-30 in the last minute.
    How do they keep doing it.
    Do refs actually favour them? In this game, a last minute penalty resulted in a driving mall that led to a try. The game was the Springboks for all money!

    The All Blacks don’t play the opposition, they play the ref. If you couple that with their basic method of minimising errors, you aren’t going to lose much.
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    sionisais wrote: »
    MPaul wrote: »
    All Blacks beat RSA 32-30 in the last minute.
    How do they keep doing it.
    Do refs actually favour them? In this game, a last minute penalty resulted in a driving mall that led to a try. The game was the Springboks for all money!

    The All Blacks don’t play the opposition, they play the ref. If you couple that with their basic method of minimising errors, you aren’t going to lose much.

    That is very insightful. But if playing the ref means testing the waters of how refs will adjudicate every game that seems to be a dangerous game.

    It seems to me that the refing is so inconsistent that I have almost lost interest since every time that arm and the cry of 'advantage ' goes out, I do not normally know why and this is a game I grew up playing.

    The refs seem to persistently restrict defensive tactics sometimes quite wantonly. At other times they allow blue murder such as 'cleans' which are essentially tackles on players who do not have the ball. They also allow tackled players to play the ball when off their feet rather than requiring immediate release and they dictate actions while on the field rather than letting the lads play. Cries such as 'use it' are not part of refing as I think it should be.

    And scrum penalties? These disadvantage really unfairly.
  • The first of Cardiff's autumn internationals yesterday, played between Scotland and Wales for the Dodie Weir Cup to raise money for research into MND which DW has. Goodish match and the right team won.

    England took on South Africa at Twickenham and yet again failed to score a try: it was only indiscipline by the 'Boks that gave them the 4 penalties they needed to scrape a victory by one point.

    All the talk in the newspapers about England being "on track" to have a realistic chance of raising the RWC next year are pure fantasy, based on this doleful performance.

    Oh, and Owen Farrell has managed (again) to escape being cited for a blatant shoulder charge...
  • The first of Cardiff's autumn internationals yesterday, played between Scotland and Wales for the Dodie Weir Cup to raise money for research into MND which DW has. Goodish match and the right team won.

    England took on South Africa at Twickenham and yet again failed to score a try: it was only indiscipline by the 'Boks that gave them the 4 penalties they needed to scrape a victory by one point.

    All the talk in the newspapers about England being "on track" to have a realistic chance of raising the RWC next year are pure fantasy, based on this doleful performance.

    Oh, and Owen Farrell has managed (again) to escape being cited for a blatant shoulder charge...

    I have to agree with you there on every point but you failed to mention the woeful lineout play by South Africa. They have, supposedly, one of the world's best hookers and some terrific line out forwards but with four five yard throw ins they failed to convert any of them into a try. Farrell's indiscretion apart England did defend well but their discipline was nothing to write about. Itoje might just make the bench against the ABs on Saturday.
Sign In or Register to comment.