Best of the Weekend: England cruise, Boks too clinical for Wales

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England tame the Pumas at Twickenham

England recorded their second victory of the QBE Internationals, as they comfortably dispatched Argentina, 31-12 at Twickenham, but a lacklustre second half effort from the home side will have many still asking questions of this side. Thanks to tries from Joe Launchbury, Billy Twelvetrees and Chris Ashton, England took a 24-6 lead into the interval, but were then kept scoreless in the second half until a late try from Ben Morgan added some gloss to the score line. Dylan Hartley enjoyed his return to the England shirt, and has likely cemented himself as the starting hooker ahead of the visit of New Zealand next week, whilst the likes of Twelvetrees and Joel Tomkins, who drew criticism in England’s victory over Australia, redeemed themselves with solid, if not spectacular, performances. Stuart Lancaster will likely try to maintain his consistent squad selection when England take on the All Blacks at the weekend, but Alex Corbisiero could well oust Joe Marler, whilst Marland Yarde and Christian Wade will offer dynamism if they can both prove their fitness over the coming week.

Wales valiant in defeat against the Boks

Wales put in a performance to be proud of against South Africa, but unfortunately for them, it was a case of the same old story, as they succumbed to a 24-15 loss at the Millennium Stadium. Injuries to Jonathan Davies, Liam Williams, and Adam Jones in the opening 30 minutes meant that Wales were facing an uphill challenge. The home side put in a determined, hard working performance, and were still in the game right up until a late try from Fourie du Preez sealed victory for the Springboks. Well worked tries from Jean de Villiers and Bismarck du Plessis gave South Africa an early lead, and although Wales enjoyed the lion’s share of possession for much of the game, they were unable to puncture the South African defence with any kind of regularity. There were encouraging signs from Wales however, who will be by no means disheartened heading into their remaining three games of the autumn, but beating the ‘Big Three’ still remains an elusive aspiration for Warren Gatland’s men.

Scotland survive scare against Japan, Ireland see off Samoa

A 42-17 score line in favour of Scotland arguably flattered the home side, who were pushed hard by Japan, and at one point in the second half, held just a narrow one point lead over the Cherry Blossoms. Braces from Tommy Seymour and Kenki Fukuoka were vital to their respective sides, but as the game wore on, Scotland’s superior fitness and depth showed, and they cantered away with the win, scoring five second half tries. Ireland got the Joe Schmidt era off to a good start as they hammered Samoa, 40-9, with Dave Kearney grabbing two of Ireland’s five tries. There were a number of impressive performances from Ireland, but none more so than the young pair of Paddy Jackson and Jack McGrath, with the latter deservedly being awarded Man of the Match on his international debut. Outside of the home nations, Australia cruised to a 50-20 victory over Italy in Turin, whilst New Zealand recorded their eighth straight win over France, beating Les Bleus 26-19 in Paris.

LV Cup gets under way in shadow of Autumn Internationals

Worcester picked up a 21-16 win away at Cardiff, although there is no doubting that Dean Ryan would do anything to trade that victory for one in the Aviva Premiership, where his side currently sit bottom and winless. Saracens survived a late come back from London Wasps at Adams Park, holding on to win 24-21, and the Scarlets won the Welsh derby, beating Newport 21-13 at Parc y Scarlets. Another notable result was a severely depleted Leicester Tigers squad demolishing the visiting Ospreys, 39-16, thanks in large to a strong performance from fly-half Owen Williams.

Try of the Week goes to Jean de Villiers for South Africa’s superb team try against Wales. Bryan Habana started the move, beating players with his speed and footwork, before Bismarck du Plessis utilised his own brand of powerful running, swatting a Welsh tackler out of his way, and finding de Villiers who had run the perfect support line, and dived under the posts.

Tommy Seymour is the Hero of the Week for his two try performance against Japan. His first try helped Scotland into an all-important lead, and his second helped his side establish a lead which Japan were unable to bridge. The late tries added gloss for Scotland, but it was Seymour’s brace which put them in a position to win the game.

by Alex Shaw (@alexshawsport)

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

13 thoughts on “Best of the Weekend: England cruise, Boks too clinical for Wales

  1. Funniest comment of last week came from Chris Patterson who showed his substantial Rugby pundity knowhow by saying he expected and predicted that Scotland would beat Japan where everyone, including the Japanese would have predicted that!

    Didn’t see any of the England highlights but what I have heard is that despite the two wins, if we play in the nature of the games the All Black result could be not good for us.

    1. On the other hand Mr B the ABs were there for the taking on Sat night I think. France have shown that getting up front and personal with them can reap rewards.

      1. Brighty, not sure that the All Blacks were there for the taking. I thought that the French matched them in the first half, and could/should have been ahead at half time, but I think they composed themselves and stretched away in the second, whilst the French accuracy started to wane a little.

        The All Blacks always seemed to have comfortable numbers in defence, as the French broke the line countless times but were consistently stopped at the second or third line. Difficult to see on TV how they managed this, but they always looked like they had the French covered.

        very impressed with the French 10, and with Medard too (which is far from always the case). I think with the young centre that came on, the Clermont centre, the FB and this new 10, they look like the “old” French backline, which could be ominous for the 6N.

        Sorry I can’t remember any names…..

        1. Blub, was through a bit of an alcohol haze. Last 5 mins, camped on ABs line with what looked like a dominant scrum at that point. Only the ever dependable AB jedi mind tricks on the ref kept them out as far as I saw. If the French hadn’t played with so much deference in the first 20 I reckon it could have been even scarier for the ABs.

  2. SA’s first try was real class. As soon as we had a man down in midfield you could hear the crowd muttering that it was on. SA showed clinical composure to execute and take that chance. Proper heads up rugby. Habana 1 North 0 as well – North should have got him but Habana’s strength, line and speed won that. Last try summed up Wales – ball bounced in an unreal way, Priestland makes wrong decision, SA capitalise. So there you’ve got luck, bad decision making and superior opposition execution all in one move – a microcosm of the match.

    I’m getting a bit worried about the AI schedule – if everyone else could please stop beating Arg/Aus before we get near them I would appreciate it. I can see it now – Aus lose their next two games then come to us desperate to avoid a B&I whitewash, so they win it.

    Ireland scoreline really surprised me – kudos to them. I genuinely thought Samoa were on the verge of developing into a class side (last 3 NH matches, 3 wins and also good performances against the likes of SA in the World Cup) so was this poor Samoa or excellent Ireland or a bit of both? I didn’t see the England game either (was treated to Eng v Fiji RLWC game instead).

    Hero Of The Week – Rolland for taking the “boos” as intended by laughing them off. Dissolved any (if there was any lingering) rancorous atmosphere instantly.

    Villain Of The Week – TV schedulers. Only managed to catch 1 and 1/2 games on Saturday. Also, to indulge myself, whoever has cursed our Autumns. Losing is bad enough but to possibly lose J Davis, Liam Williams and Adam Jones for the rest of the month is taking the p.

    1. Brighty I keep telling you Tonga is the match you need to worry about. There will be a terrible backlash after the Romania loss! As soon as you take them for granted and play a weakened team to save players for the Oz match, it has the potential to go horribly wrong.

      Although this was obviously highly tongue in cheek, stranger things have happened!

      1. I’m fully nervous about the Tonga result. I’ve been present at far too many squeaks past Japan/Fiji/Romania in past AIs to take anything for granted. As my brother said to me at half time on Sat = “Wake me up in the spring. We’re good in the spring. The Autumn sucks”.

  3. Hero of the week has to be the Murrayfield groundsmen – Constantly running on at any break in play to fix the turf which had been destroyed by the nematodes, who also could have been the villain of the week

  4. Hero/quote/truth of the week – nick mallet: “I don’t like mike Philips. He’s an unpleasant little man and I hope we smash him!”

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