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