The Northern Hemisphere season is officially over following the final round of summer tour matches across the globe. Here are the best bits:
Ireland and Wales both succumb to 3-0 series defeats
On what was a last chance for Ireland and Wales to pick up a win in Australasia, the two games could not have been more different. Stung in the press this week for the narrowness of their win in the 2nd Test, New Zealand were on a mission to reassert their dominance over a side who they have never lost to, and they did it in style. 9 tries in total racked up what was a record breaking victory for the All Blacks over Ireland and the 3rd biggest victory by a Southern Hemisphere side over a Northern Hemisphere side ever. With Sonny Bill Williams on excellent form and Sam Cane and Liam Messam relishing their starting spots, New Zealand were well and truly rampant, with the final score finishing at 60-0.
Across the Tasman and Wales came up short once again against the Wallabies, a Berrick Barnes penalty proving the difference in a game littered with indiscipline which eventually cost Wales victory. Rob Howley’s side started brightly but went into the break at 12-9, before swinging the lead their way thanks to a try from the impressive Ryan Jones. From there Leigh Halfpenny and Barnes continued their kicking duel but it was Barnes who finished on top, giving Australia an edgy win by the narrowest of margins at 20-19.
England and South Africa draw in Port Elizabeth as Scotland end unbeaten
In the worst of the three Test matches in South Africa this month, the Springboks and England finished level in Port Elizabeth at 14-14 draw concluding the series at 2-0 to South Africa. It was a game sadly ruled by the boots rather than the skills of each side’s backs, though there were tries first from England by Danny Care before JP Pietersen struck for the Springboks in the second half. An Owen Farrell penalty brought the game level with little time left and with England working towards the try line he dropped back into the pocket looking for a moment of glory. His drop goal attempt, was nowhere near.
The other three sides losing meant that Scotland became the only other Six Nations side to remain unbeaten in June, following up wins against Fiji and Australia with a third over Samoa in Apia. The hosts were denied two tries by the referee from Paul Perez and Maurie Fa’asavalu – with no TMO on hand to verify the calls – but it was a try from debutant Rob Harley that snatched victory for the Scots late on.
Other results from around the globe included a heavy 49-10 win for France against Argentina to level their two test series, the USA lost at home to Italy by 30-10, with Canada comfortably beating Georgia 31-12 and Fiji seeing off Tonga 27-19.
South Africa crowned champions at Junior World Championship
Inspired by the excellent Jan Serfontein, the Baby Boks defeated the Baby Blacks 22-16 at Newlands in Cape Town to be named Junior World Champions. With New Zealand having won all the previous Junior World Championships since its inception in 2008, they remained favourites going into the final but the Baby Boks recalled the spirit of ’95 to win their first title.
Try of the Weekend goes to Sonny Bill Williams for his first effort against Ireland, running on to a remarkable offload from Aaron Cruden.
This weekend’s Hero is Rob Harley for capping the perfect debut performance with the winning try against Samoa.
The Villains this week are Ireland for their appalling defence at the end of a long, long season.
by Ben Coles