Call me biased or a sore loser, but in my opinion that is one of the worst decisions ever made by a television match official. I have nothing personally against Marius Jonker, everyone makes a mistake but in perhaps one of the biggest refereeing calls of the season it was pretty obvious Courtney Lawes was not offside unless you were were wearing black-tinted spectacles. He was level to the ruck until the ball was out. It could be argued it wasn’t even a ruck in the 1st place. It robbed Sam Underhill of potentially one of the best tries ever scored by an openside flanker… but did it rob England of victory?
It can be argued that England could have still won the game had they have gone for the drop goal in the last minute as Courtney Lawes went for an offload, Slade knocked on and New Zealand worked through the phases before kicking the ball into touch and the All Blacks sealed a 15-16 victory. England will still be proud of their solid defence and their 1st half performance particularly but Brodie Retallick obliterated England at lineout, making me think once again that Jamie George is overrated and is still living off that one line break during the 2nd test on the Lions tour.
Wales finally beat Australia
A hugely significant – but at the same time hugely dire – performance from the Welsh as Warren Gatland finally gets the monkey off his back with a first win over Australia in ten years. Both teams really went at each other with the breakdown becoming a scrap and that meant neither side really threatened each other and both were as bad at their setpieces as the other. However, Wales’ discipline was much better and they won a tight but crucial game 9-6.
Argentina fought hard and had really rattled Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, with the men in green struggling with discipline, which allowed Sanchez to keep the heat on the home side. However the 2nd placed side in World Rugby eventually prevailed and won 28-17, but they’ll need to be more convincing against the All Blacks next week.
Scotland overcame a terrific Fijian start to beat them 54-17 with the home side being both the more dominant and more intelligent of the two teams, Lions tourist Tommy Seymour bagging a hatrick and Exeter Chiefs’ lock-forward Sam Skinner getting the man of the match award on his Scottish debut. However, the Scots face a more stern test against the Springboks next week, the two sides have not met since the World Cup in 2015.
Italy delivered under huge pressure to beat Georgia, who a lot of pundits called to replace the Azzurri, including me. However they eased this heat by beating a spirited Les Lelos side in Florence, Italy, 28-17. The stardust in the backline of Michele Campagnaro and Tommaso Allan being the difference between the two sides.
South Africa grabbed a stoppage time winner to deny France a home victory at the Stade de France. Having had two consecutive matches where they lost at the death, the Springboks’ fortune has changed and Handre Pollard’s boot proved the difference between the sides ultimately.
A US Eagles side bolstered by the arrival of overseas players such as captain Blaine Scully, Paul Lasike and Joe Taufete’e converted a penalty in the last penalty to beat Samoa 30-29, their first victory over the Pacific Nation and achieving their highest place in the World Rankings since 2007.
What happened elsewhere?
In the Premiership Rugby Cup, Newcastle continue their good form and domination of the cup with a victory over Bath and a late try from Gerbrandt Grobler stole the game for Gloucester against Northampton Saints at the death. Sale also won their game versus Leicester in the last minute getting a penalty try; Leicester have had a torrid time in the development competition with lack of planning in preseason and the widely welcomed departure of Matt O’Connor affecting their season plans. Exeter beat Harlequins at Sandy Park. Bristol earned their first away win of the season over Wasps at the Ricoh Arena 19-30 and Saracens convincingly beat in-form Worcester 34-22 with the away side getting a bonus point consolation.
Key Talking Points:
– Wass Courtney Lawes offside?
– Do you think that the fact the TMO was South African played a part in the final decision? Is is Karma?
– When both are fit who is England’s seven? Curry or Underhill?
– Can Ireland beat the All Blacks?
– Should the John Player Cup format be brought back?