Wales beat South Africa in the USA
A late try by Ryan Elias, scored after a clearance kick by Robert du Preez was charged down, clinched a 22-20 win for Wales over South Africa in Washington DC. Whilst neither country fielded a first-choice lineup, the Springbok team did contain some frontline players such as Elton Jantjies, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Kwagga Smith and Jessie Kriel.
It seems like neither England nor the Boks will boast much confidence going into the first Test this weekend.
England U20s off to a solid start
With two fixtures in the last few days, England have built good momentum for their campaign to claim the U20s crown. The youngsters came through a tough opening fixture against Argentina 39-18 courtesy of an outstanding display from Jordan Olowofela. Meanwhile, Marcus Smith was the star of the 43-5 win over Italy. Next up is Scotland, who are yet to win.
Ireland beat England to bronze at Twickenham
It was a cracker of a weekend for the annual 7s showpiece at HQ. An entertaining couple of days led England to a showdown with surprise package Ireland for third place. They duly lost 21-19. The tournament was taken by Fiji, who had beaten Ireland in the semis and then the juggernaut of the 7s circuit edged South Africa in the final.
What happened elsewhere?
Yet another success story came for Castres after winning the Top 14 title against the odds for their second title in the last six seasons. On their remarkable journey, they had to claim wins at Toulouse and Racing before their final against the moneyed Montpellier. With fly-half Benjamin Urdapilleta in inspired form, he guided his team to a comfortable 29-13 victory in which their opponents rarely looked like the dominant force they have been this season.
Before the break for the internationals, Super Rugby had a few key fixtures to determine which sides will be mixing it at the upper end of the table in the remainder of the competition. Crusaders exerted their authority with a 34-20 win at Chiefs, Rebels heaped more misery on Blues, Highlanders clawed themselves within touching distance of Hurricanes by beating their rivals 30-14 and Waratahs won an improbably high scoring game in Queensland.
Try of the weekend
Marcus Smith’s last score against Argentina was a delight. It was made possible through the rampaging running of Jordan Olowofela, who also freed his elasticated arms for a wonderful offload.
Hero of the weekend
This week, I will give it to the collective effort of Castres for showing that money and imports don’t guarantee success. They made the Top 14 theirs with a core of dependable French players and came from nowhere to do so.
Villain of the weekend
It has not been a good campaign for the Tana Umaga and his Blues side so far. They have dramatically underperformed and seriously need to get their act together to salvage respectability when the competition resumes.
Did we learn anything from the Springboks’ defeat to Wales?
Which players have caught your eye on the U20s stage?
What would constitute a successful tour for England and the other home nations?
Can Castres dine at the top table in Europe next season?
Who is in a good position at the Super Rugby break stage?
by Joe Large