25 thoughts on “Rate the Match: Waratahs v Lions

  1. They were asked to and they put their hands up – Zebo, AWJ and especially JD. Worried about Vuni in the scrum but was excellent in the loose.

    JR suspected torn hamstring?

    I’m concerned about the success that Wahs had going forward at the fringes.

    Parling stole a line out ball so still difficult to choose between him and AWJ. AWJ at six so we can play him and Parling? AWJs offensive tackling was incredible.

    Starts nailed for POC, Mikey (loved his new anger management ability). Great match.

  2. Crofts own words just now “these guys (AWJ) tend to truck it up the middle, I tend to hang around on the wing a bit…” Straight from the horses mouth. :-)

  3. Think the only selection concern is on the wings, where we seem to dropping like flies. Zebo was excellent going forward but a few mistakes in defence, mucked up kick-off that led to first Tahs try. Cuthbert still has question marks, Maitland shows potential but hasn’t quite convinced as of yet.

    Croft was exceptional, got through a huge amount of work both in defence and at the breakdown, seemed to be everywhere. Fact that Gatland wants him roaming the wide channels is fine by me, no other back-row in world rugby can, match his attacking threat.

    1. Croft was great going forward but I can’t see how he was immense in defence? Less tackles than even Mikey, most of the forwards made more tackles than him. Now what I’d expect of a six but everyone already knows what he is. It’s fine to say pick him because he’s great going forward so pick a seven and eight that complement that, but he is certainly not immense in defence. My back row has changed to Croft/Fale/Warbs.

      1. I agree with you about wing problems – so now we have the chance to put the best players on the pitch – Croft on the wing. AWJ at six. Sorted.

        1. Problem with stats Brightey is that they don’t tell the whole story. The tackles Croft made were almost all ones which sent the opposition backwards or stopped them behind the gainline. He isn’t necessarily a tackling 6 like Lydiate but he brings so much more to the game that I think his defensive qualities get overlooked; in contact he is by no means lacklustre.

          Think Faletau better complements his style from 8 than Heaslip though.

          1. I didn’t see that almost all of his tackles were offensive at all. The Wahs broke down the fringes too often and Sexton was left open too often, including for a try. Small margins but I think you do have to lose some defensive ability and hence compensate for it elsewhere if you want Croft. Hence my pick for Fale.

      2. Croft may not have topped the tackle charts, but he made a few big tackles which drove people back.

        And more importantly, he slowed ball down and even picked up at least one crucial penalty for getting the guy to hand on (10m out from the lions line when the lions were scrambling back).

        Not trying to get in a debate, as I see that you have changed you backrow to having croft, so clearly he did enough to impress you.

        Warburton stepped up. Very impressed. He didnt do much of the flashy work, but with the other 2 backrowers, someone had to do the dirty stuff. He was at the rucks very quickly. Another important comment of note, McCutcheon was pretty unseen which shows he was outdone by Sam.

        Phillips was a bit quiet. Not his usual self. Good anger management – and I loved the little wink and kiss. The lions will want to get his running game more prominent. (Don’t think it was his fault, the chances were not there).

        JD was outstanding. If Roberts is out, then JD may have just taken the 12 shirt from all other contenders.

        AWJ was very efficient. I think he has shot up in the list (now seems to be test starter)

        POC was POC. Outstanding, plenty of turnovers too.

        Thought Zebo was good, nice and busy. He would be my 14 now.

  4. Great game. Biggest up arrows for AWJ and Davies, followed by T Youngs, POC & Zebo. Warburton & Croft did enough & Heaslip was OK but I think he’ll opt for Faletau to give a bit more dog & to tighten around the fringes. Not enough scrums to really judge but i’m more comfortable there with Corbisiero to start & Vunipola for bench impact. Jones over Cole but neither have really stuck their hand up. Sexton controlled it well & Phillips was fine but didn’t get any space. Youngs brings that dynamism from the bench. Regardless of whether Roberts is injured or not I think Davies was awesome & could be fabulous with BOD. Zebo offers something different to Cuthbert. Roberts was OK but there is too much emphasis from Barnes & co on ‘Roberts is holding something back for the big game’.

    22 for 1st test as fol:

    FB: Halfpenny
    Wings: North (if fit) & Zebo
    Centres: Davies & BOD
    Half backs: Sexton & Phillips
    Back row: Faletau, Warburton & Croft
    Locks: POC & AWJ
    Front row: Jones, Youngs & Corbisiero

    16 Hibbard
    17 Vunipola
    18 Cole
    19 Parling
    20 O’Brien
    21 Youngs
    22 Farrell
    23 Hogg

  5. Lifted from Twitter – @rugbymedia: Gatland’s great line on Davies: “It’s quite a thing to come to the changing room and have BOD say to you “Man how good was Jonathan Davies?”

    1. That’s one hell of a compliment. And entirely deserved.

      JD has had a very good tour, and this was his best game.

      He has pretty good hands, bulk and pace. Another nice bonus is that he has a good left boot.
      He could have set himself up for a lions test spot.

  6. Loved the move for halfpenny’s first try.

    Looking at it, I think it is is same move that was used when Manu offloaded to send BOD through.

  7. JD’s passing and positioning was superb BUT he looks like he’s running thru treacle. I would be concerned that he would be exposed by faster players

    On the downside, thought Heaslip and Roberts were poor. Phillips quiet and a bit slow. Warburton was better but I still don’t think better than Tipuric. Maitland was mediocre.

    On the plus side T Youngs, AWJ, POC, JD, Zebo were excellent. Subs were good too – particularly Parling tho Hibbard’s throwing was still off. And I was surprisingly impressed by Croft. Agree with Brighty that he still hangs around on the wing too much, but he did make some crucial tackles and turnovers (I think more than Warburton) and took his try very well

    All in all, pretty encouraging!

  8. Forgot Halfpenny. Just brilliant and showed his attacking abilities more. Best fullback in the world along with Dagg?

    1. Think Halfpenny was great but check out Medard against the Blues, still not match sharp for the All Blacks but he was unreal on Tuesday

  9. Really enjoyed the game today. Hard contested game.

    Thought two players were outstanding today. JD and AWJ. AWJ has nailed the starting spot next to PoC (who was also terrific today) and JD had the sort of game that makes you think, I wonder if he should be there instead of BoD?

    Adam Jones cemented his place and thought that T Youngs did also. Very worried about the lineout if he gets injured. Also got through a huge amount of work in the loose. Mako played really well. We know Corbs is a better scrummager but just not sure he is fully fit, so would start with MV.

    PoC and AWJ as Locks. Not sure if Gray or Parling get the nod on the bench. I do like Parling’s lineout work though.

    Still not convinced by Warburton. Heaslip didn’t have the best game, but thought Croft was good today. Previously was a SoB fan but have almost changed my mind today. He also got through a good amount of grunt work. Brighty, his comment made afterwards was a self depreciating nod to the amount of work AWJ got through today, so you did somewhat take his comment out of context. Anyway, now completely unsure about the make up of the back row.

    Once again not convinced by Phillips. He was fine but thought Youngs added something extra when he came on, but it was against tired legs so hard to compare. Anyway doesn’t matter what I think Gats wants Phillips to start and Youngs will be great to have on the bench.

    Sexton is nailed on. Farrell was Ok but still some pointless kicking to the opposition, which has been an English problem for some time. Was disappointed, but not surprised that the Aussies targeted Sexton and Phillips for some extra treatment. They are obviously worried about them!

    Having seen JD play today, I think that the most disappointing centre has been JR so far. Big reputation and makes some great runs but makes a mess of some straightforward nuts and bolts stuff and a bit predictable. May be academic anyway but I would pick one of Tuilagi, BoD or JD, but probably it comes down to BoD or JD and Tuilagi or JR. Of course it may be last man standing. At this rate it could be JD and 36!

    Really hope North is fit. Thought Maitland played himself out of the test team today, so please ignore the comments I made in the run up to this match. Thought Zebo stuck his hand up, but we’re not blessed with an abundance of talent behind North and Bowe.

    Halfpenny is immense. Nothing more to say on the matter.

  10. great game! still wasn’t impressed with jones, hes been looking a bit sluggish around the park, he’ll still be important in the tests but i’d like to see more from him, youngs was pretty good, mako was good in the loose again! thought AWJ and POC were both incredible, Crofty was better than I thought, think he’ll get the nod over SOB now purely based on his lineout, Warbs did a lot to slow down the ball, Heaslip wasn’t great wasn’t bad just average, thought Phillips went ok not great, Sexton again is crucial, slightly concerned about the wingers, the difference in class between North and Bowe and the other touring wingers is huge!
    Think the test team will be:
    zebo (whilst bowes injured)

  11. Great game. I reckon the starting xv will be this, assuming JR is out:
    1. Vunipola
    2. T Youngs
    3. A Jones
    4. POC
    5. AWJ
    6. Croft
    7. Warbs
    8. Fal
    9. Philips
    10. Sexton
    11. North
    12. JD
    13. BOD
    14. Zebo
    15. Half

    Strong team. I don’t envy Gats when trying to pick the bench. Would love to see Tuilagi though if fit, also tips. Can’t wait!

  12. I want to see A. Jones at tighthead for the first match but if cole gets as much done in the scrum as him when subbed on then I have to go Cole for the second test, Jones just looked slow and innefective around the park, and whilst a tighthead is there to bind the scrum, if cole can do that and more then I say he plays. However we know cole is better in the scrum for now so I say he starts the first test so we have a solid platform to hopefully get on top. For the same reason, I want Corbs not mako.

  13. MOM JD.Is JR’s injury a blessing in disguise?? Not that he was terrible, he just didn’t do enough! Zebo was good but offered nothing that Cuthbert doesn’t.
    My 15 is:-15 Halfpenny
    14 Bowe/ Cuthbert
    13 BOD
    12 JD
    11 North
    10 Sexton
    9 Phillips
    8 Heaslip
    7 Warburton
    6 Croft
    5 O’Connell
    4 AWJ
    3 A.Jones
    2 Hibbard
    1 Vunikola

  14. A good performance but given 9 of Waratahs top players were missing was it that convincing and indeed dd the scoreline flatter?The Lions may have a shock next Saturday that the step up will be bigger that they anticipate

  15. I really don’t get the fuss that has been built around Cuthbert, he does the things you’d expect of a winger in terms of try scoring, hes got decent pace nothing magical, and he has poor positional play and his tackling is suspect, I don’t see him as any better than Wade and in attack I think wade offers even more, I just hope to god Tommy Bowe is fit

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