Best Of The Weekend: Wales beat South Africa in the USA

Rassie Erasmus

Rassie Erasmus

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.

Discussion Points

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

11 thoughts on “Best Of The Weekend: Wales beat South Africa in the USA

  1. Nobody has caught my eye in the U20’s because disgracefully it is not on tv on any major UK channel. Combine that with Wales and South Africa which makes a mockery of winning an international cap and World Rugby have had a bad week. Their disgraceful treatment of Spain to ensure that Russia qualify for the World Cup is a further example of why the governing body of the game cannot be trusted to have its best interests at heart. Coming home having not been completely destroyed and with a few more than three positions nailed down is about all England can expect, particularly with the first game at altitude and little time to acclimatize. Castres won’t get beyond the group stage next year because like most French sides they won’t travel well enough.

  2. Well I’ll nibble seeing as your comment is the only comment on here to respond to. Not sure it’s a disgrace that the major TV channels didn’t pick up the U20 world cup – apart from those of us interested enough to read this website, I’m not sure where the audience would come from!

    I do agree about the Wales SA game – why the games continue to be played out of the international window only for Gatland to complain is beyond me. But if it helps expand the game in the US then no harm done.

    I’m sure you know England will perform better than your comment would suggest, but here’s the attention you were after.

    1. I think Wales should be free to organise games outside the window if they so fancy. What I take issue with is Gatland complaining that players are not released for selection, despite the fact the games are organised outside of the designated international window.

  3. The U20 games are being live streamed by World Rugby. ITV4 are showing highlights later in the day.
    We look very good at times, but our play is littered with silly errors. Iron that out and get a bit more consistent, then we can easily make another final. There is a lot of talent in the squad, with Curry and Smith the obvious standouts.

      1. Leon – the words ‘headless’ and ‘chicken’ ad well as ‘couldn’t catch a cold’ spring to mind with Ibitoye – that’s not to say that when he does finally secure the pill he’s am explosive runner. We’ve all that player who when the ball is above them cause a lump in our throat and I think he’s that man. He really needs some support in composure and managing ‘processing’ as currently he’s basically a 50/50 under the high ball – once that’s sorted he’ll prove a real handful

    1. Unfortunately I live in rural Spain and the download speed is not fast enough to pick up streaming. Super Ted, if people don´t fancy watching the Under 20s I can´t imagine there is much they would watch. The standard is terrific and it is a great chance to pick stars of the future.

  4. I too have questioned Tana Umaga’s credentials, however I understand that Auckland have extended his contract for a yr (?). Presumably the Union have taken account of the fact that Umaga has had a whole team out injured this season.

  5. Hard read too much into the Wales v SA match. SA @ home, however & with a fullish squad (although missing Marx, Whitely & Etzebeth) & especially showing intent with le Roux & de Klerk being recalled from Europe, they certainly seem to want it enough. England biggest problem, IMO, is Jones. Left too much experience @ home & hasn’t fixed the 3 year old issues (during his tenure) of breakdown & midfield. Simply chucking AN OTHERS into these positions isn’t the answer. Still, like the government’s expectation over Brexit, a magical rabbit might be plucked from the hat & the last minute a solution found.. within the week.

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