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Old 2004-10-16, 21:22   Link #41
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2004 GRAND FINAL


8 - 16

Date: Saturday, 16 October 2004
Venue: Old Trafford - Manchester, England.

LEEDS held their nerve to end a 32-year title famine and crush defending champions Bradford in England's Super League Grand Final overnight.


Leeds take a 6-4 lead at Old Trafford as Matt Diskin skips past three players and dives over to score from dummy-half.

While the Super League showpiece at Old Trafford, Manchester, will not be remembered as a classic it was nevertheless a tense affair in front of a capacity 66,000 crowd.

The result was only decided in the last six minutes as Danny McGuire went in for his 39th try of the season.

It took a moment of magic from the mercurial McGuire to finally see off the brave Bulls, who have suffered three Grand Final defeats.

McGuire, pipped by Bradford's Lesley Vainikolo for the Super League try-scoring record, took a return pass from centre Keith Senior to scoot over for the most important touchdown of his fledgling career.

The match marked a fitting finale for veteran Australian forward Dave Furner, who hung up his boots in style - and it was also a personal triumph for Leeds coach Tony Smith, succeeding at his first attempt where a host of his predecessors failed.


Bradford's Shontayne Hape touches down at the start of the second half to reduce the deficit for the Bulls to two points.

Only three players in the Leeds team were born the last time Leeds held the championship crown in 1972 - but with a crop of highly-rated youngsters, they could be set for a period of sustained success.

It was two tries each in the end, with Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield's 100 per cent goalkicking proving the difference on the scoreboard - although they were the superior team for the most part.

Vainikolo took just seven minutes to add to his amazing try tally.

Clever handling by Bradford captain Robbie Paul, who worked a run-around with loose forward Lee Radford, and Shontayne Hape provided just enough space for the massive Tongan tormentor to race in for his 39th try of the season.

Leeds' solitary first-half try was an opportunist effort from hooker Matt Diskin, who jinked his way over from dummy-half on 15 minutes and went on to clinch the Harry Sunderland Trophy as man of the match for an industrious display.

Sinfield landed the conversion and also kicked a couple of penalties after the Bulls were twice punished for ball-stealing.


Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield jubilates as after 80 minutes of play, the final siren confirms his side as champions.

Hape went over for Bradford. But video referee Dave Campbell disallowed the score for an earlier infringement by Radford, who clearly passed off the floor after the tackle had been completed.

Hape was not to be denied and he claimed his side's second try three minutes into the second half when half-backs Iestyn Harris and Paul Deacon worked the ball out to the left for him to cross wide out.

Deacon was off target for the second time to leave his side trailing by two points - and that was as close as it got for the Bulls, who were forced to re-shuffle their back division at half-time following the loss of full-back Michael Withers.

Leeds managed to dominate the first half on the back of a pinpoint kicking game from Sinfield and McGuire, who were not afraid to target danger man Vainikolo.

The Leeds kickers succeeded in turning around the big man, and their chase was effective enough to keep him pinned back in his own 20-metre area.

Nerves began to surface as the tension mounted, and both sides frittered away promising positions through handling errors.


The Leeds players celebrate as they win 16-8 to end a 32 year wait for a league championship against all the odds.

It was only in the last 10 minutes that the game came to life - with Deacon bursting clear, forcing Leeds to scramble back to halt Vainikolo.

But both defences held firm until Paul came up with one mistake too many deep inside his own half, and that allowed Senior and McGuire to work the match-winning move.

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Old 2004-10-16, 21:32   Link #42
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Sweet! I never thought to meet some rugby fans at this place (another reason to stick at this forum ). Well, though I seldom play rugby during my highschool years, it was a really great sport to begin, and the feeling of being tackled and pinned down to the ground while holding the rugby ball is just priceless. Too bad it doesn't get much attention as soccer does.

p/s: I'm also a fan of The All Blacks. W00t!!
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Old 2004-10-17, 13:56   Link #43
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Thumbs up All Black Fans



I am glad to see that there are a few more All Black Fans.
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Old 2004-10-23, 19:29   Link #44
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32 - 12

Date: Saturday, 23 October 2004
Time: 6:15PM (UK Time)
Venue: Loftus Road - London, United Kingdom.


Summary of scorers:

AUSTRALIA
Tries: Rooney, Berrigan, Tonga, Lockyer, Civoniceva
Goals: Fitzgibbon 3/3, Lockyer 2/2, Berrigan 1/1
Field Goals:


NEW ZEALAND
Tries: Webb, Vainikolo, V. Anderson
Goals:
Field Goals:



Match report:

Australia secured a vital victory over New Zealand in their Tri Nations game in London today, but suffered a potentially costly blow with an injury to skipper Darren Lockyer.

Man-of-the-match Lockyer, who scored a crucial try to give Australia the advantage after the New Zealanders had led 12-8 at halftime, left the field midway through the second half with a suspected re-occurrence of a rib injury.

In front of a near-capacity crowd at a drenched Loftus Road, the depleted Kiwis had taken a surprise third-minute lead with a try through their Cairns-born fullback Brent Webb.

But Webb's conversion attempt hit the post and crucially he failed to add to either of their other two first-half tries.

Australia briefly led when winger Luke Rooney scored from a penalty and Craig Fitzgibbon converted, then added a penalty for a high shot.

But the resilient New Zealanders levelled at 8-8 on the half-hour with a try from Lesley Vainikolo, and they were ahead 12-8 at the break when Vinnie Anderson scored from Logan Swann's inside ball.

The Kangaroos nosed back in front just a minute into the second half when Lockyer shot through the line and Fitzgibbon again converted, and they definitely held the upper hand when Willie Tonga crashed on to Lockyer's delayed pass after 56 minutes.

Shaun Berrigan then touched down Craig Gower's sliding kick and replacement Petero Civoniceva scored the final try when he too grounded a Gower grubber.

The Roos back up next weekend against Great Britain at the City of Manchester stadium.

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Old 2004-10-30, 15:50   Link #45
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8 - 12

Date: Saturday, 30 October 2004
Venue: City of Manchester Stadium - Manchester, United Kingdom.


Summary of scorers:

UNITED KINGDOM
Tries: Gleeson, Carney
Goals:
Field Goals:


AUSTRALIA
Tries: Rooney 2, Mason
Goals:
Field Goals:


Match report:

AUSTRALIA picked up from where they left off in last year's Ashes series today, breaking British hearts with a try in the last minute to win their Tri-Nations Test.


Timely ... Luke Rooney scores the winning try

With only seconds remaining and the game headed for an 8-8 draw, the Kangaroos set up for a field goal, but were forced to run the ball.

It finished in the hands of Luke Rooney and the Penrith winger dived for the corner, beating the despairing defence of Paul Wellens to put the Kangaroos in front for the first time in the match.

Last year Australia trailed in all three Ashes Tests against the United Kingdom, but managed to come from behind to win all three games.

The Kangaroos are now guaranteed a place in the Tri Nations final, while the United Kingdom need to win two of theirs three remaining games to ensure they appear in the decider at Elland Road.

Australia trailed 8-4 at halftime after an inspired 40 minutes in defence by the British at City of Manchester Stadium.

They levelled the scores 11 minutes into the second half when winger Luke Rooney crossed for his fourth try in only his third Test.

Craig Gower did the damage, standing in a tackle and finding Willie Tonga. His inside ball gave Anthony Minichiello some space and he sent Rooney over in the corner.

Kimmorley missed the conversion to leave the scores tied at 8-8.

The British players were beginning to tire, but they still had the chance to go back in the lead when Paul Sculthorpe attempted a field goal with 15 minutes remaining.

The kick was touched by Nathan Hindmarsh before deflecting off the bottom side of the crossbar.

Australia had their turn seven minutes later, but Brett Kimmorley's attempt rattled the crossbar and bounced back into the field of play.

UK's No.7 Sean Long then had a field-goal attempt, but the ball speared wide of the goal.

In the 76th minute Kimmorley tried again from 30 metres, but it sailed wide before UK captain Andy Farrell missed another chance in the 79th minute.

Australia had one last shot and they made it count, with Rooney putting the finishing touches on the victory.

The Kangaroos had all the early ball, but came away empty-handed thanks to some resilient British defence.

And it was the home side who struck first.

Five-eighth Paul Sculthorpe produced a brilliant inside ball to send Jamie Peacock into space, before he found Terry Newton in support and passed to Martin Gleeson, who beat Nathan Hindmarsh and carried Luke Rooney over the line to give his side a 4-0 lead.

Australia had their chances as the half wore on, but the United Kingdom produced some magnificent last-ditch defence, with Sean Long and Adrian Morley pulling off inspirational hits on Kangaroos halfback Brett Kimmorley.

The Lions were rewarded for their effort in the 33rd minute when winger Brian Carney scored a brilliant solo try.

Carney - who watched most of the second half on the bench after picking up an injury - sprinted out of dummy half and beat the dive of Willie Tonga.

The Irishman then backed his pace and dived over despite a despairing dive from Anthony Minichiello, video referee David Campbell awarding the try to the delight of the home fans.

Captain Andy Farrell missed the conversion and the United Kingdom led 8-0.

The Kangaroos found a lifeline on the stroke of halftime through Willie Mason.

The towering Bulldogs forward charged onto the ball, beat the tackle of Gleeson and went over the top of British fullback Paul Wellens to score with one minute remaining in the half.

Kimmorley missed the conversion and the United Kingdom took an 8-4 lead into the break.

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Old 2004-10-30, 19:03   Link #46
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oh, shoot. I thought All Blacks would win the match. oh, well... *keeps rooting for All Blacks*
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Old 2004-11-06, 20:23   Link #47
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22 - 12

Date: Saturday, 6 November 2004
Venue: Alfred McAlpine Stadium - Huddersfield, England.


Summary of scorers:

UNITED KINGDOM
Tries: Reardon 2, Newton
Goals: Farrell 2/3, Harris 2/2, Sculthorpe 1/1
Field Goals:


NEW ZEALAND
Tries: Williams, Lauitiiti
Goals: Webb 2/2
Field Goals:


Match report:

Great Britain is in the box seat to play Australia in the Tri Nations rugby league final after bouncing back from a shambolic first half to beat New Zealand 22-12 in Huddersfield tonight.

The Lions trailed 12-2 at halftime but scored three second half tries to edge the Kiwis, delighting a crowd in excess of 20,000 at Galpharm Stadium.

Great Britain only has to win one of its two remaining Tri Nations games - against Australia next weekend and New Zealand the week after - to secure a place in the final against the Kangaroos at Elland Road on November 27.

The buzzword in England at the moment is bouncebackability - a term coined by a Saturday morning television show and used by the soccer community.

Great Britain displayed it in spades in the second half tonight.

For the opening 40 minutes the home side was pathetic, trailing 2-12 at halftime and the signs weren't good.

New Zealand off-loaded at will with Bulldogs teenager Sonny Bill Williams creating havoc every time he touched the ball.

Whatever coach Brian Noble told his players at halftime, he should bottle it and save it for future occasions.

They contrived three tries - two to winger Stuart Reardon - in the opening 13 minutes of the second half to surge to a 16-12 lead.

The best of them was the third, with much-hyped five-eighth Danny McGuire announcing his arrival on the international stage by creating something out of nothing with a sparkling run in the 53rd minute.

He danced through the New Zealand defence and lofted a pass for Reardon, who dived over in the corner to break a 12-12 deadlock.

Captain Andy Farrell then kicked a 73rd minute penalty goal to give his side a six-point lead before Iestyn Harris - making his return after a stint in rugby union with Wales - kicked two penalty goals.

Great Britain had all the early running but went into the break trailing after two breathtaking New Zealand tries.

Former Warriors forward Ali Lauiti'iti scored the first with virtually his first touch of the ball in the 23rd minute.

Williams sparked the movement, putting Lauiti'iti in space with a peach of a pass.

He shuffled the ball to Clinton Toopi, who combined with Shontayne Hape to send Lauiti'iti under the posts.

Five minutes later the Kiwis were in again, with Williams scoring after a circus pass from hooker Louis Anderson.

Fullback Brent Webb floated behind play on the last tackle before finding Anderson.

The Warriors youngster had Great Britain players draped all over him but somehow flipped the ball over his head and into the hands of Williams.

Great Britain's lone points in an open first half came from the boot of Farrell.

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Old 2004-11-06, 20:32   Link #48
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Wales v South Africa

Springboks scrape home in Cardiff
Saturday November 06 2004
One down, three to go to the Grand Slam

South Africa's Grand Slam ambitions looked a rickety wagon indeed as it got thumped by Wales in the last few minutes and won 38-36 in a slithery match in an underpopulated Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.


Villain and hero: Schalk Burger on the charge

For Wales there was great heart in their spirited fightback against opponents who were billed to beat them.

South Africa emptied its bench - to little good effect. In the last scrum of the match South Africa put the ball in five metres from their line and were ignominiously destroyed for Dwayne Peel of Wales to dot down for a simple try. Stephen Jones converted and the final whistle went.

The lesson of it all is the necessity for all rugby teams to respect their opponents for the 80 minutes of a rugby Test.

There is also the necessity to respect the laws of the game. The penalty count flew against South Africa - 17-8 in all, plus two free kicks for infringements.

Add to that a yellow card for Schalk Burger for repeatedly infringing critically. Respect for the opposition means tackling them - not just charging in with a ricocheting shoulder.

There is a roof to the Millennium Stadium, but it had been left open to let the rain in. The rain reached the ground, which made things greasy, which may explain the numerous handling errors and the turnovers.

Another reason for South African turnovers was the intensity of the Welsh defence as they, too, used the rush defence which had helped the Springboks in the Tri-Nations.

The Springboks ended the half leading 23-12, thanks to two excellent tries which started from afar.

Hands at tackle/ruck produced a penalty to South Africa after a minute and Percy Montgomery goaled.

Then Joe van Niekerk wandered sidewards from a scrum and the Springboks won quick ball. A nit of clever switching sent Marius Joubert cutting through on a long run. Some five metres from the line Haldane Luscombe brought him down, but the ball came back to Fourie du Preez who fed Jaco van der Westhuyzen over in the corner, whence Montgomery converted. 10-0 after seven minutes.

Stephen Jones stood back and kicked Wales down into the South African 22 but the Springboks were having no trouble winning their own line-outs.

Luscombe had a dash. Os du Randt won the ball but Wales produced a turnover as their forwards piled in behind and the Springboks backs were off-side in front of their posts. 10-3 after 12 minutes.

Back came the Springboks and Welsh hands gave Montgomery his second penalty. 13-3. From the deep kick-off Montgomery forgot to catch the ball before kicking it and Wales had a chance to attack as the ball skidded about. Eddie Andrews was off-side. 13-6 after 17 minutes.

South Africa attacked from a line-out but a wayward, ballooned pass from Van der Westhuyzen gave Wales the chance to attack, aided by two penalty goals. But Then Wales charged, knocked on in the tackle and Fourie du Preez flicked a pass to Schalk Burger and the Springboks ran from their own half. Montgomery skipped free and sped down the field, working a pass with De Wet Barry that ended with Joe van Niekerk trotting round behind the posts. 20-6 after 24 minutes.

Montgomery goaled a penalty three minutes later and Stephen Jones a minute after that. Then, just before half-time Burger was sent to the sin bin. Stephen Jones made it 23-12 at the break.

On the second half Wales continued to fatten on Burger's absence. Stephen Jones kicked his fifth and then came a try to make the spectators sit up. South Africa won a line-out in their 22 and started to plod it forward when suddenly, Dafydd Jones burst away from the maul. Montgomery confronted him and was thumped onto his backside. Dafydd Jones was tackled but the ball sped left where strong Gavin Henson burst through Juan Smith's attempted tackle and scored at the posts. 23-22. The game was on.

But then Burger came back. Van der Westhuyzen squeezed a wonderful little pass around a tackler's back for Barry to go speeding 50 metres down the field. He was tackled at the line. The Springboks won the five-metre scrum and went to the short side on the left where Van der Westhuyzen flicked an inside pass to replacement Jean de Villiers who powered over. Montgomery made it 30-22 with twenty minutes to go.

Two minutes later the Springboks got another long-range try. Shane Williams sauntered on the counterattack, preparing to accelerate when big Bakkies Botha mowed him down from behind. Williams lost the ball forward and suddenly the Springboks' were running free down the far side of the field. Van der Westhuyzen ran with great speed and purpose before giving Montgomery a stride or two and a dropped shoulder for a try. Oddly, for he kicked well, Montgomery missed. 38--2.

Now substitutions proliferated and the Springboks came apart as Wales came back off two free kicks and two penalties and lots of enthusiasm for Gavin Henson to score his second try. 38-29 with five minutes to play.

Those five minutes continued to belong to Wales as they used penalties to be at the place of the last scrum and Peel's try.

Man of the Match: Colin Charvis and Dwayne Peel were wonderful for Wales and so was that victorious front row that won a wheel and then shoved the Springboks back for a try. And Gavin Henson was strong and Stephen Jones clever. For the Springboks the locks were great - Bakkies Botha with his non-stop intensity and Victor Matfield controlling the line-outs. Then there was Fourie du Preez who did everything a scrum-half could do to steady his side when it needed steadying and sent them speeding when there was half a chance to attack. Our Man of the Match is Fourie du Preez just ahead of Stephen Jones.

Moment of the Match: Joe van Niekerk's try - just the way the Springboks seized their chances and the way Percy skipped away and then his calm interplay with supporting players. There was also a delicious moment when Dwayne Peel broke down the middle of the field, chipped over Percy Montgomery's head and caught the ball on the full before being laid waste by scurrying defenders.

Villain of the Match: Schalk Burger. He is so brave, committed and wholehearted, but he does not have to do the things he does that give away penalties - and a yellow card and the opportunity for Wales to go from 23-9 to 23-22.

The scorers:

For Wales:
Tries: Henson 2, Peel
Conversions: Stephen Jones 3/3
Penalty Goals: Stephen Jones 5
Drop Goals:

For South Africa:
Tries: Van der Westhuyzen, Van Niekerk, De Villiers, Montgomery
Conversions: Montgomery 3/4
Penalty Goals: Montgomery 4
Drop Goals:

Yellow card: Schalk Burger (South Africa, 39)

The teams:

Wales: 15 Gareth Thomas (captain), 14 Hal Luscombe (Tom Shanklin, 62), 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Gavin Henson, 11 Shane Williams (Ceri Sweeney, 68), 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Ryan Jones, 7 Colin Charvis (Martyn Williams, 72), 6 Dafydd Jones (Martyn Williams, 24-27, Luke Charteris, 62), 5 Michael Owen, 4 Brent Cockbain, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Steve Jones (Mefin Davies, 72), 1 Duncan Jones (Gethin Jenkins, 59).
Unused replacements: 20 Gareth Cooper, 22 Tom Shanklin.

South African Springboks: 15 Percy Montgomery, 14 Breyton Paulse, 13 Marius Joubert (Michael Claassens, 79), 12 De Wet Barry, 11 Ashwin Willemse (Jean de Villiers, 54), 10 Jaco van der Westhuyzen (Brent Russell, 65), 9 Fourie du Preez (Michael Claassens, 79), 8 Joe van Niekerk, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Schalk Burger (Tim Dlulane, 73), 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Eddie Andrews (CJ van der Linde, 59), 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Os du Randt (Hanyani Shimange, 73).
Unused replacement: 18 Gerrie Britz.

Referee: Paddy O'Brien (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Stuart Dickinson (Australia), Scott Young (Australia)
Assessor: Colin High (England)
Television match official: Eric Darričre (France)
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Old 2004-11-06, 20:48   Link #49
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Scotland v Australia

Wallabies seal victory at Murrayfield
Saturday November 06 2004
Scotland can be proud of second-half performance

Australia eased to a 31-14 victory over a weakened Scotland side at Murrayfield on Saturday. The Wallabies had the game wrapped up in the first half, after winger Clyde Rathbone ran in a brace of tries, but Scotland showed some fight in the second half to outscore the visitors 14-3.


Leading the way ... George Gregan in action.

Scotland got off to a bright start, with some promising play in the opening five minutes giving the home fans something to cheer about, but it did not last and the writing was soon on the wall.

The first chance the Wallaby backline was given with ball in hand winger Clyde Rathbone cut though on the inside to put centre Stirling Mortlock over for the opening try. If it sounds simple, it is because it was, and the visitors never looked back.

Matt Giteau added the extras to extend the lead to seven for the Wallabies.

The Scots tried with big No.8 Ally Hogg proving strong with ball in hand and scrum-half Chris Cusiter a handful around the fringes, but the Scotland backline looked lost - in stark contrast to their dangerous Australian counterparts.

Rathbone scored the Wallabies' second on the 19th minute. Giteau slotted a difficult conversion and seven minutes later Rathbone skidded over for his second of the night. Giteau stepped up and banged over another difficult kick to put the game out of reach at 21-0.

And when winger Lote Tuqiri slid over for the fourth the game as a contest was long over.

Wallaby fly-half Stephen Larkham almost went over for the visitors fifth, but some lazy play by the No.10 saw him scupper the chance of an open run-in after he was held up over the line by Scotland lock Nathan Hines.

The Scots, however, refused to play dead and came back firing after the break. Banging the ball up with the forwards and closing down on the Wallaby line.

Two minutes after the break big winger Sean Lamont barged his way over the line, lighting up the Murrayfield faithful who were finally given a reason for showing up.

The score spurred the hosts into action and the forwards continued to show they were up for it, rolling up at the Wallaby pack, putting the visitors under pressure. And when replacement fullback Hugo Southwell went over for his team's second try the stadium began to make some noise.

The Wallabies seemed a different team after the break, their foot seemingly to have gone firmly off the gas, as Scotland began to work their way back into the game.

But the hosts failed to push home the advantage to its fullest extent with some silly play - best illustrated by Southwell floating two kicks out on the full with a man in the clear.

Scotland coach Matt Williams can be proud of his charges, however, after they showed tenacity in the face of defeat to win the second half exchanges. Critics will say that it is little for the Scots to be proud of - after a dismal first-half showing - but Scotland can not ask for much more with the problems currently plaguing the game there.

Man of the match: For Scotland Chris Cusiter and Ally Hogg were superb, while Donny MacFadyen continues to show his worth. For Australia Clyde Rathbone and Stirling Mortlock were constant threats, but George Gregan put in a big match with his probing runs and ability to release a dangerous backline outside him.

Moment of the match: There were tries a-plenty with Scotland coming to the party in the second half, but when Rathbone burst down the touchline for his second of the night it finished off the Scottish threat before it began.

Villain of the match: There was the odd bit of niggle between the two sides - although nothing serious - but Justin Harrison gets this 'award' for his persistence to play opposition players off the ball.

The scorers:

For Scotland:
Tries: Lamont, Southwell
Conversions: Paterson 2/2
Penalty Goals:
Drop Goals:

For Australia:
Tries: Mortlock, Rathbone 2, Tuqiri
Conversions: Giteau 4/4
Penalty Goals: Giteau
Drop Goals:

The teams:

Scotland: 15 Stuart Moffat (Hugo Southwell, 40), 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Graeme Morrison (Andy Craig, 62), 12 Andrew Henderson, 11 Chris Paterson, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Chris Cusiter (Mike Blair, 75), 8 Allister Hogg, 7 Donny MacFadyen, 6 Scott Gray (Jon Petrie, 40), 5 Scott MacLeod (Alastair Kellock, 55-59, 68), 4 Nathan Hines, 3 Bruce Douglas (Craig Smith, 62), 2 Gordon Bulloch (captain) (Ross Ford, 75), 1 Allan Jacobsen.

Australian Wallabies: 15 Chris Latham, 14 Clyde Rathbone (Wendell Sailor, 59), 13 Stirling Mortlock (Mat Rogers, 68), 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Stephen Larkham (vice-captain) (Elton Flatley, 68), 9 George Gregan (captain), 8 John Roe, 7 Phil Waugh (vice-captain) (David Lyons, 44), 6 George Smith, 5 Daniel Vickerman (Mark Chisholm, 74), 4 Justin Harrison, 3 Alastair Baxter, 2 Jeremy Paul, 1 Bill Young (Matt Dunning, 66).
Unused Replacements: 16 Brendan Cannon.
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Old 2004-11-13, 17:37   Link #50
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24 - 12

Date: Saturday, 13 November 2004
Venue: JJB Stadium - Wigan, England.


Summary of scorers:

UNITED KINGDOM
Tries: Reardon, Fielden, Newton, Senior
Goals: Farrell 4/4
Field Goals:


AUSTRALIA
Tries: Rooney, O'Meley
Goals: Kimmorley 1/1, Fitzgibbon 1/1
Field Goals:


Match report:

Great Britain produced an inspiring defensive effort to end a three-year drought against Australia and book a spot in the Tri Nations rugby league final with a nailbiting 24-12 win over the Kangaroos at Wigan's JJB Stadium today.


Britain took an 18-6 lead into halftime and spent most of the second half stoutly defending their own line as Australia threw everything at them.

Centre Keith Senior made sure of a heroic victory with a 60 metre intercept try with three minutes remaining to ensure the Lions would meet Australia in the Tri Nations final at Elland Road in two weeks.

Referee Glen Black put an incident on report with two minutes remaining as Craig Fitzgibbon and Paul Sculthorpe traded punches, sparking an all-in brawl.

Australia needed a good start to the second half tonight and the got it through debutant prop Mark O'Meley.

The Bulldogs front rower charged onto a flat pass from Brett Kimmorley in the 45th minute and cruised over under the posts, Fitzgibbon converting to make the gap six points.

Kimmorley and hooker Craig Wing were picking holes in the Australian defence - but Britain somehow hung on .

Captain Andy Farrell had the chance to give his side a seven-point edge in the 72nd minute but his field goal was wide.

But Senior made sure of the win when he swooped on an errant Scott Hill pass.

The opening half was played at a cracking pace and it was Australia who made the early break through when Luke Rooney continued his remarkable try-scoring run at Test level.

The Kangaroos looked to have gone the wrong direction on the last tackle but Kimmorley reverse kicked and Rooney raced through unchallenged to score his sixth try in only his fourth Test.

But Great Britain got the sell-out crowd back in the match with two tries in three minutes midway through the half.

Hooker Terry Newton scored the first in the 23rd minute, cleaning up a Sculthorpe grubber after some fine work from Senior and Sean Long put the Lions deep in attack

Farrell converted and the score was locked at 6-6.

Three minutes later - in the 26th minute - winger Stuart Reardon produced some deft work to score in the corner, Farrell converting from the sideline to put his side ahead by six points.

Wellens and Newton, outstanding in the opening half, ensured Great Britain maintained its lead with try-saving tackles on Minichiello and Wing.

And with three minutes remaining in the half they went further in front when prop Stuart Fielden finished off a brilliant 60 metre try.

The Lions ran the ball on the last tackle with Long, centre Martin Gleeson, five-eighth Danny McGuire and Newton combining before Fielden stumbled over the line.

Farrell converted and Great Britain led 18-6 at the break.

Agence France-Presse
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England v Canada

New England era off to a rollicking start
Saturday November 13 2004
Jason Robinson notches up a hat-trick

Andy Robinson's career as England coach got of to accomplished start at Twickenham on Saturday, with the world champions handing Canada a veritable thumping. England captain Jason Robinson claimed a hat-trick as the hosts put together a 70-0 victory.


Captain Robinson: Hat-trick hero

Robinson's new-look team did what it had to do on a muted Twickenham occasion, scoring 12 tries as they secured their first victory in five Tests.

Fullback Jason Robinson, captain in the absence of an injured Jonny Wilkinson, led by example as he claimed a hat-trick, while wings Josh Lewsey and debutant Mark Cueto each posted doubles, with centre Mike Tindall, fly-half Charlie Hodgson, substitute centre Will Greenwood, flanker Lewis Moody and replacement lock Hugh Vyvyan also touching down.

Hodgson missed five conversion attempts, although he found his range twice and Henry Paul also added the extras on three occasions.

It was England's record victory from six starts against Canada, beating the 60-19 win at Twickenham 10 years ago.

The Springboks though, who will provide the second of three autumn opponents for England next Saturday, will not be particularly concerned when they begin their video analysis of the world champions.

England showed some encouraging signs, notably Paul's vision and creativity, allied to the strong running of Robinson, Lewsey and Cueto.

They had their moments up front, too, underlined when the forwards drove over from 20 metres for Moody's late try, yet the overall product was satisfactory, rather then spectacular.

England, after an eventful 2004 pock-marked by Sir Clive Woodward's resignation, five defeats, a lowly third place in the RBS 6 Nations Championship and retirements of World Cup stars like Martin Johnson, Lawrence Dallaglio and Neil Back, just needed to get some sort of show back on the road.

Jason Robinson, Tindall, Lewsey and hooker Steve Thompson were the only survivors from England's starting XV that beat Australia to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy more than 350 days ago.

Cueto and Gloucester flanker Andy Hazell made their international debuts, while two more rookies - Sale Sharks prop Andrew Sheridan and Saracens forward Vyvyan - appeared off the bench in front of a 41,784 crowd.

But there were also many errors of the handling variety, and at times, a lack of urgency or awareness.

Robinson, a tough coaching taskmaster, will relish tackling the many areas of improvement when England get back on the training field next week.

Perhaps the afternoon's biggest cheer came when Twickenham's giant screen offered a close-up shot of the watching - and smiling - Wilkinson.

A sunlit Twickenham saw England led on to the pitch by Bath lock Danny Grewcock, who won his 50th cap, and the world champions were quickly into their stride.

Moody made a crunching tackle on Canada's Jamie Cudmore from the kick-off, while Robinson and Cueto both enjoyed early touches before England demolished Canada's front-row at the first scrum.

Initially though, England's handling skills let them down, with both Tindall and prop Julian White spilling straightforward passes.

England launched a sparkling seventh-minute attack, started by number eight Martin Corry from the base of a scrum, and Cueto was unlucky not to gather his kick ahead after Robinson freed him in space.

The opening try arrived on nine minutes when Hodgson glided clear, allowing Robinson to scurry over for his 20th Test try in 34 England appearances.

And although Hodgson could not convert, Robinson was at it again five minutes later, making the initial headway before play switched directions and Lewsey crossed wide out.

Hodgson again missed the tricky conversion, but England were on their way, 10-0 up and cruising against seriously-limited opponents.

The first quarter ended with Lewsey striking again, catching Hodgson's superbly-executed cross-kick and running in England's third try. Hodgson again failed to convert, yet England were no trouble whatsoever, leading by 15 points.

Canada were organised and committed, but they could not compete with England's pace out wide, illustrated through three further tries between the 31st and 36th minutes.

Tindall scored the first, capitalising on a neat break by Paul, then Cueto claimed a debut try following superb approach work by Hodgson and Robinson, before Robinson bagged his second touchdown.

Hodgson though, ended the first-half with a record of one conversion from six attempts - hardly Wilkinson-type form - as England trooped off 32-0 ahead.

The second period followed a predictable pattern, with Canada retaining a sense of organisation and committed defensive patterns, but the tries kept coming.

Hodgson danced through a huge midfield gap for England's seventh, before Robinson completed his hat-trick by sprinting clear of despairing Canadian defenders.

It proved to be Robinson's final contribution before he made way for Northampton wing Ben Cohen, while the skipper's coaching namesake also sent on Sheridan for a debut instead of White.

Paul relieved Hodgson of kicking duties, and immediately stepped up to the mark, slotting a touchline conversion via an upright.

Robinson, clearly planning ahead for the Springboks' visit, replaced Hodgson and Grewcock with Greenwood and Ben Kay, respectively, as the final quarter approached, and Paul moved from centre to fly-half.

England, their superior fitness and stamina evident, closed out the game with tries from Greenwood, Cueto and Vyvyan.

It was a case of so far, so good for messrs Robinson and Robinson, but England's first major examination of the post-Woodward era is now just around the corner.

Man of the Match: There were some encouraging displays from the likes of Henry Paul, new wing Mark Cueto and flanker Andy Hazell - and some magic moments from Charlie Hodgson (shame about the place-kicking. But can we look any further than Jason Robinson, England's captain and hat-trick hero.

Moment of the Match: Plenty of lovely touches, but Cueto's try stands out - a score made by Sale Sharks. Without the talents of Robinson, Hodgson and Cueto 'tis no wonder that the club was knocked off the top of the Zurich Premiership on Saturday.

Villain of the Match: All good-natured stuff, and Canada should true Barbarian sprit by going for the line-out on a number of occasion when going for goal would of exorcised the ugly '0' from the record books. So perhaps this award should go to those clubs that grounded some of Canada's brighter stars.

The scorers:

For England:

Tries: Robinson 3, Lewsey 2, Tindall, Cueto 2, Hodgson, Greenwood, Moody, Vyvyan
Conversions: Hodgson 2/8, Paul 3/4
Penalty Goals:
Drop Goals:

For Canada:
Tries:
Conversions:
Penalty Goals:
Drop Goals:

The teams:

England: 15 Jason Robinson (Sale Sharks, captain), 14 Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks), 13 Mike Tindall (Bath, vice-captain), 12 Henry Paul (Gloucester), 11 Josh Lewsey (Wasps), 10 Charlie Hodgson (Sale Sharks), 9 Andy Gomarsall (Gloucester), 8 Martin Corry (Leicester), 7 Andy Hazell (Gloucester), 6 Lewis Moody (Leicester), 5 Steve Borthwick (Bath), 4 Danny Grewcock (Bath), 3 Julian White (Leicester), 2 Steve Thompson (Northampton), 1 Graham Rowntree (Leicester).
Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell (Sale Sharks), 17 Andy Sheridan (Sale Sharks), 18 Ben Kay (Leicester), 19 Hugh Vyvyan (Saracens), 20 Hall Charlton (Newcastle), 21 Will Greenwood (Harlequins), 22 Ben Cohen (Northampton).

Canada: 15 Derek Daypuck (Castaway Wanderers), 14 David Moonlight (University of Victoria), 13 Ryan Smith (Brampton Beavers), 12 Marco Di Girolamo (Aurora), 11 Stirling Richmond (DeA Tigers, Hong Kong), 10 Ed Fairhurst (University of Victoria), 9 Pat Fleck (Meralomas), 8 Colin Yukes (Agen), 7 Stanley McKeen (Pacific Pride), 6 Jamie Cudmore (Grenoble), 5 Michael Burak (Old Boy Ravens), 4 Josh Jackson (Leonessa), 3 Forrest Gainer (Dublin University), 2 Aaron Abrams (Castaway Wanderers), 1 Kevin Tkachuk (Glasgow).
Replacements: 16 Mark Lawson (Velox Valhallians), 17 Gareth Cooke (Benevento), 18 Dan Pletch (Oakville Crusaders), 19 Christopher Strubin (Capilano), 20 David Spicer (University of Victoria), 21 John Cannon (Coventry), 22 Sean O'Leary (Meralomas).

Date: Saturday, November 13
Kick-off: 14.30 GMT
Venue: Twickenham, London
Weather: Bright, clear, cold, breezy - max 7°C, min 1°C
Referee: Scott Young (Australia)
Touch judges: Rob Dickson (Scotland), Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assessors: David Kerr (Scotland), Simon McDowell (Ireland)
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Scotland v Japan

Scotland put a ton on hapless Brave Blossoms
Saturday November 13 2004
Paterson claims a hat-trick

Scotland got last weekend's loss to Australia out of their system by thumping Japan at McDiarmid Park in Perth on Saturday evening, recording a 15-try 100-8 win over the tourists - the hosts' highest-ever score in international rugby.

After a nervous opening 10 minutes, Scotland overpowered the inexperienced visitors, with winger Chris Paterson scoring three tries in a personal haul of 40 points.

The Scots got off to a flying start when Allister Hogg touched down after just one minute, profiting from Allan Jacobsen's burst from a ruck and Chris Cusiter's pass. Chris Paterson slotted the conversion to give the Scots an early 7-0 lead.

But Japan hit back after the Scots conceded a scrum on their own try-line and winger Hayato Daimon went over in the corner after Keisuke Sawaki's looping pass exposed the Scottish defence.

Scotland responded with a series of forays into Japan's half, but were let down repeatedly by handling errors.

But the pressure eventually paid off when Andy Henderson burst through the middle and fed the ball along the line until it reached full-back Hugo Southwell, in just enough space to run in a try on the left-hand side.

Paterson added the conversion and soon afterwards landed a simple penalty to give the Scots a 12-point lead.

And minutes later the winger added a superb third try when he collected a short ball from Southwell and evaded two tackles to touch down before landing the conversion.

Scotland's fourth try was scored by Parks, who finished off a sustained spell of pressure by wrong-footing the Japanese defence before going over, while the fifth was an opportunist piece of work by Jon Petrie, stealing in at a Japanese line-out and sprinting in unchallenged from half way.

Scotland kept up the pressure after half-time and Paterson scored his second try when he chased a long kick and chipped it forward to score easily, before substitute Mike Blair added a seventh from Paterson's cross-field kick.

Andrew Henderson got on the scoreboard when the Scots caught Japan short with a quick scrum to create a huge overlap for the centre, who virtually jogged to the line.

After Paterson touched down Southwell's chip for his hat-trick, Graeme Morrison weighed in with his first Scotland try and Lamont followed suit soon after as Japan were run ragged.

Paterson took Scotland over the 80-point mark when he converted Donnie MacFadyen's try after the flanker broke clear from a ruck in front of the posts.

After the Japanese were denied a late consolation try by the video referee, Robbie Russell ran in the Scots' 13th with a well-worked move on the left and Southwell broke clear for the next.

Fittingly, Paterson brought up the century with the last kick of the game after Russell had bulldozed over under the posts.

The scorers:

For Scotland:
Tries: Petrie, Russell 2, Hogg, MacFadyen, Lamont, Southwell 2, Parks, Paterson 3, Blair, Morrison, Henderson
Conversions: Paterson 11/15
Penalty Goals: Paterson
Drop Goals:

For Japan:
Tries: Daiman
Conversions: Ikeda 0/1
Penalty Goals: Ikeda
Drop Goals:

The teams:

Scotland: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Chris Paterson, 13 Ben Hinshelwood, 12 Andrew Henderson, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Jon Petrie, 7 Donny MacFadyen, 6 Allister Hogg, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Stuart Grimes, 3 Gavin Kerr, 2 Gordon Bulloch, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Russell, 17 Craig Smith, 18 Scott MacLeod, 19 Jason White, 20 Mike Blair, 21 Gordon Ross, 22 Graeme Morrison.

Japanese Brave Blossoms: 15 Ryohei Miki, 14 Koichiro Kubota, 13 Seiichi Shimomura, 12 Yukio Motoki, 11 Hayato Daimon, 10 Keisuke Sawaki, 9 Waturu Ikeda, 8 Takuro Miuchi, 7 Hajime Kiso, 6 Naoya Okubo, 5 Hitoshi Ono, 4 Takanori Kumagai, 3 Ryo Yamamura, 2 Takashi Yamoka, 1 Yuichi Hisadomi.
Replacements: 16 Mitsugu Yamamoto, 17 Masahito Yamamoto, 18 Feletliki Mau, 19 Takatoyo Yamaguchi, 20 Kiyonori Tanaka, 21 Masatoshi Mukoyama, 22 Hideyuki Yoshida.

Date: Saturday, November 13
Kick-off: 17.30 GMT
Venue: McDiarmid Park, Perth
Conditions: Mainly cloudy, with 20 percent chance of precipitation. High 3°C, low 2°C
Referee: Andrew Cole (Australia)
Touch judges: Nigel Williams (Wales), Roy Maybank (England)
Assessor: Giovanni Romano (Italy)
Television match official: Christophe Berdos (France)
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Italy v New Zealand

All Blacks torment Italy in Rome
Saturday November 13 2004
Kiwis run in nine tries in Rome

The All Blacks registered a suitably comprehensive 59-10 victory over the Italians in Rome on Saturday, but they were made to work hard against a spirited second half by the Italians.

The New Zealand players also visibly switched off mentally during the second half, and Graham Henry will not have been impressed at some of the mistakes made, even by his most experienced players.

Captain Tana Umaga dropped the simplest of kick-off catches, Dan Carter kicked a penalty dead in-goal instead of into touch, and there were some futile and over-risky spin passes from Jerry Collins and Joe Rokocoko.

Richie McCaw was also prominent for losing his rag a number of times in the first half, something which an experienced player should never risk when his team is in the lead.

The tight Stadio Flaminio was sold out and packed to its rafters with 27,000 impassioned people, who belted out the Italian national anthem with heartfelt pride and whipped up a superb international atmosphere.

It was enough to make a neutral feel as though Italy could be carried to a sensational victory on their fans' shoulders.

That feeling lasted precisely one minute. From the first scrum, Dan Carter broke into acres of space past a terrible tackle from Rima Wakarua, and slipped a pop pass to Conrad Smith, who cantered over.

Five minutes later Carter chipped over the rushing Italian backline into the vast void which should have been filled by Italy's full-back Kaine Robertson. Carter collected his own chip and dashed under the posts for a 14-0 lead.

The crowd were still roaring every Italian touch, but the sentimental feeling evoked by the rendition of the anthems before the game was gone. Normality was restored, and one wondered just how many the All Blacks might run in.

They had run in three after just ten minutes, when Rico Gear broke through the midfield and fed Mills Muliaina for a sprint to the corner. Now the crowd started to quieten.

Rima Wakarua at least got the hosts onto the scoreboard with a neatly-taken penalty, but barely a minute afterwards Umaga strolled through the Italian midfield for an easy fourth try.

The Italians played plenty of good rugby as well. The pick-and-drive tactic was used almost to the point of overkill, but the possession was efficiently recycled and the ball consistently retained.

The biggest flaws in their game were an abject lack of pace, coupled with some unforced errors stemming seemingly from sheer nerves.

Their back defence tightened up after the opening ten minutes' aberrations, and once, when put under immense pressure on their own line from a New Zealand catch-and-drive at a line-out, they held off the New Zealand forwards for several phases of a rolling maul.

They put New Zealand under enough pressure with their own tactics, so that the penalty count in the first half was in favour of the Italians.

Umaga rounded off the first half scoring with a fine try after a sneaky inside pop from Carter for a 3-33 half-time score.

Italy tired visibly during the second half, and were there for the taking. But New Zealand threw the ball and their bodies around with such non-enthusiasm, that it took them another fifteen minutes to register on the scoreboard after Sam Taumoepeau sealed his debut with a try, with Richie McCaw finishing off a breakaway move.

McCaw was over again in the corner after some fine interplay in the All Black backs, and Muliaina also crossed as the New Zealand three-quarters indulged in a spot of sevens-style rugby.

As the replacements entered the fray one after the other, any ounce of rhythm within the All Black side was destroyed. New Zealand looked bored, and Italy looked dejected.

But with five minutes to go, Italy scored the try that all their hard work deserved. Wing Ludovico Nitoglia pounced on loose ball and fed Mauro Bergamasco who dashed to the corner, before sauntering under the posts.

The crowd roared their approval, and the game finished with the Italians on a high. New Zealand must take the win and go and work on their attitude, which was not a credit to their jerseys.

Italy can go and reflect on a good and spirited performance, and will look forward to the challenges ahead.

Man of the match: Italy's Mauro Bergamasco and Fabio Ongaro receive a joint accolade for their ceaseless work and endeavour around the park. Both players stood out for heavy tackling, support play, and the way they dealt with the pressure upon them. They were conspicuous for not making any of the poor decisions or unforced errors that undermined the Italy performance.

Moment of the match: The pre-match atmosphere was fantastic. The anthems were boomed out by impassioned people singing to a band, just like the good old days. The atmosphere created by the fans being able to sing their own song without being drowned out by some B-list celebrity singer adding his or her own 'artistic' flair, was just special. All 27,000 people in the stadium and the forty-odd players were able to enjoy their national feeling in the very best way. It was a great example of how to create pre-match entertainment by letting all the people join in and vent their own national pride.

Villain of the match: All Black flanker Richie McCaw threw his weight around in all the wrong ways at least three times in the first half. In a clean game which your team is winning comfortably, just what is the point?

The scorers:

For Italy:

Tries: Bergamasco
Conversions: Wakarua 1/1
Penalty Goals: Wakarua
Drop Goals:

For New Zealand:
Tries: Umaga 2, Muliaina 2, McCaw 2, Carter, Taumoepeau, Smith
Conversions: Carter 7/9
Penalty Goals:
Drop Goals:

The teams:

Italy: 15 Kaine Robertson, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Gonzalo Canale, 12 Andrea Masi, 11 Walter Pozzebon, 10 Rima Wakarua, 9 Paul Griffen, 8 David Dal Maso, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Aaron Persico, 5 Marco Bortolami (captain), 4 Santiago Dellapč, 3 Salvatore Perugini, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Andrea Lo Cicero.
Replacements: 16 Giorgio Intoppa, 17 Salvatore Costanzo, 18 Enrico Pavanello, 19 Silvio Orlando, 20 Pietro Travagli, 21 Luciano Orquera, 22 Matteo Pratichetti.

New Zealand All Blacks: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Rico Gear, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Tana Umaga (captain), 11 Joe Rokocoko; 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Byron Kelleher; 8 Mose Tuiali'i, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Norm Maxwell, 4 Chris Jack, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Anton Oliver, 1 Saimone Taumoepeau.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn or Keven Mealamu, 17 Greg Somerville, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Steven Bates, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Luke McAlister/Aaron Mauger, 22 Ma'a Nonu.

Date: Saturday November 13
Kick-off: 15.00 (14:00 GMT)
Venue: Stadio Flaminio, Rome
Conditions: Partly cloudy and mild, high 12°C low 6°C
Referee: Joël Jutge (France)
Touch judges: Alan Lewis (Ireland), Eric Darričre (France)
Assessor: Ian Scotney (Australia)
Television match official: David Changleng (Scotland)
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Ireland v South Africa

Ireland end Boks' Slam dream
Saturday November 13 2004
Controversial try the winner

Ecstasy at Lansdowne Road! For the second time in 98 years Ireland beat South Africa at a rugby Test, when they won 17-12 at Lansdowne Road in Dublin on Saturday. With this defeat South Africa's hopes of their much-publicised Grand Slam faded into impossibility.


Shattered dreams..

The difference was the only try of the match - a controversial affair in the 21st minute of the first half. But in many ways it was a match that the tenacious Irish deserved to win, controversy or not. Their tenacity and Ronan O'Gara's skilful cunning won the match.

The Irish pack was at least the Springboks' equal and the interesting midfield battle between four excellent centres went Ireland's way as the Springboks found Brian and O'Driscoll and Shane Horgan a handful. They made the telling centre breaks of the match.

It was fine, cold and windy at Lansdowne Road. Ireland had first use of the wind and enjoyed more possession and territory than their opponents as O'Gara ran the match. At one stage they had three five-metre line-outs but the South African defence held.

Ireland's try was something of a sick joke. The referee penalised Joe van Niekerk for playing the ball when he was off his feet, which was dubious. It was the sixth penalty against the Springboks in the half which had run only some twenty minutes.

The referee then signalled time out and told the South African captain to speak to his players.

John Smit was speaking to his players and had his back to Ireland to do when with his men gathering round him when Ronan O'Gara tapped and scored, much to the South Africans' protested dismay. The try was given and Ireland led 5-0 after 21 minutes as O'Gara's conversion hit the upright and bounced out.

Stung, the Springbok backs and forwards combined to set up attacks. An ankletap by Geordan Murphy on Percy Montgomery saved a possible try but then off-side by the Irish backs gave Montgomery a simple penalty kick. 5-3 after 25 minutes. He then had a longer kick from in front but was well wide, to the left as he watched it.

The South Africans attacked with greater speed and skill and for some inexplicable reason failed to score on two occasions when the try looked simple, so simple that Marius Joubert seemed reduced to a saunter.

At 33 minutes O'Gara stepped back and dropped a goal to make the half-time score 8-3 to Ireland.

In the second half first O'Gara and then Montgomery goaled penalties, Montgomery's from far out and near touch.

Then came another crucial decision when Schalk Burger, obviously referee-targetted, was given a yellow card, again a dubious one because he was penalised for handling illegally in the tackle when what he had done wrong was not obvious. Off he went, eye cut from an errant boot. O'Gara goaled the resultant penalty. 14-6 after 52 minutes.

South Africa ran out of defence and, far out though it was, Denis Hickie had an overlap but the pass to him went behind and into touch. Soon afterwards the touch judge indicated a missed high tackle on Brian O'Driscoll. O'Gara made it 17-6 with 15 minutes to go.

The rest of the match belonged pretty well to South Africa, though not well enough. They looked to score but big Bakkies Botha preferred a dummy to a pass. Again it was a Montgomery penalty that helped them closer to the fighting Irish. 17-9 with 12 minutes to go.

His next penalty was from 49 metres out, but Montgomery goaled it. 17-12 with seven gripping minutes to go.

South Africa attacked with a five-metre line-out, a five-metre -penalty, a five-metre scrum, another five-metre penalty - and still the Irish held with tenacity that bordered on ferocity.

When John Smit took a short pass, went to ground and lost the ball. With fervent zeal, the Irish got the ball back, and Peter Stringer hoofed the ball out. Stringer may not stand tall in physique but he was one of his side's heroes today, as was the whole of that eager pack.

Man of the Match: There is Ronan O'Gara, that it was Ronan O'Gara who played with impeccable decision-making and vast skill on a ground that he knows so well.

Moment of the Match: That try. It is not a pretty thing to consider, but in the end it made the difference and will forever be one of rugby's talking points.

Villain of the Match: Nobody overstepped the mark, not really. Any emotional moments were tiny. But then controversy.......

The scorers:

For Ireland:
Tries: O'Gara
Conversions: O'Gara 0/1
Penalty Goals: O'Gara 3
Drop Goals: O'Gara

For South Africa:
Tries:
Conversions:
Penalty Goals: Montgomery 4
Drop Goals:

Yellow card: Schalk Burger (South Africa, 52)

The teams:

Ireland: 15 Girvan Dempsey, 14 Geordan Murphy, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (captain), 12 Shane Horgan, 11 Denis Hickie, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Peter Stringer, Anthony Foley, 7 Johnny O'Connor, 6 Simon Easterby, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Malcolm O'Kelly, 3 John Hayes, 2 Shane Byrne, 1 Reggie Corrigan.
Replacements: 16 Frankie Sheahan, 17 Marcus Horan, 18 Donnacha O'Callaghan, 19 Eric Miller, 20 Guy Easterby, 21 David Humphreys, 22 Kevin Maggs.

South African Springboks: 15 Percy Montgomery, 14 Breyton Paulse, 13 Marius Joubert, 12 De Wet Barry, 11 Ashwin Willemse, 10 Jaco van der Westhuyzen, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Joe van Niekerk, 7 AJ Venter, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Eddie Andrews, 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Os Du Randt.
Replacements: 16 Hanyani Shimange, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Gerrie Britz, 19 Danie Rossouw, 20 Michael Claassens, 21 Jean de Villiers, 22 Gaffie du Toit/Jaque Fourie.

Date: 13 November 2004
Kick-off: 14.45 GMT
Venue: Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Weather: Scattered clouds, cold - at least for the South Africans with a high of 10°C dropping to a low of 3°C and a breeze
Referee: Paul Honiss (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Paddy O'Brien (New Zealand), Huw Watkins (Wales)
Assessor: Michel Lamoulie (France)
Television match official: Malcolm Changleng (Scotland)
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France v Australia

Elissalde boot sinks Wallaby hopes
Saturday November 13 2004
Seventeen points from French scrum-half seals the win

France have the book of scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde to thank for an impressive, and well-deserved, 27-14 win over Australia in their late-night Test match at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday.


Wallaby Vickerman breaks away from the French defence

It was a game of great skills and many fine things, but a game which produced only three tries. Two of those went to the French team which dominated both possession and territory.

And that domination was based on a set of tight forwards that slowly destroyed the Wallaby pack, to such an extend that the Australian front row started to show their frustrations in the latter stages of the game by resorting to niggle.

The French knew they had an advantage. That advantage was in the pack and they used it to its fullest.

The French backs, however, was not as good as one would have expected. While they showed great skills, they appeared tactically naive.

And fly-half Frédéric Michalak, who scored the try of the match, had a shocker by his high standard. His kicking out of hands was very weak.

It was a first half balanced on a knife edge, battles fought in centimeters and metres. Bit by bit.

It was, for most of the half, the French forwards probing for gaps in a very solid Australian defence. There were not many of those, but the French did finish the half with two tries to two penalties..

The first points came from a Matt Giteau penalty in the seventh minute, after Jean-Baptiste Elissalde had missed an earlier shot at goal.

Then Nicolas Brusque went over for the first try in the 10th minute, after a counter from an intercept when the Australians tried to run the ball out from their own 22.

It was a ding-ding battle for the next 20 minutes, with the French making most of the play and getting no reward.

A combination of poor options and patient Australian defence saw the game balanced on a knife edge.

In the 30th minute Giteau added another penalty, before scrum-half and captain George Gregan scampered over for a try in the 38th minute.

It came from another poor French kick and the Wallabies countering, with Chris Latham making the decisive break and vital pass to Gregan.

The French hit back in injury time, when fly-half Frédéric Michalak went blind from a scrum and caught the defence flat-footed - for once. Then Elissalde added the conversion to give the home team a narrow one-point (12-11) lead at the break.

The scoring in the second half consisted entirely of penalties, but that doesn't mean there wasn't any good rugby.

On the scoreboard the half belonged entirely to the French, with five Elissalde penalties beating the one Elton Flatley penalty.

But the real difference in this half was the display by the French forwards, who gave their backs numerous opportunities - either from set pieces or through turnovers.

But poor options and very ordinary tactical kicking actually allowed the Wallabies to stay in the game.

Man of the match: On the night there was really only one team to choose from. For me the choice was between the loose trio of Imanol Harinordoquy, Olivier Magne and Serge Betsen, or the tight five of Jérôme Thion, Fabien Pelous, Sylvain Marconnet, William Servat and Olivier Milloud. In the end I decided to give it to the tight forwards, having managed to shut the Aussies out of the game for the full 80 minutes.

Moment of the match: It has to go to fly-half Frédéric Michalak's try in injury time of the first half, a score which gave the French a lead they never surrendered.

Villain of the match: Two nominations. First there is fly-half Stephen Larkham who had a penalty turned around at a crucial stage in the second half when he retaliated after some flying French boots. But my vote goes to lock Justin Harrison, who showed that when the pressure is on he reverts to thuggery. There was his usual niggle and head-clamping, blatantly illegal, but his attempt at taking winger Aurelien Rougerie's head off after the Frenchman went in boots first into Larkham showed that the Wallaby lock did have nothing to offer but some illegal brutality.

The scorers:

For France:

Tries: Brusque, Michalak
Conversions: Elissalde 1/2
Penalty Goals: Elissalde 5
Drop Goals:

For Australia:
Tries: Gregan
Conversions: Giteau 0/1
Penalty Goals: Giteau 2, Flatley
Drop Goals:

The teams:

France:
15 Nicolas Brusque, 14 Aurelien Rougerie, 13 Tony Marsh, 12 Yannick Jauzion, 11 Cédric Heymans, 10 Frédéric Michalak, 9 Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Olivier Magne, 6 Serge Betsen, 5 Jérôme Thion, 4 Fabien Pelous (captain), 3 Sylvain Marconnet, 2 William Servat, 1 Olivier Milloud.
Replacements: 16 Sebastien Bruno, 17 Nicolas Mas, 18 Pascal Papé, 19 Julien Bonnaire, 20 Julien Peyrelongue, 21 Clement Poitrenaud, 22 Christophe Dominici.

Australian Wallabies: 15 Chris Latham, 14 Clyde Rathbone, 13 Stirling Mortlock, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Stephen Larkham (vice-captain), 9 George Gregan (captain), 8 John Roe, 7 Phil Waugh (vice-captain), 6 George Smith, 5 Daniel Vickerman, 4 Justin Harrison, 3 Alastair Baxter, 2 Jeremy Paul, 1 Bill Young.
Replacements: 16 Brendan Cannon, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Mark Chisholm, 19 David Lyons, 20 Elton Flatley, 21 Mat Rogers, 22 Wendell Sailor.

Date: Saturday, November 13
Kick-off: 21:00 local time (20:00 GMT)
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Conditions: Partly cloudy but dry - max 6°C, min 3°C
Referee: Chris White (England)
Touch judges: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa), Dave Pearson (England)
Assessor: Stuart Beissel (New Zealand)
Television match official: Donal Courtney (Ireland)
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This weekend's international fixtures (including my tips):

Ireland v United States
England v South Africa
Scotland v Australia
France v Argentina
Wales v New Zealand
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France v Argentina

Pumas maul France in Marseille
Saturday November 20 2004
Famous victory for Pumas

Argentina have pulled off one of the greatest victories of their illustrious history, wrenching the rug out from under the feet of the Six Nations champions - and conquers of Australia - with an inspired 24-14 win over France in Marseille on Saturday.


Los Pumas... a rising force in world rugby

The famous win at the Stade Velodrome - where all the world's top sides have come a-cropper in recent time - punctuates France's eight-match winning streak.

Not to belittle Argentina's heroic performance, but France seemed to lack their usual va-va-voom, and found it hard to find their rhythm in the face of a rabid Puma pack who keep the French forwards under wraps for the duration of the game.

Furthermore, most of the French backs looked like they were still suffering the effects of their win over the Wallabies - the post-match celebrations, that is.

Indeed, the kicking game of Jean-Baptiste Elissalde and Frédéric Michalak had all the composure of a drunk on the Parisian tiles.

Playing with the strong wind at their backs, the Pumas led 19-5 at half-time with fly-half Felipe Contepomi contributing four penalties and converting a try by flanker Martin Durand, who scrambled over following a five-metre scrum.

French momentarily work up, and centre Tony Marsh sliced through for a fabulous try that send the partisan support into raptures, and brought up an impromptu rendition of the Marseillaise.

After the break, Elissalde put his name on the scoresheet with his first penalty, but was forced off the field with an injury in the 58th minute.

Julien Peyrelongue came in at No.10 and Michalak moving to scrum-half. Michalak also assumed goal-kicking duties and immediately slotted his first penalty.

France appeared to be gaining on the South American 'up-starts' and got within an inch of the line. In the end, they were forced to settle for another Michalak penalty.

For a moment, it seemed as if the status quo would be maintained - but the big Argentine forwards drew in a collective breath and pushed the French out of the danger zone and onto their own line.

The tourists were given the opportunity to kick for goal on two occasions, and refused both times - opting to go for the corner line-out.

And their bravery was rewarded when prop Omar Hasan sealed victory by flopping over for a try after a series of running mauls on the French line just before the final whistle.

Man of the match: The Argentina forwards were just immense, deconstructing the same unit that bullied the Wallabies into submission last week - namely, the cultured French pack. Our award goes to that man who always managed to coerce the best out of the bid Argentines - the irrepressible Agustín Pichot, surely still one of the finest exponents of scrum-half play to have ever graced a rugby field.

Moment of the match: With France creeping back into the game, Argentina opted for two line-outs when attempts at the sticks would have been the more pragmatic approach. It's could have pure machismo, or pure masochism - but when you can out-gall the Gallic, you know the day will be yours!

Villain of the match: Despite the furious clash of forwards, it was all good, clean fun. No villains.

The scorers:

For France:

Tries: Marsh
Conversions: Elissade 0/1
Penalty Goals: Elissade, Michalak 2
Drop Goals:

For Argentina:
Tries: Durand, Hasan
Conversions: Contepomi 1/2
Penalty Goals: Contepomi 4
Drop Goals:

The teams:

France: 15 Nicolas Brusque, 14 Aurelien Rougerie, 13 Tony Marsh, 12 Yannick Jauzion, 11 Cedric Heymans, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Olivier Magne, 6 Serge Betsen, 5 Jerome Thion, 4 Fabien Pelous (captain), 3 Sylvain Marconnet, 2 William Servat, 1 Olivier Milloud.
Replacements: 16 Sebastien Bruno, 17 Nicolas Mas, 18 Pascal Pape, 19 Julien Bonnaire, 20 Julien Peyrelongue, 21 Clement Poitrenaud, 22 Jimmy Marlu.

Argentina: 15 Juan Martín Hernández, 14 Lucas Borges, 13 Federico Martín Aramburu, 12 Manuel Contepomi, 11 Hernán Senillosa, 10 Felipe Contepomi, 9 Agustín Pichot (captain), 8 Gonzalo Longo, 7 Lucas Ostiglia, 6 Martín Durand, 5 Rimas Álvarez, 4 Patricio Albacete, 3 Omar Hasan, 2 Mario Ledesma, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16 Federico Méndez, 17 Daniel Rodríguez, 18 Pablo Bouza, 19 Martín Schusterman, 20 Nicolás Fernández Miranda, 21 Juan de la Cruz Fernández Miranda, 22 Gonzalo Tiesi.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
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Scotland v Australia

Australia halts Scotland charge
Saturday November 20 2004
Late Scotish comeback flatters hosts

Scotland's search for a win over Australia will continue after the Wallabies secured their second victory over Matt Williams' men in as many weeks with a hard-fought 31-17 triumph in front of 28,000 vocal fans at Hampden Park.


Power play: Matt Giteau

The final score at the home of Scottish football - where Scotland had never previously lost a rugby match - closely resembles the one at Murrayfield two weeks ago, but this was a very different game.

Seeking their first win over the Wallabies since 1982, Scotland competed in all areas of the game in a manner which showed real progress is being made under Australian born coach Williams.

Tries from Lote Tuqiri, Phil Waugh, Matt Giteau and George Gregan secured a 14th straight win over Scotland for the Wallabies.

Scotland were the first to threaten, however, Andy Henderson made a fine break in the centre from inside his own half and galloped into the Australia 22 before being stopped by fullback Chris Latham.

Scotland rucked the ball back efficiently though and, from Chris Paterson's delicate chip through, Tuqiri had to scramble the ball out of the field of play with Hogg waiting to pounce.

The Wallabies were forced into an early substitution when centre Stirling Mortlock was forced off - with a suspected broken cheekbone - to be replaced by former league star Wendell Sailor.

The change did not affect the visitors' momentum however, and from a scrum inside the Scotland half the home side were penalised and Giteau put the Wallabies ahead in the ninth minute.

Scotland hit back immediately though when George Smith was adjudged offside by referee Alan Lewis and then the Wallabies infringed at a line-out, Paterson slotting both straight-forward penalties.

The Wallabies scored the opening try on 21 when another former rugby league man Tuqiri went in at the corner following a slick handling move in the visiting backs, Giteau converting.

But the score was tinged with controversy, Scotland's players and fans being upset at what appeared a knock-on by George Smith following a fine tackle from Donnie Macfadyen in the lead-up to the try which Lewis ignored.

The Irish official did blow in Scotland's favour on the half hour when he penalised Tuqiri for holding on after he was well tackled by Chris Cusiter in midfield. Edinburgh utility-back Paterson made no mistake with the kick.

The deficit would have increased again moments later without the intervention of Dan Parks, the stand-off being faced with a two-on-one but guessing correctly and intercepting what would have been a try-scoring pass.

The second try was not long in coming though.

Waugh notched his fourth try in the green and gold after Scotland's defence was stretched to breaking point.

Giteau converted to leave the score 17-9 with half-time looming.

The Wallabies' third league convert Mat Rogers came on just before the interval in place of Clyde Rathbone while Elton Flatley filled in for Stephen Larkham in a blood substitution which became permanent at half-time.

After making no headway in the first 10 minutes of the second-half, Bruce Douglas and Jason White came on for Gavin Kerr and Jon Petrie as Williams sought to create some forward momentum from his pack.

The move seemed to work as Scotland made their first break since Henderson's foray in the opening moments when Cusiter darted through.

The Borders scrum-half was held up inside the Australia 22 but the visitors were penalised for coming over the top and Paterson slotted his fourth penalty to bring his side to within five points of the Wallabies.

Scotland made a mess of the restart but Cusiter again scythed through before chipping ahead into the Wallaby 22.

Sailor did well to tidy up and from the resulting line-out Sydney-born Parks sliced a drop-goal attempt just wide of the posts.

After Scotland's best period of pressure in the game, Australia struck back to regain a comfortable lead when Giteau crossed after the Scotland defence was stretched by a mazy run from hooker Jeremy Paul.

The Scots refused to lie down though and seconds later Flatley's kick was charged down by Hogg, who gathered brilliantly and charged over for his side's first try of the game. Paterson failed with the conversion from the touchline.

Scott MacLeod, Graeme Morrison, Mike Blair and Robbie Russell all entered the fray in the last 10 minutes as Williams sought to engineer a grandstand finish.

It was not be though, as a magnificent pass from Giteau allowed Wallaby captain George Gregan, winning his 105th cap, to canter in under the posts as Australia wrapped up the win with a clinical breakaway try.

Hogg was denied a second try by good work from the lively Tuqiri as Australia secured yet another win over Scotland.

Man of the Match: Australia's inside centre Matt Giteau for an excellent performance with the boot and his second-half try that helped Australia to victory.

Moment of the match: Australian captain George Gregan's late try that finished the Scots late charge for a surprise victory after Scotland came back into the game with Chris Paterson's try in the 66th minute.

Villain of the match: No real contenders in a relatively clean game that was a good advert for the game.

Scotland: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Chris Paterson, 13 Ben Hinshelwood, 12 Andrew Henderson, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Jon Petrie, 7 Donny MacFadyen, 6 Allister Hogg, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Stuart Grimes, 3 Gavin Kerr, 2 Gordon Bulloch (captain), 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Russell, 17 Bruce Douglas, 18 Scott MacLeod, 19 Jason White, 20 Mike Blair, 21 Gordon Ross, 22 Graeme Morrison.

Australian Wallabies: 15 Chris Latham, 14 Clyde Rathbone, 13 Stirling Mortlock, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Stephen Larkham (vice-captain), 9 George Gregan (captain), 8 David Lyons, 7 Phil Waugh (vice-captain), 6 George Smith, 5 Daniel Vickerman, 4 Justin Harrison, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Jeremy Paul, 1 Bill Young.
Replacements: 16 Brendan Cannon, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Radike Samo, 19 Stephen Hoiles, 20 Elton Flatley, 21 Mat Rogers, 22 Wendell Sailor.
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Wales v New Zealand

All Blacks escape with slimmest of win
Saturday November 20 2004
High-tempo classic falls New Zealand's way

Wales came within a point of defeat New Zealand on Saturday, putting together 80 minutes of breathless rugby that sent the Cardiff faithful into full voice. In the end, two tries from All Black star Joe Rokocoko left the tourists leading 26-25 at the final whistle.


Pipped: Dafydd Jones takes on the All Blacks

So, the hosts' wait for a victory over New Zealand goes on - but they can be proud of their showing during this titanic battle at the Millennium Stadium.

Mike Ruddock's men gave Graham Henry and Steve Hansen, the two previous Wales coaches now in charge of New Zealand, a distinctly uncomfortable return to Cardiff but the All Blacks' incisive edge eventually proved conclusive.

The bare facts are that the All Blacks overturned an 11-3 deficit to edge ahead and keep a battling Wales at bay with Rokocoko's brace, a try from Mils Muliaina and Daniel Carter's 11 points.

But the mere statistics do not tell the story of Wales' bravery, heart and fight as they pushed the All Blacks right to the death. Their position as one of the major forces in world rugby has been confirmed, but their hunt for a major scalp goes on.

They had begun with fire in their bellies, desperate to end a losing run against the All Blacks which stretches back 51 years, and opened that 11-3 lead with a cleverly-worked try from Tom Shanklin.

The All Blacks responded with Rokocoko claiming a controversial score when Sonny Parker appeared to have been impeded but, through the boot of the excellent Stephen Jones, Wales retained a one-point lead heading into half-time.

Hooker Mefin Davies dived over just after half time to extend that advantage to 19-13 before Mils Muliaina and Rokocoko stung Wales inside eight minutes.

Roared on by a packed house desperate to witness a slice of Welsh rugby history, Gareth Thomas' men refused to buckle, but Gavin Henson's two penalties were not quite enough to earn Wales the win their determination and passion deserved.

Much has changed since Wales last beat New Zealand. In December 1953, Tony Blair was six months old and Sir Winston Churchill was in his second term in office.

In the intervening 51 years, beating New Zealand has developed into Wales' very own Everest and in the 16 Tests since Bleddyn Williams' side triumphed at the old Arms Park they have taken some fearful hidings.

But they came into today's game proclaiming a genuine belief that they could bury the hoodoo and finally nail the big scalp that has proven so elusive in the last year.

Wales' renaissance began at the World Cup 12 months ago when Hansen was in charge and they have proven in the last year to be good enough to compete with the best sides in the world.

But they had fallen on the wrong side of the ledger each time, losing to the All Blacks in that momentous World Cup game, England twice and a fortnight ago, to South Africa who held on by two points.

They were performances which had impressed Henry and Hansen, but New Zealand arrived boasting great quality. Star wingers Rokocoko and Doug Howlett boasted a remarkable 59 tries in 64 Tests between them.

But Wales recalled their own dangerous finisher in Shane Williams - who caused the All Blacks such problems in the World Cup - with Shanklin switched to the opposite wing and New Zealand-born Parker started in the centres.

All three were key players, along with Jones who orchestrated the first try and was the brilliant fulcrum of Wales' attacking force. His only blemish were three missed kicks. Crucial as it turned out.

Wales, who had hinted at a response to the All Blacks' haka during the week, unfurled a giant Welsh dragon and the supporters were led in a hearty rendition of 'Bread of Heaven'.

It was designed to douse the All Blacks' early and fire and help Wales, whose slow start against South Africa proved costly, hit the ground running - and it worked as Wales opened an 11-3 lead in the first 26 minutes.

Dwayne Peel was short in his attempted dart for the line but it prompted an exchange of penalties before Jones, who had already carved open New Zealand's defence once, created the first try.

Wales turned over New Zealand's ball and Jones chipped over the top for Shanklin who beat Casey Laulala and Muliaina in the race for the touchdown.

Another penalty, earned by Wales' forward power after Aaron Mauger's knock-on, opened Wales that 11-3 advantage - only for the All Blacks to hit back in controversial fashion.

Parker appeared to be obstructed as the All Blacks broke and Muliaina danced down the touchline before feeding Rokocoko for his first try of the evening. It was met with boos from the Welsh crowd but Carter kept his cool to slot the conversion and reduce the arrears to a point.

Carter then kicked New Zealand ahead after Wales had dealt well with a threat from Rokocoko, only for Charvis, Shanklin and Williams to carry Wales forward again.

New Zealand, under growing pressure, finally cracked, allowing Jones to boot Wales into a 14-13 half-time lead.

Wales forced a five metre scrum immediately after the interval, moved to within inches of the All Blacks' line and hooker Davies dived over.

But there was no respite for the Welsh. Carter sent over Muliaina, and after Henson had hit the post with a penalty, Wales were stung on the counter-attack and Rokocoko seared in for his 27th try in 22 Tests.

Wales' hopes were given a boost on the hour when replacement All Black centre Ma'a Nonu was sin-binned for a late tackle on Henson. He picked himself up and landed the kick. Wales were back within a point at 23-22 down.

Carter extended that lead again as Wales were penalised at the breakdown.

Instead of pushing for the try, Henson slotted the kick but Wales could not break the All Blacks down again.

They had fallen short again by the tightest of margins.

Man of the match: Plenty of candidates on display. For Wales, Colin Charvis pulled it out of the bag (as he so often does on the major stage), Gareth Thomas was commanding, and Stephen Jones reacted to play like he had read the script before the event had started. For New Zealand, Richie McCaw lead like a veteran, and Mils Muliana showed some fine touches. But our award goes to All Black hooker Keven Mealamu who put in an absolutely indefatigable performance.

Moment of the match: Spoilt for choice!. So many nice moments of individual class and cunning - but the sight of New Zealand hitting back with Muliana's try after conceded showed just what these All Blacks are capable of doing. Why they can't sustain this level of concentration - and willing - is something Graham Henry will need to address.

Villain of the match: All Black replacement Ma'a Nonu deserves a rap across the knuckles for his yellow card, but why spoil a good party? No villains.

The scorers:

For Wales:

Tries: Shanklin, Davies
Conversions: Jones 0/2
Penalty Goals: Jones 4, Henson
Drop Goals:

For New Zealand:
Tries: Rokocoko 2, Muliaina
Conversions: Carter 1/3
Penalty Goals: Carter 3
Drop Goals:

The teams:

Wales:
15 Gareth Thomas (captain), 14 Tom Shanklin, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Gaving Henson, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Michael Owen, 7 Colin Charvis, 6 Dafydd Jones, 5 Gareth Llewellyn, 4 Brent Cockbain, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Mefin Davies, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Steven Jones, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Ryan Jones, 19 Martyn Williams, 20 Gareth Cooper, 21 Ceri Sweeney, 22 Rys Williams.

New Zealand All Blacks: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Aaron Mauger, 11 Joe Rokocoko, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Mose Tuiali'i, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Rodney So'oialo, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Chris Jack, 3 Greg Somerville, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Anton Oliver, 17 Carl Hayman, 18 Reuben Thorne, 19 Marty Holah, 20 Byron Kelleher, 21 Ma'a Nonu, 22 Rico Gear.
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England v South Africa


England smash Boks at Twickenham
Saturday November 20 2004
Hodgson stars for the home team

England beat South Africa 32-16 at Twickenham on a miserable London day and were full value for the win. It was only a late try by South Africa that gave them some meagre look of respectability as England simply strangled them up front and took their chances so well when they had them.


England star: Charlie Hodgson

England scored two tries to one, both England's scores coming in the first half. For the rest it was fly-half Charlie Hodgson's boot, put in place by his dominant pack.

You pays your money and takes your chances, the pub philosopher said. He may have straightened up his grammar and his accent if he had been at Twickenham but that would have been a fair summary of the first half at greasy Twickenham.

England led 20-6 at half-time. They came into the South African 22 twice and scored 14 points from their visits.

South Africa paid more frequent visits to the England's 22, but did not look like having a creative idea which could have led to a try. It was left to late in the second half for a spectacular try and the chance of another soon afterwards. But they were well and truly beaten.

To compound their problems they were thrashed in the loose for poor, ununified protection of their own ball and made no impact on England's ball. In both England's tries they missed crucial tackles. Not only did they turn over ball in the loose but they knocked on with crucial regularity and kicked poorly out of hand - kicking by reflex and making it an exercise in handing over possession.

England opened the scoring after just over a minute. Matfield, not for the only time in the half, failed at the England tackle and the went off-side and Charlie Hodgson, the star of the half, goaled.

When Mark Cueto got isolated and held on Percy Montgomery kicked long and low and goaled. 3-3.

A poor clearance from Breyton Paulse gave England an attacking line-out. It went deep and became a maul. Steve Thompson wandered off it and gave to Andy Gomarsall. The scrum-half gave to Hodgson who went past De Wet Barry and through Montgomery and Paulse to score under the posts. He converted. 10-3.

Hodgson started the next try in unpromising circumstances, under pressure not far from touch. But he sprinted down the blindside and gave to Josh Lewsey who charged ahead. England won the ball and Henry Paul kicked high and wide. Cueto dived at the dropping ball in the in-goal area, caught it and scored. Hodgson converted. 17-3.

When Lewis Moody was penalised for going in at the side of a tackle, Montgomery again goaled from a long way out - 17-6. But soon afterwards the Springboks were penalised for off-side. 20-6.

The Springboks had a great attacking chance when Matfield won an England line-out close to their line, but somehow, mysteriously, Joe Worsley paddled the ball back and England relieved the pressure.

In the first half the Springboks' discipline held and the penalty count was 3-all. In the second half the penalties went 8-2 in favour of England, which made the visitors' task impossible.

South Africa scored first in the second half, when Graham Rowntree was penalised at a scrum and Montgomery made it 20-9. Hodgson made it 23-9, then 26-9 with a neat dropped goal, then 29-9, then 32-9.

With seven minutes left Van Der Westhuyzen skipped out of Hodgson's tackle near the half-way line and sped straight downfield before sending replacement Bryan Habana, on for injured Jean de Villiers, speeding round behind the posts.

When Van Niekerk had a run down the same channel Habana came inside him to take the pass and was caught by the cover.

Man of the Match: It has to be Charlie Hodgson - no doubt. He scored a great individual try - the sort of try that left the opposition shaking their heads for they knew that he should not have scored it. In addition he kicked 22 points - 27 out of 32. He was also the spark that ignited England's second try. There were other great performances - Martin Corry and Josh Lewsey amongst them.

Moment of the Match: This one is Mark Cueto's try - Hodgson's vision and dash, Josh Lewsey's accelerated burst, Henry Paul's brilliant kick and Mark Cueto's dive, catch and score.

Villain of the match: Nobody, unless you want to give it to the Boks for a poor effort. But nobody in terms of foul play.

The scorers:

For England:

Tries: Hodgson, Cueto
Conversions: Hodgson 2
Penalty Goals: Hodgson 5
Drop Goals: Hodgson

For South Africa:
Tries: Habana
Conversions: Montgomery
Penalty Goals: Montgomery 3
Drop Goals:

The teams:

England:
15 Jason Robinson (captain), 14 Mark Cueto, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Henry Paul (Will Greenwood, 71), 11 Josh Lewsey, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Andy Gomarsall (Harry Ellis, 66), 8 Martin Corry, 6 Joe Worsley (Andy Hazell, 71), 7 Lewis Moody (Andy Hazell, 6-14), 5 Steve Borthwick (Ben Kay, 71), 4 Danny Grewcock, 3 Julian White, 2 Steve Thompson, 1 Graham Rowntree.
Unused replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 Andy Sheridan, 22 Ben Cohen.

South African Springboks: 15 Percy Montgomery, 14 Breyton Paulse (Jaque Fourie, 72), 13 Marius Joubert, 12 De Wet Barry, 11 Jean de Villiers (Bryan Habana, 72), 10 Jaco van der Westhuyzen, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Joe van Niekerk, 7 AJ Venter (Danie Rossouw, 55), 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Eddie Andrews (CJ Van der Linde, 44), 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Os du Randt (CJ Van der Linde, 17-23).
Unused replacements: 16 Hanyani Shimange, 19 Gerrie Britz, 20 Michael Claassens.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Touch judges: Paul Honiss (New Zealand), Malcolm Changleng (Scotland)
Assessor: David Kerr (Scotland)
Television match official: Alan Lewis (Ireland)
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