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Scrumhalf 2004-05-26 20:16

The Official Rugby Thread

This will be rugby's equivalent of the other sporting threads out there.

Alongside football (soccer), I also live and breathe the sport of rugby as well as playing amateur rugby; notably for my club - The University of Melbourne, and having the honours of respresenting my state, Victoria. I played both scrumhalf & flyhalf. I did try and have a crack at professional rugby a few times - but the tryouts as very difficult especially with the judgemental scouts and so forth.

Like the football thread, I wil be also constantly updating this thread full of rugby-related news, drafts, and key highlights of everything-rugby around the world!

I will provide live commentary of rugby's all important tournaments such as the upcoming Tri-Nations (Australia/New Zealand/South Africa), and the 2004/2005 Six-Nations (England, Ireland, Wales, France, Scotland, Italy).

I will also provide live commentary of these upcoming test-matches in June & November:
12 Jun 2004 New Zealand vs England 19:35 Carisbrook Stadium - Dunedin, New Zealand
13 Jun 2004 Australia vs Scotland 16:00 Telstra Dome - Melbourne, Australia
19 Jun 2004 South Africa vs Ireland 15:00 Newlands - Cape Town, South Africa
19 Jun 2004 New Zealand vs England 19:35 Eden Park - Auckland, New Zealand
19 Jun 2004 Australia vs Scotland 20:00 Telstra Stadium - Sydney, Australia
26 Jun 2004 South Africa vs Wales 15:00 Securior Loftus - Pretoria, South Africa
26 Jun 2004 New Zealand vs Argentina 19:35 Waikato Stadium - Hamilton, New Zealand
26 Jun 2004 Australia vs England 18:30 Suncorp Stadium - Brisbane, Australia

13 Nov 2004 France vs Australia - Paris (Stade de France)
13 Nov 2004 Scotland vs Japan - Edinburgh (Murrayfield)
20 Nov 2004 England vs South Africa 14:30 London (Twickenham)
20 Nov 2004 Scotland vs Australia - Edinburgh (Murrayfield)
27 Nov 2004 Scotland vs South Africa - Edinburgh (Murrayfield)
27 Nov 2004 France vs New Zealand - Paris (Stade de France)
27 Nov 2004 England vs Australia 14:30 London (Twickenham)

Other fixtures can be found here.

For those of you that are new or are not familiar to the sport of rugby union, you can find all about the sport at the International Rugby Board - rugby's governing body. Rules/Laws can be found here.



RugbyHeaven Australia

The Official RBS Six Nations Website

World Unions

New Zealand Rugby Football Union -

Australian Rugby Union -

South African Rugby Football Union -

Rugby Football Union (England) -

Fédération Française De Rugby -

Scottish Rugby Football Union -

Japan Rugby Union -

Other unions can be found at - (International Rugby Board)

Shin Kell 2004-05-26 23:11

I'm new to Rugby, living way out in the middle of nowhere USA I don't get to see it much but when I happen to catch a game I have to watch it. Really fun game to watch but I'm sure its even better to play.

Thanks for posting up those links, they're really interesting!

anime_luver 2004-05-26 23:49

Rugby is a great sport! Personally, I have never played it, but my future highschool just won the championships! I'll try playing it in highschool, too bad it isn't played in younger grades. I too have seen a few games. Great sport!
Please keep me posted on pro rugby though, i've only seen highschool level ones :heh: .

mah_damey 2004-05-27 01:04

i kno nothing of rugby or its rules. is it like us football wiht a lot more contact n no pads

Scrumhalf 2004-05-27 01:28


Originally Posted by mah_damey
i kno nothing of rugby or its rules. is it like us football wiht a lot more contact n no pads

You can find out more about rugby and the rules of rugby on the links I've posted above.
Rugby is nothing like American football. People who try and compare the two sports; generally only identify the differences in terms of what they wear. American footballers have their helmets, armour, and shoulderpads for protection against the charge & full-force tackles.
Rugby players aren't required to wear such protection; because the method of tackling play is much more safer, but sometimes as rough as American football.
The sport of rugby can be more comparable to football (soccer) than any other sport - hence it's the sport traditionally spawned from. Like football, rugby heavily relies on it's kicking game to find 'territorial advantage' in terms of finding a way to score tries, penalty goals, or drop goals - like playing a game of chess. The running game of rugby is very essential (The way I prefer to play my rugby) if you feel the need or you have a chance to score a try. Running rugby has a tendency to be used to crack opponent's questioning defences or if you're in the opponent's half.

hak 2004-05-27 03:01

bleh i played rugby this year for my highschool ^^. Probably will play gain next year.. It's fun. I dont watch it as much as my friends tho heh.

baka manko 2004-05-27 03:52

i play rugby too i love the damn sport i live in nebraska and i never knew that we had a league here until one of my friends said he was goin to go to practice and i asked if i could tag along. The funny thing is that he got me into it but he ended up dropping it and went with trapshooting and know hes the state champion but thats besides the point that was three years ago. our team was composed of four diffrent schools.

damn i typed toomuch for what i usually type

Serendipity 2004-05-27 04:38

Damn I love rugby!!

Thanks so much for posting this!!

My favourite team are The All Blacks, I am a Kiwi so it figures!! :heh:
I am SO looking forward to the Bledisloe cup and the next Tri Series...those things ROCK..

Scrumhalf 2004-06-11 10:41


The start of all-important June international rugby matches kicks off this weekend; starting with these double-headed crackers!

12 Jun 2004 New Zealand vs England 19:35 Carisbrook Stadium - Dunedin, New Zealand
13 Jun 2004 Australia vs Scotland 16:00 Telstra Dome - Melbourne, Australia

I will commentate the All Blacks v England match LIVE and the Wallabies v Scotland DELAYED (Going to that match) for all you rugby followers out there.
To catch the matches on telly, check your local guides if they're avaliable.
Previews for both matches to come shortly..


Scrumhalf 2004-06-11 10:41

Can England ruin New Zealand's new start?
In the age of the perpetual Test match schedule, few fixtures have managed to retain their former mystique. Thankfully, that is not the case when it comes to meetings between England and New Zealand. In rugby, the mixing of black with white never produces grey.
Umaga: New leader for new All Black era

Whilst other nations appear to lock horns at the mere drop of the hat, these two rugby superpowers have maintained a respectable distance from one another, rationing their fans to a feast once every blue moon - a fact that makes Saturday's encounter in Dunedin all the more enticing.

England swing into town for their two-Test tour as world champions, and - as if that wasn't hard enough for the locals to swallow - come looking for their third consecutive win over the hosts. The sheer audacity of these people!

The All Blacks could only stand aside as England made off with Webb Ellis trophy last year - a trinket that many New Zealander regard as their birthright - and it hurt.

A New Zealand win on Saturday won't force England to cough up the Cup, but it could soothe the colic that has made a nasty habit of returning to these parts every fourth year.

The good news for the ailing islanders is that the All Blacks look ready to dispense the medicine.

The arrival of new coach Graham Henry - and his promise to attend to the nuts and bolts of the game - has triggered a new wave of optimism.

The venue for their encounter with England also bodes well. New Zealand have lost just three times in 101 years at the Carisbrook Stadium, with only the British and Irish Lions (1930 and 1971) and Australia (2001) recording away wins at the 'House of Pain'.

And, what's more, reports suggest that Saturday's visiting team looks ripe for the picking.

England find themselves in New Zealand without 14 players who helped lift the Webb Ellis trophy last November, and arrive on the back of a disappointing Six Nations campaign.

Last year, after they beat the All Blacks 15-13 in Wellington, the New Zealand press hailed England as 'white orcs on steroids' - this year the local hacks are making themselves acquainted with the soft features of the likes of James Simpson-Daniel, Chris Jones, Charlie Hodgson and Tom Voyce.

But England can do this.

The winter weather will make them feel right at home, and give them the advantage in the tight.

Indeed, they will field a pack that is actually bigger, heavier and stronger than the one that rampaged its way across Australasia last year.

The ferocity of the recent European season has also given this crop of Englishmen - regardless of the baby faces - the touch of assured assassins.

And if the prospect of a third successive New Zealand scalp is not motivation enough for these players, they will know that a win in Dunedin will finally free them from the long, imposing shadow of Martin Johnson - a detail not lost on the talismanic former skipper's successor.

"We have the opportunity to do something special down here, and we should treasure that," said Lawrence Dallaglio.

"We won't lack for physicality, that's for sure. There won't be a backwards step taken by anyone in this squad.

"There are not many major tours or World Cups left on me, so this tour - far from being a strain at the end of a long season - is something very special."

Players to watch:

For New Zealand: The All Blacks begin a new era with a new coach and a new leader. In Tana Umaga they have a captain that is both feared and respected across the rugby world. Injury deprived him of a starring role at the World Cup, and his experience was solely missed. Expect the electric centre to make up for lost time on Saturday.

For England: If the knockers of the Super 12 are right, England will give the All Blacks a lesson in forward play in Dunedin. Simon Shaw - of English and European champions London Wasps - has been England's outstanding forward this season, and the giant lock will relish the opportunity to get stuck into the All Black pack. Shaw played a season in Dunedin back in 1992, and is surely the one non-Kiwi on earth with a sodft spot for the 'House of Pain'.

Head to head: Carlos Spencer (New Zealand) v Charlie Hodgson (England): You couldn't find two more different men than Saturday's opposing fly-halves. But New Zealand's Mohican-adorned showman and the neatly-coiffured shy Englishman have two things in common - magic hands and astute rugby brains. Although this match is destined to be decided up front, the duel between these two players - the old master and the apprentice - is sure to steal some of the thunder.

Recent results:

In 2003: In Wellington: England won 15-13
In 2002: In London: England won 31-28
In 1999: In London: New Zealand won 30-16 (RWC)
In 1998: In Auckland: New Zealand won 40-10
In 1998: In Dunedin: New Zealand won 64-22

Prediction: Gnarly England forwards to shade an under-done All Black outfit.
Planet Rugby prediction: England by 4 points. prediction: New Zealand by 9 points.

The teams:

New Zealand All Blacks: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Tana Umaga (captain), 12 Daniel Carter, 11 Joe Rokocoko, 10 Carlos Spencer, 9 Justin Marshall, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Jono Gibbes, 5 Keith Robinson, 4 Chris Jack, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Kees Meeuws.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Tony Woodcock, 18 Jerry Collins, 19 Marty Holah, 20 Byron Kelleher, 21 Nick Evans, 22 Sam Tuitupou.

England: 15 Josh Lewsey, 14 James Simpson-Daniel, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Mike Catt, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Matt Dawson, 8 Lawrence Dallaglio (captain), 7 Richard Hill, 6 Chris Jones, 5 Danny Grewcock, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Julian White, 2 Steve Thompson, 1 Trevor Woodman.
Replacements: 16 Mark Regan, 17 Matt Stevens, 18 Steve Borthwick, 19 Joe Worsley, 20 Andy Gomarsall, 21 Stuart Abbott, 22 Tom Voyce.

Date: Saturday, June 11
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Venue: Carisbrook, Dunedin
Conditions: Clear, light winds - max 10°C, min 1°C.
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Touch Judges: Andrew Cole, Stuart Dickinson (both Australia)
Assessor: Ian Scotney (Australia)
Television match official: Matt Goddard (Australia)

Scrumhalf 2004-06-11 10:42

Dark days ahead for Scotland
Scotland - down on form and ravaged by injury - will face up to their most rigorous challenge under new coach Matt Williams on Sunday - when they come up against a Wallaby side that is riding high on confidence at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne. The chances are good that it will be a dark day indeed for the Scots.
More heartache ahead for Scotland?

Injuries to veteran flanker Cameron Mather and star fullback Chris Paterson have left the Scots reeling ahead of Sunday's encounter. And while the tourists did well to beat Samoa 38-3 last weekend, they followed it up in the worst possible way - going down 33-15 to a weak NSW Waratahs side during the week.

Former captain Bryan Redpath acknowledged the Samoa victory earlier in the week, but - as he rightfully pointed out - Scotland needed to follow up that victory with another positive result, something they failed to do.

The sad truth is that there is simply not enough talent nor player resources available to Scotland at this moment in time, and they presently seen incapable of lifting themselves back into the top tier of international rugby.

And it has not helped that the few game-breakers they possess have pulled up lame - with exceptional No.8 Simon Taylor ruled out before the tour followed by the latest blow to Paterson.

The disenchanted Scots are beginning to look more and more like lambs trotting off to the slaughter.

The Wallabies, meanwhile, are all systems go. They have a player pool seemingly overflowing with precocious talents and the squad - largely made up of the ACT Brumbies - will be undoubtedly glowing in the aftermath of the Brumbies' Super 12 victory.

When coach Eddie Jones was robbed of his first-choice centre pairing in Elton Flatley and Stirling Mortlock - he did not need to look far for a replacement to solve the problem.

Enter the young Brumbies duo of Clyde Rathbone and Matt Giteau - Jones now has a midfield combination capable of causing as much - if not more - damage than his original option.

The Wallaby boss finds himself in charge of an embarrassment of riches. He has two of the most experienced halfbacks in the world to lead his attack in fly-half Stephen Larkham and George Gregan and Joe Roff at fullback is in the best form of his career.

The only weakness in the backline - and many would disagree with this assertion - is in League-convert Wendell Sailor.

Sailor has proven since crossing codes that while physically he is indeed up to the task, he has not managed to grasp the finer concepts of Union, and his positional play is ordinary at best. But many will argue that if your weak link is a man capable of scoring tries from a standing start - maybe that is not such a bad thing.

Jones has also managed to rectify the problems in the Wallaby lineout by replacing outstanding flanker Phil Waugh with Brumbies lock Radike Samo. The latter brings with him the necessary height to the set-piece that was so obviously lacking during the World Cup last year, while the Wallaby pack loses nothing in mobility and pace.

Scotland have not managed to beat the Australians since 1982 - and it is highly unlikely that this will change in Melbourne on Sunday.

Players to watch:

For Scotland: Ali Hogg: The Edinburgh loose forward has moved to the back of the scrum to fill the void left by Simon Taylor and he has done an admirable job to date. But against the Wallabies he will be up against a world class loose trio - led by George Smith - and Hogg will need to live up to the high regard he has in Scotland.

For Australia: Clyde Rathbone: The former South African Under-21 skipper burst onto the scene this season with some outstanding performances on the wing, but it is at centre that he is most comfortable. Rathbone will be the eager recipient of plenty of quality ball in the midfield - watch him closely - he will be all over Scotland on Sunday.

Head to head: Stephen Larkham (Australia) v Dan Parks (Scotland): In Larkham, the Wallabies have one of the most experienced and talented fly-halves in the world. Parks, meanwhile, has played in only six Test matches for Scotland. The Australian-born Parks will have his hands full with a player of Larkham's ability, and with the backline that the latter has at his disposal, Parks and the men outside him will have to defend like Trojans.

Recent Results:
In 2003: In Brisbane: Australia won 33-16
In 2000: In Edinburgh: Australia won 30-9
In 1998: In Brisbane: Australia won 33-11
In 1997: In Edinburgh: Australia won 37-8
In 1996: In Edinburgh: Australia won 29-19

Prediction: The Wallabies are expected to run riot and they will.
Planet Rugby Prediction: Australia by 35 points. Prediction: Australia by 29 points.

The teams:

Australian Wallabies: 15 Joe Roff, 14 Wendell Sailor, 12 Matt Giteau, 13 Clyde Rathbone, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Stephen Larkham (vice-captain), 9 George Gregan (captain), 8 David Lyons, 7 George Smith, 6 Radike Samo, 5 Nathan Sharpe (vice-captain), 4 Justin Harrison, 3 Alastair Baxter, 2 Brendan Cannon, 1 Bill Young.
Replacements: 16 Jeremy Paul, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Daniel Vickerman, 19 Phil Waugh, 20 Morgan Turinui, 21 Matt Burke, 22 Chris Latham.

Scotland: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Ben Hinshelwood, 12 Andrew Henderson, 11 Simon Webster, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Allister Hogg, 7 Donnie Macfadyen, 6 Jason White, 5 Scott Murray (captain), 4 Stuart Grimes, 3 Bruce Douglas, 2 Gordon Bulloch, 1 Tom Smith.
Replacements: 16 Steve Scott, 17 Craig Smith, 18 Iain Fullarton, 19 John Petrie, 20 Mike Blair, 21 Gordon Ross, 22 Graeme Morrison.

Date: Sunday, June 13
Venue: Telstra Dome, Melbourne
Kick-off: 16.00 (06.00 GMT)
Conditions: Showers, High 15°C, Low 9°C
Referee: Donal Courtney (Ireland)
Touch Judges: Alan Lewis (Ireland), Roy Maybank (England)
Television match official: Carlo Damasco (Italy)

Scrumhalf 2004-06-12 12:06

Minute-by-minute Commentary. Scroll down to start.

I only came back home to catch the rugby 10-minutes pripr to half-time, so I'll commentate from the 31st minute. :thinker:

80 Scrum England. Dallaglio takes it up from the back of the scrum and the England pack drive it up the field - Hodgson boots the ball out into touch. The All Blacks take it up in what could be the last movement of the game - play turned over back into the ABs half and Muliaina attempts to clear - but fails. Tindall takes it up strongly, but the pass goes forward and the final whistle is sounded. What a great start for a new-look All Black team - 36-3 and the crowd goes wild in Dunedin.

77 Big scrum by the All Blacks and they turn it around. The ABs take it up and then kick it out. England drive it up and then spread it out wide. The ball goes loose and Muliaina pounces on it and boots ahead.

75 Spencer boots ahead and England are blown for a forward pass. Howlett takes it out wide and is closed down. Marshall has his kick charged down and the ABs are under pressure inside their own 22.

73 Gomarsall kicks at the back of the scrum and the ABs answer - England return the favour and into touch. Tuitupou takes it up strongly on his debut as the ABs look to break back into the England half.

70 The All Blacks drive it up from the restart and then Spencer kicks and agan Lewsey fluffs it at the back and the ABs are awarded the scrum. Muliaina attempts to clear, but it sails directly into touch.

68 The All Blacks carrying it out wide - penalty ABs as Dallaglio goes high in the tackle on Evans - who has now had his first touch in Test rugby. Carter keeps the score ticking over with another successful penalty kick.

66 ABs putting in the big tackles and the English knock the ball forward. Umaga used in midfield and Carter chips ahead. Hodgson - under pressure - slices the ball into touch. The ABs take it up from the lineout.

64 England now on the attack and finally they begin to break the line. Getting close now as the English mount their strongest attack. But the ABs turn them over on the line and Spencer smashes the ball into touch.

62 The England pack are being completely outplayed and again they are turned over. Marshall boots ahead and England are back under pressure immediately. Penalty to the All Blacks as England come offside. Carter hammers a long-range penalty kick to restart the scoreboard.

59 England boot ahead and the ABs again look to run ahead, but Muliaina is closed down and Howlett is forced to clear into touch. Both sides are beginning to use the kick prodigiously and the ABs again clear into touch.

57 Free-kick England at the scrum. Hodgson boots down the centre of the field and Muliaina returns it. The ball is booted back and forth until finally Spencer puts it out for the ABs.

55 England look to spread the ball wide, but they are closed down quickly. Hodgson gets the ball under pressure again and he slices the ball directly into touch. The ABs attempt to attack from the lineout - but the ball is knocked forward.

53 Penalty to the All Blacks as England are again blown at the breakdown. Spencer hoofs the ball into touch. The ABs take it in the lineout and Umaga barges up - Spencer breaks and shoots it back - but the ABs are penalised in the movement. Hodgson smashes the ball into touch.

51 England bang the ball into touch. The visitors claim it in the lineout and Hodgson hammers it into touch. The ABs snaffle it in the lineout and Spencer smashes the ball out.

48 The All Blacks take it up from the scrum and begin to make the hard yards. England are doing better to close down the ABs pace out wide, bu tthe pressure still remains. Spencer with an audacious kick ahead, but the runners were deemed to be in front of the kicker.

46 England looking to break. And they go wide - play called back for a previous knock on by the ABs. Dawson breaks quickly on the blindside, but McCaw steals it at the breakdown and Spencer bangs it into touch. England claim it in the lineout, but under pressure. The ABs turn it over and Howlett boots ahead - Lewsey duffs it and the scrum goes to the hosts.

44 The ball is banged into touch. The All Blacks again take the ball up strongly, but Spencer boots possession away. Catt kicks ahead, but nobody is chasing and Spencer returns the favour. Penalty and taken quickly by England.

42 Spencer gets the game back underway and Hodgson bangs it back, but fails to find touch. The ABs boot the ball back and the English are awarded a penalty as McCaw goes off his feet. The ball is smashed into touch. England claim the ball in the lineout, but the ABs have a penalty as the tackled player holds on.

40 The All Blacks are beginning to run through the England defence, which is looking a bit shell-shocked at how the game is moving. Penalty to the All Blacks as the England players go off their feet again. Carter again makes it count as the ball sails through the middle as the half-time whistle blows.

38 The All Blacks claim it well at the restart and Spencer hammers the ball into touch. The lineout is a mess and the All Blacks snatch it up! Again the All Blacks take it up at the English - penalty ABs as the tackling England player plays the ball. Carter bangs the ball through the posts and hosts move into a 24-point lead.

34 The All Black drive the ball up and again test Lewsey at the back - the Englsih fullback this time fails to hang on - and the All Blacks turn it over as the scrum is called. The ABs turn it out wide and Howlett gets the ball out wide - he beats the defence for pace and goes over for the try! Carter adds the extras.

31 The All Blacks knock on and the English have the scrum. Cohen gets the ball out wide and rumbles up and over the All Blacks. Better play by the England team, but the ball is knocked on.

Scrumhalf 2004-06-12 12:13

All Blacks stun world champions
England overawed by ferocious New Zealanders
New Zealand gave England a lesson in total rugby in Dunedin on Saturday, recording an awe-inspiring 36-3 victory over the world champions. Some might venture to think that the proper world order has been re-established after that 'blip' in 2003 - and on today's evidence they could be right.
Rokocoko: Slides across for his 18th Test try

Indeed, this win is the biggest defeat by any reigning Rugby World Cup champion, eclipsing South Africa's 28-0 defeat to the All Blacks in 1999.

If fans had been looking forward to this game, their excitement paled in comparison to the enthusiasm shown by the All Blacks, who tore into the bewildered tourists with abandon.

The wily mind of new All Black boss Graham Henry paid immediate dividends with New Zealand opting to call England's bluff and take them on at their strongest point - the pack.

Clearly not one of England's army of back-room analysts had envisioned the opposition having the gaul - or ability - to tussle with the hulking English forwards, and the tourists were visibly stunned by the sheer cheek of the home side.

In the blitz that ensued from the very first second of play, New Zealand forced the English off the ball, upset their line-outs, and generally got up their noses at the break-downs.

England - who were clearly banking on forward domination - could not cope with the sheer ferocity of the New Zealand onslaught, and failed to impose structure to their game.

With England unable to get their mitts on the ball, tempers got the better of them, and a few tantrums during the first half will surely give the citing officials plenty to chew over.

A lot has been made of the absence of fly-half Jonny Wilkinson from England's cause since the Rugby World Cup, but in the pressure cooker of Carisbrook they missed the iron-will of Martin Johnson, their former leader.

With the world champions desperate for leadership and a calming word, Lawrence Dallaglio chose to substitute his furrowed brow for a dumb-struck gaze, and the England's skipper's only words of advice were directed at the match officials.

Still, none of this should take away form the brilliance of the All Blacks. Whilst England plodded along making elementary mistakes, New Zealand were all verve and passion - incredible when you consider that they have not played together for over seven months - astounding given the fact that they are under new management and a new captain.

The home team made a mockery of both the damp conditions and England's fabled defence by running in three tries in the first half via fly-half Carlos Spencer, and wingers Joe Rokocoko and Doug Howlett.

Dan Carter showed that the 'new' New Zealand can be methodical as well as magical by nailing all his kicks to add 21 points to the home side's admirable total.

In contrast, all England could muster was a single penalty by fly-half Charlie Hodgson.

Carter opened his side's account with a penalty, but England appeared to have weathered the early cyclone when Hodgson answered back in the 13th minute to score England's only points of the game.

But just two minutes later the All Blacks moved the ball neatly down the line with Spencer releasing Howlett before looping round the wing to touch down in the right corner.

Soon enough, another brilliant All Blacks counter-attack ended when flanker Richie McCaw fed Rokocoko after a dazzling display of inter-passing between forwards and back, and the big wing cut inside some flailing English arms to score a converted try.

Howlett crosses for his side's third and final try in the 32nd minute after a straight-forward move of a scrum combining captain Tana Umaga and the outstanding back three of Mils Muliaina, Howlett and Rokocoko.

Carter converted and added two further penalties to leave England 30-3 adrift at half-time.

England coach Sir Clive Woodward tried to injected some new blood into his weary-looking side, sending on Joe Worsley for Chris Jones and Steve Borthwick for Danny Grewcock.

The visitors managed to hold their own for the majority of the second half, but - with a cushion of 27 points - the All Blacks began to indulge their adoring fans with a series of adventurous moves that looked pretty but failed to worry the English unduly.

But given the standards this crop of All Blacks has set themselves, a few more outings should be enough to allow them to iron out even the most minor imperfections in their game.

England, on the other hand, have plenty to think about ahead of the second Test in Auckland on Saturday.

Man of the match: Many contenders for this award, and all New Zealanders - although England fullback Josh Lewsey once again showed immense heart. Chiefs flanker Jono Gibbes had an outstanding debut, but Joe Rokocoko is the hero of the hour - grabbing his 18th try in only his 13th Test is no mean feat, but he showed a great deal of maturity and his defence was impeccable.

Moment of the match: The opening five seconds set the tone for the game, with England left stunned by a Joe Rokocoko break from the kick off, gliding past three tacklers to immediately put England on the back-foot - and there they remained.

Villain of the match: Perhaps the most full-bloodied game of the past year - and what a spectacle it made! The ferocious early exchanges saw Danny Grewcock - sent off on the same ground in 1998 - and All Blacks prop Carl Hayman exchange punches, with Simon Shaw also swinging his handbag a little later on. But we bring Ben Cohen to trial for deciding to have a whinge at referee Jonathan Kaplin after England WON a penalty in front of the post with the scores standing at 17-3. The decision - quite correctly - was immediately reversed. You what, Ben?

The scorers:

For New Zealand:
Tries: Spencer, Rokocoko, Howlett
Conversions: Carter 3/3
Penalty Goals: Carter 5
Drop Goals:

For England:
Penalty Goals: Hodgson
Drop Goals:

Scrumhalf 2004-06-12 23:09

Pumas hold on for remarkable win
Saturday June 12 2004
Ten tries in action-packed second half
Pumas flyhalf Felipe Contepomi scored a try, four conversions, and four penalty goals.

Wales scored more points against Argentina than they have ever scored before, and Argentina scored more points against Wales than they have ever scored before. The Pumas' more was bigger than the Welsh more and Argentina won 50-44 at Estadio del Atlético in Tucumán on a sunny Saturday afternoon before a boisterous crowd who saw an amazing second half.

If the match had been a meal the trifle would certainly have come after a stodgy main course!

Nobody could have said that Wales would have been in with a chance of victory after being down 50-23 after 68 minutes - nobody except the Welsh players who kept on playing and scored the next 21 points. It may well have been a victorious 28 but for a knock-on as they strove for victory.

There was one try, a barging effort in the first half, ten in the second. Ten!

The match threatened to be inordinately long. After long, slow anthems the first half went long, and largely slowly, petering out after 47 minutes when Felipe Contepomi goaled his fourth penalty goal to make the score at the break 19-9 to the Pumas.

Contepomi nearly opened the scored after half a minute when Wales passed from the first scrum and he intercepted to race thorough to score, but the referee ruled a knock-on.

Wales also had their moment with an "almost" try when Shane Williams gathered a wayward pass and went off to the goal-line, but Colin Charvis was penalised for off-side.

Passes that went astray were typical of the half - and so were penalties against Charvis. There were three, the third earning him a yellow card at a time when the score was three kicks each. Nine-all.

As Charvis went off, the Pumas tapped and captain Gonzalo Longo, upright, surged over the line as little Ceri Sweeney did his best to stop him.

The referee referred the matter to the television match official for a lengthy look with umpteen re-looks before deciding that Longo had indeed scored.

The Welsh had actually had the best chances to score in the match. Where the Pumas tended to bash they were happy to scatter passes on the run. Their best attack was a counterattack. They went down the right. Then spun it left till Duncan Jones of the burning bush was tackled five metres from the line on the left wing. From the scrum Charvis charged at the line. Another two five-metre scrums ensured. Then the Welsh were held up over the line and there was another five-metre scrum. They went right but José María Núñez Piossek did a sharp bit of in-tackling and the Pumas turned the ball over to clear.

The Welsh came back on the attack and Haldane Luscombe dived over in the corner - in vain as there had been a forward pass.

Fullback, Hernán Senillosa, claimed a fair catch. This was advanced when Dwayne Peel interfered. Felipe Contepomi launched a long, high up-and-under which, athletically, he caught.

After that cumbersome half on the greenish-brown field with its confetti fringe, the Pumas cut loose. From the Welsh kick-off the locks burst down the tight, the ball went left and Lucas Borges surged over far out via some splendid passing under pressure. 24-9.

From the kick-off the ball went loose. Borges snapped it up and raced the long race to the posts. 31-9.

The Pumas came back. The ball bobbed about behind their forwards. Felipe Contepomi scooped it up, ran through the Welsh pack, thumped Luscombe away in a hand-off and scored. 38-9, and the second half was only six minutes old. The Pumas had doubled their score in six minutes.

The Welsh were not done. Dwayne Peel tapped the second of two penalties in quick succession and darted over near the posts for the first Welsh try. 38-16.

The Pumas mauled strongly. The ball came back quickly and outside centre Martín Gaitán came sweeping round to score. 43-16.

From this point on both aides made as many substitutions as they had players, and the game became even looser.

Gavin Henson ran strongly, Tom Shanklin ran strongly and then Michael Owen popped a pass to Jason Forster, who scored. 43-23.

The Contepomi twins worked an elegant scissors for Manuel to sire under the crossbar. 50-23.

Wales tapped a penalty, Duncan Jones charged and Colin Charvis scored easily under the bar. 50-30.

The Pumas attacked but when a pass went astray near the Welsh line Shane Williams gathered and went speeding away.

Then replacement Nicky Robinson had the best centre break of the match and sent Sonny Parker over. 50-37 after 76 minutes which included injury time.

In injury time Shane Williams darted on the left. Luscombe had come from the right and chose a different angle and a path to the posts. 5-44 and the Welsh were a goal away from victory, but the Pumas managed to squeeze out the remaining scrap of injury time.

It was a remarkable match.

Man of the Match: Michael Owen, Dwayne Peel, Gavin Henson and the darting duo of Shane Williams and Rhys Williams were stars for Wales. For the Pumas Patricio Albacete and Felipe Contepomi had fine matches but our choice was Matías Albina for his energy, speedy service and decision-making.

Moment of the Match: The twins' scissors. It was perfect in its execution.

Villain of the Match: I suppose it was Colin Charvis of the yellow card. While he was off the Pumas scored a try and twice destroyed the Welsh scrum

The scorers:

For Argentina:
Tries: Longo, Borges 2, F Contepomi, Gaitán, M Contepomi
Conversions: F Contepomi 4/6
Penalty Goals: F Contepomi 4
Drop Goals:

For Wales:
Tries: Peel, Forster, Charvis, Parker, Luscombe
Conversions: Henson 5/5
Penalty Goals: Henson 3
Drop Goals:

The teams:

Argentina: 15 Hernán Senillosa, 14 Lucas Borges, 13 Martín Gaitán, 12 Manuel Contepomi, 11 José María Núñez Piossek, 10 Felipe Contepomi, 9 Matías Albina, 8 Gonzalo Longo (captain), 7 Lucas Ostiglia, 6 Martín Durand, 5 Ignacio Fernández Lobbe, 4 Patricio Albacete , 3 Omar Hasan, 2 Federico Méndez, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guiñazu, 17 Pablo Cardinali, 18 Pablo Bouza, 19 Martín Shusterman, 20 Lucio López Fleming, 21 Germán Bustos, 22 José Orengo.

Wales: 15 Rhys Williams, 14 Haldane Luscombe, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Gavin Henson, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Michael Owen, 7 Jason Forster, 6 Colin Charvis (captain), 5 Gareth Llewellyn, 4 Brent Cockbain, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Mefin Davies, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Huw Bennett, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Darren Morris, 19 Jonathan Thomas, 20 Michael Phillips, 21 Nicky Robinson, 22 Tom Shanklin.

Referee: Donal Courtney (Ireland)

Scrumhalf 2004-06-12 23:18

Bok defence stops Ireland cold
Saturday June 12 2004
Cut down O'Driscoll, stop the Irish?
The Springboks got their campaign under new coach Jake White off to a winning start when they beat Ireland 31-17 at Vodacom Park in Bloemfontein on Saturday. Lock Bakkies Botha score two of South Africa's four tries to seal the match for the Boks.
Man of the match: Bakkies Botha

But while the Boks often showed enterprise on attack, it was a sublime second-half defensive display that won the game for the hosts.

The South Africans got off to a solid start - taking the ball up strongly against their favoured opponents - and Botha put the Boks on the board within three minutes - loping through the defence like a steroid-induced giraffe - to dot down for the try.

But there would undoubtedly have been nervous flutters in the bellies of South African fans when fullback Gaffie Du Toit shanked the conversion attempt wide. Du Toit is known as a player who blows hot and cold - and the Bok faithful were left fearing a massive cold front.

Their fears were not settled when Ireland fly-half Ronan O'Gara slotted over his first penalty shortly after to narrow the gap.

But Du Toit brought their fears to rest - momentarily at least - when he was successful with his next attempt at goal with a penalty of his own. His kicking radar, however, seemed to short-circuit for the remainder of the game.

The Bok fullback, who was playing his first Test match since his nightmare outing against the All Blacks in 1999, soon proved that with ball in hand he is one of the most talented players in world rugby.

The midfield battle between the Ireland pairing of skipper Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy and the hard-hitting Bok midfield was the big talk ahead of the match with many fearing the loss of De Wet Barry would be too large to compensate.

And early on it seemed those fears were wholly justified.

O'Driscoll was a menace whenever he touched the ball, ghosting past Bok centre Wayne Julies - Barry's replacement - on more than one occasion. The Ireland skipper too often was allowed to advance forward when his team was looking hesitant.

His first touch of the ball left the Bok defence, Julies in particular, looking foolish as he glided through the gap to put big winger Shane Horgan over in the corner to level the scores.

O'Gara pushed the conversion attempt wide, but the Ireland pivot soon made Bok tearaway Schalk Burger pay for his repeated infringements at the tackle with another well-struck penalty.

But the Ireland team suffered their own midfield blow 15 minutes later when D'Arcy - Ireland's Player of the Year - was taken off injured.

At the break the two teams were level 11-11 with Du Toit and O'Gara trading a penalty apiece before the half-time whistle was sounded.

The Springboks emerged after the break a different team - they defended like Trojans for the remainder of the game - and they lifted their attack to a different level, taking advantage of some tired Irish legs.

O'Gara handed his side the lead for the first time in the match three-minutes after the restart with a wobbly drop-goal, but the Boks took control for the next 37 minutes of the game.

Ireland were never given room to move after the restart as the hosts - led by the likes of Burger and a rejuvenated Julies in the backline - smashed the Irish runners back in the tackle and cut O'Driscoll down whenever he touched the ball.

It made the difference with the Ireland team soon losing their structure and confidence - and the altitude compounded their problems with a number of the men in green looking weary after the break.

The Boks' confidence, however, was bubbling over as they began to stretch their legs out wide. And in the 47th minute they put their best move of the game together to send Julies over for the Boks' second try of the match.

The luck began to go the way of the hosts and winger Breyton Paulse could indeed count himself a lucky man when he opted to kick from deep within his own half - he smiled with relief as the ball dribbled into touch inches from the Irish line.

Botha - who enjoyed a brilliant game for the hosts - then took advantage of a poor throw by Irish hooker Shane Byrne to snaffle the ball in his stomach and dot down for his second try of the game.

The visitors were never in the game after the big lock's second effort and O'Driscoll began to take too much on his own. The Irish followed their captain's example, which was panicky and rushed, and looked flustered by the determined defence.

They could not find a way through the wall the Boks had built and their second half was summed up when Bok No.8 Pedrie Wannenburg bumbled over from the back of the scrum to pick up the fourth try for his side after the Irish set-piece simply disintegrated.

Du Toit then put the game out of reach in the 74th minute with a long-range penalty - although the fullback will be unhappy with his kicking effort on the day .

The relief on coach Jake White's face at the final whistle was clearly evident after his injury-ridden team defied the odds - and indeed their critics - to stop the Ireland challenge cold.

Man of the match: Schalk Burger's work-rate was again immense and the young flanker is quickly making a name for himself, but his foolish tackle (that earned him a yellow card) ended his challenge for this award. But lock Bakkies Botha was head and shoulders - literally and figuratively - above his compatriots with a tireless effort that earned him a brace of tries and our prestigious award.

Moment of the match: Bakkies Botha's first try was superb with the big man showing exceptional pace for a man of his size. Pedrie Wannenburg's effort was nothing to be sneezed at either - and the Boks will be glad that a TMO decision went their way for a change.

Villian of the match: Schalk Burger's tackle was negative and foolhardy, but Ireland lock Malcolm O'Kelly's boot in the face of the Bok flanker earlier in the game means the two forwards can share this award in what was an otherwise clean affair.

The scorers:

For South Africa:
Tries: Botha 2, Julies, Wannenburg
Conversions: Du Toit 1/4
Penalty Goals: Du Toit 3
Drop Goals:

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

The teams:

South Africa: 15 Gaffie du Toit, 14 Breyton Paulse, 13 Marius Joubert, 12 Wayne Julies, 11 Henno Mentz, 10 Jaco van der Westhuyzen, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Jacques Cronjé (Gerrie Britz, 57), 7 Pedrie Wannenburg, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha (Quinton Davids, 67), 3 Eddie Andrews (CJ Van der Linde, 51), 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Os du Randt.
Unused Replacements: 16 Hanyani Shimange, 20 Bolla Conradie, 21 Jaque Fourie, 22 Brent Russell.

Ireland: 15 Girvan Dempsey, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Gordon D'Arcy (Kevin Maggs, 31), 12 Brian O'Driscoll, 11 Geordan Murphy, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Anthony Foley, 7 David Wallace (Alan Quinlan, 74), 6 Simon Easterby, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Malcolm O'Kelly (O'Callaghan, 74), 3 John Hayes, 2 Shane Byrne (Frankie Sheahan, 74), 1 Reggie Corrigan.
Unused Replacements: 17 Marcus Horan, 19 Alan Quinlan, 20 Guy Easterby, 21 David Humphreys.

Yellow card: Schalk Burger (South Africa, 75th minute)

Referee: Tony Spreadbury (England)

Serendipity 2004-06-13 00:04


Originally Posted by Scrumhalf

We ROCK....

Keep this up - full of useful information...

Scotland versus Australia is on in a couple of hours.... :)

Scrumhalf 2004-06-13 05:46

Scotland brave but Wallabies win
Sunday June 13 2004
Scottish tourist lose but defy their critics
If the crowd at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne came looking for a massacre, they would have left still thirsty for blood. Australia beat Scotland 35-15, but the score does not reflect the determination of the tourists who asked some difficult questions of their hosts.
Tricky customer: Wallaby captain George Gregan

The injury-ravaged Scottish tourists were given exceedingly slim odds to get a result out here - but their perseverance, temperance and outstanding forwards saw them go to the break only one point adrift.

Australia - clearly ruffled by the manful Scots - were outplayed at the set-piece and had immense difficultly reining in the Scottish raids around the fringes.

But thankfully for the partisan crowd, the Wallabies are blessed with a set of fine backs, and they located Scotland's jugular in the second half with some scything breaks orchestrated by skipper George Gregan.

Australia opened the scoring with Joe Roff slotting two penalties within the first nine minutes of play, and Scotland's goose looked well and truly cooked when centre Matt Giteau crossed for a well-worked try after 16 minutes.

But the tourists fought back, defending stoutly and surging up field with several impressive driving mauls to get within sight of the Australian posts - and there they remained for the reminder of the half.

Under pressure, the Wallabies conceded four penalties - all of which were converted by Scotland's Australian-born fly-half Dan Parks to leave the scores poised at 13-12 at the interval.

Australia hit back early in the second period when Tuqiri breached the Scottish defence after slick approach work, but Parks narrowed the deficit once again with another fine penalty.

Joe Roff then became only the fifth Australian to surpass 200 Test points with a penalty as the Wallabies superiority with ball in hand began to show.

Tuqiri dotted down his second try of the evening in the 63 minutes to leave the Scots 13 points adrift, and when Wendell Sailor plucking a poor Simon Webster kick out of the air to stroll home unopposed it was all over the tourists.

Despite the result, Scotland coach Matt Williams should allow his men a night on the beers.

After a doom-laden start to this tour, the positive approach they took into this game was highly admirable, and they were a number of pluses.

Fullback Hugo Southwell had an impressive debut, and their scrum and line-out work was immaculate - and when they got near the Australian posts they came away with points.

Unfortunately, they still seem unable sustain the attack - they put in all the good work, but fail to put the cherry on the top. Should they learn to hold their nerve - and find a game-breaking midfielder - Scotland could soon win their place back at rugby's top table.

Man of the match: The Scottish pack showed grit, and Wallaby Clyde Rathbone had an exciting debut - but the man of the moment was George Gregan who got his side moving with some shrewd distribution that was peppered with trademark reverse flicks. Beautiful stuff!

Moment of the match: Scotland spent the day toiling upfield, only to self-destruct within sight of the line, allowing the Australians to counter from depth. No where was this more painfully obvious than Australia's first try, when Gregan seized on a turn-over and send his men right down the middle of the park.

Villain of the match: There was a good old fashioned 30-man squabble in the second-half, and groundsmen probably deserve a kicking for a pitch that resemble the floor of a sports hall. But this award goes to Australian coach Eddie Jones for his unsporting remarks about Scotland fly-half Dan Parks prior to the game. Parks responded with a 100 percent kicking display. If that's a bad player, we'd love to see a good one!

The scorers:

For Australia:
Tries: Giteau, Tuqiri 2, Sailor
Conversions: Roff 2/3, Burke 1/1
Penalty Goals: Roff 3
Drop Goals:

For Scotland:
Penalty Goals: Parks 5
Drop Goals:

Scrumhalf 2004-06-19 01:45

Tourists need to get their heads together
How the mighty fall! Since winning the 2003 Rugby World Cup just under seven months ago, England have lost their Six Nations title, the Triple Crown, 'Fortress' Twickenham, and - most recently - an impressive record of 12 straight wins against Tri-Nations opposition.
Backs to the wall: Dallaglio has his work cut out

Excuses - mostly plausible - have been made about retirements, absences and fatigue; and there was even a frank admission of a little navel-gazing.

But what happened in Dunedin last Saturday defies all explanation.

Incredibly, England were found wanting in their three strongest areas: defence, forward play, and just sheer bloody-mindedness.

Ever-optimistic England fans will be hoping that the 36-3 drubbing in Dunedin will have concentrated the will of the beleaguered world champions - after all, if such beating can't rouse them from their comatosed state then nothing ever will.

New Zealand assistant coach Steve Hansen referred to last week as a 'good spanking' and that is exactly what it was. England walked away smarting and upset, but acutely aware of what they had done to deserve such an embarrassing punishment.

It's just a shame that Clive Woodward and his cohorts didn't find themselves at bottom of a ruck in Dunedin - if anyone deserved a fat lip it is they.

Last week's England XV was a side picked on reputation rather than form, and consequently lacked balance in every area of play.

The six changes made ahead of the second Test in Auckland on Saturday will certainly help the English cause. That is not to say that the new men are better players, just that they offer each of their respective departments a little more equilibrium.

Still, England will really struggle to level this two-Test series. The All Blacks are brimming with confidence after that rousing victory in Carisbrook, and the feel-good factor has return to New Zealand rugby with a vengeance.

Prior to the first Test, the talk revolved around the difficulty of putting one over the All Blacks at the 'House of Pain' - but Eden Park is hardly paradise for foreign hunters either.

Whilst New Zealand fell to Australia at Carisbrook in 2001, they have not lost in Auckland for 10 years - and only twice in the 30 Tests played there since 1979.

But despite New Zealand emphatic win in the first Test, they still have an important question to answer on Saturday: was last week a taste of things to come, or did they just get lucky against a team who failed to find first gear?

England won't stall in the pits this time, they just can't - they are far too pound and far too talented to make the same mistake twice.

Saturday's game will be a better examination of both sides' talents, and the result will give a good - and inexcusable - indication of just where these two teams stand in world rugby's pecking-order.

Players to watch:

For New Zealand: All Black lock Keith Robinson had a magnificent game last week, and obliterated the England line-out almost single-handedly. England will have learnt a lot about the Chiefs star, and will be looking to put a lid on his exuberance.

For England: For all his brilliance on the blindside - and at his best there is no one better - Richard Hill is not an openside, and he lost last week's contest against the outstanding Richie McCaw. If England want to play their own game, Hill will need to snaffle more of those 50-50 balls. Not for the first time, England's hopes rest on the broad shoulders of the Saracens star.

Head to head: Nick Evans (New Zealand) v Josh Lewsey (England): Although you would not have guessed it from last week's performance, England are the biggest bullies in world rugby. Their success in 2003 stemmed from their love of pushing opposition around for an hour before delivering a sucker punch or two. England get to pick on new boy Nick Evans on Saturday, and will have tasked Josh Lewsey - amongst many others - to make his first day at big school a living hell!

Recent results:

In 2004: In Dunedin: New Zealand won 36-3
In 2003: In Wellington: England won 15-13
In 2002: In London: England won 31-28
In 1999: In London: New Zealand won 30-16 (RWC)
In 1998: In Auckland: New Zealand won 40-10
In 1998: In Dunedin: New Zealand won 64-22

Prediction: If England manage to get their heads together they will push New Zealand hard - but not quite hard enough.
Planet Rugby prediction: New Zealand by 3 points. prediction: New Zealand by 13 points.

The teams:

New Zealand All Blacks: 15 Nick Evans, 14 Mils Muliaina, 13 Tana Umaga (captain), 12 Daniel Carter, 11 Joe Rokocoko, 10 Carlos Spencer, 9 Justin Marshall, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Richie McCaw/Marty Holah, 6 Jono Gibbes, 5 Keith Robinson, 4 Chris Jack, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Kees Meeuws.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Tony Woodcock, 18 Jerry Collins, 19 Marty Holah/Craig Newby, 20 Byron Kelleher/Jimmy Cowan, 21 Andrew Mehrtens, 22 Sam Tuitupou.

England: 15 Josh Lewsey, 14 Tom Voyce, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Stuart Abbott, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Andy Gomarsall, 8 Lawrence Dallaglio (captain), 7 Richard Hill, 6 Joe Worsley, 5 Steve Borthwick, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Julian White, 2 Mark Regan, 1 Trevor Woodman.
Replacements: 16 Andy Titterell, 17 Matt Stevens, 18 Danny Grewcock, 19 Michael Lipman, 20 Matt Dawson, 21 Ollie Barkley, 22 Fraser Waters.

Date: Saturday, June 19
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Conditions: Risk of showers - min 13°C, max 17°C
Referee: Nigel Williams (Wales)
Touch Judges: Andrew Cole, Stuart Dickinson (both Australia)
Assessor: Ian Scotney (Australia)
Television match official: Matt Goddard (Australia)

Scrumhalf 2004-06-19 01:49

No miracles forecasted for Sydney this Saturday

It's obvious, isn't it? Just as surely as it gets cold in Scotland in winter, Australia will win at Telstra Stadium this Saturday. Of course, rugby - like the weather - is not always accurately predicted. But it does take a quite a stretch of the imagination to imagine wandering barefoot and in shorts around Loch Lomond in January, and Scotland beating Australia in the second Test.
Captain Fantastic: George Gregan

That said, hats off to the Scots for bravery and determination in the first Test in Melbourne, but it's so hard to see where their points will come from other than from the remarkably accurate boot of Dan Parks.

There just don't have the pressure points that the Wallabies have - the men who can cut the line, speed for the line and finish across the line.

Look down the Wallaby backs and every single one of them can cause the Scots headaches and heartaches. Look down the Scottish line and see the courage there - courage but no elan.

Look at the packs. The Scots can handle the line-outs - well, they could before some latter-day reformer decided that Stuart Grimes should be sent to purgatory for putting boots on David Lyons last week.

They should be able to get an edge in the scrums but it will not be telling enough. Whilst, amongst the loose forwards there just does not seem the speed, skill and strength that the Wallabies have.

The heart just can't ignore the head on this one - but please, Scotland, prove us wrong!

Players to Watch:

For Australia: All the backs - from George Gregan to Joe Roff, every one of them world class. Blink, and you could miss a thrill.

For Scotland: Fullback Hugo Southwell - new, brave, confident, venturesome and skilled.

Head to Head: George Gregan (Australia) v Chris Cusiter (Scotland): There was just one moment in the last Test that thrilled to the verge of ecstasy - when George Gregan ran full tilt onto Wendell Sailor's pop and then directed a back flip straight to David Lyons. On Saturday we have all that talent and experience against an obviously talented rookie, a player who could one day be what Gregan is. It will not be an angry confrontation as Governor Gregan is just getting on with the game, but it will be interesting to see if Cusiter can keep his nerve and produce another classy display.

Prediction: Classy Wallaby backs to leave tourists linking their wounds.
Planet Rugby prediction: Australia by more than 20 points. prediction: Australia by 30 points.

Recent results:

In 2004: In Melbourne: Australia won 35-15
In 2003: In Brisbane: Australia won 33-16 (RWC)
In 2000: in Edinburgh: Australia won 30-9
In 1998: in Brisbane: Australia won 33-11
In 1998: in Sydney: Australia won 45-3
In 1997: in Edinburgh: Australia won 37-8
In 1996: in Edinburgh: Australia won 29-19
In 1992: in Brisbane: Australia won 37-13

The teams:

Australian Wallabies: 15 Joe Roff, 14 Wendell Sailor, 13 Stirling Mortlock, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Stephen Larkham, 9 George Gregan, 8 David Lyons, 7 Phil Waugh, 6 Radike Samo, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Justin Harrison, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Brendan Cannon, 1 Bill Young.
Replacements: 16 Jeremy Paul, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Daniel Vickerman, 19 George Smith, 20 Morgan Turinui, 21 Clyde Rathbone, Chris Latham.

Scotland: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Ben Hinshelwood, 12 Andy Henderson, 11 Simon Webster, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Allister Hogg, 7 Donnie Macfadyen, 6 Jason White, 5 Scott Murray (captain), 4 Iain Fullarton/Craig Hamilton, 3 Bruce Douglas, 2 Gordon Bulloch, 1 Tom Smith.
Replacements: 16 Steve Scott, 17 Craig Smith, 18 Iain Fullarton/Craig Hamilton, 19 Jon Petrie, 20 Mike Blair, 21 Gordon Ross, 22 Graeme Morrison.

Date: 19 June 2004
Kick-off: 20.00 (10.00 GMT)
Venue: Telstra Stadium, Sydney
Conditions: Scattered clouds - Max 17°C, min 11°C
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Touch Judges: Paul Honiss (New Zealand), Carlo Damasco (Italy)
Television match official: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand)

Scrumhalf 2004-06-25 10:21

Last week's results in brief:

NZ 36-12 England

Australia 33-15 Scotland

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