Tuesday, November 20, 2018

80-word reviews from the weekend of Nov 16-18


Two tries each at Murrayfield, all of them before HT with both teams showing impressive open play offloading and Hamish Watson finishing off an innovative lineout move.   They were level at 20-20 in the 2nd half when an extremely harsh yellow for Willie le Roux seemed to give the Scots a great chance yet it was actually the Springboks who nudged ahead when shorthanded and a late Jantjies penalty sealed the win.  Hogg's early withdrawal will be a concern.


Worst possible start for France with Médard forced off, Moyano scoring a try and the restart out on the full, all in the opening minutes. But the home side grew into the game and their backs led by Bastereaud and Fickou combined well for Fall to finish tries either side of HT. Then a couple of bad Puma errors in the closing stages allowed France to stretch the winning margin further. Les Blues deservedly avoided 6th loss on the bounce.


If a team wearing all black had to score 70+ on this particular day, Irish fans are happy it was Wales. An early penalty try and yellow card was a good start and by 20m it was 24-3. But then somehow by 43m the Tongans had managed to claw back three tries and 24-all before the likes of MotM Biggar and Liam Williams reimposed their domination to bring the home side's try total to ten at full time.


Cheika tinkered with his backline again with Toomua at 10 and Foley 12, but it was 0-0 for half an hour despite both sides having chances, including a Tebaldi interception curiously ruled offside. A Koroibete brace ended the stalemate. More controversy at the start of the second half as Pocock seemed to block for "Tongan Thor" yet the prop's try stood. A prolonged Italian purple patch only earned a Bellini try and Genia got Australia's 4th at the death.


A good start for a mostly second-string England as they pounced on a poor kick to run it back for an early Danny Care try, but then Japan with energetic, enterprising & efficient rugby dominated territory & possession and should have led by more than 15-10 at HT. Owen Farrell was unleashed for the 2nd half yet the Brave Blossoms' lead lasted to the 58th minute when first Wilson, then the dangerous Cokasinga and finally xxx sealed the home win. 


Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019