Tuesday, November 13, 2018

80-word reviews from the weekend of Nov 9-11



Dream start for England in nightmare conditions as early AB errors led to an Ashton try and Farrell DG; then a massive maul hauled Hartley over for 15-0.  A full house of AB scores (McKenzie try, Barrett Con, pen & DG) got them within two and a further pen nudged them ahead with 20m left. MotM Rettalick pinched key lineouts and a Lawes block that put Underhill over was judged offside. England impressed in an enthralling test but fell short. 


Lydiate. Tipuric. Hooper. Pocock. With such a plethora of possession poaching power on the park, it's no surprise that tries were hard to come by for both teams.  The Wallabies might say they probably should have taken three-point penalty chances in the third quarter.  The Welsh might say they could have won by more after a pair of uncharacteristic first half Halfpenny misses, though they're more likely to be happy about finally overcoming this particular opposition after several attempts.


France came for high tempo rugby, South Africa to slow them down.  They were locked at 9-9 until tries either side of HT from Guirado and Bastareaud pushed them ahead.  Then Vahaamahina spilled the restart allowing Nkosi to start the comeback.   Serin and Pollard, both on fire from the tee, kicked some penalties leaving the margin at four.  An enthralling finish saw penalties bring SA the length of the pitch for Mbonami to snatch victory in the 85th minute.


Structured rugby can often take time to get results against the unpredictable Fijians yet with Finn Russell pulling the strings,  the Scots forged a 14-3 lead. Mata and Radradra struck back to put the visitors ahead but poor discipline then brought penalties, yellows and 2 Maitland tries either side of HT. They cracked on from there to reach 8 tries by the end including a Tommy Seymour hat-trick and look ready for next week's visit by the Springboks. 


In a perfect test of their "ready to join 6 Nations" credentials, the Lelos crossed first but a strong Campagnaro finish pegged them back.  Then a needless yellow gave the Italians time to wear down the defence and with the pack led by Dean Budd in control, they ran in three more tries before the end of the third quarter.  A penalty try got Georgia closer but they couldn't capitalise on the yellow that went with it. Handy home win.

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