Rugby World Cup – weekend review: key games
Posted on September 28th, 2011


ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Well, this weekend had it all didnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t it? Some flair, moments of individual brilliance, some brutal collisions, and a nail biting finish to round it off.

We take a look at how some of the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”bigƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ games that went down, and identify the players that put their hands up at the most vital moments.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ New Zealand vs France

Once again Coach Marc LievremontƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s team selection came in for much criticism in the lead up to the game. However, for the first ten minutes of the game he seemed to have given his doubters some food for thought, as it was the French who were playing all the rugby.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  There was some good fluidity to their play, especially when they set the threeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s in motion. However, the All Black wall stood firm. Credit must be given as they absorbed wave after wave of pressure. They look to have worked hard on their defensive patterns that let them down at crucial times in the tri-nations. Then, the Kiwis got one sniff – and they made it count when Adam Thomson scored by the corner afterMaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢aNonu sliced through the French mid field. Cory Jane was next to cross the line coming off a superb angle to collect from Weepu off a 30-metre lineout. What was most significant for the ABƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s was seeing a running Dan Carter who looks to be at the peak of his powers once again as he put Israel Dagg in space for the first of his two tries. As the match edged towards the half way mark, it seemed that the contest was well and truly over, though recent world cup meetings between the two teams would have kept too many people from betting on it.

The scond half saw Daggstep his way to a second from close range. It takes an exceptional talent to leave a player of the caliber of Mills Muliaina stranded on 98 test caps. There is enough evidence seen at the world cup that Israel Dagg is class all over. French inside centreMaximeMermoz managed to score an opportunistic try having intercepted a Dan Carter pass in mid field. The circumstances around which Les bleus scored their second was an embarrassment to say the least. Referee Alain Rolland was speaking to Richie McCaw one minute cautioning them on repeated infringements. The next Franscois Trinh-Duc was across the line. Despite adding seven points to their tally, it merely underlined the fact that they were nowhere near clinical enough to take on the might of the All Blacks head on. The Kiwis had the last say in the game when crowd favourite Sonny Bill Williams put the icing on the cake by scoring late whilst coming on as a replacement. The only real concern for Graham Henry would be that many key players such as Carter, Thomson, Kahui, and Jane were all visibly carrying niggles at the end. Hopefully a prolonged spell in the ice baths will sort them out. Another boost to the squad is that KierenRied isexpected to be back for their last pool game against Canada. It is important that he puts in a good sixty minutes to rank up some mileageƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  before the quarter finals. For Lievremont, the problems seem endless. There is more than a rumour of discontentment within the French camp. Having said that, one must be wary that France have kept their cards close to their chest, and come the knock-out phase, them may well surprise us all. England, their likely opponents, have ended their campaigns at the semi- final stage at the last two editions of the competition. Revenge would be very much on their minds.

Argentina vs Scotland

What a game this encounter turned out to be. Perhaps it would not be remembered for the champagne style of rugby that most audiences appreciate. But the slippery conditions resulting from the constant downpour made it impossible anyway. The fact of the matter was, it was not about playing eye catching football. Winning was all that mattered, even if it meant winning ugly. As much as an emphatic win it was for the South Americans, you have got to feel for the Scots. For much of the contest, they seemed to have the more structured game plan and were quite impressive in maintaining possession through the phases. Fly half Ruaridh Jackson was outstanding and looked to have set them on course for victory when he was replaced by the more experienced Dan Parks. There were two drop goal attempts, first by the vastly experienced Chris Patterson, and then by Parks that both sailed wide of the posts. How that cost them at the end. All credit must go to the brave Pumas. Felipe Contepomi bit the bullet and saw through the eighty minutes despite taking the field with damaged ribs. They were dealt a huge set back early in the game when No. 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, arguably their best player, had to be forced off with a knee injury. Nevertheless they stuck to their task and never let the Scots get too ahead of them at any point. A combination of woeful defense from the Scottish (where Patterson was involved again)and individual brilliance from replacement Lucas Amorosino brought the vast majority of the Wellington crowd to their feet as the Argentinians seemed to have sealed victory with a late try which was converted by Contepomi.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  This gave the Pumas a wafer thin one point lead. However, Amorosinowas in danger of turning from hero to villain as he fumbled a collection close to the touchline giving the Scots a five-metre throw in. However, it was not to be for Andy RobinsonƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s men, as they could not conjure a late drop goal to save the day, leaving their coach to be pulling his imaginary hair out.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Scotland would now need to beat the old enemy England, and that by eight points or more to have any chance of progressing. A task not impossible going by the form books, but very much improbable. For the Argentinians, they seem all but there in terms of reaching the next round, most likely to be meeting the mighty All Blacks. And they would have to go on without the inspirational Fernandez Lobbe who has been ruled out for the rest of the tournament. Still, be assured they will not be turning up to flip over and die. Their passion simply would not permit it.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Courtesy :

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Copyright © 2024 All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress