The better team won


Ireland 12 South Africa 16 by Frank Quinn

The “new era Irish team” lost to the number three ranked team in the world, the best team won, they scored a try – we did not. This was our sixth loss on the trot

So what to do, if you were Declan Kidney?

The squad of 23 announced for this game should be given a second and third chance to prove themselves in the coming weeks starting with the Fiji non-match next week in Thomond Park. The Fiji game was relegated to A status, with no caps, in spite of the fact that the Fiji group are on a full tour schedule and played a full capped international against England last weekend (they lost 54-12).

Take out the injured and walking wounded out of the Irish squad and replace them with some of the +40 called up for squad training but leave in everyone else. Then follow the same procedure against the Argentineans for the final game in the Aviva.

By doing this we will know if we have a new era squad in the making and move forward. If this was in the middle of the European/Celtic season games the same playing rules would apply in their Club rugby playing program.

In my preview last week I pointed out that the Springboks had only made three changes to the team which lost to New Zealand in the rugby championship and the coach Heineke Meyer was looking for continuity and patterns of play. They did not come here for the beer but they did manage to snaffle up the Guinness Autumn series.

We failed to score a try and the try line looked about 200 yards away from the Irish backs. Sure a couple of breaks easily snaffled up but no real energetic pacey incisions by our back line to worry the ‘Boks.

The ‘Boks had a yellow card in the first half 32-42 mins, we scored three points, our captain Jamie Heaslip had a yellow card 43-53 mins.and they scored ten points.

The other Strauss – Adriaan, blonde hooker and vice captain of the ‘Boks looked to be everywhere on the pitch, did the throw-ins, carried, tackled anything that moved with a man of the match performance. (The official Guinness MOM was Mike McCarthy getting his fifth cap).

The decision to kick to touch with less than a minute on the clock instead of running the ball showed a lack of leadership and  the O’Gara’s chip over the top to one of the best wingers in world rugby, who walked into touch - left a bad taste at the end.

The ‘Boks included De Villiers, Van der Linde, Pienaar, and Van der Merwe all with Irish experience in addition to Louw (Bath).

It is a bit too soon to judge the “new era team” – but I would not let them off the hook with one game, they need to prove that they are good enough to represent Ireland and not just because of injuries to our normal front line players. Stick it to them.


And the rest:

Warren Gatland is well out of Wales this month as Argentina continued their relative good form from the rugby championship and scored two tries to nil in beating Wales 26-12 in the Millennium Stadium, it will not do Rob Howley’s CV any good.

Argentina lost Irish favourite Felipe Contepomi in the 13th minute in what looked like a serious injury. However he still hobbled in to the sideline to watch the second half of the game, the Puma’s commitment is legendary. Another of their stars full back Hernandez was taken off on 45 mins to be replaced by Aguila. Early in the second half the Pumas missed two handy penalties and at the other end Halfpenny slotted one over and it looked like Wales game for the taking. Back came the Pumas for two tries to clinch it. On this form they will be a handful for us in two weeks time if they can maintain their momentum from a limited number of players.

France again:

Rely on French flair to beat the Southern Hemisphere teams, they put up a brilliant performance in the RWC 2011 final against the All Blacks and trounced Australia – allowing them only two penalties (Harris) in a 33-6 win at the weekend, France scored two tries and a penalty try.

The return of man of the match Freddie Michalak (15 points) has sparked the French off on another of their solo runs as they gear up for the 2013 RBS six nations. In addition Toulouse, Toulon and Clermont are in strong positions in the Heineken Cup in what could be a memorable year for French rugby. 

New Zealand scored a fistful of tries and beat Scotland 51-22 at Murrayfield and brought their unbeaten run to 18 games. With that result New Zealand remain number one and Scotland number nine in the official RWC 2015 RWC rankings.



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