Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby Nikki Gradual » 11 Jul 2017, 21:16

I'm bloody sick of this. No one is right and no one is wrong. Except world rugby, which is wrong. The sooner they ameliorate the laws so that the northern and southern hemisphere "interpretations" are the same, the better. At the moment, with more cross-hemisphere games than ever, it is just ridiculous and threatening to ruin the rugby. Who wants to watch any game that is determined by the reading of the rules rather than the skill of the players? I have no idea why they have created and perpetuated the situation, but it has already ruined many a world cup game by turning it into a penalty-fest against one side depending on what hemisphere the ref is from and, unless they get their act together, it is only a matter of time before the interpretation actually decides the world cup.
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby Nikki Gradual » 11 Jul 2017, 21:24

The Write Profile wrote:You're right about Warburton: he seems to have that characteristic that nearly all great international rugby captains posses, namely his ability to read and influence the direction the ref is taking. McCaw and Fitzpatrick were past masters of that, Read just doesn't seem to have that same killer instinct of gamesmanship.


I believe it was Phil de Glanville who used to call the ref "sir". Reckoned it was worth six points a game. He was still rubbish, mind.
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby Mike Boom » 11 Jul 2017, 21:57

Nikki Gradual wrote:I'm bloody sick of this. No one is right and no one is wrong. Except world rugby, which is wrong. The sooner they ameliorate the laws so that the northern and southern hemisphere "interpretations" are the same, the better. At the moment, with more cross-hemisphere games than ever, it is just ridiculous and threatening to ruin the rugby. Who wants to watch any game that is determined by the reading of the rules rather than the skill of the players? I have no idea why they have created and perpetuated the situation, but it has already ruined many a world cup game by turning it into a penalty-fest against one side depending on what hemisphere the ref is from and, unless they get their act together, it is only a matter of time before the interpretation actually decides the world cup.



Exactly this - "Who wants to watch any game that is determined by the reading of the rules rather than the skill of the players ?"

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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby The Red Heifer » 11 Jul 2017, 22:20

Mike Boom wrote:I just see the ABs have two games with the Aussies with Wayne Barnes in charge :mrgreen:


Fuck me didn't I hear ALL ABOUT IT last night :lol: :lol:
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby Geezee » 12 Jul 2017, 08:54

Nikki Gradual wrote: it has already ruined many a world cup game by turning it into a penalty-fest against one side depending on what hemisphere the ref is from and, unless they get their act together, it is only a matter of time before the interpretation actually decides the world cup.


Well, you already have the 2011 final as a case in point.

In general, I thought the final test was excellent in the first half, but lost it's way dramatically in the second half with the yellow card - the game became very bitty after that - tense, but bitty. I don't really see that the ABs had the better chances.
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby Copehead » 22 Jul 2017, 23:03

Looking back over the remarkable Lions series; where it wasn't won and lost.

The Units:

Front rows, you have to say the All Blacks edged this in the tests in a reversal of their initial reverse in the warm up match.
They seemed to really try and dominate the Lions up front and did get on top in all 3 tests but not to a damaging degree, but you could also say that Lions seemed more conspicuous in the loose perhaps because the ABs concentrated on their tight game.

Second rows: a clash of the Titans, probably the best second rows on the planet on show although SA may raise a hand here. Once Itoje was picked you'd have to say honours even. The dropping of Kruis was brutal but justified as was the sticking with AW Jones, he may be an old war horse but he brings a bit of x factor to the second row. Retalick and Whitelock never got on top after the first test and were shaded by Itoje and Jones in the 2nd and third tests. Itoje came of age as a world class player and he is still 22, he could make 4 Lions series and be back in NZ in 12 years time in the AW Jones role.

Back rows: A battle royal. First test to the ABs but bringing in Warburton was crucial, he really is world class when on his A game and he is a big match beast. he relished going head to head with the ABs and his captaincy and ref management were crucial. Again the dropping of POM from Captain to out of the 23 was brutal but the results show it was the right decision, just like dropping BOD 4 years ago. Read could lay claim to being teh best player on the planet at the moment but he was up against the implacable Talupe Faletau, he looks and acts like an old school AB, no smiling no show boating just relentlessly competitive. The Lions really missed the ability of Billy Vunipola to generate ball going forward, Faletau is a different sort of player but it could be that losing BillyV was a blessing because Faletau was a rock. And if he was a rock then Sean O'Brien was a force of nature, another player coming to the end of his career and making a last hurrah, and what a hurrah it was, it was noticeable that the tempo dropped when he was injured in the last test.
The AB back row met their match, but it took a multinational back row to do it, they are still the best national back row, just probably not the force they were a few years back.

Half backs: Connor Murray finally stands alone as the best scrum half in the world a real general in the old French sense; he controls the game as much as the FH. His box kicks are perfect, he is always quick to the break down and his passing is slick, he is big and strong as his try showed, he is the complete package.

Beauden Barrett: was probably the best FH on show and yet his place kicking, which is below international standard finally cost the ABs, in this case probably a 3:0 series win. He actually kicked better than his average 75%vs71% but the ABS lack of trust in his kicking ability cramps their ability to take games beyond the opposition when he is having a bad day. Witness an ice cold Farrell hitting a tying penalty from his own half with three minutes to go, I doubt Barrett will ever do something similar. as I have said before most of the time the ABs can carry him for this because they don't play many close games, but when they do it will cost them.

Sexton, a last hurrah and back to his best although still with the tendency to spend much of the game receiving treatment. I didn't think he make the test side or last long before breaking, I was wrong, his 10/12 partnership with Farrell turned the series around giving the Lions 2 play makers and keeping the ABs guessing. Much of the time the ABs reposte to this set up was "Warrenball", sending big men down the 10/12 channel despite Sexton and Farrell being reknowned for being brave in the tackle to the point of recklessness, they may give up ground but you will rarely run through them. Sexton did his trade mark slow loops and still Lions scored off them.

Farrell; not his finest hour, but the options he gave at second five eight caused some confusion to the ABs and his kicking kept the Lions in the series. he was a key player despite never hitting his best form except from the tee in the last 2 tests.

Centres: You have to say the Lions comprehensively won this battle, the ABs never settled on a midfield that worked and in Jonathon Davies the Lions had probably the best player in the series. A remarkable come back for a player many, even in Wales, were saying was a busted flush who would never regain his superlative form of 4 years past after bad injuries. Very wrong. he made yards, made tries and was pivotal in the blitz defence that so bamboozled the ABs attack, rushing up to cut off the outside ball, that takes skill, speed, timing and guts.

Back 3: supposedly a strength of the ABs but again the Lions back 3 looked far more flashy in attack and solid in defence. Watson, Williams and Daly are all very fast and great ball passers and completely solid under the high ball. Once this pairing was solidified by the 2nd test they didn't look back. Again the ABs never had a settled back 3 and it showed. I think there was an idea that their strength in depth means they don't need a settled line up, but that may have been true when facing lesser teams than the Lions, it wasn't here.

What did for the ABs? An inability to overcome a blitz defence carried out by a team who will not tire and whose bench can carry on that task at the same level. There were few chances and the ABs were reduced to kicking punts into the end zone, the quality of Barrett's kicks meant they got tries from this tactic but it showed they were tactically beaten. They also didn't have an international quality place kicker. So they score few tries and few penalties.

their own rock solid defence meant the Lions scored one fewer try, but Farrell's superior kicking meant they converted more pressure into points from the tee and that squared the series.

I think some of the mystique around the ABs will have rubbed off among the NH players after that series, yes they are great but they are beatable, it is just that no team other than England or Ireland on their day could put in a performance that could match the Lions, all national teams have positions of relative weakness, the Lions didn't really and the ABs relative weakness are lesser than any other teams.

But it looks as if the gap to the ABs isn't as great as feared and that is the message the English, Welsh and Irish guys will be tacking back to their national set ups.

An interesting few years awaits
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby The Write Profile » 23 Jul 2017, 06:25

Hard to disagree with any of that, although I rate Retallick and Whitelock higher than you, but you're right- in the last two years post-RWC, the gap has closed between the ABs and everyone else, and the results of the Lions series bears this out. On another note, it's strange switching from the intensity of the Lions matches to the less structured Super Rugby knockout stages. Granted, the conditions were awful in Christchurch last night, and so limited the Highlanders from playing their usual harem scarem style of rugby (like they did against the Lions, for instance), but still it shows that a dominant scrum and a clinical 10-man rugby strategy can be enough to win matches in the Super Rugby competition. The Crusaders have been the best side in the tournament not because they're the most inventive, but because they're the most self-assured in their approach. They just keep plugging away for phases after phase until the dam bursts, as it were. It will be interesting to see whether the Hurricanes are able to use their more expansive style of rugby against them, they won but lacked quite a bit of co-ordination against the Brumbies this weekend. Another point is that they're giving the kicking duties to Jordie, not Beauden, Barrett, which acknowledges something that's been crystal clear all season: as good as Beauden is as a playmaker, he's not an international-class kick taker.
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby The Write Profile » 20 Aug 2017, 07:12

Sir Colin Meads, arguably the greatest All Black ever, died this weekend. The nation is in mourning. For all his flaws, he did represent something about the "kiwi male"- that no-nonsense, stoic, rugged achiever- and he remained a key figure in New Zealand rugby long after his retirement. Interviewing him back in 2013 was one of those "meeting your heroes" moments that you treasure.

As for last night's 54-34 win over Australia, well, it was a match that was both sublime and ridiculous. It didn't tell us anything we didn't already know about both sides- namely, the All Blacks are far more dynamic and inventive in full flight, while Australia's defence is porous at the worst of times. However, the second half also suggested that the All Blacks, as evidenced in the Lions series, lack their once-legendary ability to completely shut the opposition out of the frame.
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby Copehead » 20 Aug 2017, 10:07

The Write Profile wrote:Sir Colin Meads, arguably the greatest All Black ever, died this weekend. The nation is in mourning. For all his flaws, he did represent something about the "kiwi male"- that no-nonsense, stoic, rugged achiever- and he remained a key figure in New Zealand rugby long after his retirement. Interviewing him back in 2013 was one of those "meeting your heroes" moments that you treasure.

As for last night's 54-34 win over Australia, well, it was a match that was both sublime and ridiculous. It didn't tell us anything we didn't already know about both sides- namely, the All Blacks are far more dynamic and inventive in full flight, while Australia's defence is porous at the worst of times. However, the second half also suggested that the All Blacks, as evidenced in the Lions series, lack their once-legendary ability to completely shut the opposition out of the frame.


4 unanswered tries in the last 30 simply wouldn't have happened a while back, and might not again. It showed an UN-AB like "lets put our feet up" attitude and/or showed a lack of strength in depth on the bench that may be worrying. I imagine words will be spoken.

As ever it shows that you you beat the ABs by shutting them down with a suffocating defence, certainly not by giving them a 56 point head start.

In 240 minutes of test rugby the Lions let in 5 tries against the ABs, the Wallabies had let in 6 tries before half time.

Shows how impressive the Lions were as a scratch team, accepting that if you have a load of high quality players and a few short weeks defence is the one thing that can be made to sing by a good coaching team. It was the only way the Lions could prosper in New Zealand and they used it brilliantly.

You'd say the Wallabies need a new coaching set up, Cheika must have gone as far as he can but it isn't as if he is over looking talent, the cupboard is pretty bare out side the back 3.

Colin Meads went this week, uncompromising would be the tactful way to characterise his playing style, the last AB to be sent off before SBW quite unbelievably, against Scotland at Murrayfield I believe. God knows what he did, probably disembowled some Scottish lock for taking a throw against the head.

Also RIP Richard Churchill one of the central figures at Ampthill RFC, former 1st XV captain, Treasurer and all round good egg and the man I used to stand with and watch games for the last umpteen seasons since I retired. It won't be the same without him but at least he got to see his beloved small town Bedfordshire team climb all the way to Nat 1 ( tier 3 ) in English rugby. I will be a bit lost now, we always stood in the same place behind the posts and watched the moves unfurl.
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby The Write Profile » 26 Aug 2017, 22:52

I would have to say that last night's 35-29 win against the Wallabies was the most frenetic I've seen in a long time. The defence, from both sides, was all over the shop, on the one hand, there were moments where the ABs or Wallabies would go for a dozen consecutive phases without scoring, on the other hand, there were moments where someone would throw a loopy pass that would lead to as easy an intercept try as you would get at this level.

Part of the reason this match flowed so well was down to firstly, the stadium being roofed so the ground was hard, and secondly, Nigel Owens being fair to both sides while also keeping a strong eye on any major infringements. I can't recall a test match in recent times where the lead has changed so often. Both sides really played to the absolute limit. And Barrett's final try was something special indeed, one of those throw the dice moments that rarely comes off at all. Meanwhile, it was great to see Israel Folaul in full flight- I think he's arguably the best fullback in the world on his day, and this certainly his day. It's also interesting to note that the ABs had so little faith in Barrett's goal kicking that he didn't take a single penalty. Ironically, he nailed all five of his conversion attempts.
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby Copehead » 27 Aug 2017, 01:15

The Write Profile wrote:I would have to say that last night's 35-29 win against the Wallabies was the most frenetic I've seen in a long time. The defence, from both sides, was all over the shop, on the one hand, there were moments where the ABs or Wallabies would go for a dozen consecutive phases without scoring, on the other hand, there were moments where someone would throw a loopy pass that would lead to as easy an intercept try as you would get at this level.

Part of the reason this match flowed so well was down to firstly, the stadium being roofed so the ground was hard, and secondly, Nigel Owens being fair to both sides while also keeping a strong eye on any major infringements. I can't recall a test match in recent times where the lead has changed so often. Both sides really played to the absolute limit. And Barrett's final try was something special indeed, one of those throw the dice moments that rarely comes off at all. Meanwhile, it was great to see Israel Folaul in full flight- I think he's arguably the best fullback in the world on his day, and this certainly his day. It's also interesting to note that the ABs had so little faith in Barrett's goal kicking that he didn't take a single penalty. Ironically, he nailed all five of his conversion attempts.


The lack of faith in BB's kicking could have cost them if Foley hadn't hit the posts 3-4 times bizarre.

The ABs most approach these games differently because defensively they looked a different team to the one that took the field against the Lions.

They must mentally prepare themselves differently for the different challenges faced.

Very different :)
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby Nikki Gradual » 27 Aug 2017, 10:25

I don't think I have ever seen a match that sums up the phrase "a game of two halves" better than the women's World Cup final. England 78% possession in the first half, New Zealand 8p0% in the second. The only difference was that New Zealand used their period of dominance more effectively.
I've seen some of the reffing called into question, but that had nothing to do with it: the game was lost by England and won by New Zealand in the five minutes before and after half time. Having been in totally command, instead of pressing for another score before the break (which is what the black ferns would have done), with four minutes to go England inexplicably decided to sit back, play defensively and Katy McLean started hoofing it upfield. Badly. You could actually see the Kiwis smell blood and a try became inevitable, meaning they went into the break only seven points down. When they came out all guns blazing and England restated still with the hangover of having conceded and NZ predictably scored again straight away, it was all over.
If England had kept the ball and attacked instead of kicking it down NZ's throats in that dominant period before half time - probably even adding to their own score they were so on top at that stage - it would have been a different result.
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby The Write Profile » 17 Sep 2017, 05:23

Well, it has to be said that last night's 57-0 win against South Africa is one of the more unlikely matches. Partly because there was so much trepidation in the buildup--the ABs had been mediocre against an understrength Argentina the previous weekend, while South Africa looked to be on the ascendancy--and partly because it showed a side of the ABs that has only appeared in intermittent bursts throughout the season. It's almost as if they figured out what they should have done to the Lions: instead of choking against the "rush defence", the ABs decided to run harder, faster and flatter than South Africa could handle.

This was a win built on sheer pace, most notably that of Ioane, Milner-Skudder, Aaron Smith and Barrett. Some of the tries just beggared belief in terms of the sheer dexterity of the offloading (ironically offload specialist SBW was the only player to look out of sorts with their gameplan), but also the way they kept running at the defensive line until it broke into pieces. Put simply, they spooked the South African side very early on in the piece, and by the time the first half was over, South Africa had thrown in the towel. And they absolutely monstered the South African scrum. It's probably the first fully cohesive performance of the season, and it makes me wonder why it hadn't happened earlier. Certainly, this seemed to be a perfect storm of events.
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby Mike Boom » 17 Sep 2017, 09:06

The Write Profile wrote:This was a win built on sheer pace, most notably that of Ioane, Milner-Skudder, Aaron Smith and Barrett.


... and a master class of counter attacking rugby. Milner-Skudders first try was a classic. Great game, tho I admit I was scratching my head as to why the ABs left out Vaea Fifita after the way he played against Argentina - he looked to be the business.

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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby andymacandy » 18 Nov 2017, 23:45

Argh...........
It says a lot about how far Scotland have come that I am so gutted that we didn't put the Kiwis away today.
And with half the team missing too.
One day.
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby The Write Profile » 18 Nov 2017, 23:50

andymacandy wrote:Argh...........
It says a lot about how far Scotland have come that I am so gutted that we didn't put the Kiwis away today.
And with half the team missing too.
One day.


Yeah, Scotland had it all set up for them, and ultimately they will rue their inability to make more of an advantage when the ABs were reduced to 14 men for the last 20 minutes. That in itself should be seen as a worry for the ABs- these days, it seems there's short odds on one of the team members being sinbinned or worse, sent off. I don't think it's down to more stringent refereeing either. Ironically, it was SBW, who has had his fair share of onfield stuff-ups this year, that looked the most imposing in the ABs backline: he effectively set up two of their tries.

Meanwhile, Scotland can take great heart from how they played. At no point did they back down from the challenge, and if a couple of opportunities had stuck, then it could have been a very different game indeed. I still think the ABs deserved to win, if only for their remorseless defence and a couple of inspired moments from their backline, but Scotland were no pushover at all.

This has been an interesting year for the ABs: they're clearly a step or so down from where they were in 2015, and there are a number of young players who are works in progress.
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby Copehead » 20 Nov 2017, 13:15

andymacandy wrote:Argh...........
It says a lot about how far Scotland have come that I am so gutted that we didn't put the Kiwis away today.
And with half the team missing too.
One day.


It is so hard to get over that hurdle
You could see the belief in the Scottish players that they could win but they really needed to get a lead rather than chase one

At least you don’t have to watch Wales at the moment, bloody hell
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby Geezee » 20 Nov 2017, 14:58

The Write Profile wrote:
Meanwhile, Scotland can take great heart from how they played.


Over the last 15 years I've heard that so much that it really should be sown into their team motto.
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby andymacandy » 25 Nov 2017, 16:33

Carnage. We are a great side now. And with plenty of room to improve too!
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Re: Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

Postby The Write Profile » 26 Nov 2017, 08:29

andymacandy wrote:Carnage. We are a great side now. And with plenty of room to improve too!


Yeah. great play by Scotland, particularly the expansive manner in which they took it to Australia. I honestly didn't think they had that sort of match in them. Meanwhile, the ABs ended a largely perfunctory end-of-year tour with a perfunctory win over a Welsh side that promised somewhat but ultimately lacked the ticker to take it to them for more than 60 minutes. That said, it was good to see Ioane score two tries and look dangerous throughout- he's been the "find" of the season and he will only get better as he continues to play at the top level. It hasn't been a vintage ABs side, but they've had their moments throughout the year. There was probably only one match--the 57-0 win against South Africa--where everything clicked, most of their other games were impressive in patches at best.
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