Scoring, new caps, citings, and some strange comments from the weekend.
Dan Carter scored the most points on the weekend with 21 against Scotland. Second best? 20 points from an amazing 4 tries scored by Samoa’s Robert Lilomaiava in his test debut against Canada.
TRY OF THE WEEKEND
There were some great contenders, including Wesley Fofana’s beauty from a counter attack against Australia and Cory Jane’s classic team effort at Murrayfield, but for pure individual brilliance Fiji’s Nikola Matawalu takes the gong for his sensational score at Twickenham.
Thirty seven players enjoyed their inaugural senior international appearance on the weekend. Samoa handed a leading five players their first cap, including the youngest, aforementioned try scorer Lilomaiava, aged just 20 years and 226 days. Coincidentally the oldest newcomer lined up on the opposing team in the same match. Hooker Ray Barkwill was 32 years and 75 days old while marching out for the first time for Canada. The average age of the debutants was 25.
The other newcomers were: Paddy Ryan (Australia); Eric Wilson (Canada); Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs, and Joe Launchbury (England); Manasa Saulo, Api Ratuniyarawa, and Samu Wara (Fiji); Yannick Forestier, Jocelino Suta, and Sebastien Vaha’amahina (France); Richardt Strauss, David Kilcoyne, Michael Bent, and Iain Henderson (Ireland); Tommas Iannone (Italy); Michael Broadhurst (Japan); Dane Coles and Tawera Kerr-Barlow (New Zealand); Petru Tamba, Horatiu Pungea, Andrei Filip, and Ionut Florea (Romania); Gleb Babkin (Russia); Ropeti Lafo, Filo Paulo, Tivani Foma’i, and Setaimata Sa (Samoa); Henry Pyrgos (Scotland); Elvis Taione and Sione Piukala (Tonga); Zach Fenoglio, John Quill, Toby L’Estrange, and Cornelius Dirksen (United States); and Aaron Jarvis (Wales).
The most bizarre comment from a television pundit this weekend has to go to Fox’s Rod Kafer. Tugboat is usually pretty fair in his analysis, but you have to wonder what he was thinking when he said: “That’s a tough one because Domingo stands up on that loosehead side first.” This coming after referee Nigel Owens awarded a penalty try to the French following the complete disintegration of the Wallaby scrum. It’s even more bizarre given that not only had Australia been blasted all game in that area, but Kafer himself comments on Benn Robinson’s attempt to immediately collapse that exact scrum only moments before. In case you missed it, here it is.
There were two citings from the weekend, one for Adam Thomson and one for Rob Simmons. The latter was for a reckless tackle on Yannick Nyanga, the former was just stupidity on the part of Thomson after he stepped on Al Strokosch’s head. It’s likely that both have seen their last action for their respective tours.
GOODBYE DR. PHIL
The legendary Felipe Contepomi was a surprise call up for Argentina after he had initially retired from international rugby following the June tests, but his professional days might have come to a sad end after suffering a serious knee injury in Saturday against Wales. After a sterling career spanning fourteen years and 79 caps Felipe, known affectionately as Dr. Phil because of his medical degree, will go down as one of the great Pumas of the modern era, if not of all time. Check out this nice tribute video for some classic moments.
Jamie Roberts and Alun Wyn Jones were also early injury casualties in Cardiff, with Roberts suffering concussion and Jones damaging his AC joint. Both are almost certainly out for the Samoa test and questionable for the remainder of November.
Already on the way home is Springbok loosehead Tendai Mtawarira, who was a late withdrawal from the Ireland test. The Beast has had some heart problems and has been replaced by Stormers tighthead Frans Malherbe.
Another to wish his side goodbye is Fiji’s best forward Akapusi Qera, but for different reasons. Apparently his club side Gloucester require his services more so than his country, a problem that the IRB need to sort out sooner than later. Toulouse winger Timoci Matanavou has been called in his place.