Chalk up another win for the All Blacks, a complete of Argentina in Mendoza, and a game of who can play worse in Toronto as we review the weekend’s results.
NEW ZEALAND 27 vs 16 AUSTRALIA
Saturday, August 24, 07:35 GMT, Wellington
As if anyone doubted their class, New Zealand once again proved themselves superior in Bledisloe II at the Westpac. Tony Woodcock celebrated his century with a strong performance and a drink from the cup, and Tom Taylor did similarly in his test debut, albeit having been forced to retire from the match early in the 79th minute with a rib injury that looks likely to keep him out for the remainder of the tournament.
Australia showed up reasonably well but ultimately couldn’t contend with the pace of the All Black attack and commitment at the contact areas. Few Wallaby players stood out as exceptional and some will be lucky to make the squad against Argentina. It’s been a tough start to the job for Ewen McKenzie, but thankfully he won’t have to face the black jersey again until the middle of October.
New Zealand – T. Taylor 1c 3p, I. Dagg 1p, B. Smith 2t
Australia – C. Leali’ifano 1c 3p, I. Folau 1t
I. Dagg; B. Smith (C. Piutau 73-79), C. Smith, M. Nonu (C. Slade 76), J. Savea; T. Taylor (C. Piutau 79), A. Smith (T. Kerr-Barlow 70); T. Woodcock (W. Crockett 61), A. Hore (D. Coles 48), O. Franks (C. Faumuina 66); B. Retallick, S. Whitelock; S. Luatua, R. McCaw (capt.), K. Read.
J. Mogg; I. Folau, A. Ashley-Cooper (T. Kuridrani 63), C. Leali’ifano, J. O’Connor; M. To’omua (Q. Cooper 57), W. Genia (N. White 77); J. Slipper (S. Sio 35), S. Moore (S. Fainga’a 77), B. Alexander (S. Kepu 54); R. Simmons (K. Douglas 71), J. Horwill (capt.); S. Fardy, M. Hooper, B. Mowen (L. Gill 65).
ARGENTINA 17 vs 22 SOUTH AFRICA
Saturday, August 24, 19:10 GMT, Mendoza
What a difference a week makes! How many times have we said that before? Despite being forced to make do without three key players from the week before, the Pumas were infinitely better in just about everything at the Estadio Malvinas. The back row in particular were superb and in fact got the best of their opponents, with the rest of the forwards redeeming themselves for the debacle in Soweto.
The Springboks came out flat, and it wasn’t until the 71st minute when Morne Steyn’s fourth penalty goal of the game finally dug them out of the whole. Were it not for Steyn’s boot it could well have been a famous Argentine victory, but alas their elusive first win in the championship will have to wait for another week. Heyneke Meyer will be relieved that his side pulled it out after spending so long on the wrong end of the scoreboard, and content that they move on from a potential banana peel with two solid victories under their belt.
Argentina – F. Contepomi 2c 1p, J.M. Leguizamon 1t, M. Bosch 1t
South Africa – M. Steyn 1c 5p, B. Basson 1t
L. Gonzalez Amorosino; G. Camacho, M. Bosch, F. Contepomi (capt.) (S. Fernandez 48), H. Agulla; N. Sanchez, M. Landajo (T. Cubelli 57); M. Ayerza, E. Guinazu (A. Creevy 66), J. Figallo; J. Farias Cabello, M. Galarza (T. Lavanini 74); P. Matera, J.M. Leguizamon, L. Senatore (B. Macome 61).
W. le Roux; B. Habana, J.J. Engelbrecht (J. Serfontein 68), J. de Villiers (capt.), B. Basson (P. Lambie 62); M. Steyn, R. Pienaar; T. Mtawarira (G. Steenkamp 58), A. Strauss (B. du Plessis 53), J. du Plessis (C. Oosthuizen 68); E. Etzebeth, J. Kruger (F. van der Merwe 57); F. Louw, W. Alberts (S. Kolisi 68), D. Vermeulen.
CANADA 13 vs 11 UNITED STATES
Saturday, August 24, 23:00 GMT, Toronto
In a thoroughly forgettable encounter, Canada earned their ticket to the 2015 World Cup with a lacklustre performance against a slightly less impressive United States side. The latter’s effort was greater than that of a week before, but only slightly more so and certainly nowhere near the required level to earn a victory. Both teams conceded numerous penalties and mistakes, and neither seemed willing to open up and play in front of the more than 10,000 bored attendees in the stands.
Kieran Crowley can now officially begin his planning for England that will begin first with a shot at the Maori in Toronto and then a European tour in November. The Americans must overcome a beatable but difficult Uruguayan side in the hopes of avoiding further qualifying via the repechage. This now looks to take place in the spring of next year, but whether or not that includes current head coach Mike Tolkin has yet to be seen.
Canada – J. Pritchard 1p 1t, J. Marshall 1t
United States – C. Wyles 2p, T. Ngwenya 1t
Canada – N. Dala yellow (65)
J. Pritchard (N. Hirayama 67); M. Evans, C. Hearn, N. Blevins (P. Mackenzie 73), D.T.H. van der Merwe; H. Jones, P. Mack (S. White 64); A. Tiedemann (T. Dolezel HT), R. Barkwill, J. Marshall (D. Wooldridge 76); J. Phelan (N. Dala 56), T. Hotson; J. Sinclair, J. Moonlight, A. Carpenter (capt.).
B. Scully; T. Ngwenya, C. Wyles, A. Suniula (R. Suniula 62), L. Hume; T. L’Estrange, R. Shaw (M. Petri 56); S. Pittman, C. Biller (Z. Fenoglio 68), E. Fry (T. Lamositele 50); L. Stanfill (C. Dolan 56), B. Doyle; S. LaValla, P. Dahl (D. Asbun 70), T. Clever (capt.).