In Review – Saturday’s Tests

It was a fine day of rugby all around on Saturday, with plenty of exciting football on display. The highlight reels will be full of individual magic and big hits.


Saturday, June 22, 07:35 GMT, New Plymouth

A subtle reminder that you write France off at your peril. They didn’t emerge victorious, but on the back of a hiding they put in a more than creditable performance and showed once again that New Zealand are indeed mortal even at home. The scoreline flattered the All Blacks somewhat as Beauden Barrett scored on the last play of the game, and Jean-Marc Doussain missed two very kickable penalties.

France might not have been magical, but they were supremely committed in the forwards and ran hard all night. Remi Tales was impressive in his first start, and Thierry Dusautoir put in another wonderful tackling performance. New Zealand countered with a strong team game, but special mention should go to the outside backs, particularly Ben Smith who has been excellent throughout the series.

The French will now enjoy some brief holidays at the back end of a ridiculously long a punishing domestic season. Philippe Saint-Andre is probably no closer to finding his preferred XV than when he left, but if he can at least stick with Tales a little longer at no10 he will have got something right. The All Blacks still looked a bit unpolished but have enjoyed a good warm-up heading into what should be a highly contested Rugby Championship.

New Zealand – D. Carter 1c 4p, B. Smith 1t, B. Barrett 1t
France – J.-M. Doussain 2p, F. Fritz 1d

France – Y. Maestri yellow

I. Dagg; B. Smith, C. Smith, M. Nonu (B. Barrett 77), R. Ranger (C. Piutau 73); D. Carter, P. Weepu (T. Kerr-Barlow 41); W. Crockett (T. Woodcock 41), A. Hore (K. Mealamu 63), O. Franks; L. Romano, S. Whitelock; V. Vito (S. Luatua 70), S. Cane (M. Todd 73), K. Read (capt.).

B. Dulin; Y. Huget (M. Bastareaud 4-10), F. Fritz (M. Bastareaud 63), W. Fofana, M. Andreu; R. Tales (C. Lopez 72), J.-M. Doussain (M. Machenaud 59); T. Domingo (E. Ben Arous 65), B. Kayser (D. Swarzewski 65), N. Mas (L. Ducalcon 65); A. Flanquart (S. Vaha’amahina 59), Y. Maestri; T. Dusautoir (capt.), D. Chouly, A. Claassen (B. Le Roux 72).


Saturday, June 22, 10:00 GMT, Brisbane

Well if you were looking up the definition of a test match in a book, this one could easily be given as an example. It was an excellent game of rugby, full of just about everything. The Lions looked to have some dominance in the forwards in the early thing, but credit to James Horwill and his pack as they stepped it up and took everything that was thrown at them.

Moments of individual brilliance defined the match. Both George North and Alex Cuthbert had excellent scoring runs, and the only thing that could have made Israel Folau’s debut any better would have been a Wallaby victory. Kurtley Beale looked as good as ever and if there was any doubt as to whether he should start the next test, surely there can’t be now.

Robbie Deans faces an anxious week as Christian Leali’ifano was concussed in the first minute, followed by Berrick Barnes just before the half. Pat McCabe may have aggravated an old neck injury, Adam Ashley-Cooper appears to have damaged a shoulder, and Digby Ioane didn’t look particularly comfortable by the end either.. With an already significant injury list, losing any further players would be a terrible blow.

The Lions will be ecstatic with the win, despite very nearly losing it at the end. In fact the result might have been very different had any of four missed kicks gone over. They’ll need to tighten up their work at the breakdown after giving away several soft penalties, but don’t expect many, if any, changes to the lineup. You could be forgiven for ignoring the mid-week match against the Rebels, let’s have round two already!

Australia – J. O’Connor 1c 1p, K. Beale 1c 1p, I. Folau 2t
Lions – L. Halfpenny 2c 3p, G. North 1t, A. Cuthbert 1t

B. Barnes (K. Beale 38); I. Folau, A. Ashley-Cooper (N. Phipps 76), C. Leali’ifano (P. McCabe 1 {L. Gill 47}), D. Ioane; J. O’Connor, W. Genia; B. Robinson (J. Slipper 68), S. Moore, B. Alexander (S. Kepu 57); K. Douglas (R. Simmons 68), J. Horwill (capt.); B. Mowen, M. Hooper, W. Palu.

L. Halfpenny; A. Cuthbert, B. O’Driscoll, J. Davies, G. North; J. Sexton, M. Phillips (B. Youngs 62); A. Corbisiero (M. Vunipola 51), T. Youngs (R. Hibbard 64), A. Jones (D. Cole 51); A.W. Jones (G. Parling 71), P. O’Connell; T. Croft (D. Lydiate 72), S. Warburton (capt.), J. Heaslip.


Saturday, June 22, 12:15 GMT, Pretoria

Both teams were throwing the ball around with reckless abandon in the first half of a match short on intensity but high on adventure. It was absolute mayhem for forty minutes with the score deadlocked at the break, but the rarefied air of the Highveld combined with the searing heat seemed to take its toll as the second half all but slowed to a crawl.

Three second half penalties kicked by Alberto Di Bernardo appeared to put Italy out of reach, but a last gasp effort by Scotland led to an Alasdair Strokosch try on the full time whistle. Greig Laidlaw converted and his men celebrated a terrific escape. Sergio Parisse will be kicking himself for making the critical defensive error that opened the gap that allowed the final score. It was a fair result for the Scots, who were perhaps unlucky to have a try called back earlier on a fifty-fifty forward pass decision.

Italy – A. Di Bernardo 2c 4p, L. Sarto 1t, Pen try
Scotland – G. Laidlaw 3c 4p, M. Scott 1t, S. Lamont 1t, A. Strokosch 1t

A. Masi; L. Sarto (L. McLean 60), L. Morisi (G. Canale 52), A. Sgarbi, G. Venditti; A. Di Bernardo, T. Botes (A. Chillon 69); M. Aguero (A. de Marchi 47), D. Giazzon (L. Ghiraldini 47), M. Castrogiovanni (L. Cittadini 49); L. Cedaro (A. Pavanello 52), M. Bortolami (A. Zanni 49); J. Furno, R. Barbieri, S. Parisse (capt.).

P. Murchie (D. Taylor 58); T. Seymour (T. Visser 44), A. Dunbar, M. Scott, S. Lamont; T. Heathcote (H. Pyrgos 49), G. Laidlaw (capt.); A. Dickinson (M. Low 49), S. Lawson (F. Brown 72), E. Murray (J. Welsh 72); T. Swinson (G. Gilchrist 58), A. Kellock; D. Denton, A. Strokosch, J. Beattie (R. Harley 60).


Saturday, June 22, 15:15 GMT, Pretoria

After being absolutely thumped in the first half and down 32-9 at the break, Samoa came out with all guns blazing in the second half and looked to be clawing their way back into the game until a moment of madness from Alesana Tuilagi effectively ended the contest. The big winger had been playing well but put in a terrible head-high shoulder charge on Jean de Villiers that earned him an early shower. It was a tough pill to swallow for the Manu who had been playing some scintillating rugby.

The result after that was never in question, and truthfully from the start of the tournament there was only ever going to be one winner. The technical acumen of the Springbok pack combined with their size and strength makes them an incredibly difficult adversary to overcome. Morne Steyn’s tactical kicking kept Samoa on the back foot and when South Africa got in scoring range they were clinical in their execution.

The Manu will now return to their club sides until reuniting for the November tests. South Africa will enjoy a few days of ice baths to recover from the massive Samoan tackles, and then prepare for the gruelling Rugby Championship.

South Africa – M. Steyn 3c 2p 1t, P. Lambie 2c, B. Habana 2t, F. Louw 2t, J.J. Engelbrecht 1t, B. Basson 1t, T. Nyakane 1t
Samoa – J. So’oialo 1c 3p, P. Williams 1c, F. Paulo 1t, J. Poluleuligaga 1t

South Africa – B. Habana yellow
Samoa – A. Tuilagi red

W. le Roux; B. Habana, J.J. Engelbrecht, J. de Villiers (capt.) (J. Serfontein 71), B. Basson; M. Steyn (P. Lambie 64), R. Pienaar (P. van Zyl 67); T. Mtawarira (C. Oosthuizen 57), A. Strauss (B. du Plessis 59), J. du Plessis (T. Nyakane 67); E. Etzebeth, F. van der Merwe (J. Kruger 71); F. Louw, W. Alberts, P. Spies (S. Kolisi HT {J. Kruger 48-53}).

J. So’oialo (S. Mapusua 58); A. Leiua (B. Va’aulu 58), P. Williams (capt.), J. Leota (S. Mapusua 21-26), A. Tuilagi; T. Pisi, J. Su’a (J. Poluleuligaga 64); S. Taulafo (C. Johnston 57), O. Avei (T. Paulo 53), L. Mulipola (J. Johnston 67); F. Paulo (K. Thompson 53), D. Leo; O. Treviranus (A. Fa’osiliva 67), J. Lam, T. Tuifu’a.


Saturday, June 22, 19:10 GMT, San Juan

A late try by scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli sealed a victory for Argentina. In a penalty-riddled match fullback Martin Bustos Moyano scored 24 points through the boot, with opposite number Beka Tsiklauri claiming all 18 of Georgia’s points. A disappointing effort from the Lelos who had a golden opportunity to claim victory over an under strength Pumas side.

Argentina – M. Bustos Moyano 8p, T. Cubelli 1t
Georgia – B. Tsiklauri 5p 1d

M. Bustos Moyano (B. Urdapilleta 72); B. Agulla, M. Orlando, G. Tiesi (capt.) (G. Ascarate 68), T. Carrio; B. Madero, T. Cubelli; G. Roan (B. Postiglioni 78), M. Garcia Veiga (M. Guidone 79), M. Bustos (F. Gomez Kodela 79); E. Lozada (T. Vallejos 60), M. Galarza; R. Baez, T. de la Vega (T. Leonardi 60), B. Macome.

B. Tsiklauri (I. Kiasashvili 71); I. Machkhaneli (capt.), D. Kacharava, M. Sharikadze, T. Mchedlidze; L. Khmaladze (L. Malaguradze 66), G. Begadze (V. Khutsishvili 66); V. Kakovin (A. Peikrishvili 63), J. Bregvadze (R. Belkania 71), D. Zirakashvili (D. Zirakashvili 71); V. Maisuradze (G. Nemsadze 60), L. Datunashvili; S. Sutiashvili, V. Kolelishvili, G. Chkhaidze.

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