The second of two sets of reviews, this time featuring the games in South Africa, Argentina, Canada, and the United States.
You know things are bad when George Clancy is berating both captains for failing to produce a better spectacle. As expected the match played out more like an up-tempo training session than a real contest. A view brief moments of clarity, largely inspired by Bryan Habana, shone through an otherwise dull first half.
The second part wasn’t much better, with the World XV starting to feel their hangovers a little more and choosing to make defense, and the laws, optional. To their credit they still gave the Springboks problems in the scrum, something which Robin McBryde will no doubt have taken notes on, but they were far too reckless in the loose and conceded two weak yellow cards that removed any hope of parity. To tries in the final moments of the match stretched the gap to a pretty ugly number, but there were more than a few yawns drifting around the stands for most of the match.
South Africa – M. Steyn 2c 3p, J. Goosen 2c 1t, B. du Plessis 2t, B. Habana 1t, B. Botha 1t, W. le Roux 1t
World XV – J. O’Connor 1c 2p, A. Hargreaves 1t
World XV – M. Gorgodze y (48), J. Cowan y (73)
W. le Roux; C. Hendricks, J.P. Pietersen, F. Steyn, B. Habana (L. Mvovo 68); M. Steyn (J. Goosen 68), R. Pienaar (F. du Preez 50); T. Mtawarira (G. Steenkamp 64), B. du Plessis (S. Brits 60), J. du Plessis (C. Oosthuizen 64); B. Botha (F. van der Merwe 50), V. Matfield (capt.); F. Louw, W. Alberts (S. Burger 60), D. Vermeulen.
J. O’Connor; D. Mitchell (B. Stanley 62), R. Ranger, W. Olivier, H. Gear; M. Giteau (capt.) (F. Trinh-Duc 58), R. Kockott (J. Cowan 64); S. Taumalolo (S. Ferreira 55), C. Burden (A. Hore 47), C. Hayman (P. Cilliers 55); J. Kruger (J. Tekori HT), A. Hargreaves; M. Gorgodze, S. Armitage (A. Lapandry 62), R. Wilson.
Referee: G. Clancy (IRFU)
Assistants: L. van der Merwe (SARU) & Q. Immelman (SARU)
TMO: D. van Blommestein (SARU)
In the end Ireland took a comfortable victory, but had Argentina been more clinical with their chances the score might have been significantly closer. The first half was largely a stalemate with Manuel Montero’s scorching finish from a Nicolas Sanchez line break putting the Pumas in the lead, but Chris Henry clawed one back through the forwards a few minutes before the half. The tourists might have been unsettled but they regrouped and got back to business after the short rest.
Jonny Sexton and Andrew Trimble each scored well deserved tries to build up the gap, and two Ian Madigan penalties closed out any chance of a comeback. The Pumas got a late try from industrious flanker Tomas de la Vega later on as a reminder that they will be very much in the game next weekend. Both sides can be relatively pleased with their performance given their makeup, and both will look to turn it up a notch in the rematch in Tucuman.
Argentina – N. Sanchez 1c 1p, S. Gonzalez Iglesias 1c, M. Montero 1t, T. de la Vega 1t
Ireland – J. Sexton 1c 2p 1t, I. Madigan 2p, C. Henry 1t, A. Trimble 1t
Argentina – B. Macome y (28)
J. Tuculet (L. Gonzalez Amorosino 73); S. Cordero, J. de la Fuente, G. Ascarate, M. Montero; N. Sanchez (S. Gonzalez Iglesias 69), M. Landajo (capt.) (T. Cubelli 63); L. Noguera Paz (B. Postiglioni 75), M. Cortese (J. Montoya 59), R. Herrera (N. Tetaz Chaparro 57); M. Carizza (M. Alemanno HT), T. Lavanini; R. Baez (J. Ortega 63), T. de la Vega, B. Macome.
F. Jones; A. Trimble, D. Cave, L. Marshall (F. McFadden 56), S. Zebo; J. Sexton (I. Madigan 63), C. Murray (K. Marmion 57); J. McGrath (D. Kilcoyne 61), R. Best (D. Varley 68), M. Ross (R. Ah You 68); I. Henderson, P. O’Connell (capt.) (D. Toner 68); R. Diack, C. Henry, J. Murphy (J. Heaslip 57).
Referee: G. Jackson (NZRU)
Assistants: M. Fraser (NZRU) & J. van Heerden (SARU)
TMO: S. Veldsman (SARU)
The Maple Leafs blew a 16 point half-time lead by conceding 25 unanswered points in an abysmal second half display. The midfield defense leaked two terrible tries and there seemed to be no sense of urgency or direction after Yoshikazu Fujita’s try just moments after the break. Canada struggled at the set piece and didn’t play enough field position. Ayumu Goromaru kicked 19 points and punished the Canadians with nearly every opportunity.
It was a disappointing result after a very promising first half that included three tries and some very decent play in general. Gordon McRorie looked solid on debut and Taylor Paris was very sharp. Sadly it was all for naught and it’s back to the drawing board ahead of next week’s challenge against Scotland in Toronto in what will be the first big test of Tyler Ardron’s captaincy.
Canada – J. Pritchard 2c 2p, C. Hearn try, J. Moonlight 1t, T. Paris 1t
Japan – A. Goromaru 2c 5p, Y. Fujita 1t, Y. Tamura 1t, H. Tui 1t
Japan – S. Horie y (28)
J. Pritchard; J. Hassler, C. Hearn (DTH van der Merwe 63), N. Blevins, T. Paris; H. Jones (C. Braid 70), G. McRorie (P. Mack 55); H. Buydens (A. Tiedemann 55), R. Barkwill (B. Piffero 72), J. Marshall (J. Ilnicki 58); T. Hotson (J. Phelan 72), J. Cudmore; A. Kleeberger (A. Carpenter 51), J. Moonlight, T. Ardron (capt.).
A. Goromaru; Y. Fujita (T. Hirose 43), M. Sa’u, Y. Tamura, A. Yamada; H. Tatekawa, F. Tanaka; M. Mikami (H. Hirashima 51-60, 71), S. Horie, K. Hatakeyama (H. Yamashita 69); H. Ono (S. Ito 50), L. Thompson; J. Ives (H. Tui 8-19), M. Leitch (capt.) (S. Makabe 77), K. Holani (T. Kizu 31-38) (H. Tui 59).
Referee: L. Hodges (WRU)
Assistants: G. Garner (RFU) & N. Ricono (USAR)
Certainly on the lower scale of things, if not the lowest of the bunch from the weekend, a terrible game of rugby, ruined by countless scrum resets and aimless kicking. The Eagles were hopeless on attack, and smashed once again in the scrum. Eric Fry must be wondering what he has to do to get back on the loosehead side after another difficult outing at tighthead. Olive Kilifi didn’t fair any better, and thus far in his short international career is looking a questionable selection at best.
Scotland weren’t up to much either, though they were easily the better of the two sides. Finn Russell had a capable debut without doing anything extraordinary. Blair Cowan was a bit of a disappointment on the flank, and Stuart Hogg looked very rusty at fullback. Both teams should be glad to be out of the heat next weekend.
United States – C. Wyles 2p
Scotland – G. Laidlaw 3c 1p, T. Visser 1t, S. Hogg 1t, Penalty try (scrum)
United States – O. Kilifi y (29)
C. Wyles; B. Scully, S. Kelly, A. Suniula (F. Niua 19), L. Hume; S. Suniula, M. Petri (T. Maupin 68); O. Kilifi (T. Lamositele 53), P. Thiel (T. Coolican 18), E. Fry (N. Wallace HT); L. Stanfill (T. Tuisamoa 63), H. Smith (N. Wallace 29-39) (D. Barrett 54); T. Clever (capt.) (C. London 78-79), S. LaValla, C. Dolan.
S. Hogg (R. Jackson 74); S. Maitland, S. Lamont, D. Taylor (M. Evans 62), T. Visser; F. Russell, G. Laidlaw (capt.); G. Reid (A. Allan 55), S. Lawson (P. MacArthur 62), G. Cross (M. Low 43); R. Gray, J. Hamilton (G. Gilchrist 38); A. Strokosch (K. Low 62), B. Cowan, J. Beattie.
Referee: P. Gauzere (FFR)
Assistants: F. Pastrana (UAR) & C. Assmus (RC)
TMO: A. Hosie (RC)