The home nations autumn test update

WalesWRU vs ARU

Current form so far: LW

Wales 15 – 24 South Africa

Wales 40 – 6 Argentina

The loss against South Africa in the first week was a gruesome and a hard hitting game. With both teams making many errors throughout the game,  it was hard to watch at times. Regardless of the loss, Wales proved themselves against Argentina in their next match.

Looking at Wales’ poor Autumn Test form, before the win against Argentina, Wales had not won an autumn international since 2009. This poor record was demolished when Wales ran rampant against the Argentinian squad. Tries by Phillips, North, Falatau and Owen, all converted along with four well struck penalties by Leigh Halfpenny was enough to end their torment.

Remaining fixtures:

Wales vs Tonga (Friday 22nd November 2013)

Wales vs Australia (Saturday 30th November 2013)

EnglandERU vs NZRU

Current form: WWL

England 20 – 13 Australia

England 31 – 12 Argentina

England 22 – 30 New Zealand

England had an impressive autumn test in their three games. Starting with a home tie with Australia, England impressed the home fans with a victory over Australia. Two converted tries from Robshaw and Farrell, with two penalties from Farrell, was enough to earn the victory over the Aussies. A good start.

Building on this, Argentina were up next. Although they held strong for the start of the match, the pressure of playing England overcame them and they ended up losing the game. With tries coming from Launchbury, Twelvetrees, Ashton and Morgan, and a penalty kicked by farrell, England overcame their second test.

Their final test match of the Autumn came when world champions New Zealand visited Twickenham last weekend. England proved to really push the All Blacks and put on an impressive showing where they took a 22-20 lead before conceding a try and penalty to lose the game.

IrelandIRU vs ARU

Current form so far: WL

Ireland 40 – 9 Samoa

Ireland 15 – 32 Australia

The Republic of Ireland began their autumn tests with a massive victory against Samoa, a tough opponent for most due to them being an extremely physical side. Two tries by Kearney, tries coming from O’Mahony, O’Brien and McFadden along with three penalties kicked by Jackson was enough to dominate this one.

Following the victory, Ireland faced a tough test match against the Wallabies. In the end, Australia proved to be too much for the Irishmen and ended up losing the game, with New Zealand still to face, can Ireland pull off an upset?

Remaining fixture:

Ireland vs New Zealand (Sunday 24th November 2013)

ScotlandSRU vs SARU

Current form so far: WL

Scotland 42 – 17 Japan

Scotland 0 – 28 South Africa

Scotland, like Ireland started their test by scoring more than 40 points in their first game to claim a first victory. Tries coming from Laidlaw, Dickinson, Weir, Lamont and two from Seymour as well as two penalties struck by Laidlaw was plenty to put Japan down as a victory for the Scots.

However, their test took a rotten turn when South Africa visited Murrayfield. South Africa completely blocked Scotland out, showing a fantastic all round play to score 28 points and concede none. It looks ominous for Scotland for their next test match against Australia on Saturday.

Remaining fixture:

Scotland vs Australia (Saturday 23rd November 2013)

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Referee Refusal Ruffles a few Feathers!

When it comes to comparing football and rugby, it is safe to say that people involved with rugby have a lot more class and respect for one another. But it is hard to compare the sports, more the attitudes of the people involved.

A red card was dealt by referee Alain Rolland back in the Rugby Union World Cup 2011. This decision was later and still is labelled by many as controversial. Rolland gave Wales captain Sam Warburton a straight red card for this tackle on Vincent Clerc in the semi-final where France went on to win the game.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLpptT_nCp0

In what was a tightly contested affair, the game ending 9-8 to France, the card was issued just 18 minutes into the 80 minute match. Rolland received a lot of criticism from everyone in Wales as well as its coaching staff. If I remember correctly, even the commentators were shocked with his decision.

One of the many reasons for the outrage was the choice in referee in the first place. In my opinion, a referee who is both Irish and French should not be officiating a game where Wales and France were involved, especially in a world cup where Wales knocked Ireland out in the quarter finals. But that is my opinion.

ImageWarren Gatland

Ahead of the Autumn Test match against South Africa on Saturday, it has been widely reported that Warren Gatland, Wales first team coach, will not take the opportunity to meet with Alain Rolland before the game.

Although I understand the resentment towards the referee, I also disapprove of his decision. Gatland must show his professionalism and not hold grudges. Especially as it is the referee in a game as big as the one on Saturday. In a massive game like facing South Africa, Wales cannot afford the official to have any excuse for a bias towards the away side. But that also depends on the referee himself. He will hopefully be trying to prove his professionalism as a referee and not allow off the pitch events to have an effect on the way he officiates. But only time will tell I suppose.

Good luck to Wales on the weekend, hoping for a win. My prediction is a tightly contested game with the final score leaning in South Africa’s favour at 10-13.