LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND – OCTOBER 02: A Wales fan holds up a sign about Dan Carter of the All Blacks during the IRB Rugby World Cup Pool D match between Wales and Fiji at Waikato Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images) Fans have put in the effort this tournamentIn today’s RWC Daily we have reaction from the first two quarter-finals and the four competing northern hemisphere teams, as well as talk with some of the fans enjoying the atmosphere on and off the field in New Zealand.
Bowled over: Fergus McFadden and Gordon D’Arcy can’t stop George NorthDeclan Kidney said Ireland should have gone for “the jugular” when they had the chance. After all, they led at the break despite Wales dominating possession and surrendered an eight-point lead in the second half. Also (before the tackle/penalty debate lures it’s ugly head again) when Ireland were ahead with two minutes remaining, how did they allow Wales to make 50 metres from the restart and get themselves into a penalty-scoring position anyway?Throughout the match, Ireland were left short in defence – not through a lack of effort but due to an overzealous desire to compete for the ball at the breakdown. With the back row busy trying to steal the ball on the floor, it allowed Wales to create overlaps and subsequently, score tries. In contrast, the Welsh spread out in defence quickly and negated Ireland’s attacks.That’s not to say there weren’t positives in Ireland’s play as they did dominate the lineout and were strong in the scrum. As someone said to me afterwards: “If you could put the Welsh back-line alongside the Irish forward pack that would be some team.” The thing is that Ireland do have a talented back-line, but in comparison to Wales, they were too rigid. There was the notable absence of Brian O’Driscoll and without him they didn’t seem prepared to take the risks of their young Welsh counterparts like Jonathan Davies and George North, who are simply a delight to watch. For Fergus McFadden, pulling on the No 13 jersey came with a fierce amount of pressure and unfortunately, like Gordon D’Arcy inside him, he was completely contained by Wales.Nowadays perhaps the reason Ireland fans get so frustrated by defeats like this is because the talent is there, we’ve experienced success and long gone are the days when we were happy just to put on a good show. All but one of Ireland’s starting XV against Wales will feature in this year’s Heineken Cup quarter-finals. So if that competition is supposed to be as close to international rugby as you can get, then why isn’t it translating on to the national side? Maybe it will after a couple of games but with a trip to Stade de France just days away, there isn’t much time to waste. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Leading man: Paul O’Connell shows his determination by charging at Huw Bennett – but he couldn’t lead Ireland to victoryBy Claire Glancy“We were robbed!” “Red card!” “Heartbreaking.”THOSE ARE just some of the messages that flooded my mobile on Sunday after Ireland’s 23-21 defeat by Wales. The talk all week had been that Ireland were out for revenge. They were going to right the wrongs from their defeat to Wales in the World Cup and get pay back for that Mike Phillips try in last year’s Six Nations.But unlike many other Ireland fans, after this year’s showdown I was left feeling disappointed rather than angry. Had Ireland been cheated or did they throw it away?Yes, Bradley Davies should have been given a red card. And yes, Stephen Ferris receiving the same punishment for a tackle that wasn’t nearly as bad was harsh. The tackling laws and punishments are a debate in themselves but undoubtedly consistency is key. That way the game itself and not the referee would dominate post-match discussions. The bottom line is that the laws are there for players safety and as aggrieved as we might feel when ‘our’ player is at the wrong end of the decision, the most important thing is that Donnacha Ryan and Ian Evans both walked away unhurt.On that note, and to avoid Wayne Barnes taking up this entire piece, let’s move on. NOT FOR FEATURED
“It will be a massive challenge going to the Stade de France and playing against an experienced and unbeaten French side but we are excited about the opportunity and want to do the country proud.” Off to a flyer: Owen Farrell retains the England No 10 after impressing against Wales two weeks agoSTUART LANCASTER has picked an unchanged England starting XV to play France in Paris in the RBS 6 Nations on Sunday afternoon.The only changes from the England 22 that lost 19-12 to Wales come on the bench with Stade Francais lock Tom Palmer replacing the injured Courtney Lawes and fit-again Charlie Hodgson, the Saracens fly-half, coming in for Toby Flood.Return: Tom Palmer is in the 22England have won on two of their last three visits to Paris, 24-13 in the 2008 Six Nations and 14-9 in the 2007 World Cup, and head coach Lancaster is feeling positive about the match as his team look to bounce back from the Wales defeat.“We’ve had a good week following on from the Loughborough training camp and the players have been very positive and focused,” said Lancaster. “We were really disappointed to lose to Wales but we took a lot out of the performance and felt it was right to pick the same starting team to go to Paris. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS NOT FOR FEATURED ENGLAND TEAM TO PLAY FRANCE, SUNDAY 11 MARCH, STADE DE FRANCEBen Foden; Chris Ashton, Manu Tuilagi, Brad Barritt, David Strettle; Owen Farrell, Lee Dickson; Alex Corbisiero, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Mouritz Botha, Geoff Parling, Tom Croft, Chris Robshaw (captain), Ben Morgan.Replacements: Rob Webber, Matt Stevens, Tom Palmer, Phil Dowson, Ben Youngs, Charlie Hodgson, Mike Brown.
Barkley plans to bring in residential camps next year and is running his first KICK Elektrik camp in August for those aged 14 to 18, with Ireland’s kicking guru Mark Tainton. By signing up to the newsletter and putting ‘KICK’ after your name, you could receive one of the 30 free places on the camp.Prices for his coaching camps this year range from £59 to £159 for one-, two- or three-day camps – and he is offering Rugby World readers a 20% discount – simply enter the code RW20 when booking at elektrik3.com.The dates and venues are:20, 21 & 22 July Colston’s School, Bristol LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Branching out: Olly Barkley has enjoyed developing his Elektrik 3 coaching campsBATH’S OLLY BARKLEY is still only 30 so is sure to have a good few years left playing professional rugby, but he is already planning for life post-retirement. The centre has set up Elektrik Events and plans to branch out into music and other sports, but for now the focus is on his rugby camps for children aged eight to 16.So what makes the Olly Barkley Rugby Academy different from other coaching camps? For a start, his standing means he is able to call on star names like Lewis Moody, Chris Ashton, Freddie Burns and Matt Banahan to help with the coaching and take part in Q&As.Interestingly, he picks players who fit with his rugby aesthetic, saying: “The rugby we try to push at the camps is to look for space and not be scared to take people on.”Crowd pleaser: Lewis Moody signs autographsAnother big focus of the camps is nutrition – and he educates parents as well as children. “I was seeing kids pull out packed lunches with all sorts of nasty things in them, so I decided I wanted a bigger focus arounda nutrition programme, even if it meant cutting back on profits,” he says.“I got advice from Matt Lovell, the England nutritionist, on menus. We’re not going to get egg whites down their necks, but we wanted to produce a healthy menu they wouldn’t turn their noses up at and then educate them on why and what they’re eating.”Barkley’s aim is for the coaching camps to be a “professional experience” and they take in key areas like recovery, but he also wants them to be fun.He says: “It’s nice to see kids have a good time with something you’ve worked so hard at. The feedback we’ve had is humbling. It’s good to know that the product works and the kids say they’re taking things back to their clubs too.” 28, 29 & 30 July Chippenham RFC24, 25 & 26 October Moulsford, Oxford
A precis: for the opening match of the Six Nations against England, PSA selected Medard on the left wing but then dropped him for Bonneval for the visit of Italy a week later. The young Stade Francais player scored a wonderful try on his debut and against Wales made the most of the limited ball that he received. Now Bonneval is dropped out and Medard is back. There’s nothing like nurturing young talent…Chop and change: Maxime Medard is back in tow, againBonneval isn’t even on the bench, instead he and Wenceslas Lauret are the 24th and 25th players in the squad, in other words the water carriers. Lauret, just to remind you, was brought in for the Wales match and is surplus to requirements eighty minutes later.Let’s cut to the quick: PSA seems to be losing the plot in much the same way Martin Johnson began to unravel in the last months of his disastrous reign. As Pierre Berbizier, PSA’s former coach at international level, said recently, he seems “sad” and lacking in vitality. In his demeanour perhaps, but certainly not in his team selection, which is nothing if not frenetic. France XV vs Scotland: 15. Dulin 14. Huget 13. Bastareaud, 12. Mermoz, 11. Médard 10. Plisson, 9.Machenaud 8. Chouly 7. Lapandry, 6. Vahaamahina 5. Maestri 4. Papé (cap.) 3.Mas 2. Mach 1. Domingo.Bench: Guirado, Forestier, Slimani, Flanquart, Bruni, Doussain, Tales, Mermoz Link man: Maxime Machenaud has been brought back in to the lineup to provide snappy service at the baseBy Gavin MortimerJUST WHEN you thought Philippe Saint-Andre’s (PSA) selections couldn’t get any stranger, the France coach goes and proves us all wrong. In announcing his starting XV for the trip to Scotland, PSA has made seven changes to the side that slumped to a 27-6 defeat to Wales a fortnight ago.There’s a whole new back row in No 8 Damien Chouly and flankers Alexandre Lapandry and Sébastien Vahaamahina, replacing that of Yannick Nyanga (injured), Louis Picamoles (dropped for disciplinary reasons) and Wencelas Lauret (just dropped). Sure, the 22-year-old Vahaamahina is big and powerful, but also pretty slow, even as a lock, the position he normally occupies for Perpignan. So to suddenly ask him do a job on the blind-side is bullish and also an indication of PSA’s conservative game plan for Saturday.In the front row Castres hooker Brice Mach is handed his first start for France two weeks after making his debut from the bench against Wales. He’s a tidy player, Mach, but were it not for injuries to Benjamin Kayser and Dimitri Szarzewski he wouldn’t be where he is now.Tried & tested: Bastareaud brings stabilityBehind the pack Saint-Andre has paired Jules Plisson with Maxime Machenaud, a partnership that should give the young fly-half a better service and a cooler brain. Machenaud not only replaces Jean-Marc Doussain at scrum-half but as goalkicker, too, with France praying he can find the consistency that they crave. Earlier in the week, Midi Oympique revealed that in their 11 Test matches last year, France succeeded with just 66 percent of their attempts at goal compared to the 78 success rate achieved by the All Blacks in the same period. Until they find a goalkicker who can pot his goals with the regularity required at this level France will never become serious contenders for the World Cup.In the threequarters PSA persists with Mathieu Bastareaud, showing the same sort of dogged faith in his ability to come good on the international stage as England coach Roy Hodgson entrusts in Wayne Rooney. With Wesley Fofana out of the tournament with a rib injury, PSA has opted to bring in Maxime Mermoz alongside Bastareaud, leaving the exciting Gael Fickou to warm his derriere on the bench. It’s a baffling decision, but then so is the selection of Maxime Medard on the wing in place of Hugo Bonneval. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS France’s Maxime Medard passes the ball during the France team run practice at The Millennium stadium in Cardiff, south Wales, on February 20, 2014, on the eve of their Six Nations international rugby union match against Wales. AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES — RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)
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Warren Gatland will be finishing the final touches to his 31-man squad which will be announced tomorrow at 1pm. Will there be any surprises? Lloyd WilliamsThe player widely credited with forcing Mike Phillips out of the squad, Williams, a tourist in 2011 with Wales, has fought his way back to form and fitness and his sharpness at Wales’ fitness camps have impressed Wales coaches enough to ink him in.Fly-halfDan BiggarMaligned in his early career, Biggar has shown the strength-of-character to battle back and form a respected half-back partnership with Webb. A top-class goalkicker in his own right – he has over 1900 points for the Ospreys and Wales – he offers valuable back up to Halfpenny but is a brilliant organiser and brave exponent of the kick and catch.Orchestrator: Dan Biggar has turned into a commanding presence in the 10 slotRhys PriestlandPriestland was one of the surprise packages of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and he is highly-rated within the Wales ranks for his gifts as a distributor and kicking from hand. A confidence-player, he has had his ups and downs, but is clear No 2 to Dan Biggar for the 10 slot.Utility backGareth AnscombeAnscombe’s organisational skills were duly noted against Ireland in Cardiff, with his weighted pass for Alex Cuthbert’s late try, was an example of his vision. His ability to play at 15 earns him the nod, unless he ruled out due to a rolled ankle in training. If he’s too much of a risk, Matthew Morgan is first in line for a call-up.CentresJamie RobertsA talisman of Warren Gatland’s squad, Roberts is a double-Lion, Grand Slam winner and defensive captain, and is essential to Wales’ ability to get over the gainline. The 6ft 4in, 17st 4lb centre has a better handling game than many give him credit for.Match-winner: Scott Williams has the ability to puncture the defensive line and score important triesScott WilliamsMore used to inside-centre, Williams will be called on to cover Jonathan Davies’ position in the outside midfield channel where he’ll have more responsibility defensively. A powerful ball-carrier, he has the speed to slice through gaps and has a knack of scoring key tries.Tyler MorganMorgan’s place in the squad is assured due to Davies’ injury. Only 20, he is highly-regarded within the Wales management earning a dual-contract at 19, and despite a nervy debut against Ireland, his strength, ability to pick clever lines and solid defence earn him a spot.WingsGeorge NorthNorth made a welcome return to international rugby after a well-documented break from the game, to become the youngest international to reach 50 caps. Immensely powerful, swift of foot and a good footballer, he is one of Wales’ match-winners. Can cover at 13 if called upon.Power-play: George North has scored 20 tries in 50 appearances for WalesAlex CuthbertCuthbert hasn’t been in the best of form in the last 12 months. He’s lost confidence and doesn’t seem to be finding the gaps he had when scoring 14 tries in his first 28 Wales appearances. However, he has shown he can cut-it at the top-level and presents less of a leap of faith from the talented, Walker.Hallam AmosAmos is prodigiously talented 20-year-old. The top carrier in the Challenge Cup with 510m, he’s able to play anywhere in the back three and is a useful left-footed kicking option.Full-backLeigh HalfpennyAnother go-to man for Gatland, Halfpenny is arguably the world’s best place kicker, with 493pts already racked up. He is brilliant positionally, extremely brave in defence and a fine proponent of the kick and collect. Worth his weight in, er, golden boots.Metronome: Leigh Halfpenny is one of the world’s best kickersLiam WilliamsWilliams has become one of Wales’ most important players. A full-back by nature, he loves breaking into the line from deep, is ferocious in defence and taking the high-ball. Will more likely cover at wing, if he’s recovered from a foot injury.Out of squadAaron JarvisDom DayEli WalkerMatthew MorganScott AndrewsCory AllenJames King This may not be the squad Warren Gatland pick tomorrow at midday but it’s the squad we believe he should pick. Sadly there is no place for Eli Walker, Matthew Morgan or James King for the reasons given, but it has power, experience and a smattering of stardust that will equip Wales with a squad that will be respected, if not feared at the World Cup.What do you think? Do you agree with the squad? Let us know @rugbyworldmag or on Facebook @RugbyworldmagazineWales 31-man squad (17-14 split)PropsGethin JenkinsWhat can you say? Became the most capped lock forward of all time against Ireland, with 120 Test run outs. Jenkins is rock-solid over the ball, able to hold his own at the set-piece and acts an auxiliary back-row at the breakdown. Adds leadership experience and is respected by all.Paul JamesPossesses the vital ability to play on port and starboard in the front row and with over 60 caps, he’s rarely been bested at the coal face for Wales. Another loosehead who will rack up the tackle-count in the loose.Samson LeeThe moment Samson Lee keeled over against Ireland in March, it’s been a race against time for the Scarlets tighthead to recover from an Achilles injury. Absolutely vital to Wales’ scrum, he’s said to be progressing well and will be given every opportunity to be fit for the England game on September 26.Anchor: Nearing fitness, Samson Lee is integral to Wales’ set-pieceTomas FrancisSaturday was a big test for 20st Francis and save for one scrum at the end of the first-half he competed well with his extra bulk giving Jack McGrath problems at the engagement. Looks unlikely to last 80 minutes but looks to be given the nod for 50 mins if Lee doesn’t recover in time.Rob EvansA tight, tight-call, the West Walian has seen off Nicky Smith, for whom a long-term injury put paid to his hopes and tighthead Aaron Jarvis, as Lee, Francis and Paul James can cover at No 3. An ebullient character, Evans a decent carrying game and is improving at the set-piece.HookersKen OwensKen Owens recovered from a long-term injury to finish the season strongly with the Scarlets. An abrasive presence in the loose, he rarely fails to break the gainline. Owens will vie with Baldwin for the No 2 shirt. Few more committed players in a red shirt.Passion: Ken Owens brings a never-say-die attitude to the squadScott BaldwinA former skateboarder, Scott Baldwin matured late professionally, finally being given the chance to nail down a regional spot vacated by Richard Hibbard at the Ospreys. Another whose throwing and set-piece work has improved immeasurably in the last 18 months.Kristian DaceyPopular opinion would still have Hibbard in the 31-man squad in what was Warren Gatland’s most contentious squad cut, but Dacey has done all that is asked of him. A very strong-carrier, he has usurped Matthew Rees as first-choice Blues hooker and will proved back-up at the World Cup.LocksAlun Wyn JonesThere were several (million) concerned faces when Alun Wyn Jones went down clutching his knee against Ireland, and with good reason. Wyn Jones is one of the world’s premier locks whose performance levels rarely drop below excellent. Confident to off-load in tight exchanges, he only asks of his team-mates what he’d be prepared to do himself.Luke CharterisCharteris is a classic No 5, extremely tall, his slim frame is easy enough to lift to secure decent ball off the top for Wales. Charteris is also a decent carrier in the up the guts of a defence and has a remarkable tackle-count – he made 12 tackles in only 23 minutes in Dublin.World-class: Alun Wyn Jones is closing in on a century of caps as he approaches 30Jake BallFamed for his WG Grace beard, Ball is a former cricket professional who offers a weighty backrow to the engine room. Still fairly raw in international terms, his ballast and power in the engine room gets him the nod over the more lightweight James King who can cover anywhere in the back five. Wales should take four lineout specialists.Bradley DaviesThe experienced Davies has had an injury-hit season with Wasps and there were murmurs about his fitness before this World Cup, but those were allayed in Dublin where his commitment, tackle count and grunt up front make him a worthy addition to the squad.BackrowSam WarburtonNow regarded as one of the premier statesmen in world rugby, Warburton showed stellar form during the Six Nations and only missed the Ireland game through a pinched nerve in the shoulder. Brings experience of captaining Wales to a World Cup semi-final, Grand Slam and Lions Series. His leadership is vital to Wales.Dan LydiateLydiate has had his detractors of late, who have pointed to his lack of versatility beyond his famed chop tackling. He answered them emphatically against Ireland, not only with 25 tackles in just 60 minutes, several that drove Irish defenders backwards outline his importance to Wales’ defensive effort but with his ball-carrying. Part of an experienced trio with Taulupe Faletau and Warburton.Hit-man: Dan Lydiate does the unflashy stuff and is a ferocious tacklerTaulupe FaletauAn everpresent in the Wales backrow, Faletau has had transfer speculation hanging over him for months but it doesn’t seem to have affected his on-field performances. One of Wales’ most consistent players, his carries, defensive work and ball-work at the base of the scrum make his one of Wales go-to men.Justin TipuricTipuric has been outstanding in Wales’ last two games, harrying, stealing and linking play in performances, which have brought him two tries. Not the strongest over the ball, he is nevertheless a tackling limpet, with 42 tackles in his last two games, a superb link-man in the wide-channels and has the handling-skills to play in midfield.Ross MoriartyMoriarty has been a bolter for Wales since emerging last season with Gloucester. With famous family members, Uncle Richard, and dad Paul, Moriarty has continued to bring the famed Moriarty edge to the game. As a former Junior World Championship winner with England, a former full-back has good leg speed and an aggressive defence.BacksScrum-halfRhys WebbArguably Wales’ most improved player in the last 18 months, Webb has been in spectacular form in the last 18 months, scoring 17 tries in 26 appearances. He now ‘owns’ the No 9 jersey, Mike Phillips has worn since 2008. Always looking for the half-gap and a superb box-kicker, Webb also boasts a close partnership with Dan Biggar.Sniper: Rhys Webb is extremely dangerous around the fringesGareth DaviesDavies is a similar player to Webb, with snappy service, blistering-speed over the first 30m which keeps defenders busy around the fringes. He had a few issues with discipline at the end of the season but is expected to be Webb’s understudy during the World Cup. Captain Sam: Warburton will lead Wales into his second World Cup campaign at 26 LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS TAGS: Highlight
TAGS: GeorgiaRomania It’s no surprise that the French league, which places such an emphasis on the scrum, has produced the vast majority of props in the best scrummaging teams.The problem France have found, and the accusation can also be levelled against Georgia and Romania, is that you need more than a scrum to win a rugby game. France and Romania prepare for a scrum We did not find out exactly how strong the French scrum is, with third choice tighthead Uini Atonio starting, and a back-row starting in the second row in Bernard Le Roux.Still, Romania, while not as renowned as their fellow Nations Cup side Georgia, provided a stern test, especially with the first scrum of the game, where they won a penalty with a dominant push.In Mihaita Lazar and Paulica Ion they have two hugely experienced props, both currently plying their trade in the Top 14.In fact that would appear to be the common theme when it comes to the dominant scrums in the competition. We’ll find out who the best team in the world are on October 31st, but the best scrum in the game might be known before then.New Zealand‘s Dane Coles said this week that he thinks Argentina have the best set-piece in the competition, but they will face a stiff test on Friday against Georgia.The Lelos built their upset win over Tonga on a dominant scrum, as well as the ferocious tackling of Mamuka Gorgodze and Viktor Kolelishvili.When it comes to props, arguably no team in the world has more depth at tighthead, where Davit Zirakashvili, Davit Kubriashvili and Levan Chilachava are all quality operators at scrum-time.Argentina can usually match them in that department, but with Juan Figallo and Matias Diaz injured, their reserve props aren’t as strong. That’s even more true on the loosehead side where Marcos Ayerza is outstanding, but with very little behind him.The other huge scrum battle took place when Romania took on France at the Olympic Stadium, with the Oaks trying to get one over on their Latin rivals. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Romania bossed France in a number of scrums in their opening World Cup game, but Argentina and Georgia run them close when it comes to strength
All you need to know about Argentina’s big Pool C win over Georgia at Kingsholm. Six second-half tries from Argentina took a game that was in the balance and tilted it on its axis as the Pumas picked up their first match points of this World Cup with a resounding 54-9 win over GeorgiaLock Tomas Lavanini crossed for Argentina in the first half and Nicolas Sanchez kicked a drop-goal and two penalties, but three penalties from Merab Kvirikashvili left the scoreboard finely poised at 14-9 at the break.Four minutes into the second half Georgia captain Mamuka Gorgodze was sin-binned for a professional foul close to his own line and while he was off Tomas Cubelli, Juan Imhoff and Santiago Cordero all scored tries in a six-minute smash-and-grab raid, with Sanchez converting all three. Georgia then tamed the Pumas for almost 20 minutes but three more tries in the closing stages from Martin Landajo, Cordero and Imhoff, plus two conversions from Marcelo Bosch made it a massive victory.No stopping him: Santiago Cordero scored two tries for the Pumas (Photo: Getty Images) TAGS: GeorgiaHighlight WHAT’S HOTArgentina’s attack – Coach Daniel Hourcade told his team to relax and do what they do best in the second half and they heeded his wise words, played with confidence and more than a little pizzaz and scored 40 unanswered points. Georgia had no answer to the pace of wings Cordero and Imhoff and Argentina’s offloading, support play and dynamism was first class.Fans-tastic: Gloucester felt more like Buenos Aires as Argentina’s fans roared. (Photo: Getty Images)Travelling fans – The Gloucester Fanzone was awash with Argentines of all ages, bedecked in blue and white, before the match and during the game Kingsholm Stadium was rocking to the chants of thousands of South Americans. “I was like playing in an Argentinean stadium,” said skipper Agustin Creevy.Georgia had their share of vociferous support too and they really made themselves heard, especially in the first half.Language skills – How great to hear referee JP Doyle talking to the Georgians in French – a language they are much more familiar with than English. It makes so much difference when players aren’t struggling to overcome a language barrier in the heat of battle.WHAT’S NOTPuma penalties – Argentina handed possession and the initiative to Georgia time and time again in the first half by conceding penalties. The first three scrums all ended in a penalty to Georgia, they gave away three points when Matias Alemanno obstructed Merab Kvirikashvili as he chased his own kick and served up two more kickable penalties with ruck infringements. Argentina know they need to address this issue if they want to progress through to the final stages of this tournament.Off the post: Murazi Giorgadze came close to a try but could only crash into the post. (Photo: Getty Images)Georgian mistakes – It’s harsh to criticise Georgia, as they were so comprehesively outclassed in the second half after battling so well in the first, but they created a couple of chances during the second period and failed to take them, most notably when Murazi Giorgadze was stopped under the posts.Their skipper Mamuka Gorgodze left his team in the lurch for ten minutes after being sin-binned for conceding a penalty at a ruck on his own line, While he was gone Georgia shipped 21 points and it was game over. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Bonus time: Argentina celebrate their fourth try. (Photo: Getty Images) STATISTICS137 – Argentina wing Santiago Cordero made this many metres in attack14- the number of Rugby World Cup matches Merab Kvirikashvili has played, namely every match his nation has featured in. The full-back has only started nine of those games, but he’s never missed out on a place in the matchday squad.54 – despite the one-sided scoreline, Argentina only enjoyed 54% of possession and 56% of territory.15 – Argentina won all 15 of their lineouts, and stole three of Georgia’s, but the Pumas lost two of their four scrums.Argentina: J Tuculet; S Cordero, M Bosch, J-M Hernandez (J de la Fuente 36), J Imhoff; N Sanchez (L Amorosino 64), T Cubelli (M Landajo 57); M Ayerza (L Paz 67), A Creevy (capt, J Montoya 62), N Tetaz Chaparro (R Herrera 57), M Alemanno, T Lavanini, J Leguizamon (P Matera 57), J-M Fernandez Lobbe (J Ortega Desio 64), F Isa.Tries (7): Tomas Lavanini, Tomas Cubelli, Juan Imhoff 2, Santiago Cordero 2, Martin Landajo. Pens: Nicolas Sanchez 2. Cons: Sanchez 3, Bosch 2 DG: SanchezGeorgia: M Kvirikashvili (M Giorgadze 53); T Mchedlidze (G Pruidze 58), D Kacharava, M Sharikadze, G Aptsiauri; L Malaguradze, V Lobzhanidze (G Begadze 57); M Nariashvili (K Asieshvili 51), J Bregvadze (S Mamukashvili 48), D Zirakashvili (L Chilachava 51), G Nemsadze, K Mikautadze (L Datunashvili 48), G Tkhilaishvili, V Kolelishvili (S Sutiashvili 57), M Gorgodze (capt).Pens: Merab Kvirikashvili 3Yellow Card: Mamuka Gorgodze 44 min.Referee: JP Doyle (England)Man of the Match: Santiago Cordero Attendance: 14,256For all the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here.
With Kurtley Beale to come into the mix, the Wallabies could yet employ three ball-players in midfield, as England did in Argentina when using Slade and Alex Lozowski (and later Piers Francis) outside Ford. Interesting times.Jordie upstagedThe one Super Rugby match last weekend saw the Chiefs inflict a first home defeat of the year on Hurricanes, 17-14.There were only four tries but this was another belting match, and for once Jordie Barrett came off second best in the full-back battle because Damien McKenzie was at the heart of most of the Chiefs’ best moments. He would walk into most national teams. England win an epic in Argentina after late Denny Solomona try, Scotland show Gregor Townsend’s hallmark in Singapore and Israel Folau ends his try drought for Australia Focused: George Ford takes a selfie with fans after his superb performance for England in Argentina (Getty) FOR THE LATEST SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS, CLICK HEREI’ve sometimes criticised sides for not taking an easy three points, but the mentality to score in fives and sevens by going for a try appears to be ingrained in New Zealand.Between them, the Barrett brothers have kicked just seven penalties in this year’s Super Rugby and when the Canes might have kicked a late penalty to secure a bonus point against Chiefs, they stuck to their guns and got it via a try by Wes Goosen.Chiefs tormentor: Damian McKenzie epitomises the attacking mindset of New Zealand rugby (Getty)As commentator Tony Johnson informed us, 65 of the Canes’ 85 Super Rugby tries this year have come within three phases – “They strike like lightning,” he said – and they are not alone in changing the mindset.At one point McKenzie fell heavily after taking an aerial ball (and calling a mark) under pressure from Julian Savea near his own line. And yet he sprung up and was away, looking to attack. You have to love that.SINNERSNo need for dramaticsTJ Perenara is a fabulous player, tipped by many to start at scrum-half in the New Zealand-Lions series. His extensive repertoire of skills includes a stream of tireless support runs, a deadly grubber kick and a mean rip tackle (just ask Western Force).It would be a pity if he spoilt things with simulation of the sort we saw against Chiefs, when he went down theatrically after a gentle nudge in the back from Aaron Cruden as both men chased the ball. Cut it out!Fall guy: TJ Perenara is tackled by Tawera Kerr-Barlow during the Hurricanes’ home defeat (Getty)One in the chopsTwo Scottish stars, two cut cheeks. The injury to Stuart Hogg against the Crusaders was freakish, the Lions full-back running full pelt past Conor Murray just as the Munsterman raised his elbow.The blow left Hogg reeling from a heavily bleeding gash and if an X-ray confirms that his tour is over, what a crying shame. Off-colour against the Provincial Barbarians, Hogg had played less than 20 minutes in Christchurch when the accident occurred. The New Zealand public hasn’t seen just what a thrilling talent he is.Finn Russell also came a cropper, taking a hit to the face whilst putting in the smart kick that Tim Visser caught and scored from against Italy. Like Hogg, he required stitches but unlike Hogg he returned to run the show.Wounded Lion: Stuart Hogg is treated after colliding with team-mate Conor Murray’s elbow (Getty)Flaws remainOne footnote to the Lions’ 12-3 win over Crusaders. Yes, it’s an excellent result and yes, key aspects such as line speed and breakdown work and set-piece offer real encouragement.However, the lack of attacking execution cannot be excused just because the Lions are bedding in new combinations. There were new caps aplenty across the world – for example, South Africa’s whole back three against France were on debut – and we didn’t see the sort of errors elsewhere that the Lions made in Christchurch. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS SAINTSSaturday night feverThere would have been slaps on the back at the BBC on Saturday night after their decision to televise England’s two-match series in Argentina.The first Test in San Juan was an absolute cracker, with the Pumas leading 7-0, 17-13, 31-23 and 34-31 at various junctures before being undone by Denny Solomona’s individual brilliance at the death.England’s 38-34 victory is surely their best-ever result in Argentina given the absence of 30 players. Ten Englishmen made their Test debut and if teenager Tom Curry has got much of the plaudits for his non-stop tackling, then fellow back-row Mark Wilson matched him stride for stride.George Ford ran the game beautifully and kicked like a dream, Henry Slade showed touches of magic, including a show-and-go and grubber to lay on a try for Jonny May, and Harry Williams brought to mind Jason Leonard’s Test debut in the same country 27 years ago.Well done: Eddie Jones with Tom Curry, who had an awesome debut for England in San Juan (Getty)To wrestle the game back after the quick-fire tries by Jeronimo de la Fuente and Joaquin Tucalet around the 50-minute mark showed a strength of character that even hard-to-please Eddie Jones had to admire.“We’re disappointed with our performance because we gave them too many points,” said the England coach. “But what we did show was a ton of real team ethic. Ten young guys came in and did their job brilliantly.“The other thing I liked was that young guys made mistakes but they didn’t dwell on them; Denny Solomona makes two horrific defence mistakes but then scores a brilliant try. The ability to rebound is so important.”Match winner: Denny Solomona scores the last of the game’s eight tries to see England home (Getty)Gregor off the markAnother satisfied coach is Gregor Townsend, whose Scotland reign began with a five-try, 34-13 win over Italy in Singapore.After a lively first five minutes, the 28°C temperature and 82% humidity threatened to take all the pace out of the match. At one point, Kiwi referee Paul Williams told Scotland’s ‘water boys’ to get off the pitch, and you can’t blame Dr James Robson and Co for trying to sneak some water into the players whenever they could.Excess luggage: John Barclay carries Edoardo Gori during Scotland’s victory over the Azzurri (Getty)But two Scottish tries just before half-time got things back on track in a match watched by a crowd of 8,734.The first, by Ali Price, had Townsend’s hallmark because the move started when Finn Russell feigned to kick a penalty to the corner and instead passed the ball in the other direction. How delightful that Townsend is going to bring his Glasgow philosophy to the international arena.Later, we saw Ross Ford score his first Scotland try for nine years and then grab another six minutes later! The hooker’s second followed some sweet offloading by Duncan Taylor and Damien Hoyland and a typically impudent reverse pass by Russell.“I’m pleased to get the win but we have a few things to work on,” said Townsend. “We knew conditions were going to be tough. The players kept believing in themselves and played some good rugby in the second half. Our set-pieces were key to our victory.”Ross the boss: hooker Ross Ford finishes off a sublime Scotland attack to get a try double (Getty)Izzy makes Fiji dizzyScotland’s next opponents, Australia, had more difficulty disposing of Fiji in Melbourne than might be supposed by the 37-14 scoreline.One notable event was a brace of tries by Israel Folau. The full-back scored 17 tries in his first 26 Tests but only three in his next 26 Tests and he ended a 12-game drought by first catching a high cross-kick and then bursting on to Bernard Foley’s pop pass for his second.Back on the scoreboard: Wallaby Israel Folau celebrates scoring his second try against Fiji (Getty)Karmichael Hunt, 30, who played pro rugby league and Aussie Rules, made his Wallaby debut at 12. He and Foley often switched around as Michael Cheika works on creating the sort of playmaker axis that worked so well at RWC 2015, when Matt Giteau wore 12. The tourists need to up their game fast. The Highlanders match on Tuesday provides the next opportunity and it needs to be taken.Won two, lost one: the Lions run out at AMI Stadium ahead of their 12-3 win v Crusaders