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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s rugby news has Cheika content with injury-free Wallabies, Genia pushing for a start, Wales suffering and retirement hitting Wilkinson hard.


Cheika satisfied with win

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Australia have wrapped up their World Cup preparations with a 47-10 victory over the US Eagles in a hard-fought test match at Soldier Field. The Wallabies were only up 14-10 after an error-ridden first half, but coach Michael Cheika said that in his selection “there were a few guys there who hadn’t played football for a long time.”

He cited his side’s big forwards like locks Kane Douglas and Rob Simmons and backrowers Ben McCalman at No. 6 and Wycliff Palu who ran at No. 8. “The effort was there from our lads. We lost our way with some of our decision making,” he said.

Genia makes his case

will genia

Will Genia has made a strong case to win back his starting spot on the eve of the Rugby World Cup, replacing Nick Phipps shortly after half-time. The former Reds number 9 started the Test season on the run-on side against the Springboks, but missed the past three Tests after he picked up a leg injury.

“I was really looking forward, to getting back out there and playing footy, I think the surgery on my knee fixed up a lot of niggling injuries and issues that have been sort of hanging around for a while,” he said. The decision may also be influenced by the Michael Cheika’s choice at flyhalf, with Phipps more experienced in combination with Foley.

Wales under injury cloud

Halfpenny kicks in Lions vs Force 2013

Wales has beaten Italy 23-19 on Saturday but have paid a high price in victory, with halfback Rhys Webb and fullback Leigh Halfpenny both injured in their final World Cup warm-up. Webb, the Pro12 player of the season, suffered an horrific-looking ankle injury midway through the first half and will likely be ruled out of the World Cup.

Halfpenny suffered a knee injury in the latter stages and was carried from the pitch on a stretcher, facing a race against time to make any impact on the tournament. “It is not great, is it? If they are ruled out, it is a massive blow,” Gatland said. “But this is sport and it is one of those things and we will have to work with the players we’ve got.”

Wilkinson suffering

wilkinson_flood

England’s 2003 World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson has described his struggle to recognise himself after retirement. Wilkinson, England’s leading points scorer, has talked about the difficulty in life after rugby, with so much of his life attached to his meticulous training and achievements.

“I’m feeling that life is going on and my appearance has been associated with my historical stuff and that’s breaking apart,” he said. On the plus side, Wilkinson emphasised that he will be able to draw on his experiences during a four year stretch of injuries, with problems affecting his knee ligaments, arm, shoulder and even one of his kidneys.

  • I hope that combinations don’t preclude Chieka from picking Genia and Foley in the same run on side. They played very well together in the second half yesterday.

    • Who?

      And Cooper’s played well outside Phipps this year, while Foley’s had terrible times outside Phipps this year (Sydney Bledisloe). Not having a go at Foley, just agreeing that combinations aren’t everything.

    • npivag

      Combinations matter in test 1 of the season but not in test 9.

      These blokes have been training together for months and Cheika knows that. It won’t be what holds back the selection of Genia.

  • Dud Roodt

    I would love to be one of those people who hates the idea of Halfpenny being injured as you want to play the best… but I’m not. As many of the best from other countries get injured the better!

    • Seb V

      Halfpenny out is a huge boost. Mainly for his ridiculously good goal kicking. I wonder if there back-up kicker is any good.

      • Haz

        Yeah Biggar is pretty damn good also. Not quite got the same range though.

        The main impact for Wales is that Cuthbert is in very poor form (well just generally crap in my opinion) and so they would likely have had Liam Williams, Halfpenny and North in the back 3. Furthermore Williams is still coming back from a foot operation and hasn’t had any game time in the warm up matches.

        Webb is a pretty big loss as he’s been playing so well for them. He’s electric and works so well with Biggar having played together for years. They’ll call up Phillips though.

        There’s also big questions over Samson Lee and if he doesn’t make it back then there are very big question marks over their front row.

        As a side note, it will be interesting to see whether Gatland replaces Halfpenny with Hook or Hibbard.

    • harrij08

      I agree… However, Liam Williams is not a bad replacement at fullback and Dan Biggar’s boot is not shoddy either

  • Gus

    If those Welsh boys have lost their chance to play in the competition it’s unfortunate for them, the Welsh supportrs and frankly anyone who enjoys the game. We should remember that diminishing our opponents diminishes us.

    • Chinese Dave

      Sorry, I don’t feel diminished at all.

    • Seb V

      Who cares about not seeing Halfpanny – unless you love watching goalkicking?

    • Avid

      Diminish first, ask questions later.

      • Spank

        Feel for Halfpenny who is a great player for mine BUT for once (it seems) the luck may be with us rather than against us. I simply can NOT remember a year where Australia can feel such a strong team and 95% injury free. The only injury I know to a potentially key Wallaby was to Paul Alo Emile. Good luck it will stay this away and afford us our best chance for ages.
        Remembering also that we have some exciting talent at home, as evidenced by yesterday’s win in the USA, and the guys (like Luck Arnold and Liam Gill who were unlucky not to be in that side).

  • npivag

    1/2p is a solid test player, really boring to watch though. Did the basics very well, kicked extremely well (particularly off a tee).
    Webb on the other hand is a great speedy halfback. Seeing him gone makes the entertainment value of the WC lesser. It’s a shame.
    And, devil’s advocate, you want Wales to be as competitive as possible to add to the spectacle. I’m sure they’ll still be competitive, but on the performance against Italy MINUS these two key back line players, they’re looking questionable to beat Fiji to say the least.

    • Chinese Dave

      Which, given Gatland’s super sophisticated psychological warfare against England last week, would be extremely hilarious.

    • Haz

      Yeah Webb is quality. Will be replaced by Phillips who is probably the opposite in style.

  • Nutta

    I think the Welsh are in definite trouble. No Adam Jones or Hibbard up front, no 1/2P and now no Webb. They are in real strife. I know it makes it in our favour, but I watch a Bill for 3 reasons – to see the Wobblies win, to see the best of each country there is go about and to see the English lose – so to have 2 of those desirables negatively impacted is not good (not seeing the best go about and having the English potentially benefit from it). And to be frank I don’t revel in anyone’s injury (having had a few myself)

    I know some will cry it is un-sportsman-like but can I get a show of comments on who do we really like seeing lose? I say England for too many reasons to try and list, but they mostly centre around my anti-authoritarian/colonial view of history coupled with rabid Irish-nationalist ancestry. I don’t say NZ as even though they are the local rivals, have unnatural predilections and frequently possess no sense of humour or perspective, they are a small country who punches well above their weight, they are Antipodean and they play a bloody good game (can’t deny that).

    Matt – are you willing to do a bastardised “thumbs up / down” on the topic?

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hahahaha at least I can laugh at that mate, and I know where you’re coming from some of the Kiwi Trolls on here get me almost as worked up as that loser Rattue. Mine’s even simpler, after 26 years in the NZ Army and spending almost every year working with Australians at some point I just find the ANZAC mould too tough to break. Would love to see a NZ vs Aus final, obviously for me with NZ winning.
      I think those injuries will hurt Wales but I think that the issue will be whether Wales or England join you in the next round. I was thinking that Wales could get up over England as I think Lancaster has made some strange selection decisions, now though I think Wales might struggle. Either way I’m just looking forward to some great rugby.

    • Pedro

      England for me too. I used to feel similarly about south africa, because they were good, boring and full of themselves but after their run with PDV at the helm I feel a little bit sorry for them.

    • muffy

      Poms no contest, but beating the ABs is a benchmark -I hate seeing anyone else beat them (jealousy purely) but a little bit of wee comes out when we beat them!

      • Mitch T Gray

        Haha Pissed myself at your comment… :)

  • Billy Bob Vanderwaal

    Does anyone know if there’s going to be any fallout from the hand-bagging during the match? It did look like there were a few weak attempts at punches being thrown. Just curious but hoping there’s nothing comes from it.

  • muffy

    So here’s the thing, not all of our preferred 23 will be fit an running on every game, so you could say that Half P dropping out levels the playing field, as I expect we will not be at 100% and I don’t expect any sympathy from the rest of the comp.
    Tough luck for him on a personal level, but its just part of game of rugby.
    Read about how the Poms felt on hearing Glen Magrath had rolled is ankle… gives you an insight into how the pros feel

  • Patrick

    Injuries are injuries, but as I was expecting we would be able to beat Wales at their best I’m sorry not to have the chance to.

    And I’m even sorrier that they don’t get their absolute best crack at the poms.

    • jamie

      Didn’t we beat Wales the last 10 times?

      • Patrick

        Yes, exactly, I’m anxious enough before any crucial matches but I don’t realistically see Wales beating us or England. Fiji will be test enough for them.

        I just would have liked to beat their best team possible, which might have had a better crack at England thus increasing our chances of finishing first.

  • Mitch T Gray

    The questions begs… Why did Warren Gatland field Leigh Halfpenny who was clearly carrying an injury or complaint with his heavily bandaged leg? Is Gatland that much of soulless mercenary that he would risk one of his star players just to have some bragging rights over Italy & possibly Lancaster? Shame.

  • bechemel

    heard a rumour that johnny wilkinson is coming to the reds next year. maybe not.

    • Nutta

      RG looking to play him as a Hooker or as a Lock?

  • Red Rooster

    Wilkinson can’t recognise himself? That’s easy. Go into a pub, Jonny. If you can’t see a Knut then it’s you.

  • muffy

    You going soft Missing? Such sentiment…. :)

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