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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News looks at the Wallabies major task of securing the Tri-Nations, the future of the Force all but confirmed and all the action from New Zealand’s big win over Argentina and the Autumn Nations Cup


Scoring 101

Wallabies pre-kickoff

Wallabies pre-kickoff

The Wallabies will be looking to finish on a high as they continue to finalise their preparations for Saturday’s game against Argentina.

Any hopes of a Tri-Nations title have been blown out of the water following the All Blacks dominant victory, with Australia needing to produce a Namibia-like victory by 101 points.

Given the last time these two teams played, the game ended in a draw, forward Lukhan Salakaia-Loto is solely focused on ending their year on a high, not the massive points difference that they would have to make up.

“I didn’t have in my head that that’s what we have to score in order to win,” Salakaia-Loto admitted to reporters.

“I’m not going to come out and say that that’s a realistic score because we’re coming up against a quality side like Argentina – you’ve seen their quality from the first two Tests.

“We’re just looking to get the job done the best we can and whatever happens, happens.”
A season-ending win is something that has eluded the Aussies, having not won their year-ending Test since 2013.

Given that rugby in Australia is essentially heading into a fresh start and a new era in 2021, LSL is well-aware of the importance of finishing off the season on a good note.

“It’s hugely important for us (to finish on a high),” Salakaia-Loto added.

“Sam Cane hit it on the head (ahead of their final Test of 2020), you don’t want to be dwelling over a loss over the summer – that’s one of the worst things.

“For us, there’s a lot of positives that have happened this year in the weird year that it has been, so we’re definitely looking forward to working hard to getting a result that we’re proud of and everyone else can be proud of.

“We don’t train hard and work hard to go out there and lose.”

Normality

Beauden Barrett pre-kickoff

Beauden Barrett pre-kickoff

After a brief period of wondering whether the All Blacks were now vulnerable, they have reminded everyone of their immense talent after thumping Argentina 38-0.

New Zealand faced the daunting prospect of potentially losing three straight Tests for the first time since 1998.

However, the game was never in doubt as the All Blacks took a 10-0 lead into half-time on the back of a Dane Coles try.

Once again, the Pumas would struggle towards the backend of the game as the emotions/physicality of the past fortnight started to show, with Will Jordan taking advantage as he ran in a late double.

“It’s extremely satisfying,” All Blacks captain Sam Cane said after the match.

“There’s no hiding that we’ve had a tough three weeks now. We had a week off and we felt the pain of the loss. Incredibly proud of the work we’ve put in in the last two weeks.”

Cane was quick to praise the Pumas after the match, conceding that the blow-out wasn’t a fair reflection of the match as they wrapped up their year.

“The scoreboard probably doesn’t reflect the first 60 minutes,” he added.

“Will Jordan, he’s got an uncanny ability to get the ball into open space, so awesome for him to come on and have such impact.

“But the way that the Pumas defended and kept us out numerous times is a real credit to their desperation and their desire.

“I’m proud of the way that we were able to stay patient. We didn’t allow that to frustrate us – not getting across the line – and we stayed patient and got there in the end.”

Back for good

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After months of speculation and rumours that they could possibly play overseas, the future of the Force has been all but secured as Rugby Australia commits funding to the franchise.

Having been sent into rugby purgatory, the side has been primarily backed by mining billionaire Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forest, going as far as making his own international competition to ensure their survival.

However, the Force are set to be welcomed under RA’s umbrella with The Herald reporting that they had agreed to the club’s request for an equal share of broadcast revenue in next year’s Super Rugby AU competition

This comes as a major revelation for their rival clubs, who were under the assumption that they would be forced to pay their own way in 2021.

Despite this, they will still likely continue to be backed by Forest in some part in 2021, with the report suggesting that there will be full parity between the club and RA in 2022.

It has been suggested that RA believes that the secure broadcast and widespread cuts will now mean that we don’t have to make another tough culling in future years.

Meanwhile, the clubs are still waiting to officially commit to Super Rugby AU and/or Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, yet to formalise funding from head office or sign a participation agreement.

“We’re in final draft of participation agreements and they will be going out to the clubs in the coming weeks,” Clarke said.

“Certainly we need to get them finalised…That will be done, I would imagine, by the end of this year, beginning of next year. All clubs will have clarity on the funding arrangements by next week.

“We’re making our dollars work harder. I think the game has been able to adapt and adjust its cost base.”

Europe recap

England win

England has booked their place in the Autumn Nations Cup final, holding off Wales 24-13 at Parc y Scarlets.

Whilst Wales threatened throughout the second half, Eddie Jones’ men held on off the back of Owen Farrell’s boot to secure their place in the decider.

“At halftime it could have been a ‘Psycho’ horror movie. The woman goes to the shower and you know what’s coming from behind the shower curtain,” Jones said.

“We had one little wonky period for around 10 minutes in the second half but generally we had game control so I was really pleased about that.

“We don’t feel like we’ve played our best rugby yet so it’s our last game. It’s our grand final of 2020 and we want to make sure we put on our best performance.”

They will face France in the final after Les Bleus thrashed Italy 36-5 in Paris on Saturday.

Whilst the Italians briefly led 5-3 when Carlo Canna ran in a 24th-minute try, it would be their only points of the game as the French continued their incredible 2020 campaign.

The win was an emotional one for France, having farewelled legendary winger Christophe Dominici, who died at the age of 48 this week.

“He had the gift of sharing,” former teammate Vincent Clerc said on French television.

“He was someone we liked having next to us.”

In other results, Ireland held off a valiant Georgia 23-10, with flyhalf Billy Burns contributing 16 points in the first half to seal the win.

  • Simon

    I was at the game in Newcastle on the weekend and at half time, my frustrated Pumas-supporting mate said, “between the Pumas dropping the ball every five seconds and the ABs kicking the ball away on attack, now I get how Wallabies fans feel.”

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Nathan, pretty happy with that – obviously. I do feel sorry for the Pumas as they have had a shit of a draw and it was always going to tell on them and yet they still managed to pull off an amazing defensive game. I hope they get something sorted so they can come back again next year as it’s been wonderful having them here. I was pleased to see that the ABs seemed to have learnt from their mistakes and changed their game plan so that they could make use of their players once the Pumas tired out. It worked well and although I’m sure there are people saying they were lucky with 2 tries to Jordan that came off mistakes, you still have to be in position to take those opportunities and make the most of them. I was impressed with both Akira Ioane and Scott Barrett in this match and if they keep playing like this we may just have the No6 we’ve been looking for and the 3rd lock we need. I’m still not happy with Savea as an 8 or JB as a wing and I think the midfield needs work but overall I am happy and think we’re moving forward again. I watched the games up north and TBH no one up there impressed me that much. Wales and Ireland were pretty horrible and England very ordinary I thought.

    Big ask for 101 points and I think the big thing for me is seeing the Wallabies have a plan to get through the Pumas and then stick to it during the match. I’d also like to see some of the newbies come on and get some game time as there’s not really anything to lose in this match.

    Good news on the Force being back in the fold and I think with the time to prepare and some of the smart signings they’ve done they will threaten a lot of the other teams.

    • onlinesideline

      Ive been impressed with Sam Cane as a person. He is steppng up and what doesnt kill ya makes ya stronger in this case. We are seeing it with him now. And I personally find him pretty likeable and think he genuinely wants to uphold the darkness legacy with a bit of class which is not that easy with that accent but good win. In saying that the ABs these days are beatable on the day without doubt.

      • Greg

        Is there an accent?

        Sexiest accent????

        • onlinesideline

          The fact they left out the most beautiful, cutest and funniest accent of them all, the one belonging to the people of Hungary, where I live, discredits that article completely. You havent lived till you’ve experienced a Hungarian honey whispering sweet nothings in your ear on a cold winters night.

        • Greg

          I visited Hungary with some friends a lot of years ago. Most of the cars were rather smoky two stroke.

          Between us we had fluent English, German, French, Italian and Spanish and some broken efforts in other languages. We ended up drawing pictures!! :-(
          It seems a fiendishly difficult language.

        • onlinesideline

          Ernest Hemingway agees with me too.

          Yes Hungarians and fiendishly in the same sentence does resonate.

          Those cars could have been the old and very famous Lada cars – a Hungarian commie effort. Things have changed ALOT.

        • Alister Smith

          Doesn’t Audi Skoda have a plant in Hungary these days. I only spent 2 days there several years ago for a Conference and didn’t see much outside of that but Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. It is also the only city I have been where my credit card got skimmed.

        • onlinesideline

          happened to me too – bank saved me for once

        • AndrewG

          I was back-packing there in the late 90’s and developed an eye infection. It was challenging trying to communicate with the after hours pharmacist through a speaker in the wall on a Sunday! My phrase book had nothing helpful. I still had a great time there though.

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          Was your hovercraft full of eels?
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grA5XmBRC6g

        • Alister Smith

          Yes saved me too thankfully otherwise I would have paid for $1500 worth of “leather goods”

        • Greg

          I lived in Vienna once – a beautiful city – and a local said to me that Budapest was *built* as the bigger and more beautiful version of Vienna. Things went a bit south during the communist era.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Lets be fair, a cutie whispering sweet nothings in your ear on a cold winters night could be talking Swahili and it’d still sound pretty damn good

        • onlinesideline

          true eh ? – haha

    • Greg

      Morning KRL.
      The All Blacks played well. It was not exciting but it was relentless. There were only a few occasions when it looked as though the Pumas would score. That said… the Pumas stuck to their defence. I was waiting for the wall to crack and it didn’t. Who is their defensive coach?

      I mentioned over the weekend that I had kiwi commentators for my viewing of the game. I was in stitches hearing them complain indignantly about cynical play from the Pumas. I cheerfully admit I am biased… but puhlease have these guys not been watching their own team for the last 20 years!!

      • onlinesideline

        Sean Fitzpatricks slow jog back onside was the one that really got me.

        • Patrick

          It was an improvement from Frank Bunce who only ever accidentally got back onside

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        hahahahahaha everyone knows you only ever see what the opposition does mate

    • Tomthusiasm

      I was super impressed with Ioane’s discipline in this match, Caleb Clarke was brilliant too, definitely softened them up for Jordan to do his thing (and doesn’t he have a touch of B Barrett’s luck?). The Argie’s defended stoutly for the first half but clearly playing every week, while their opponents are refreshed, is finally taking its toll.

      I’d like to see NZ host the RC with SA back next year, with a view for each country to host in the coming years, if Covid permits. It’s actually the perfect prep for RWC finals run.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        I actually think a different country hosting the RC each year could work as well. Obviously there would need to be a serious cost and revenue sharing arrangement but it certainly has some merit

        • Who?

          There’d be some financial penalties some years, based on crowd sizes and exchange rates.
          Not sure it’d be a great idea.

          Also, given how NZ’s gone with hosting sport during Covid, until everything’s fully open… They’ve done well, but their policies have locked everyone down much harder than NSW/Qld, for a result that’s arguably not any better (statistically, Qld’s numbers are far better than NZ’s, with lesser lockdowns. And they’ve been better than NZ’s since April).

        • Huw Tindall

          Think financially that may be a bit of a battle but they could look to organise the games so they come on a proper tour so you get to see a mid week match and as well. I believe there was some chat about this during lockdown when ideas were being thrown about. Something that’s easier to achieve with a 3 match series like we’ve seen in June/July windows. There is a reason Lions tours are popular!

      • onlinesideline

        Agree – is a brillaint idea. Its like a mini world cup. Whether the players would be up for 3 months away from family though, every year is highly debatable. But the intensity is amazing.

      • Too Little Too Late

        Not sure I’d be keen to have one country host it each year.
        Too many time zones, it works for us and NZ but would be a non event for SA and Argies, 3/4 times in a pretty bad time slot. Even for us 50% of the time, not that convenient to watch.
        The RC is a good product and works well, let’s not mix it up with Super Rugby faults.

        • onlinesideline

          I thought Super Rugby faults encompassed the very things you just described. New Super is more local, time zone friendly. Maybe new RC could be too. Once every 3 yeas we would have to clock in to SA and once every 4 years Argentina. Yeah would be a bit of a stretch. So as penalty for SA bailing this year they have come to Oz or NZ for ten years.

        • Too Little Too Late

          Super Rugby’s main scheduling issue was it was so bloody convoluted. You wouldn’t really have clue where your team was playing this week without having to check the schedule.
          With the local SR it didn’t matter there was a game on Friday night, Two games Saturday (AUS and Kiwi) and one kiwi game Sunday.
          With the Wallabies games there is often a bit of a break and out of the 6 games they play in the RC, only 2 are in unfriendly times.
          Like the idea of punishing SA for not turning up, but I reckon they might take their ball and stay at home.

    • Mike D

      A bit nervous with the commentary around Aus needs 101 points etc., smells a bit like “we’ve penciled in the win, now how much can we get.” Let’s just focus on winning eh? The pumas are currently ahead of us on points differential, after all.

      • Greg

        yep.

        a solid performance across the park is what we need.

        if we lose, we lose… I just want to see good rugby played.

    • I’ve got to disagree about Savea at 8. I think he’s one of those rare players who can play all across the back row. He’s probably not the greatest line out jumper, but he’s taking those (or lifting a 7) and giving a decent option there.

      However, I thought they subbed off the wrong wing, I’d have kept Clarke and hooked JB much earlier. I guess Jordan would have been in the wrong position then and it’s possible Clarke is adjusting to test match speed – he got through a lot of work too, with him coming in and looking for work.

      I’d be keeping Ioane and Savea, and despite a decent game for Cane on Saturday, picking a different 7. As Sototu and Ioane get up to speed, I wouldn’t mind that shifting to Ioane, Savea and Sototu.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        I think Cane deserves his place and while he may not be a better 7 than Savea, he’s leading from the front, making good decisions and playing very well so I’m ok with him staying. I think Sototu and Ioane are the other two we need though. Savea is a great bench player for loosie

        • I guess the question about Cane is, is he the best captain?

          Whitelock might not want the role, but he’s got the experience at the Saders. I don’t know what Savea would make of the role, but I wouldn’t mind him being captain if he’d like to take it. I think Moody, then Mo’unga as vc to take over when he gets subbed off might work too.

          I kind of think Cane’s captaincy goes as his personal performance goes. He had a good game on Saturday, and captaincy looked easy. In the bad AB performances this year, to my mind he’s looked poor both personally around the pitch and as a leader. Read, McCaw, Umaga, back to Fitzpatrick and beyond, even if they had a poor game personally (rare), as a watcher they still seemed to lead the team well.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Valid points mate and you are correct – as usual. I think despite all the preparation over the years he’s actually still learning the role.

        • I think that’s true. I just don’t think being not the best 7 and not the best captain is the combination you need?

        • Mica

          He’s the best 7 NZ have and is close to the best 7 in the world. I’d have him over Hooper, but that’s just me.
          Underhill would go close to the best 7 in the world at the mo too. Cane’s been consistently amongst the best NZ players this test season in both the wins and the losses.

        • In general, I’d have him over Hooper.

          At his best, I think he’s the best 7 in NZ and in the conversation for the best in the world.

          My problem with Cane is that we don’t see his best very often. Some of that is injuries, definitely. I think some of that might be confidence. I think some of it is that he plays in a certain style and if people put him off that, he can’t adapt – there’s no personal plan B. The Pococks, Smiths, McCaws etc. of this world were effective in pretty much every game they played. Just look at Cane in the first test against Argentina and tell me he was in the top 3 loose forwards on the pitch that day, let alone in the discussion for world class for a recent example.

          In my opinion, and you’re welcome to differ, NZ has a number of open sides better overall than Cane. Savea and Christie are probably the top two picks for me, although I understand why they’re picking Savea at 8 at the moment. They never have those sublime matches (Savea does actually). But every week they put in solid matches with a good performance. More importantly, they don’t have those anonymous matches either.

        • Mica

          Hi Eloise,
          Good to chat and interesting thoughts.
          For mine Savea is a better Super player than test player. His ‘sublime’ matches have all been in Super Rugby for mine and I’d be inclined to use him at 7 if the gameplan was more around attacking rucks and if the backrow balance had a more defensive oriented blindside. For me Savea is a more effective version of Hooper (a bit better as an attacking mobile 7 and a bit stonger and more effective at turning over ball at rucks).

          In the 1st Argentine game Kremer, Matera and Bruni had blinders. Very few errors were made and the defense was rock solid – I don’t think anyone expected this. Also the NZ team was a few % off their best. They weren’t able to build the phases like they normally do. It’s probably fair to say this is a consequence of how the Argentines were playing and perhaps they were ambushed a bit. Compare it to the second game and all the NZ points came off Argentine errors and long phase play and field position. Cubelli’s absence also seemed to make a huge difference with clearing the ball.

          Cane could have been a bit better as a captain in the first game and overall I think Kremer edged him in the battle of the 7s, but Matera was way better than Frizell and Savea was a bit anonymous if I recall correctly. If memory serves me correctly Cane was the best NZ loose forward in that game and didn’t play badly. For mine credit to the Argentinians. They were great and beat NZ because they were great and not because NZ were rubbish.

        • While I agree most of Savea’s sublime games are at SR level, he’s had a few really dominant ones at test level too, at least for me. I’m a bad nerd and don’t keep a list of them, but I think they’re out there.

          I would also agree with the majority of your statements about the first NZ v Arg match. The Pumas backrow was immense, the Kiwi’s were a shade off. But that second point is kind of my argument. How often do you remember McCaw being a shade off?

          I haven’t had a coffee yet, and I’m struggling to recall who was openside 20+ years ago, before McCaw.

          I’d disagree with the ratings of the AB backrow, rating them Savea, Cane, Frizzel. Savea carried, tackled, managed the ball at the base of the scrum and so forth. He did all his core jobs well. A bit anonymous? Maybe, but chunks of a number 8’s job are little things that don’t get called unless the side is clicking on offence, which the ABs certainly weren’t. Cane, for me, didn’t achieve that. At the breakdown they were both outclassed, but with Savea at 8, Cane at 7, that’s Cane’s main job.

          My belief is that if you pick Savea, or Christie, you won’t get the type of game you got from Cane last weekend, true. But they don’t come up often enough for me. You also won’t get the kind of game you got from Cane two weeks before, where he was off his game, and the side suffered for it. In my opinion his captaincy suffered for it too.

        • Mica

          Before McCaw was Kronfeld and before him one M Jones. :)
          McCaw rarely had an off day – Maybe the RWC matches that he was involved in that were lost (2003, 2007). Not too many after that. I do note that these two occurrences were relatively early in his career.
          I remember seeing his first game for the Crusaders too. Amazing how he looked like he’d been there all his life in that game.
          This year I saw a very similar kind of transition from Cullen Grace. I reckon he could be something special too.
          Damn Kiwis and their rugby nursery!!!

        • Mica

          Cane may not be spectacular, but he is highly effective and does all the really tough stuff all the time.
          In a trench, I’d rather have Cane next to me than Savea and that’s not to say Savea is bad at all, Cane will just put himself in the most unenviable positions time and time again.
          I have huge respect for him. Seems a really decent bloke too.

    • UTG

      Yeah, agree ditch Savea and get Hoskins in there and you’ve got the makings of another great AB pack. In the lead up to a couple of AB tries, the attack was looking pretty flat before Akira bust over the line and got them on the front foot. He also had a couple of crucial strips that saved a try and resulted in an attacking breakout. You have to think if he and Sotutu started a couple of weeks ago it would have changed the outcome.

      The mind boggles as to why Jordan has been stuck behind JBar, he has been shocking on the wing. He had a ‘mare on Saturday.

  • Greg

    Thanks for another great article Nathan. We really appreciate your efforts.

    As well as sharing your thoughts, you prompt a fun exchange of ideas/bias/argument between our group of ever hopeful wallaby supporters!

  • Nutta

    Morning Cobbers and thanks Nathan

    Nice to see the Force back. For me though, the guiding light for Oz rugby over the next few years must be to have one eye firmly on national sustainability followed closely by transparency. We need to settle on what the product is, how it benefits the national game, how it is distributed and then throw our combined weight behind that.

    Yes the Pumas looked to be lacking energy and certainly they have been exposed for having limited shots to fire. But then again we also knew that in the back of our heads prior to the tournament. C’mon Wobblies and put this one away with a solid win. i’m not too fussed about the score, but I want to see fundamentals right of a solid scrum, a functioning lineout, slot the 3ptrs and the tries will come in the last 15-20min on the back of squad depth and fatigue (or lack of it).

    I thought Wales were very bloody unlucky on a number of fronts.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Morning mate, I’m with you on just seeing some improvement in game management and fundamental skills with a clear direction and game plan would be great.

      So much for the superiority of England, they are as vulnerable as anyone else and showed that. Next week against France could be a bloody good game

      • Keith Butler

        Agreed with you both. If England dish up dross like they did on Saturday we will get spanked by the Frogs. To late for EJ to make changes but to my mind Farrell has never been a 12, Joseph is not a winger and Daley is never a full back, 13 is his best position. Still trying to figure out who was responsible for the scrum debacle. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. IMO Billy Vunipolas day should be numbered. Every team knows how he plays. People have talked about the number of carries and meters made. Immaterial as far as I’m concerned. It’s how effective they are. Positive for me is that the SDs have a wealth of talent in the back row even without. Would like to see Simonds in his place against the Frogs. More dynamic in open field but it won’t happen.

        • Nutta

          The current strength of the English backrow is really something Big Billy notwithstanding.

          To be honest, with +60% in both possession and territory, the English were always in the box seat to win no matter how gallant the Welsh defence was. The fatigue would show eventually. And we saw that with the English penalties later in the game.

          The English used their kicking game effectively, particularly early, and drew some real errors out of Halfpenny which were uncharacteristic of him. I thought that seemed to hurt Welsh confidence overall and they simply did not ever settle into a rhythm.

          That said, the English didn’t let them get into a rhythm either – so good play by them.

          Then throw in the clear Welsh scrum worries (particularly surprised in Sampson Lee there) that seemed to last all game (last scrum penalty being a case in-point) and it just went to shite for them a bit.

          So I say the English deserved their win when looking back on the match overall. And given the Welsh had been disassembled by an Ireland who had been disassembled by the same English team I think the Welsh were happy in deep-dark-not-spoken-of-places to not get 50pts put on them – not that anyone would ever say that out-loud.

          But Romaine Poite… bloody hell son. And Joe Launchbury should have been a loosehead prop. He’s wasted at lock.

        • Keith Butler

          We live in a totally crazy world. Instead of the French being able to pick their strongest team, in what could have been a great match, they have to select a ‘B’ team because of some stupid dispute between the French Rugby Association and the Top 14 clubs. Just plain nuts.

        • Nutta

          Didn’t know that. Tell me more. Or link an article?

        • Nutta
        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          The dangers of private equity finance mate. Something that people here should take note of

        • Who?

          Bit of an ordinary old tournament, if we’re honest. England, Wales and Ireland in one side of the draw, France facing Scotland and Italy, and then not even having to play poor Covid-ridden Fiji to make it into the Final. To me, it’s a pretty clear disparity in strengths of pools (even if the top two from the 6N’s table made the final).

    • onlinesideline

      I have to say I have a shit tonne of respect for Welsh rugby.They are an honest, gutsy, gritty and seemingly clean playing side (seen from TV mind you).

    • Mike D

      Re the Pumas, what other team has had to back up 3 weeks in a row in this comp? The ABs in the first Argie game I think. How did that go for them?

      • Nutta

        Fair comment.

      • Who?

        Only one of those teams (Arg and NZ) asked for their games to be rescheduled in a manner that ultimately worsened things for them. :-

    • While my heart always agrees with sentiments that suggest Wales should win, my head is actually fairly happy. They seemed to me, and I freely admit bias, to be rather unfairly untreated by the ref on several occasions, I suspect Keith can point out occasions when he treated the English badly too. I, of course, missed all of those!

      But Wales strung together some attacks. They put together a defence. The attacking wasn’t totally fluent, the defence wasn’t solid. But this is a side that got stuffed by Ireland, playing a side that in turn stuffed the Irish. And then produced a better result than was better than either of those.

      There’s chat above about Australia ending on a win, and that being good for 2021. This defeat was such a turn around (I think there’s a match against Italy next weekend which Wales should win) that it’s got that same impact. It wasn’t victory against the #2 side in the world, but it was a defeat that showed pride and promise of things to come, rather than a defeat than showed us continuously slipping from that World Cup semi-final.

  • Missing Link

    Well my prediction came true, and now we need to beat Argentina by 101 – 0 to take out the trinations. not statistically impossible hahahahaha
    I think that was a key win for NZ to solidify the group, as they’ve been copping a lot of flack lately for not maintaining the dizzying heights of the McCaw/Carter/Read/Henry/Hanson era

    I think we should just focus on going one better than last time, and simply get the 4 point for a win.

    • Alister Smith

      Yes I agree but for me it’s win and a score at least one try. Mainly because we got over the line at least twice last time but didn’t have the finish or polish to score legally. So for me that is progress.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        I agree. Some tries would be nice

    • Mike D

      What would the Pumas need to win by to take the cup? Presumably a smaller margin.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        about 80 odd I think

        • Reds Revival

          Based on previous Wallaby performances, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility…

  • ForceFan

    Really enjoy your articles Nathan but the Western Force component is not one of your best.
    You reference an article in The Herald by Tom Decent which is an extremely poor piece of journalism full of unsourced rumours and errors.
    The headline of “Back for Good” is only acceptable if it means that it is good to see the Western Force back for another year in SRAu, as the only certainty is that the WF will be playing in SRAu in 2021.

    What happens for 2022 and beyond is still up in the air. We could even see a reformed GRR competition in the Asia-Pacific region or the much rumoured TT competition

    RA has done little to “secure the future of the WF” since it dumped the WF in 2017. The WF has been fully funded by Andrew Forrest since the dumping. RA’s contribution to rugby in WA has been on a par with that of SA and NT. RA’s ONLY contribution to the WF was some sharing of Foxtel’s broadcast income for the limited SRAu in 2020.
    Similarly it seems reasonable that the WF should get equitable funding from the Channel 9 deal in 2021. Why would the WF have to wait until 2022? Haven’t the Melb Rebels always been privately owned but still received funding by RA since inception?
    Forrest has shown no inclination to NOT fully find the WF (despite Decent’s insinuation in The Herald article) as is shown by his full funding of WSR in 2018, the Showcase series in 2019 and getting GRR launched in 2020 (before it was canned due to CV19) plus the current level of recruitment, multi-faceted funding of grass roots rugby in WA and new funding for a Govt Secondary School competition in Perth for 5 years commencing 2021.

    • Perth girl

      Well said FF, however I doubt anyone here is listening!

  • Who?

    NZ won, and they’ll win the 3N’s, and all is well with the world! Well, not quite…
    This year, they’ve gone 3-1-2. When was the last time the AB’s had a mere 50% win rate?! 2020 truly has been an apocalypse for Kiwis.
    Further, provided this weekend doesn’t end in a draw, the winner of that game will have (BP’s and PD aside) a better record than the ABs for the tournament. The ABs have gone 2-2, if it’s not a draw, the winner of this game will have gone 2-1-1.

    Given the fatigue factor, Australia will have massive questions to answer if they can’t get up. If they can get up, they’ll finish the year 2-2-2. The 2 draws both feeling like losses – missed opportunities, having given up a lead late. With four games against the AB’s, so much turnover in playing stocks and brand new coaching staff, that’s really not a bad outcome.

    • Mica

      It’s a start. The Argentina loss was pretty unforgiveable and was more a consequence of really bad game management by the Wallabies rather than the Argentinians forcing the draw. What the Puma’s did well was hang in there and convert errors that were a consequence of Wallaby poor play and stupidity. I hope the team are rightfully livid wih their performance and respond in a manner similar to how NZ dealt with their own disappointment from the previous game.

      • Patrick

        We can only hope!!
        I expect the difference to be more down to utterly buggered argies than to our actual improvement though.

      • Who?

        The result against Argentina was pretty much unforgivable, but, at least, unlike the ABs, we didn’t actually lose. We just drew.

  • Alister Smith

    How young is the NZ side and how experienced in test match number terms? We have made a lot of points around the coaching and their limited success during this season. But I think we may be ignoring that this side, much like ours, is limited in terms of experience. The two 38 point wins against both Australia and Argentina show the ABs potential – and that was what I expected after watching the Super Rugby Aotearoa. The other results show that they too are in transition from the last World Cup and have brought through a number of new players. I wouldn’t be too worried if I was an ABs fan. Particularly given the other challenges this year.

    • Who?

      This AB side is still way more experienced than the Wallabies. They have most of the RWC backline. They have two 50+ cap scrumhalves, both Beaudy and Richie at 10, I think ALB’s a RWC winner… There’s some young guys, but they still hold much more experience than the Wallabies. Their primary inexperience is in the locks and at 6 – but they’re no less experienced than the Wallabies. We’ve seen people saying how Akira Ioane has come along well in the last few years for the ABs, not picking that he’s one of their debutants this series. But if you consider his Blues caps against Swinton’s Tahs caps (both debuted in the same match – got basically the same minutes!)… They’re more experienced.

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@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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