Rugby Union - Autumn Internationals

Discussion in 'General Football & Other Sport' started by Sting, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. reg_varney

    reg_varney Reservist

    Just finished watching the highlights of South Arica v Wales on S4C without knowing the score beforehand.
    That makes up for last week's last minute, last kick heartache with a very late try and conversion to win it today. Superb pressure kick from Anscombe for the final 2 points. First ever win for Wales in South Africa.
    Well done the boyos.

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  2. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    In what was a throwback to rugby of yesteryear the USA edged Chile 22-21 in the first leg of the Americas qualifier. It was bucketing down in Santiago turning the pitch into a quagmire. To complicate matters power failed at the stadium delaying the match for ten minutes in the second half.

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  3. reg_varney

    reg_varney Reservist

    "Yeaaahh. He's going into the Try Zone". Shame you have to endure the US commentators in the 2nd Half.

    Look at the amount of the water on the pitch. Horrendous conditions.

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  4. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Rodrigo Fernandez did score a scintillating try. I don't mind the US commentators Reg. Rugby has several heartlands still like NY, Utah and it's hard for the US to move forward given the first exposure for most kids there is aged eighteen at college when they cannot make it for example in American football. Or are good at rugby but usually go into American football. They are trialling schools programs are US Rugby and they could naturalize several of the top overseas players they have.

    They could become a powerhouse. Had American football not taken root and rugby turned professional over there rugby might well still be the dominant sport as it was up until 1910. I hope they and Chile continue to progress. The sport has to keep growing and become truly global.
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  5. reg_varney

    reg_varney Reservist

    I can see South America becoming a Rugby Powerhouse. If you're too small or too big for footy then there's a role for you in Rugby.
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  6. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Unlike South Africa who have done little for their neighbours like Namibia and Zimbabwe or the Wobs and ABs with regards to the PI's Agustin Pichot love him or hate him remembered well Argentina's struggles to gain acceptance from the old union network.

    To that end the UAR has sent coaches all around South America and Pichot was instrumental in getting SLAR (Super League of the Americas) set up to facilitate development, provide more professionalism at all levels including officiating and more funding from WR.

    Uruguay are doing nicely with several players in Europe and an excellent half back pairing notably the scrum half Santiago Arata at Castres, Chile are a few years behind and have a franchise in SLAR called Selknam which has a fair few Argentines so that the five teams outside of the Jaguares are competitive. Indeed Penarol of Uruguay came ahead of the Jaguares (although they are nothing like in team composition that Jaguares of Super Rugby fielding mainly 19-20 year olds). Penarol as they hope to attract football supporters. There's still somewhat of a divide in Argentina, Uruguay and Chile in socio-economic class of who follows rugby and indeed plays it. The UAR are doing great outreach work in all communities and the success of Los Pumas has helped build popularity and playing numbers in areas outside of Mendoza, Cordoba, Salta and BA.

    Having watched some of the Test sides that are ranked 20-20 in the list globally one thing they desperately need is technical coaching on how to maul and how to defend against a rolling maul. Georgia beat Italy in Batumi. That young Lyon full back is destined to become a star and proof Georgia are developing their backs now as well. Raucous sport in Batumi. The sooner Georgia are in the 6N the better. You cannot keep having closed shops.


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  7. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Incredible series win for Ireland in New Zealand .

    Excellent first half and withstood a Kiwis fight back in the 2nd.
  8. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Good win for England.

    Tough first half but got into it after the break and held out well.
  9. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Jeff Wilson will be crying a fair bit right about now. ​
  10. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

  11. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    That Saturday evening in Dunedin 17 years ago, Ryan Jones seemed more force of nature than rugby player. He was 24, he’d just worn the British & Irish Lions shirt for the first time, scored a try, made a try and snaffled all the important turnovers. Without him, the Lions might not have beaten Otago.

    He was, of course, man of the match and as he sat down in the press conference room under Carisbrook Stadium, he wolfed down a slice of pizza. Like a kid hungry for the world he’d broken into. There wasn’t one person in the room who didn’t warm to the young No 8. Jones went on to enjoy a terrific career with 75 Tests for Wales, three for the Lions, three grand slams, one as captain. He skippered Wales on 33 occasions, a record at the time.

    We meet now at The Groaker, Rhiwbina, a restaurant about three miles north of Cardiff city centre. He arrives with Charley, his partner, and seeing him now it is easy to recall the tyro who terrorised Otago that evening. Six feet five and almost 18 stones back then, he still looks strong and athletic.

    Over coffee he begins to talk about his life now. Especially, his fears for the future. “I feel like my world is falling apart. And I am really scared. Because I’ve got three children and three step-children and I want to be a fantastic dad,” he says.

    “I lived 15 years of my life like a superhero and I’m not. I don’t know what the future holds.

    “I am a product of an environment that is all about process and human performance. I’m not able to perform like I could. And I just want to lead a happy, healthy, normal life. I feel that’s been taken away and there’s nothing I can do. I can’t train harder, I can’t play the referee, I don’t know what the rules of the game are anymore.”

    As he says this, he breaks down. Tears fill his eyes. Ryan Jones is 41 and another former rugby player with a serious brain injury. He received the diagnosis in December. Early onset dementia, probable chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). They told him he was one of one of the worst cases they have seen, and they have seen many.

    We walk to somewhere quieter, down Lon-Y-Dail road, left onto Lon Isa, another left to a little green area surrounded by houses. It is a warm summer’s day in Cardiff and on the grass he sits with Charley by his side. He then explains how he has ended up in this place.

    There wasn’t any headline-grabbing moment, he says, where he realised he was in trouble. Rather a slow realisation that something was amiss. At first he tried to tell himself it was nothing: everyone forgets things, every former player struggles after retirement, everyone has down moments, until he couldn’t run away from it anymore. “I think the understanding came a few years ago through conversations with people close to me,” he says.

    “Whether it was partner or family, they were noticing changes in me. I was diagnosed with depression and I started to realise that some of my cognitive function wasn’t great. I began to see that my short-term memory wasn’t great. I was forgetting things.”

    What a doctor saw as depression was a symptom, not a cause. “Ryan would say to me, ‘I don’t think I am [depressed],’ ” Charley says. “He couldn’t explain. He would say, ‘I can’t articulate it Charley but there’s something not right. It’s not depression, it’s something else.’

    “He would say things like, ‘My head just feels full,’ and he would have physical symptoms: headaches and eye problems often. And obviously these things are getting worse, but he would say, ‘I can’t get the words out.’ What we’ve certainly noticed the last couple of years is everything getting slower. He gets more anxious that he can’t get his words and he can’t put sentences together.

    “We were talking about this the other day, Ryan was the Wales captain and he thrived under pressure. Now any form of stress he can’t cope with at all. And there’s an emotional cost to that. And he will just go really within himself — almost catatonic — to a point where he just has to be left alone in a dark room.”

    He can’t avoid the moments that remind him of what he’s losing. He tells of doing an event with former Welsh player Sean Holley in . . . and he stops while trying to recall the town. Aberystwyth. Holley recalled incidents that happened in games, big moments they had shared on the pitch and as Jones listened, he couldn’t remember any of this. “It’s wasn’t like, ‘Ah, I now remember that.’ It’s like absolutely no recollection.”

    Another recent moment cut him to the quick. For some time he’d been telling the kids that he’s got to take them to Pen y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales. And then, even more recently, he’s going through old stuff and he sees photos of himself and the kids on Pen y Fan: “I had been on about desperately wanting to take the kids to Pen y Fan and do the mountain, because they’d never done it, and I don’t look at the photo and [think] ‘Ah, I remember now,’ because I don’t.”

    There are conversations now that he will soon forget. Things that he and Charley agreed that he doesn’t recall. That is upsetting for him as the absence of any recall leaves him convinced the original conversation can’t have taken place. “There’s been times I’ve recorded stuff,” she says. “Because I know he will forget it and he will challenge me — ‘I didn’t say that, I didn’t even have that conversation’ — and it will be something important. ‘You did darling, this is it [the recording].’ There’s a genuine, complete blank of memory, and it’s not until I show him something, and he can see it’s me and he trusts that I am being honest with him. It’s the short- term memory. The best way I can describe Ryan — it’s like having a conversation with my 85-year-old grandad.”

    At first they would joke about the things he forgot; laughter was their way of coping. They knew they were in denial but didn’t want to have the conversation. Then came what Charley calls “the dark episodes”.

    “Ryan got to a place where he thought, ‘Well, this is impacting on everyone else’s lives, especially the children’s lives’ and he knew he had to explore what had gone wrong,” she says. “The dark times were where he would get almost to the point of wanting to scream at this thing that he couldn’t explain to me. ‘Charley I can’t even talk, I haven’t got the capacity to talk about it.’”

    They now pick up on the signs of a coming-down period and take precautions. Though he will try to function normally, it is a struggle and it’s a particular concern if his low mood overlaps with time he’s spending with the kids. Thirty-six hours is how long they last, though with this illness nothing stays the same.

    “We don’t know where to go, where to find support,” Jones says. “We haven’t got any friends in this space. It terrifies me because I don’t know if, in two years’ time, we’re sat here and these episodes are a week long, two weeks long or permanent. That’s the fear, that’s the bit that never leaves. That’s the bit I can’t shake off.

    “Every episode I have also leaves a bit of a legacy. Everything we cancel, every relationship that I poison or don’t have time for anymore, just makes it a little bit tougher to cope. I don’t know how to slow that down, make it stop, what to do.”

    Charley says the young Ryan she got to know at Cardiff University 20 years ago is no more. She sees a big change. Back then he was the eternal optimist, the guy who believed things would work out. Now there is almost constant anxiety about meeting strangers, about people judging him, about what kind of dad he’s going to be.

    The diagnosis was unambiguous. Early onset dementia, probable CTE and yet, at last, clarity. “The stress of not knowing was becoming too big. There is a relief in diagnosis,” he says.

    “There was a grief in diagnosis,” Charley says. “I don’t know if Ryan recognised this or not, because we haven’t really spoken about it. There was an, ‘Ah f***, it’s actually true,’ and I think there was part of him that was desperately hoping that the neurologist might say, ‘You’re fine, you’re one of the lucky ones.’ ”

    They asked the neurologist about the future. He said the rate at which things deteriorated over the past five years is likely to continue.

    After the diagnosis came the most difficult thing. Telling the children. Jacob is just 12, a keen and very good rugby player. A mini version of Ryan. His dad is his hero. He asked if there was a treatment that would make things better. Then he wondered about his own rugby. His dad said that it was a conversation they needed to have.

    “Do I want to be a father in ten years, or if Charley is left to pick up the pieces, having a conversation with my son when he’s 30, going, ‘Guess what, you’ve trodden the same path as your dad’? We knew all along and we didn’t stop you and boy do we wish we had. I couldn’t live with that.”

    Since the diagnosis, he’s shared the news with his family and closest friends, but not with the men he once soldiered with.

    “I am not sure what their personal circumstances are,” he says. “Maybe on the back of this, people will reach out to me if they’re concerned. I think that would be the one positive. I would love that, because we could just share. It’s probably my ego as well. I had great times.

    “The other thing is I probably realised the changing room hasn’t been there for me either. This idea of ‘everyone is mates’ is not the case. We were people who pulled together with a common cause, we shared some fantastic moments together but we’ve gone our different ways now. I am torn on the game, you know. [There’s] still a part of me that loves it.

    “I was a kid who had a dream of playing for Wales. I got to live that dream. I captained Wales more times than anyone else until Warby [Sam Warburton] came along and I wouldn’t change,” he says and then pauses. “Actually I would change it based on my experience now. But in the moment it was amazing.”

    As for the game and its response to brain injury, he is unequivocal: “It is walking headlong with its eyes closed into a catastrophic situation.”
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2022
  12. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Chile beat the USA in Glendale, Colorado 31-29 which means they go to the RWC with a 52-51 overall score from the two legs. The US will have to go into a reperchage in a blow to their development programme.
    Chile upset USA in Colorado to secure first ever Rugby World Cup place | Rugby World Cup | The Guardian

    Rodrigo Fernandez was scintillating again. He'll be off to Europe in no short order. Absolutely electric.

    Full match replays of all the weekend action here:
    Rugby Full Match Replay Free (
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2022
  13. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

  14. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Portugal who narrowly lost to Georgia this weekend will with the USA, Kenya, Tonga/HK go into the repechage for RWC qualification.

  15. miked2006

    miked2006 Premiership Prediction League Proprietor

    Good result and great to win the series in Aus. I'm glad we seemed to have overcome our recent disciplinary problems, but we haven't been truly convincing over 80 mins for a while and that's concerning with the WC not too far away.
  16. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Not surprised this hasn't gone down well with Eddie Jones' paymasters and how will players react in his squad to being criticised like this?

    But is he right - rugby is very elitist and generally picks from a certain pool of society although maybe that is changing?
  17. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Argentina beat New Zealand in New Zealand.

    Must be a first ?
  18. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    It is. Argentina beat NZ in Australia two seasons ago. It equals their highest score against the ABs and the first time they have recorded consecutive victories in the RC after thumping Australia 48-17 last week. NZ are at a low ebb. They lack players in certain positions and their coach Foster is under immense pressure. Should have been Scott Robertson. Ironically Michael Cheika and Dave Kidwell a Kiwi defence coach have made this Pumas teams tougher and more disciplined. They were under enormous pressure but never yielded or cracked and made the most of their opportunities. Matera, Montoya are world class and Boffelli is joining that bracket.

    Means the WC is wide open. Australia also beat a disjointed Boks.

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  19. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

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  20. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

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  21. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Not a huge fan of his commentating as if you have read this thread before will know. But by all accounts a very nice man and did a tremendous amount of work for charities. Which is what he was doing when he passed. Worse still his daughter was on the trek with him.
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  22. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

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  23. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

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  24. AndrewH63

    AndrewH63 Reservist

    I think we maybe witnessing the end of professional rugby union. The sport cannot raise enough money through a TV deal. Attendances are small, wages too high, fixtures not inter granted with international competitions.

    Only needs one more high profile club to join Worcester and Wasps and that will be that.
  25. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    I don't think it's the end of professional rugby union by any means. There are successful clubs in the Premiership. But they are well run. Worcester were shafted by a pair of charlatans who have been banned from ever being directors at any club while Wasps made several ill advised moves from North London and speculated beyond their means. Yes there does need to be a salary cap and fewer clubs run by sugar daddies but elsewhere professional union is thriving be it in the NH and SH although the ARU is still in a bit of a pickle at present.
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  26. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Heartbreak for the Red Roses .

    Just edged out by New Zealand in the World Cup final despite a fantastic effort having to play a women down for an hour or so.

    Were still in front going into the last 10 minutes but the hosts got a late decisive try.
  27. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    The final qualifier from the RWC repechage is Portugal. Kenya and HK were never contenders. Portugal drew 16-16 with the US with a last gasp penalty. And that takes them to France. A setback for American rugby particularly with the RWC being there in 2027. Los Lobos have some fabulous backs most of them young and a great development programme.

    Notable win for the Azzurri against Australia last week their first ever and but for some missed kicks an even more comprehensive win was on the cards. Also special mention to Kevin Sinfield and his ongoing charitable work on behalf of MND charities with his seven marathons a day that will culminate at the RLWC final at Old Trafford. There are pages on Just Giving if you wish to donate.

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  28. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Some great charity work going on there .

    Shock for Wales losing to Georgia.
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  29. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Terrific win for Georgia over a subpar Wales. Georgia should be included along with one of Portugal, Spain, Romania in an expanded conference set up to develop European Rugby further with Russia added when the regime is gone or the war is over along with Holland who are developing rapidly.

    Italy more than held their own against the Boks for a half but unfortunately two quickly conceded tries both scored by Cheslin Kolbe put paid to a first ever win over the Boks and a pretty comprehensive scoreline. Argentinian discipline was the cause of the scoreline at Murrayfield rather than any exceptional Scottish performance. Kremer was sent off and rightly so for a arm to the head of Ritchie at a ruck and it cost the team dear. Not only that both locks Alemanno and Lavanini were carded reducing the Pumas to twelve despite which they scored a scintillating try. But fitness and numbers prevailed. The TMO was poor though in allowing a Scottish try when there was a clear offside and how Tuipilotu escaped a red beats me. If his tackle is not dangerous play what is ?

    Cheika has to do something about discipline for the team to show their true potential. At this moment in time Ireland, France, SA and NZ are the likely four contenders for next year. Although a lot can change.
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  30. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    England 25-25 New Zealand.

    Great comeback the best ever against the ABs. But both Jones and Foster will be tearing their hair out. Some bizarre decisions at the end. Youngs grubber to no one when a man up and then Perenara kicking the ball when it should have been kept in the forwards.

    Sad to see four Tongans in the ABs side. A reason I never support them or indeed England and other sides who raid the PIs with impunity. All four came from Tonga on schools tours captaining their sides and yet all four are now playing for NZ. Takeiaho, Fainga'nuku, Fakatava and Frizzell. No wonder the PI's can make it right to the top. Two turned out for Moana Pasifika in SR and still get pinched.
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  31. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Yes quite a comeback it seems from nowhere .

    Agree - it is a shame when the smaller nations lose players to the powerful big boys .

    Very unfair disadvantage.
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  32. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

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  33. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

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  34. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Wayne's World has been collapsing. Losing to an Australian side that is missing so many players is unacceptable. Surely ? Pivac's contract runs to the RWC but perhaps the WRU needs to dispense with him now. They also need organizational reform. Some of the young players that should be in the side are not even getting a look in. The old guard have been held onto for too long. Jones also looks bereft. A weaker SA were still far too much at Twickenham.

    Chilean Rodrigo Fernandez's try was awarded World Rugby's Try of the Year in their qualifier against the USA.

    This is the selection for World team of the year:

    15. Ange Capuozzo (Italy)
    14. Damian Penaud (France)
    13. Gary Ringrose (Ireland)
    12. Damian de Allende (South Africa)
    11. Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland)
    10. Romain Ntamack (France)
    9. Antoine Dupont (France)
    8. Ardi Savea (New Zealand)
    7. Pablo Matera (Argentina)
    6. Siya Kolisi (South Africa, captain)
    5. James Ryan (Ireland)
    4. Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)
    3. Frans Malherbe (South Africa)
    2. Malcolm Marx (South Africa)
    1. Steven Kitshoff (South Africa)

    Amazed Boffelli is behind van der Merwe. Barrett maybe just over Ntamack as well.
  35. I Blame Bassett

    I Blame Bassett First Team

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