1. Musical Secret Santa

    It's a Secret!

    Click here for more details

    Dismiss Notice

Autumn internationals.

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Swami, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    Trophy Points:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Japan 31-69 New Zealand: Steve Hansen impressed by Japan 'razzle-dazzle'

    Steve Hansen will be hoping to guide his side to their third consecutive World Cup title in Japan next year
    New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen was impressed by Japan's "razzle-dazzle" after his side's 69-31 win in Tokyo.

    Fly-half Richie Mo'unga produced an impressive 22-point display as the second-string All Blacks scored 10 tries.

    Japan crossed the whitewash five times and Hansen said the 2019 World Cup hosts were getting "better and better".

    "Anybody that came to the game today will have enjoyed what they saw from Japan," said Hansen.

    All Blacks centre Ngani Laumape scored a hat-trick of tries, while substitute debutant George Bridge marked his first appearance with a brace in the second half.

    Hansen, who handed out eight new caps, said it was a risk to start with so many inexperienced players in a Test match against a team that's been "playing very well the last couple of years".

    Japan started brightly as they scored the first try after just three minutes when Samuela Anise charged down Jordie Barrett's attempted clearance.

    "We are obviously disappointed with the loss but I am not disappointed with the intent of my team," said Japan head coach and former All Black, Jamie Joseph.

    Japan were humbled 54-6 to New Zealand in 2013, but Joseph insists today's five tries show signs of improvement against the "best team in the world".

    "We still have a long way to go until the World Cup and until we get our game to a level where we can beat tier-one teams," added Joseph.

  2. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    Trophy Points:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Autumn Internationals: Wales 21-10 Scotland
    By Gareth Griffiths

    BBC Sport Wales

    Share this with

    Copy this link
    Read more about sharing.
    Jonathan Davies (right) scored on his return after a year out through injury
    Autumn international: Wales 21-10 Scotland
    Wales (14) 21
    North, J Davies Cons: Halfpenny Pens: Halfpenny 3
    Scotland (10) 10
    McInally Con: Hastings Pens: Hastings
    Wales claimed the inaugural Doddie Weir Cup with a 21-10 win as Scotland's miserable run in Cardiff continued.

    Wales have triumphed in the last 10 games against Scotland in Cardiff, a winning streak going back to 2002.

    Tries from George North and Jonathan Davies were complemented by 11 points from the boot of Leigh Halfpenny.

    Scotland responded with a try from captain Stuart McInally, but were left to rue poor midfield defence and discipline.

    Centre Huw Jones was exposed as his two missed tackles cost Scotland tries as Wales won six successive games for the first time since 2012.

    Davies scores on return to confirm Welsh victory
    Warren Gatland's side have won 11 out of the last 12 matches against Scotland as Wales secured an opening autumn international victory for the first time in 16 years.

    It was an ideal warm-up for Wales before their attempt to defeat Australia next Saturday after 13 successive losses against the Wallabies.

    Scotland's poor away form continued as they struggled to break down Wales' dynamic defence typified by man-of-the-match Justin Tipuric and Dan Lydiate.

    This was despite the home side being reduced to 14 men late on through Elliot Dee's yellow card.

    Gregor Townsend's men will be on more familiar territory next week when they host Fiji at Murrayfield.

    Doddie's Day

    'What an inspiration' - Doddie Weir given emotional ovation
    The fixture had raised eyebrows when it was announced because Wales usually play a southern hemisphere superpower for a fourth international that falls outside World Rugby's international window.

    This was only the second time in 124 meetings Wales and Scotland have played each other outside of the Five or Six Nations.

    The previous occasion was a World Cup warm-up in 2003 when Wales won a match that saved Steve Hansen's career there.

    Wales and Scotland were competing for the Doddie Weir Cup with the former Scotland and Lions second-row suffering from motor neurone disease.

    Controversy had developed after it was revealed originally none of the expected £3m gate receipts were going directly to the foundation.

    The Welsh and Scottish Rugby Unions eventually announced they were donating a six-figure after bowing to public pressure.

    That ensured the match was all about Weir and he received a warm ovation before kick-off when he brought the cup into the arena, accompanied by his family.

    Tens in focus
    Uncapped wing Luke Morgan making his Wales debut and the focus on the two 10s were some of the pre-match talking points.

    Gareth Anscombe impressed for the hosts while Adam Hastings, son of Scotland great Gavin, was winning only his fourth cap.

    It was an inauspicious start for the Scotland fly-half as he missed his first penalty kick to touch in the opening exchanges.

    Wales opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a Halfpenny kick after hooker Ken Owens won the penalty at a ruck.

    Halfpenny continued to mercilessly punish the visitors and Hastings replied after a scrum penalty.

    North star

    George North bursts through to score opening try
    There was no stopping North as he powered over for a 34th Test that try took him to third in Wales all-time try scoring list above Ieuan Evans with Shane Williams (58) and Gareth Thomas (40) in his sights. Halfpenny missed the conversion.

    Scotland responded quickly with a try for McInally from a driving maul, which Hastings converted as Wales led 14-10 at the interval.

    The hosts struck with their first meaningful attack of the first-half as centre Davies marked his return after year out of international rugby through injury in style.

    Scotland hit back as McInally bundles over
    Architect Anscombe provided the creative spark with a delicate delayed pass, but it was left to Davies to dismissively swat hapless opposite number Jones aside to sprint away and Halfpenny converted.

    Scotland rallied through inspirational flanker Hamish Watson, and continually tested Wales with their driving line-out, but were denied after lock Jonny Gray was penalised for a double movement while crossing the hosts' line.

    More Scottish pressure resulted in Raynal handing replacement hooker Dee a yellow card before Scotland were again denied by the TMO after replacement Peter Horne failed to ground a chip kick, summing up Scotland's day.

    Wales coach Warren Gatland said: "We were a bit rusty at times. For long periods of the game we were pretty comfortable without the ball and defended well.

    "We scored some nice tries and will be better for that. Scotland put us under a lot of pressure."

    Wales: 15-Halfpenny; 14-L Morgan, 13-J Davies, 12-Parkes, 11-North; 10-Anscombe, 9-G Davies; 1-N Smith, 2-Owens, 3-Lewis, 4-Hill, 5-A W Jones, 6-Lydiate, 7-Tipuric, 8-Moriarty.

    Replacements: 16-Dee, 17-R Evans, 18-Brown, 19-Beard, 20-Wainwright, 21-T Williams, 22-J Evans, 23-S Evans.

    Scotland: 15-Kinghorn; 14-Seymour, 13-H Jones, 12-Dunbar, 11-L Jones; 10-Hastings, 9-Price; 1-Dell, 2-McInally, 3-Nel, 4-Toolis, 5-Gray, 6-Ritchie, 7-Watson, 8-Wilson.

    Replacements: 16-Brown, 17-Allan, 18-Berghan, 19-Gilchrist, 20-Fagerson, 21-G Horne, 22-P Horne, 23-Graham.

    Match officials
    Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)

    Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England) & Frank Murphy (Ireland)

    TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

  3. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    Trophy Points:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    England 12-11 South Africa: Eddie Jones' side battle to victory at Twickenham
    By Tom Fordyce

    Owen Farrell (centre) reacts as the referee declares he did not make an illegal tackle at the end of the match
    Autumn internationals: England 12-11 South Africa
    (6) 12
    Pens: Farrell 3, Daly
    South Africa: (8) 11
    Try: Nkosi; Pens: Pollard 2
    Coverage: Highlights on BBC Two and online at 19:30 GMT
    England hung on to nick an extraordinary, topsy-turvy contest and get their autumn off to a winning start.

    An inexperienced pack were pummelled in the first half and only a series of South African errors and the excellence of Owen Farrell's boot kept them in it at the interval.

    But gradually Eddie Jones' men found their discipline and shape, and Elliot Daly's three-pointer from inside his own half had nudged them in front, only for Handre Pollard to knock over a penalty of his own to make it 11-9 to the Boks with time running out.

    But Farrell landed his third penalty from out on the left to edge the men in white back in front, and Pollard could only hit the upright with his attempted match-winner at the death.

    The Springboks will be wondering how they lost a match they had totally dominated for the first 45 minutes.

    Yet England refused to wilt, and for a team and coach under pressure, this was a precious victory, no matter how narrow it may have been.

    England backs to the wall
    South Africa's Sbu Nkosi scored the only try of the match
    In a cagey opening England's indiscipline soon hurt them, Pollard banging over an early penalty and Itoje sin-binned for not rolling away after a try-saving tackle on Sbu Nkosi, his third offence in 15 minutes.

    Only desperate defence on the line and then an over-thrown line-out from hooker Malcolm Marx prevented a Springbok try, and when Farrell's first penalty levelled it up England had hit back from the ropes.

    With Pollard dictating from fly-half and the visitors' pack dominant, England were hanging on, Marx again missing his men with another line-out in the right-hand corner and a series of knock-ons only pausing their progress.

    A try was coming, and when Damian de Allende stepped and accelerated to open up the defence, the ball went wide left through the quick hands of Aphiwe Dyantyi and Warren Whiteley to send Nkosi scampering into the corner.

    But Pollard pulled the conversion across the face of the posts and when Farrell nailed his second long-ranger, England were somehow just two points down at the interval, having had only 22% of the first-half territory and 33% possession, and not once having breached the South African 22.

    Jones' men somehow find a way
    England celebrate the collapse of the South Africa scrum which earned England the crucial late penalty
    With Alec Hepburn getting subbed at half-time and Tom Curry limping off shortly afterwards, England had two more debutants in Ben Moon and Zach Mercer in a team already left callow by injury to so many big name forwards.

    Still the infringements piled up, costing Jones' men both momentum and territory, but South Africa continued to cough the ball up in promising positions and from nowhere England had the lead. South Africa were penalised just inside the home half and full-back Daly clattered his kick over from 46 metres for an improbable 9-8 scoreline.

    Confidence began to flow. Farrell cut through before Henry Slade found Daly on his outside, but the full-back stepped inside and looked for Jonny May on the wing too late, and the chance was gone.

    Itoje went on the charge and then May counter-attacked from deep, swerving through a maze of green shirts before setting Jack Nowell away to do the same.

    Pollard stroked over a penalty of his own from distance to nick back the lead with 13 minutes to go but it was now all England, Daly again ignoring May on his outside but the wing then scything through, only for Brad Shields to spill the ball in the tackle three metres out as he looked for the pass back inside.

    The chance came. England mangled the Springboks at the subsequent scrum and Farrell stroked over his third dead-eyed penalty to make it 12-11.

    It had become a beautifully flawed thriller. Pollard clipped the outside of the right post with a huge penalty with four minutes to go and then his forwards thundered to within 10 metres of the England line.

    They spurned the chance to work a drop-goal and paid the price when Farrell stripped Lood de Jager and the ball was cleared.

    With the clock red Farrell then smashed into a tackle without seemingly using his arms. It looked like a penalty but referee Angus Gardner went to his TMO and decided it was legal, and somehow England were home.

    Reaction to England's win
    England head coach Eddie Jones: "We got through 80 minutes, there was sharp resistance and toughness in our play so I'm really pleased with out boys. We got a bit excited too early at the end though, I'll learn from that [contentious Farrell tackle]. I forgot about the TMO.

    "We just stuck at it, we stayed in the arm wrestle. We did the simple things well, we had to keep them on the back foot and we did that.

    "The game just broke up, we weren't quite good enough to take advantage of a couple of opportunities but we were good enough to get the points."

    Brian Moore, former England hooker: "South Africa didn't make the most of their chances in the first half, but the defensive effort was astonishing throughout for England. They must take immense credit just as much as South Africa must take criticism."

    Matt Dawson, former England scrum-half on BBC Radio 5 live, referring to Farrell's late tackle: "If it was role reversal here and a South African had smashed one of the England players we would be asking for a penalty, but we will take it.

    "England were under fire in the first half, so to come back in the way they did to win it was brilliant."

    England: Daly; Nowell, Slade, Te'o, May; Farrell, Youngs; Wilson, Curry, Shields; Kruis, Itoje; Sinckler, Hartley, Hepburn

    Replacements: Ashton for Nowell (65), Ford for Te'o (73), Care for Youngs (65), Mercer for Curry (42), Ewels for Shields (77), Williams for Sinckler (65), George for Hartley (57), Moon for Hepburn (half-time)

    Sin bin: Itoje (16)

    South Africa: Willemse; Nkosi, Kriel, De Allende, Dyantyi; Pollard, Van Zyl; Whiteley, Vermeulen, Kolisi; Du Toit, Etzebeth; Malherbe, Marx, Kitshoff.

    Replacements: Esterhuizen for Nkosi (60), Jantjes for De Allende (77), Papier for Van Zyl (75), De Jager for Kolisi (65), Snyman for Etzebeth (42), Louw for Malherbe (65), Mbonambi for Marx (75), Du Toit for Kitshoff (65).

    Ref: Angus Gardner (Australia)

    Att: 82,000

  4. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    Trophy Points:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Ireland v Italy: Larmour hat-trick as Ireland beat Italy 54-7 in Chicago
    By Cian Murtagh

    BBC Sport NI

    Jordan Larmour scored a hat-trick of tries in his first start for Ireland
    Autumn internationals: Ireland 49-7 Italy
    Ireland (14) 54
    Beirne 2, L McGrath, Larmour 3, Cronin, Ringrose Cons: Carbery 5, Byrne 2
    Italy (7) 7
    Campagnaro Con: Canna
    Ireland opened their autumn international series with a thumping 54-7 win over Italy in Chicago.

    Jordan Larmour scored a hat-trick in an eight-try onslaught by the Six Nations champions, who put 50 points on Italy for the fourth consecutive game.

    Tadhg Beirne got two tries while Luke McGrath, Sean Cronin and Garry Ringrose also scored for a new-look Irish side.

    Michele Campagnaro scored Italy's only try but they could find no answer to Ireland's second-half barrage.

    The Azzurri only trailed 14-7 at the break at Soldier Field and they can take some comfort from their impressive first-half display going into their next match against Georgia on 10 November.

    Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt will be pleased with the increasing strength in depth of his squad as Larmour and Beirne both made strong impressions on their first Test starts, while there were also debuts for substitutes Will Addison and Ross Byrne.

    Ireland's remaining autumn internationals
    10 November
    17 November New Zealand
    24 November United States
    A return to Soldier Field
    Irish rugby supporters will forever have an affinity with the home of the Chicago Bears following their historic defeat of New Zealand at the iconic Chicago stadium in 2016.

    Joe Schmidt's team have risen to second place in the world rankings since that win over the All Blacks but the Ireland head coach left many of his first-choice players at home for this return to Soldier Field.

    Joey Carbery, who came off the bench two years ago to make his Test debut, was handed the opportunity to prove he could be a reliable deputy to Johnny Sexton in the green number 10 shirt and he looked comfortable during his hour-long cameo.

    Tadhg Beirne scored his first two Ireland tries in his first Test start
    Another Munster player looking to make an impression was Beirne, who marked his first Ireland start with two tries - the first coming with just three minutes on the clock when he claimed a lineout and then popped up seconds later to barrel his way over.

    Italy head coach Conor O'Shea would have been pleased with how his under-strength team responded to the early Irish bombardment as the Azzurri gradually began to build pressure and were unfortunate not to score when Abraham Steyn was judged to have knocked-on while attempting to ground the ball off the base of the posts.

    Against the run of play, Ireland added a second try in the 33rd minute when Larmour showed the electric footwork that earned him a nomination for World Rugby's Breakthrough Player of the Year award to create an easy score for Luke McGrath.

    Italy deservedly got on the scoreboard just before the break when Campagnaro read a pre-rehearsed Irish attack and intercepted opposing captain Rhys Ruddock's inside pass to score under the posts.

    Irishman Ian McKinley was a second-half substitute for Italy
    Irish evolution continues
    Ireland's Grand Slam victory this year was built on ferocious defence and an ability to retain possession for long periods before creating chances for Jacob Stockdale to score but their style of play is constantly evolving under Schmidt.

    Any criticism of Ireland has centred on their limited attacking edge but their second-half performance demonstrated a more expansive approach.

    Two tries within six minutes of the restart effectively decided the result and allowed the men in green to attack at every opportunity.

    In a repeat of the opening half, Beirne was first on the scoreboard - picking a superb angle to gallop onto Luke McGrath's short pass - and he was quickly followed by Larmour as he plucked Campagnaro's wayward pass out of the air and sprinted clear from halfway.

    Half-time substitute Sean Cronin was next to score as the Leinster hooker was at the tail of a well-ordered lineout maul that scattered the Italy pack on its way across the line.

    Ulster's John Cooney replaced Luke McGrath at scrum-half in the 64th minute
    Final-quarter fireworks
    The organisers of the Chicago fixture are hoping the meeting of two Six Nations rivals will help to increase interest in rugby among sports fans in the United States and they would have been delighted by Ireland's sparkling performance in the final 20 minutes.

    Larmour was a threat from every corner of the field and the full-back scorched down the left wing to score his second after Ringrose had cleverly drawn two Italian defenders.

    Bundee Aki's powerful run set-up a try for Ringrose just minutes later with the outside centre showing his turn of pace to scoot around the covering defence in the right corner.

    Italy went in search of a consolation score but they lost possession deep inside the Ireland 22 in the 79th minute and could only watch helplessly as Larmour danced and weaved his way past several weary tacklers to score a sensational 80-metre try for an emphatic final flourish.

    'We were inaccurate at times'
    Ireland captain Rhys Ruddock on Premier Sports: "We've really enjoyed the experience of playing in Chicago and it was a tough Test match against Italy.

    "We knew we were a bit inaccurate at times in the first half so we wanted to play with more tempo in the second and hold onto the ball for longer. We managed to do that and the scoreline maybe flattered us a bit."

    Ireland: Larmour; Conway, Ringrose, Aki, Stockdale; Carbery, L McGrath; J McGrath, Scannell, Porter, Beirne, Roux, Ruddock (capt), van der Flier, Conan

    Replacements: Cronin for Scannell (41), Kilcoyne for J McGrath (50), Bealham for Porter (57), Toner for Beirne (60), Murphy for van der Flier (67), Cooney for L McGrath (64), Byrne for Carbery (60), Addison for Stockdale (60)

    Italy: Sperandio; Bellini, Campagnaro (capt), Morisi, Bisegni; Canna, Tebaldi; Quaglio, Bigi, Pasquali, Fuser, Biagi, Meyer, Steyn, Giammarioli

    Replacements: Fabiani for Bigi (63), Traore for Quaglio (22), Zilocchi for Pasquali (60), Lazzaroni for Fuser (63), Ruzza for Biagi (55), Tuivatti for Giammarioli (55), Palazzani for Morisi (69), McKinley for Canna (60)

    Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

  5. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    Trophy Points:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Scotland 54-17 Fiji: Tommy Seymour hat-trick as hosts run in eight tries
    By Tom English

    Media playback is not supported on this device

    Highlights: Scotland 54-17 Fiji
    Autumn Test: Scotland v Fiji
    Scotland (21) 54
    Dell, Brown, Seymour (3), Maitland, Ritchie, Hastings Cons: Laidlaw 5, Russell 2
    Fiji (17) 17
    Mata, Radradra Cons: Volavola 2 Pens: Volavola
    Tommy Seymour scored a hat-trick of tries as Scotland weathered an early storm to blow Fiji away at Murrayfield.

    Allan Dell, Fraser Brown and Seymour touched down as Scotland edged to a 17-14 lead at the interval.

    Tries from Viliame Mata and Semi Radradra had Fiji in front briefly but they had no answer to the hosts' composure, fitness and control.

    Seymour plunged over twice in a second-half rout, with Sean Maitland, Jamie Ritchie and Adam Hastings also scoring.

    Given what happened to them the last time they played Fiji - a bruising loss in Suva in the summer of 2017 - Scotland will have been glad to get this one out of the way. And with an amount of style in the end.

    The longer it went on, the more Scotland powered away and the more Fiji suffered. The visitors' ill-discipline cost them two yellow cards and a whole world of trouble. When their energy tanks started to empty, their pain only intensified.

    Finn Russell, piling on the unpredictability and the class on his return, and Seymour exploding back into try-scoring form were some of the headlines, but there were others.

    Ritchie was terrific in the back-row against Fiji's man mountains. Sam Skinner, on his debut, was deeply impressive. Stuart Hogg's first game back after injury was a reminder of what Scotland miss when he's away.

    It was a frenetic Test, a comfortable start for the home team, then a wobble, then a level of dominance that squeezed all the hope out of the Fijians.

    The visitors took the lead with a Ben Volavola penalty, but Scotland quickly replied with a Dell try courtesy of patience and accuracy close to the line - features that were singularly absent in last weekend's loss in Cardiff - and then a close-range shunt from Brown.

    Even from the back of the stand you could hear Pete Horne's sigh of relief when the hooker piled over. In the preamble, Horne had Seymour running free outside him close to Fiji's 5m line and chose, in a rush of blood, to ignore him.

    Captain Greig Laidlaw was good with both conversions and the Scots were ahead 14-3.

    Media playback is not supported on this device

    Scotland's Seymour completes hat-trick
    Just when things looked tidy for Scotland, it got messy. A miscommunication at a line-out gifted front foot ball to the visitors and when these lads are on the front foot and running into open country then it normally ends in a score.

    Peceli Yato, the giant of Clermont, took it on and linked with Mata who drove on under the posts. Six minutes later, they were at it again. Leone Nakarawa burst through a ruck and when he got a touch lucky with his offload his team made the most of it.

    Frank Lomani took Fiji into Scotland territory, Tevita Cavubati took Dell to the cleaners in support and found Radradra for the try. All of a sudden, Fiji had hit the front.

    The rest? A constant blue wave. Cavubati saw yellow amid a Scottish siege, then Nakarawa went the same way. Seymour punished them before the end of the half after a beautiful skip pass from Russell, who then pored it on for the rest of the day.

    Maitland struck just after the restart to put Fiji well and truly on the ropes and Seymour virtually knocked them out just before the hour after being slipped in by Laidlaw.

    The scores kept coming. Seymour's hat-trick score was a beauty, a counter-attack off a loose Fiji kick involving Horne, Russell and Chris Harris.

    Scotland were rampant. Ritchie went over from close-range with two minutes left and Hastings, following more Russell excellence, took it beyond 50 points a few moments later. From a Test that looked tricky, it had long since become a stroll.

    Scotland: 15-Hogg, 14-Seymour, 13-Dunbar, 12-P Horne, 11-Maitland, 10-Russell, 9-Laidlaw; 1-Dell, 2-Brown, 3-Nel, 4-Skinner, 5-Gilchrist, 6-Wilson, 7-Ritchie, 8-Fagerson

    Replacements: 16-McInally (for Brown, 52 mins), 17-Allan (for Dell, 55 mins), 18-Berghan (for Nel, 55 mins), 19-J Gray (for Wilson, 61 mins), 20-Strauss (for Fagerson, 30 mins), 21-G Horne (for Laidlaw, 61 mins), 22-Hastings (for P Horne, 71 mins), 23-Harris (for Dunbar, 49 mins).

    Fiji: 15-Tuicuvu, 14-Talebula, 13-Radradra, 12-Vatabua, 11-Goneva, 10-Volavola, 9-Lomani; 1-Maafu, 2-Matavesi, 3-Saulo, 4-Cavubati, 5-Nakarawa, 6-Waqaniburotu, 7-Yato, 8-Mata

    Replacements: 16-Dolokoto (for Matavesi, 60 mins), 17-Mawi (for Maafu, 60 mins), 18-Tawake (for Saulo, 50 mins), 19-Tuisue (for Cavubati, 68 mins), 20-Kunatani (for Yato, 63 mins), 21-Seniloli (For Lomani, 61 mins), 22-Veitokani (for Talebula, 63 mins), 23-Vasiteri (for Tuicuvu, 24 mins).

    Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)

    Touch judges: Luke Pearce and Karl Dickson (both England)

    TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

  6. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    Trophy Points:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    England 15-16 New Zealand: All Blacks fight back to win at Twickenham
    By Tom Fordyce

    The two teams had waited four years to meet each other, and as torrential rain fell from the dark skies, England came out at a clattering pace.

    Before the All Blacks could touch the ball in anger, England had carried hard into the opposition 22. As the backs massed left off a ruck, Ben Youngs threw a long blindside pass out to Ashton on the right wing for the maverick to sprint and slide into the corner - a dream return on his first start since 2012.

    The old stadium was alive and although Farrell's attempted conversion from the touchline came back off the post, he dropped back into the pocket off another bulldozing foray from his forwards to slot the drop-goal for 8-0.

    The dominant nation in world rugby were beset with uncharacteristic errors, over-throwing line-outs, putting kicks long, spilling high balls, and England hit them again as they sat on the ropes.

    Elliot Daly stuck a penalty into touch by the corner, and off the line-out the forwards mauled like a runaway tractor, with Jonny May, Henry Slade and Farrell all piling in as the white wedge splintered the black-shirted defence and careered over the line.

    Farrell's conversion made it 15-0, just as it had been in England's famous victory in 2012. But even with the talismanic Sonny Bill Williams off injured once again, New Zealand came tearing back.

    The forwards punched to within a metre of the try-line before centre Jack Goodhue put Damian McKenzie away with a cute inside ball, and Barrett's conversion was a formality.

    It quietened the crowd, and when Farrell put the re-start straight into touch, it left the door ajar again.

    Another series of carries forced England to infringe in front of the posts, Barrett knocked over the penalty and it was suddenly a five-point game at the break.

    Balance shifts in All Blacks' favour
    Damian McKenzie dived over just before half-time
    The comeback should have been complete within moments of the second half. McKenzie stepped Farrell and found Aaron Smith on his inside, but with the try-line open, the scum-half put the killer pass just behind Ardie Savea and the ball went loose.

    Yet England were reeling, and when Barrett slapped over a drop-goal from a penalty advantage there was relief that it was three points rather than seven and the lead had narrowed yet held.

    Back they came. Two penalties were kicked to the corner but this time the visiting defence held the rolling maul at bay, and then Kyle Sinckler knocked on as his team threatened a third try.

    It was flawed but breathless. With McKenzie sticking a clearing kick straight into touch to gift England an attacking line-out on the Kiwi 22, replacement hooker Jamie George wasted it with a dummy throw.

    On the hour, Barrett's second penalty after the English defence went offside finally put the All Blacks ahead 16-15. The home crowd were now quiet, the fear of what might follow from the world champions latent in the late afternoon air.

    Jones sensed the balance of power had shifted and threw on fresh props plus scrum-half Danny Care and Lawes into the back row.

    Still the rain came down and still neither could land the killer blow. Farrell's cross-kick won another attacking line-out, Brodie Retallick nicked the throw and New Zealand went 50m downfield at pace before knocking on.

    With Ben Te'o going off, Farrell switched to centre and George Ford to 10, but England were pinned in their own half.

    Then, with five minutes to go, they thought they had it won it. Underhill seized the loose ball off Lawes' charge-down and bolted for the corner, wrong-footing Barrett before diving over the line.

    But television match official Marius Jonker correctly ruled that Lawes had been an inch offside, and when May sliced through down the left, that final opening was lost to a knock-on.

    Sam Underhill's late try was chalked off after Courtney Lawes was ruled to be offside
    'A brilliant step-up for England' - analysis
    Matt Dawson, former England scrum-half on BBC Radio 5 live:

    I think everyone expected New Zealand to be far too drilled, far too fit, far too motivated and to demolish England.

    It was nothing of the sort. Yes, New Zealand were poor today and weren't at their best, and we all know if you're going to beat them you need that luck on your side.

    This is still a brilliant step-up for England, especially seeing how poor they'd been in previous games this year. They went toe-to-toe with the best and I said it at the time - three points is everything. When you're under the posts, you take the points and it's those fine margins that we need to get right.

    Brian Moore, former England hooker on BBC TV:

    "England's downfall lay in the second half and particularly the line-out.

    "You have to give them credit for limiting the All Blacks to a single point, though. They deserve a lot of credit for their efforts in the second half, but their line-out let them down."

    Man of the match - Sam Underhill (England)
    Brought in to stop the fearsome All Blacks' attack in its wake, Sam Underhill was everywhere in the first half-hour, and so close to snatching a famous win at the death.
    England: Daly; Ashton (Nowell 68), Slade, Te'o (Ford 72), May; Farrell, Youngs (Care 62); Moon (Hepburn 57), Hartley (George 40), Sinckler (Williams 57), Itoje, Kruis (Ewels 66), Shields (Lawes 65), Underhill, Wilson.

    New Zealand: McKenzie (Mo'unga 62); Smith, Goodhue, Williams (Crotty 31), Ioane; B Barrett, A Smith (Perenara 62); K Tu'inukuafe (Tuungafasi 56), Taylor (Coles 44), Franks (Laulala 44), Whitelock, Retallick, Squire (S Barrett 52), Savea (Todd 67), Read.

  7. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    Trophy Points:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Autumn internationals: Wales 9-6 Australia
    By Dafydd Pritchard

    BBC Sport Wales at the Principality Stadium

    Autumn International
    Wales (3) 9
    Halfpenny 2, Biggar
    Australia (3) 6
    Foley, To'omua
    Wales beat Australia for the first time since 2008 as Dan Biggar's late penalty settled a low-scoring but nerve-shredding encounter in Cardiff.

    Defences reigned supreme in a rugged first half which ended 3-3, with Leigh Halfpenny uncharacteristically missing a simple kick for the hosts.

    A gritty second period followed suit, Halfpenny edging Wales in front 6-3.

    Matt To'omua drew Australia level with five minutes left but, two minutes later, Biggar struck the decisive blow.

    It was a cathartic moment for an emotional Principality Stadium crowd, who had seen Wales beaten in similarly late and dramatic circumstances against the Wallabies on so many occasions in the past.

    And there will have been a sense of regret for Australia, who had chances to take the lead early in the second half but, presented with kickable penalties, twice opted for the corner and emerged from both attacks empty-handed.

    Wales made them pay. With their replacements coming on to up the ante in the closing stages, they forced their opponents back towards their own line and, with Halfpenny off the field injured, substitute Biggar was a picture of composure as he converted the vital penalty.

    Wales finally end losing run
    Like the golden-brown hues of falling leaves and the dropping temperatures, Wales losing to Australia had become an autumn tradition over the past decade.

    A run of 13 straight defeats stretched back to 2008, many of them due to dramatic late scores and most by painfully narrow margins - of the 13 losses, only two were by 10 points or more.

    Wales, however, were quietly confident of stopping the rot.

    They had won their six previous matches, whereas the Wallabies had won only three of their 10 Tests in 2018 and slipped to an historic low of seventh in the world rankings, albeit returning to sixth courtesy of Scotland's loss in Cardiff last week.

    Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny had an uncharacteristic off-day with the boot against Australia
    But such is Australia's competitive spirit and their strong record against Wales, one writes them off at their peril.

    As ever, the visitors were devilishly competitive at the breakdown, with back-rowers David Pocock and Michael Hooper often slowing Wales' ball.

    And despite the occasional flash of Wallaby flair in the opening exchanges, the home side managed to do the same to their opponents in an attritional first half.

    Neither side could puncture the opposing defensive line, with each having to be content with a penalty apiece through Halfpenny and Bernard Foley.

    Surprisingly, the usually accurate Halfpenny pushed one penalty wide of the post shortly before the interval, and the full-back put his head in his hands when he then squandered a second kick at goal.

    Normal service was resumed after the break, however, with the Scarlets full-back restoring Wales' lead with 13 minutes left.

    Halfpenny was then involved in a moment of controversy, as he was tackled late by Samu Kerevi, who escaped punishment despite appearing to catch the Wales player's head with his shoulder.

    Rather than a Wales penalty, referee Ben O'Keeffe awarded one to Australia for a different infringement and To'omua struck it perfectly from the touchline to bring his side level.

    At that moment, the Welsh fans felt a dreaded sense of déjà vu: the old recurring nightmare of late heartache against the Wallabies.

    But Wales were determined to exorcise those demons and their reward for a wholehearted and disciplined display was Biggar's penalty - on the field for a dazed-looking Halfpenny - which prompted deafening roars of celebration and banished a decade of hurt.

    Wales' World Cup audition
    This autumn series is something of an audition for Wales' players, who are looking to secure their squad places with next year's World Cup in mind.

    With a view to improving their strength in depth and rewarding those who impressed on the summer tour of the United States and Argentina, head coach Warren Gatland handed starts to fringe players such as wing Josh Adams and lock Adam Beard at the expense of more seasoned players.

    British and Irish Lions backs Liam Williams and Biggar were instead named on the bench, along with lock Cory Hill who had co-captained Wales on that summer tour.

    Worcester wing Josh Adams was given a starting Wales berth against Australia
    There were few opportunities for Adams to showcase his attacking skills in a tight encounter, while Beard occasionally used his enormous 6ft 8in frame to good use by disrupting Australian line-outs.

    But Gatland will have learned that his less experienced charges can stand the heat of Test rugby against a southern hemisphere powerhouse.

    The New Zealander will also have been pleased with the impact of his replacements - Williams, Hill, Biggar, Tomos Williams, Rob Evans, Ellis Jenkins and Dillon Lewis - whose impact he had highlighted before the match as a potentially decisive factor considering Wales' previous late defeats against the Wallabies.

    And given that Australia are in the same World Cup pool as Wales, this was a timely moment to end their decade-long hoodoo and land a significant psychological blow against their old foes before they meet again in Japan next year.

    Wales: 15-Halfpenny, 14-North, 13-Davies, 12-Parkes, 11-Adams, 10-Anscombe, 9-Davies; 1-Smith, 2-Owens, 3-Francis, 4-Beard, 5-Wyn Jones (captain), 6-Lydiate, 7-Tipuric, 8-Moriarty

    Replacements: 16-Dee, 17-Evans, 18-Lewis, 19-Hill, 20-Jenkins, 21-Williams, 22-Biggar, 23-Williams.

    Australia: 15-Haylett-Petty, 14-Folau, 13-Kerevi, 12-Beale, 11-Naivalu, 10-Foley, 9-Genia; 1-Sio, 2-Latu, 3-Alaalatoa, 4-Rodda, 5-Coleman, 6-Dempsey, 7-Hooper (captain), 8-Pocock.

    Replacements: 16-Polota-Nau, 17-Kepu, 18-Tupou, 19-Simmons, 20-Hanigan, 21-Phipps, 22-To'omua, 23-Maddocks

    Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)

    Touch judges: Romain Poite (France) & Brendan Pickerill (New Zealand)

    TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

  8. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    Trophy Points:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Autumn internationals: Ireland labour to 28-17 win over Argentina
    By Cian Murtagh

    BBC Sport NI at the Aviva Stadium

    Bundee Aki prepares to dive over for Ireland's second try
    Autumn internationals: Ireland v Argentina
    Ireland (15) 28
    Marmion, Aki, L McGrath Cons: Sexton 2 Pens: Sexton 3
    Argentina (14) 17
    Delguy Pens: Sanchez 4
    Ireland's bid for an autumn international clean sweep remains on track after a 28-17 win over Argentina.

    Kieran Marmion and Bundee Aki both bustled over in the first half but the Six Nations champions struggled to shake off the determined Pumas.

    Fly-half Nicolas Sanchez kept the visitors in contention and Bautista Delguy's try was easily the best score of a chilly night at the Aviva Stadium.

    The lead changed hands eight times before Luke McGrath's 66th minute-try.

    In a scrappy match, the performance, if not the victory, leaves Ireland coach Joe Schmidt with plenty to work on ahead of the visit of New Zealand to Dublin next Saturday.

    Re-live all the action and reaction from Saturday's game at the Aviva Stadium

    A rivalry with real substance
    One of the tetchiest rivalries in world rugby has been built upon the World Cup defeats Ireland have suffered against Argentina over the past 20 years.

    At first glance, the Six Nations champions appear to have the upper hand - winning the head-to-head battle 12-6 after today - but three of their losses have come on the biggest stage, with Argentina twice (1999 and 2015) preventing Ireland from ending their World Cup quarter-final curse.

    That record appeared to distract the Irish players, who lacked their usual fluency in attack and in the aerial battle, and coach Joe Schimdt will be furious with the indiscipline shown by his side that allowed Sanchez to keep the visitors in the game with four successful penalties.

    The Pumas also produced the best attack of the night, a scything break by Matias Orlando in the 18th minute left Ireland's defence scrambling backwards and the visitors quickly worked the ball to wing Delguy who was much too quick for 36-year-old Rory Best in the race to the corner.

    Kieran Marmion touches down for Ireland's opening try in the first half
    Irish set-piece stands tall
    Mario Ledesma's inclusion of Jaguares second row Guido Petti in his back row for this game was a clear marker that the Pumas were hoping to target the Irish line-out.

    Schmidt had admitted the selection had taken him by surprise while simultaneously demanding that British and Irish Lions lock Iain Henderson "put his hand up" tonight.

    Instead, it was the Irish scrum that provided the platform for Ireland's tries.

    Best thought he had scored from a line-out maul but the Television Match Official was not convinced, which forced an Irish scrum just five metres out which was so dominant that Marmion had to react quickly to pounce on the loose ball and dive over.

    Mid-way through the first-half an enterprising Irish attack appeared to break down with a knock-on in the line-out but the Ireland pack won the scrum against the head and the superb Aki burst across the line at his second attempt as the home side led 15-14 at the break.

    Big opportunity for Addison
    Will Addison was a last minute inclusion in the Irish team after Robbie Henshaw went down in the warm-up and the Ulster centre made the most of his chance.

    The former England Under-20 international only made his Ireland debut off the bench in Chicago last week but his intelligent play was pivotal throughout as he struck up a good partnership with Aki.

    The versatile back also helped to knit together the Irish attack but Argentina worked hard to limit the chances for the likes of Keith Earls, Jacob Stockdale and Jordan Larmour.

    Ultimately, Ireland failed to break apart Argentina's defence from open play and it took another scrum in the 66th minute to secure victory after Sanchez and Johnny Sexton had traded penalties.

    Substitute Dan Leavy was held up under the posts but again Ireland's five-metre scrum was dominant and McGrath, on the field in place of Marmion, spotted a slight gap to wriggle over.

    An eight-point lead allowed Ireland to attack with greater width but their ambition was not matched by points as Sexton opted to kick a 76th-minute penalty before he was called ashore with the All Blacks in mind.

    Ireland coach Joe Schmidt told Channel 4: "It was a real test match, really arduous. They were hard at the back, hard off the ruck and hard off the line and really squeezed us.

    "They put some great pressure on our line-out and we struggled, but we got into the game on the back of our scrum, which was very good.

    "There's lots to work on. It's not as surprising as, I suppose, it would have been had we had a full preparation or we hadn't had late changes.

    But that's a good way for us to try to cope and test ourselves against a really good side, which we know Argentina are."

    Ireland captain Rory Best: "We were probably a little bit slow out of the blocks and they were winning the 50-50s and we had to really dig deep and grind parts of that first half out.

    "There's a lot to work on and we know next week against New Zealand is a big step up and we know we are going to have to be a lot better.

    "We want to go out and win and keep this home record we have. We want to win every game we can.

    "It will be really tough next week, we are going to have to go and make it happen, it's not just going to come to us. We are going to have to prepare well and play a lot better than we did tonight.

    "Even the things we did well tonight we can probably do a little bit better. New Zealand will put us under a lot more pressure and it's a massive challenge for us, but that's why we play test rugby. You want to play against the best teams in the world and have a shot at them."

    Ireland: Larmour; Earls, Addison, Aki, Stockdale; Sexton, Marmion; Healy, Best (capt), Furlong; Henderson (Ulster), Ryan; O'Mahony, O'Brien, Stander.

    Replacements: Cronin for Best (58), McGrath for Healy (53), Porter for Furlong, Toner for I Henderson (58), Leavy for O'Brien (38), L McGrath for Marmion (57), Carbery for Sexton (76), Conway for Aki (76).

    Argentina: Boffelli; Delguy, Orlando, de la Fuente, Moyano; Sanchez, Cubelli; Garcia Botta, Creevy, Medrano; Alemanno, Lavanini, Matera (capt), Petti, Ortega Desio.

    Replacements: Montoya for Creevy (65), Zeiss for Garcia Botta (58), Sordoni for S Medrano (72), R Bruni for Matera (70), Lezana for Petti (65), Bertranou for Cubelli (65), Diaz Bonilla for Sanchez (72), Moroni for Orlando (58).

  9. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    Trophy Points:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Italy 7-26 Australia: Wallabies prepare for England with first autumn win

    Adam Ashley-Cooper won his 117th cap for Australia against Italy
    Autumn international: Italy v Australia
    Italy (0) 7
    Bellini Con: Allan
    Australia (14) 26
    Koroibete 2, Tupou, Genia Cons: Toomua 3
    Head coach Michael Cheika says Australia will "love" facing England next Saturday after beating Italy for their first win of the autumn series.

    Rugby league convert Marika Koroibete scored two tries, with Taniela Tupou and Will Genia also crossing.

    Adam Ashley-Cooper, returning after a two-year absence at the age of 34, made his 117th appearance to become Australia's third-most capped player.

    "Now we have to look to see what we need next week," said Cheika.

    "We love going to Twickenham, love the crowd hating us, so let's get it on!"

    It was only a fourth win in 12 Tests for under-pressure coach Cheika's Wallabies, who were beaten by Wales last week in Cardiff and by New Zealand in October.

    "I feel great. We won, we grinded. In the change rooms people were smiling," added Australia captain Michael Hooper.

    "It was a win and we have not had a huge amount this year."

    Tito Tebaldi and Braam Steyn both had tries disallowed for Italy before Australia built a 14-0 first-half lead through Fijian wing Koroibete at Stadio Euganeo.

    Winger Mattia Bellini crossed after the break for the hosts' only try in Padua.

    Italy coach Conor O'Shea was angered by the decision to rule out Tebaldi's score, with the scrum half judged to be offside without a video review.

    "For the life of me, why don't you go upstairs when it's there. It's just beyond belief," he said.

    Veteran Ashley-Cooper had a hand in both tries for Koroibete, who was a late replacement for injured Jordan Petaia - the 18-year-old set to make his debut.

    Australia now face Eddie Jones' England next Saturday, kick-off 15:00 GMT, while Italy play the All Blacks in Rome on the same day.

  10. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    Trophy Points:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Autumn internationals: Wales crush Tonga in record 74-24 win
    By Gareth Griffiths

    BBC Sport Wales at the Principality Stadium

    Media playback is not supported on this device

    'Try of the autumn' - Davies scores superb team effort
    Autumn international: Wales v Tonga
    Wales (24) 74
    Penalty try, Biggar, L Williams 2, S Evans, T Williams, Morgan, Hill, A Davies, Patchell Cons: Biggar 4, Patchell 4 Pens: Biggar 2
    Tonga (17) 24
    Fifita, Mafi, Vailanu Cons: Takulua 3 Pen: Takulua
    Much-changed Wales scored 10 tries in Cardiff as they beat Tonga with a record score and winning margin.

    Warren Gatland's side are now one win away from a first autumn clean sweep and face South Africa next Saturday.

    Wales took charge with three quick tries, but Tonga briefly threatened a shock victory as they rallied to level at 24-24 just after half-time.

    But Wales responded with 50 unanswered points, including Liam Williams' second try of the game on his 50th cap.

    The hosts, showing 14 changes from the side that beat Australia last weekend, made a storming start with three tries inside 12 minutes as they built up a 24-3 lead.

    But Tonga rallied as they battered Wales into submission to draw level just after the interval.

    Wales regained their composure to produce a clinical second-half display - seven unanswered tries completing a record points tally against Tonga.

    It was further evidence of the growing Wales strength in depth before the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

    With this win adding to victories over Scotland and the Wallabies, Wales will be looking to finish off November with victory over the Springboks.

    They have won eight games in a row for the first time since 2005 and this is the longest winning sequence of Gatland's reign. It was also a seventh successive win at home, and they have 18 victories in their past 22 matches in Wales.

    Media playback is not supported on this device

    'Pretty good result' for Wales - Biggar
    Tier two struggles
    Wales' recent autumn struggles against Tier Two nations had included defeats by Samoa, a draw against Fiji and unconvincing wins over Georgia and Japan.

    Those results have normally arisen from sweeping changes and this year's policy was no exception, with only lock Adam Beard keeping his place from last weekend's win.

    Leicester's Jonah Holmes made his debut at full-back, Dan Biggar was included at fly-half and versatile forward Seb Davies started at number eight alongside flanker Ellis Jenkins, who captained the side - though it was wing Williams who led the side out on his 50th cap.

    Ospreys prop Ma'afu Fia was the only uncapped player in the Tonga starting XV, which included players based in France, England, and New Zealand.

    Fly-half Dan Biggar converted his own try against Tonga to go fourth on Wales' record points-scorers list
    Storming start
    Wales made a fast start from a 22-metre driving line-out, with Australian referee Nic Berry awarding a penalty try and giving a yellow card to lock Leva Fifita.

    A shocked Tonga conceded a converted Biggar try in the sixth minute before consolidating with a Sonatane Takulua penalty.

    This only delayed the Wales onslaught and Liam Williams produced a brilliant finish, squeezing in at the corner after a flowing move.

    Tonga were restored to 15 men and thought they had responded with a try from prop Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, only to be denied by TMO Olly Hodges for a knock forward.

    Biggar slotted over a penalty after Tonga flanker Dan Faleafa was penalised for a heavy off-the-ball tackle on opposite number Aaron Wainwright.

    Tonga number eight Sione Vailanu led the charge with two storming carries, the latter leading to a Fifita try, which Takulua converted.

    Power play
    Tonga's power game continued to pay dividends just before half-time as they battered Wales into submission, with Sitiveni Mafi over for a second converted try that cut the hosts' lead to 24-17 at the interval.

    The renaissance continued early in the second half when Vailanu intercepted a Tomos Williams pass from a Wales line-out to sprint 60 metres to score, and Takulua converted to level the scores.

    Wales rallied immediately with a barnstorming break from second-row Jake Ball, which laid the foundation for Biggar's precise chip-kick to be collected by wing Steff Evans.

    Wales' resurgence continued with a Biggar penalty before his half-back partner Tomos Williams went over.

    Media playback is not supported on this device

    Williams touches down to extend Wales' lead
    Biggar converted with his last action before being replaced by Rhys Patchell who was playing his first game for six weeks after recovering from concussion.

    A sixth try followed for centre Tyler Morgan, who completed his return to international rugby after being diagnosed with type one diabetes earlier this year, while his Dragons team-mate Cory Hill provided the seventh score.

    Wales' dominance continued with a wonderful team move finished by replacement scrum-half Aled Davies, before Patchell's brilliant 70-metre individual try provided another magical moment - and it was fitting that Liam Williams rounded off the scoring.

    Wales: 15-Holmes; 14-Williams, 13-Tyler Morgan, 12-Watkin, 11-Steff Evans; 10-Biggar, 9-Williams; 1-Jones, 2-Dee, 3-Brown, 4-Ball, 5-Beard, 6-Wainwright, 7-Jenkins (captain), 8-Seb Davies

    Replacements: 16-Elias, 17-Rob Evans, 18-Francis, 19-Hill, 20-Moriarty, 21-Aled Davies, 22-Patchell, 23-Adams.

    Tonga: 15-Lilo; 14-Lolohea, 13-Taufa, 12-Piutau (capt), 11-Kilioni; 10-Morath, 9-Takulua; 1-Fisi'ihoi, 2-Ngauamo, 3-Fia, 4-Fifita, 5-Mafi, 6-Dan Faleafa, 7-Lokotui, 8-Vailanu.

    Replacements: 16-Sakalia, 17-Talakai, 18-Fa'anunu, 19-Havili, 20-Mike Faleafa, 21-Fukofuka, 22-Hala, 23-Pakalani.

    Match officials
    Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)

    Touch judges: Angus Gardner (Australia) & Shuhei Kubo (Japan)

    TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)

  11. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    Trophy Points:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    England 35-15 Japan: Eddie Jones' side hold off spirited visitors
    By Tom Fordyce

    England 35-15 Japan: Second-half tries from Cokanasiga and Hartley give England victory
    Autumn internationals: England v Japan
    England: (10) 35
    Care, Wilson, Cokanasiga, Hartley Cons: Ford (3) Pens: Ford 2, Daly
    Japan:(15) 15
    Nakamura, Leitch Cons: Tamura Pens: Tamura
    Coverage: Highlights on BBC Two and online at 19:30 GMT
    England ran in three second-half tries to come from behind and beat an inspired Japan on a testing afternoon at Twickenham.

    Japan had been in front 15-10 at half-time, a lead fully deserved after tries from Ryoto Nakamura and captain Michael Leitch capped some wonderfully inventive attacking rugby.

    Eddie Jones had spoken of "emotionally smashing" the side he used to coach but an upset on par with the famous toppling of South Africa in Brighton at the 2015 World Cup seemed on the cards.

    Only late in the game, after debut international tries for Mark Wilson and Joe Cokanasiga and two penalties from George Ford, did England take any sort of control.

    The relief was obvious around Twickenham, the performance more a rescue mission than a statement of intent 10 months out from the World Cup.

    Japan will host that tournament and their education from a series of games against the Tier One continues to draw dividends.

    Brilliant Japan stun England
    Jones had made 11 changes from the side that had come so close to beating New Zealand a week ago, and two of those men combined early as debutant winger Cokanasiga counter-attacked down the left wing before Danny Care took Jamie George's pass to race away for the opening try.

    But Japan then enjoyed a fine spell of possession and territory, with Yu Tamura's penalty small reward until Akihito Yamada picked off an intercept down the right and found men in support.

    With Jamie George sinbinned after going off his feet in desperate defence, Nakamura burst on to Fumiaki Tanaka's flat pass off a scrum 10 yards out and straight through Alex Lozowski, and Japan were ahead.

    Better was to come for Jamie Joseph's men. After Elliot Daly's penalty from halfway had levelled it up at 10-10, Leitch battered through Care's attempted tackle and stepped past last man Daly to dive over in the corner.

    A sleepy Twickenham was stunned, with Japan playing with pace and invention, and England left leaden-footed in defence and predictable on their few attacks.

    Leitch was almost in again down the right just before half-time, his side enjoying 69% possession and 77% territory, and England were fortunate to be just five points down at the interval.

    Farrell helps spare England's blushes
    Jones threw on Sam Underhill and Ben Moon into his pack as England looked to find some answers and a semblance of control.

    Kyle Sinckler was next on, for Harry Williams, as the minutes ticked by with no shift in the balance of power, and when England did threaten the Japanese line, they were penalised for holding on.

    Only with 22 minutes to go did they take the lead, with Ford's dummy pass opening a gap in the defensive line and his inside ball finding Wilson cantering through.

    Ford's conversion made it 20-15, and his penalty shortly afterwards opened a little daylight on a clear autumn afternoon.

    Cokanasiga then sealed his debut in fine fashion after replacement Richard Wigglesworth had burst clear down the left, with Owen Farrell making a real impact off the bench in England's midfield.

    His fellow finisher Dylan Hartley came up with his second try of the autumn off a driving maul in the final few minutes as the Brave Blossoms finally wilted.

    With a struggling Australia coming to Twickenham in seven days' time, Jones will hope to make it three wins from four this month.

    But his side will need to produce a full 80-minute performance after three matches so far where they have excelled only in spells.

    Man of the match - Maro Itoje (England)
    The vice-captain was a menace at the breakdown and in the loose after England had initially shipped far too many penalties, Leitch running him close as he made as many line-breaks in the first half as the entire home team.
    'The finishers made a massive difference' - what they said
    England head coach Eddie Jones: "We wanted Japan to be at their best so we're so pleased with that game; it's the sort of game we needed.

    "They had a few things go their way and got back into the game and it became an arm wrestle for a while.

    "We had a team with 11 changes and there wasn't a lot of cohesion, but Owen Farrell made a difference for our team because he's an influential player."

    Japan head coach Jamie Joseph: "We gave sloppy penalties away and allowed England back in which was a little bit disappointing, but I'm proud of the players all the same.

    "Comments in the media helped our motivation. Eddie Jones' comments fired me up a bit but at the end of the day we still prepare how we prepare.

    "Our mentality is slowly changing, we're starting to believe that we can take these bigger teams on and that's going to help us next year."

    England's man of the match Maro Itoje: "Against any team in international rugby, we know the opposition will have quality and Japan had a lot of quality; they didn't give up.

    "Their breakdown game was very strong and they did well in that area in the first half.

    "Eddie spoke at half-time with Dylan [Hartley] as well as George [Ford]. They spoke to the team to try to get us back on track. We just needed to up it. They were beating us round the corner and winning the one on ones."

    England fly-half George Ford: "It was obviously very disappointing in the first half; our attitude wasn't quite there. That's not good when you're playing for England.

    "The finishers made a massive difference. They're there to come on and give energy to the game. They swung the game our way.

    "It was disappointing that it had to come to that, but that's what the squad is for."

    England: Daly; Cokanasiga, Nowell, Lozowski, Ashton; Ford (c), Care; Hepburn, George, Williams, Ewels, Itoje, Lawes, Wilson, Mercer.

    Replacements: Hartley, Moon, Sinckler, Hill, Underhill, Wigglesworth, Farrell, Slade.

    Japan: Tupou; Yamada, Lafaele, Nakamura, Fukuoka; Tamura, Tanaka; Inagaki, Sakate, Koo, van der Walt, Helu, Leitch (c), Nishikawa, Himeno.

    Replacements: Niwai, Yamamoto, Ai Valu, Anise, Tui, Nunomaki, Nagare, Matsuda.

  12. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    Trophy Points:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Scotland 20-26 South Africa: Handre Pollard scores 18 points as Springboks hold on
    By Tom English

    Autumn international highlights: South Africa earn hard-fought win over Scotland
    Autumn international: Scotland 20-26 South Africa
    Scotland (17) 20
    Horne, Watson Cons: Laidlaw (2) Pens: Laidlaw (2)
    South Africa (20) 26
    Kriel, Pollard Cons: Pollard (2) Pens: Pollard (3) Jantjies
    South Africa got the better of Scotland for a sixth straight Test after an absorbing match at Murrayfield.

    The Springboks led 20-17 after a pulsating first half, Jesse Kriel crashing over early on and Handre Pollard adding a second try.

    But Peter Horne finished off an epic Scotland move and Hamish Watson waltzed over after a clever line-out call.

    After the break Willie Le Roux was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on, but Scotland failed to take advantage.

    South Africa's power and breakdown nous allowed them to emerge from the 10 minutes a man down with their three-point lead intact as Pollard and Greig Laidlaw traded penalties.

    In a bruising final quarter, Finn Russell put a long-range drop-goal just wide, before Elton Jantjies nailed a long-distance penalty to stretch the lead to six.

    And the Springboks held out impressively to inflict Scotland's first home defeat in a year, and the second of their autumn series.

    Thumping occasion lives up to its billing
    The masses descended on Murrayfield expecting a thumping occasion and that's precisely what they got. Pre-match, there was an elaborate light show and pyrotechnics, but that was as nothing compared to some of the stuff that unfolded as soon as the first whistle sounded.

    South Africa might be trying to evolve their game but at their core is a monstrous physicality and a gameplan to suffocate the life out of an opponent. That's how they started - and it brought them points.

    With the Springboks in his face and no other option but to kick it away, Russell's clearance was gobbled up and the next time Scotland got their hands on the ball it was for the restart after Kriel's try, a score that was sparked by a marvellous break by Pollard with Embrose Papier running support along with Steven Kitschoff, that most mobile of loose-head props.

    Pollard converted and the Boks had their lead. For 15 minutes they had a dominance that quietened Murrayfield. That didn't last long. Scotland's capacity to strike from deep is a joy and the try that brought them level was another pearler in a long list of pearlers.

    It started inside their own 10m line, a move that swept left to Huw Jones whose audacious pass to Sean Maitland brought the entire stadium to its feet. Away went Maitland, taking the tackle from Papier and offloading brilliantly to Jones whose timing on to the pass took him away Damian de Allende. The centre ran on and put Horne in, his midfield partner himself running a brilliant support line.

    In a word, glorious.

    Peter Horne scored a stunning opening try for Scotland, after brilliant play by Huw Jones (right)
    The pity for Scotland is that they got turned over at the next ruck and when South Africa went wide the home team were stretched and Pollard had no trouble going over. The fly-half added a penalty soon after that made it 17-7 to the visitors. A time for Murrayfield to gulp hard.

    Laidlaw, who kicked magnificently all day, put over a difficult penalty to calm the Scots, a precursor to a gallus score that brought them level. Stuart Hogg got them in the position to strike with a run and kick and chase that Willie Le Roux had to put into touch five metres from his own line.

    From the lineout, deception galore. Scotland flung Ben Toolis in the air and Hamish Watson whipped round into the gap ahead of him, took the ball and drove over. The Springboks had been suckered.

    Laidlaw's conversion was good and it went 17-17, Pollard's boot inching South Africa ahead again just before the break.

    Springboks' power proves enough
    Scotland's problems were obvious. At the breakdown, the Boks were nailing them. Their ball was too disrupted and too slow. That had to change. What looked like a major moment came early in the new half when Le Roux was binned for a deliberate knock-on, but South Africa came through that ten minute period well.

    Laidlaw made it 20-20, but Pollard replied with another penalty. A 3-3 draw while Le Roux was off the pitch was not what Scotland were looking for. It might even have been worse. Pollard hit a post with another penalty and missed another one soon after.

    Scotland had a chance to level it again, but instead of going for the posts on the hour-mark they went for touch and then got turned over on the floor. In the context of such a tight battle, it was a major call, especially when Jantjies, taking over form Pollard, boomed over a penalty from distance to give them a six-point cushion.

    A try was now required for Scotland to pull it out of the fire. They had a chance, too. South Africa played precious little rugby in the second half, relying instead on the power game and their defence to get them through.

    That Scotland chance came by way of an attacking lineout 10m from the South African line, but the visitors defended it thunderously, snaffled ball, cleared their lines and won an absorbing Test match.

    Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Pete Horne, Sean Maitland, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw; Gordon Reid, Stuart McInally, Willem Nel, Ben Toolis , Jonny Gray, Sam Skinner, Hamish Watson, Ryan Wilson

    Replacements: Fraser Brown (for McInally, 56), Allan Dell (for Reid, 45), Simon Berghan (for Nel, 56), Josh Strauss (for Wilson, 56), Jamie Ritchie (for Skinner, 73), Ali Price (for Laidlaw, 63), Adam Hastings (for Horne, 68), Chris Harris (for Hogg, 63)

    South Africa: Willie le Rou x, Sbu Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Handre Pollard, Embrose Papier; Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx, Frans Malherbe, RG Snyman, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (captain), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Duane Vermeulen.

    Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi (for Marx, 66), Thomas du Toit (for Kitshoff), Vincent Koch (for Malherbe), Lood de Jager (for Snyman, 60), Francois Louw (for Kolisi, 66), Ivan van Zyl (for Papier, 78), Elton Jantjies (for De Allende, 56), Cheslin Kolbe.

  13. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    Trophy Points:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Autumn International: Ireland hold nerve to earn first home win over All Blacks
    By Cian Murtagh

    Irish joy was unconfined after the final whistle at the Aviva Stadium
    Autumn internationals: Ireland v New Zealand
    Ireland: (9) 16
    Stockdale Cons: Sexton Pens: Sexton 3
    New Zealand: (6) 9
    Barrett 2 Drop Goal: Barrett
    Ireland have beaten New Zealand on home soil for the first time with a frenzied 16-9 win at the Aviva Stadium.

    Jacob Stockdale's superb chip-and-gather try decided an absorbing contest between the top two sides in the world.

    Johnny Sexton advanced his claims for the world player of the year award with the rest of Ireland's points.

    The Grand Slam champions added to their historic first win over the All Blacks in 2016 as they fired out a warning before next year's Rugby World Cup.

    Stockdale's try pushed his side into a 10-point lead in the 49th minute and the home side produced an heroic defensive display led by man-of-the-match Peter O'Mahony in the closing minutes to repel the inevitable New Zealand fight back as 'The Fields of Athenry' rang through the Dublin night.

    Stockdale swings it
    A game of tiny margins was ultimately decided by a moment of brilliance by Stockdale which had Joe Schmidt's imprint all over it.

    Off a 10 metre line-out - Ireland's favourite attacking platform - the home side swung the ball towards the right before Bundee Aki dramatically switched direction and fed Stockdale down the narrow side.

    It left last season's Six Nations player of the year facing a group of weary All Blacks who were still picking themselves up from the line-out.

    The Ulster wing's deft chip took them out of play and he won the sprint with Aaron Smith to re-gather and score the decisive try.

    Jacob Stockdale's try helped push Ireland into a 16-6 lead and they held on despite intense late New Zealand pressure
    New Zealand indiscipline
    The tone for a frenzied but absorbing contest was set from the off when the Irish team took a half-step towards the New Zealand haka and sent the crowd into overdrive.

    The adrenaline coursed from the stands down onto the pitch where New Zealand set a bewildering tempo but a wonderful steal by Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander under their own posts helped Ireland to clear the danger.

    The All Blacks were living dangerously without the ball and repeatedly were warned for offside by referee Wayne Barnes as a penalty count of 9-2 against the visitors told its own story.

    Sexton and Beauden Barret traded early scores but the home side were unquestionably on top with Jacob Stockdale and Garry Ringrose looking menacing with every possession.

    Kearney denied
    Sexton nudged Ireland back ahead before Beauden Barrett landed a wonderful drop-goal to keep his side in touch after Cian Healy had been held up over the line and Rob Kearney had knocked-on in the act of scoring at the other end.

    Ireland dominated the second quarter after a superb gather-and-go by Stockdale brought them into the opposition half and they appeared determined not to leave without a try.

    A cross kick to Stockdale did not succeed but New Zealand's creaking defence continued to concede penalties and Kieran Read was warned about his team's indiscipline as Sexton eventually settled for a penalty to give his side a 9-6 half-time lead.

    Peter O'Mahony produced a number of vital interventions for Ireland in a man-of-the-match display
    O'Mahony and Sexton stand firm
    Stockdale's try was the score that Ireland had deserved for their first-half domination and - crucially - pushed them more than a converted try ahead.

    But New Zealand are not the world's number one side for no reason and the black jerseys began to gather momentum in the final quarter.

    Reiko Ioane cut a dangerous figure with ball in hand and Kearney had to scamper back to gather Ardie Savea's kick through.

    Next it was O'Mahony's turn to save the day as the Munster captain somehow managed to pivot and dive on Beauden Barrett's grubber and minutes later he put his body on the line again to produce a brilliant turnover that lifted the siege and simultaneously forced him off the field with an injury.

    Sexton conceded a penalty for a high tackle that allowed his opposite number to shrink the gap to seven points but the Ireland fly-half was fired up and he punched the air with a roar minutes later when he combined with Stockdale to bundle Ben Smith out of touch.

    Sexton also departed before the end as the big hits continued to rain in but the Irish line held firm to clinch a momentous victory.

    What they said:
    Ireland's man of the match Peter O'Mahony: "They're not the number one team in the world for nothing. We probably had to play our best game of this term and thankfully we managed to do that.

    "It's a big piece of history and one that we wanted to tick off here in Ireland and now we have done it."

    Ireland: Kearney; Earls, Ringrose, Aki, Stockdale; Sexton, Marmion; Healy, Best (capt), Furlong; Toner, James Ryan; O'Mahony, Van der Flier, Stander.

    Replacements: Cronin for Best (65), J McGrath for Healy (52), Porter for Furlong (65), Henderson for Toner (62), Murphy for O'Mahony (64), L McGrath for Marmion (59), Carbery for Sexton (77), Larmour for Kearney (66).

    New Zealand: McKenzie; Smith, Goodhue, Crotty, Ioane; Barrett, Smith; Tu'inukuafe, Taylor, Franks; Whitelock, Retallick: Squire, Savea, Read (capt).

    Replacements: Coles for Taylor (47), Tuungafasi for Tu'inukuafe (47), Laulala for Franks (47), S Barrett for Squire (32), Todd for Savea (74), Perenara for Smith (58), Mo'unga for McKenzie (56), Lienert-Brown for Crotty (62).

    Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)


Users Who Have Read This Thread (Total: 1)

Share This Page