Posts Tagged ‘The Qantas Wallabies’

Australia won the second test in Melbourne by the narrowest of margins, 16-15. Five penalties from the boot of Leigh Halfpenny for the Lions were not enough to beat the Wallabies, who kicked 3 penalties and got a converted try. The converted try, by the centre Adam Ashley-Cooper, took the Wallabies from trailing by 9 points to 15 into a one point lead at 16-15. But there were still some 5 minutes on the clock.

Just like last week, the result came down to the last kick of the match. This time it was the Lions who had the chance to steal victory. Halfpenny had a 53 metre penalty kick at goal, but it fell short giving Australia the victory.


In my opinion Australia looked by far the better team. It seemed to me that the Lions were content to just play for position and wait for Australia to concede penalties. I don’t remember the Lions making a single line break, and they never looked like threatening the Australian try line.

In contrast, Australia tried to play rugby. Their backline were far more creative, and as the game progressed full back Kurtley Beale started coming into the line more and more. Each time he did so he was a handful, his lines of running were so good.

So just like 12 years ago in 2001, it will all come down to the third and final test in Sydney this coming Saturday. As in 2001, the Lions have won the first test and Australia have won the second, although the margins in both have been tiny this time around. Although I am hopeful the Lions can win in Sydney, I feel Australia have looked the better team in both tests so far. It also worries me how little creativity the Lions showed in the second test.

Whether Gatland decides to start with Mike Phillips at scrum half will be an interesting and important decision. Many feel Phillips is a big-game player. He looked lack-lustre in the first test, but assuming he is fit for Saturday will Gatland go back to him or stick with Ben Youngs? We must also wait on the fitness of captain Sam Warburton, who suffered a hamstring injury in the second half and had to he helped off the pitch.

The momentum is with Australia, and the Lions have a huge task on their hands now to win the series. They are capable of it, but doing it is not going to be easy.

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With November approaching, it is almost time for the annual tradition of the Wales rugby team playing 4 autumn test matches. This year, Wales have the following fixtures:

Wales’ autumn tests, 2012
Date Country Record (Played/Win/Loss/Draw)
Saturday 10th November Argentina 13/7/5/1
Friday 16th November Samoa 7/4/3/0
Saturday 24th November New Zealand 27/3/24/0
Saturday st December Australia 29/10/18/1

Of course, Wales are reigning Grand Slam champions, and have been playing some superb rugby since August 2011. They were very unlucky not to get to the 2011 rugby World Cup final, narrowly losing to France 8-7 in the semi-final after having their captain Sam Warburton sent off early in the match.

Wales winning the 2012 Grand Slam.

Realistically, I think anything less than a 3-1 win ratio in the 2012 Autumn series will be disappointing. We have to beat Argentina and Samoa, but also we need to win one of the two last games, either against New Zealand or Australia. Of these two, I think we are more likely to beat Australia. This prediction is partly based on coming so close to beating them in 2 of the 3 test matches Wales played in Australia this last June, but also because we have not beaten the All Blacks since 1953!!

In all, Wales have played the All Blacks on 27 occasions. Amazingly, when Wales last beat NZ, in 1953, it was only the 4th test match between the two countries, and in winning that test Wales were 3-1 up in the series, with wins in 1905, 1935 and 1953 and only one loss in 1924. Since then, it has been all one-way traffic, with Wales losing 23 matches in succession!

We have come close to beating them on a couple of occassions. One of those is the match in 1978, when the dominant Welsh teacm of the 1970s should have beaten them, and would ahve beaten them if it had not been for some cheating by NZ. With just minutes on the clock, the score was 12-10 to Wales. NZ secured a line out about 30 metres from the Welsh tryline. In the ensuing line out, the NZ second-row forward Andy Haden came flying out of the line and onto the ground. The referee, without hesitation, awarded NZ with a penalty. Except TV footage showed that no-one had pushed Haden, he had dived out of his own accord to cheat get just that decision from the referee. Haden himself finally admitted that it was a professional dive in an interview. NZ converted the penatly, and won the game 12-13.

From an article in The Independent, about Andy Haden of New Zealand confessing to his deliberate dive in the 1978 match against Wales.

What are your predictions for this Autumn series?

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