Sevens Rugby in Port Elizabeth this weekend past saw the Blitz Bokke go top of the log in the competition as they once again took the trophy for this leg.
In Dubai they took on Australia in the final,this round it was the All Blacks in a tough final which they won 26-19.At one stage the Blitz Bokke were playing with six men as Cecil Afrika was sent to the sin bin after continual infringements at the ruck.It was at this time that the New Zealanders were able to score their second try and put them within two points of the Bokke.Once they were back to full strength they shut down any attack by the New Zealanders and were able to snatch up a loose ball and score the deciding try.
The next venue for this competition is Las Vegas,USA, and let’s hope the Blitz Bokke can keep up their superb and winning ways with another top performance.
Sevens Rugby round three takes place at the Nelson Mandela stadium in Port Elizabeth this weekend.South Africa will once again be hosting this prestigious tournament with a little bit of local flavour. What the rest of the world calls a barbecue,we call a ‘braai vleis’.In the US they do hamburger patties,in England,sausages and in SA we have Boere wors.A literal translation would be farmers sausage,but boerie can be three feet long.It holds the juice and is made in different flavours,exquisite tasting,but I digress and I’m no chef.
In the first leg in Australia,Fiji came out on top playing some excellent rugby.The second leg played in Dubai saw the Blitz Bokke sweep all before them,trouncing the All Blacks 28-0 in the semi final and then taking Australia to task in the final winning 35-7.We hope they can maintain this high standard of rugby in their own back yard.
The added incentive is of course the top teams of this competition will automatically get a free pass to the Rio Olympics in 2016,the first time that sevens will compete as an Olympic sport.
So here’s to some exciting,fast paced sport for the weekend,and a braai with some juicy wors to go with it.
Euro Rugby Champions Cup got back underway after the international tours finished.Games were played Friday,Saturday and Sunday.Bath travelled to France and came away with an emphatic win,30-5 against Montpellier.
Saturdays games started with Saints trouncing Treviso 38-15,followed by an exciting close shave game with Sale Sharks going down to Saracens 15-19,and then an absolutely tight game ending 19 all between Ospreys and Racing Metro.
Clermont showed their ascendency in the scrum and ran out winners against a fighting Munster 16-9,but Llanelli Scarlets were no match for a determined Ulster team who ran out winners 24-9.
The three Sunday games were all tight with Toulouse taking their game against Glasgow Warriors 19-11,Harlequins beating Leinster 24-18 and the leicester Tigers showing some early season form taking their game 25-21 against a spirted Toulon.
Next weekend will see the last games for this year as the players all look forward to the Xmas break and come back on the 17th of Jan, to continue the competition.
HSBC Sevens Dubai saw the Blitz Bokke take home the trophy after trouncing Australia 33-7 in the final.This after whipping,the All Blacks, last years winners in the semi final 28-0.South africa now move up the log to be second,behind Fiji.
After a disappointing start to the season at the Australian Gold Coast tournament,the South African team seems to have found form and will want to keep this form when they host the tournament in their own back yard next week.
There is a lot to play for in this competition as ‘Sevens’ will be an Olympic sport in 2016 and teams are competing not only for the coveted Sevens trophy,but for inclusion to the Olympics in Rio.So you can bet your bottom dollar this years sevens competition will be fierce and competitive as teams will be fighting for inclusion into the Olympics.
England Australia rugby played on Saturday had the hosts come home to a comfortable win 26-17 against a troubled Wallaby team.Although both teams did cross the try line twice,it was the penalty factor that brought Australia to her knees.Penalties come from lack of discipline,and if this is all coach Michael Cheika has to deal with then I think the Aussies are going to do well in next years Rugby World Cup. If Cheika identifies his core players and gets rid of the bad apples,and here comes the kicker,be able to replace them with good quality hard working ones,look out All Blacks.
This upcoming Super Rugby season which kicks off in February next year is going to be crucial for the Aussie coach as he will be looking for another George Gregan,Michael Lynagh or Stephen Larkham.
England will be well pleased with Saturdays result giving them lots of confidence and self belief with the knowledge that the scrum operated well and the loose forwards were hunting like a pack,releasing the backline for those attacking runs.
It still seems however that the team to beat are the All Blacks,and from what I have seen this year end tour they are streaks above anyone else.
International Rugby,the final two games of the south tour to the north,and neither South Africa nor Australia could keep the South flag flying.
The Springboks put in their most pityful display of rugby all season against a Welsh team that were also missing some key players.It was not who was on the field for the Springboks but the manner in which they played,basic handling errors,not protecting the ball and running aimlessly around the park seemed to be the order of the day.I have no idea what was going through Hougaards mind when he took a short tap penalty and then proceeded to kick it directly into touch,bringing play back to where the penalty was awarded,but giving Wales possession.Wales didn’t win the game,we lost it.It may as well have been the under 9 team of any country,we would have lost it.Final score 12-6.
Generally the refereeing was mediocre.The sending off of Cornal Hendriks,competing for an up and under against Halfpenny was wrong.The message given out was clearly not to compete for your own ball,and as for the rucks and mauls,he seemed to give the Welsh a lot more time,before blowing up for holding.I will be looking forward to reading Jonathan Kaplans comments on the refereeing of this match.
Sevens Rugby will be back on the go after the first leg in Australia had all kinds of upsets,leaving Fiji on top of the log followed by Samoa,England,South Africa and New Zealand languishing in fifth place.The matches are played in different venues throughout the competition which ends in England in May next year.The calender is as follows;
Dubai 5-6 December, South Africa 13-14, New Zealand 6-7 Feb 2015, USA 13-15 Feb, Hong Kong 27-29 March,
Japan 4-5 April, Scotland 9-10 May, England 16-17 May.
This format of rugby is fast and furious with only 7 players on the field and each half lasting just six minutes.The players have to be super fit as this game is all about running rugby and scoring tries.There are 24 teams form different countries taking place in this competition,so if you are looking for fast action games this is what you should be following.
Rugby Internationals this weekend starts off with Australia taking on England in a must win game for both teams.Australia have not had a good north tour this year losing to both Ireland and France.Now they will face an English team smarting from two defeats,the All Blacks and the Springboks,a team who have a strong pack of forwards and an attacking backline.I think the Aussies are in for a hard time and could well go back home suffering a third defeat.
The second game will see Wales host the Springboks for their final game of the north tour and I have a hunch this is going to be a cracker jack game.Wales will feel confident after last weeks performance,keeping themselves in the game for 70 minutes before the All Blacks ran in the last three tries,and the Springboks will want to go home on a high after their wins against England and Italy.The Springboks have had to make some changes in their backline,losing three top players,where as Wales will be pretty much the same team they had against the All Blacks.
The last of the games is the Samoa/All Blacks clash on Sunday which will probably be one way traffic to the New Zealanders.
International Rugby results from this past weekend were mostly fairly predictable in a start off rather lack lustre game from the Springbok/Italy encounter.In all the previous encounters there has always been a 40 plus points difference in the scorelines,this time just 16 as SA win 22-6.They are really going to have to pull up their socks if they want to come out on top against Wales next week and they will be without Habana and Pietersen on the wings as they are off to their respective franchisers.
Watching the New Zealand/Wales clash was nail biting as up to the last 10 minutes Wales was very much in the game,but a sudden three try spurt by the All Blacks saw them pull away to win comfortably 34-16.
If that game was exciting I don’t know how to describe the Ireland 26-23 victory over Australia.In the first 20 minutes Ireland were 17-0 ahead thanks to tries from Zebo and Tommy Bowe.Australia fought back well with tries from Phipps two and one from Foley.With 16 minutes to go Sexton put Ireland ahead and then it was defend against all odds as the Wallabys attacked continuously but were not able to get more points.
Upset of the weekend was France going down to Argentina 18-13,but a resurgent Los Pumas stamped their authority on the game and defende mightily in the closing minutes.
England had a comfortable win over Samoa 28-9 in a wet game that had its fair share of handling errors,but the English scrum worked well and they will be a force to be reckoned with cme world Cup time next year.
Other results were Scotlands try scoring spree as they routed Tonga 37-12,Potugal beat Namibia 29-20 and Romania had the better of Canada 18-9.
International Rugby this weekend will start with the Springboks playing Italy in Padova,followed by Scotland hosting Tonga at Kilmarnock,and then the biggy of the weekend,Australia take on the confident and winning team of Ireland at Lansdowne Road in Dublin.The other matches,Wales hosting the All Blacks in Cardiff,England play Samoa at Twickenham and France play Argentina at Stade de France in Paris.
We are nearing the end of the year end tours by the south with only South Africa and Australia to play next weekend against Wales and England respectively.SA have a relatively easy match this weekend,and I believe Scotland will be too good for Tonga.I am however very keen to see how well the Wallabys do against a rampant and full of confidence Irish outfit,who I think will have the beating of Australia,but it will be toughy with no quarter given by either side.
The All Blacks will beat Wales without extending themselves and I’m keen to see if Dan Carter has taken rust remover and be back to more of his own self.
England will beat Samoa but as always the Samoan encounters are very physical and this will put pressue on England.
I think France will be buoyed by their win against Australia and take the win against Argentina who haven’t played their best rugby this tour,but good viewing for sure.