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  1. #1
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Scrum Down - Rugby Union Thread

    What's left of the season? Well, there's all the major domestic silverware to give out. Interesting looking playoffs in the Premiership. Decent European finals. I think people are generally expecting Leinster to run riot in the Pro14, but they've been expected to and tripped before especially when they have European distractions.

    We're also coming up close on a bunch of Southern Hemisphere games. England go to South Africa for three tests looking to try and right the ship after a poor six nations. Wales have a game in South Africa before travelling to Argentina. Ireland go to Australia for their trip. Scotland tour the Americas, and France have drawn the toughest assignment and are going to New Zealand.

  2. #2
    Not to speak out of turn but it's a crucial squad selection for Eddie Jones.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator sheepster's Avatar
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    Cardiff won something!!!

  4. #4
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    It's one hell of a turn around from earlier in the season, when frankly winning games looked beyond them.

    James Haskell joining Northampton Saints in the off-season. I wonder if one last world cup might not be beyond him....

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  5. #5
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Saracens tie up another trophy. And Leinster win the pro 14. That's it for domestic rugby for the time being.

    Lot more focus on those Southern hemisphere tours now. Huge pressure on England after being downed by the Barbarians too. While you couldn't call it a first-choice XV, it's hardly a bad one either:

    Daly, May, Trinder, Francis, Brown, Ford, Youngs, Marler, Singleton, Sinckler, Stooke, Launchbury, Robshaw, Curry, Mercer.

    So I think you've got to see the South Africa games as what is always the first step in rebuilding confidence - ending the losing streak.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  6. #6
    Long term England will obviously be fine, the game is going from strength to strength. But the question now is how good will they be at the 2019 World Cup. Sad truth is the two titles and the Grand Slam won't count for much if the Jones era finishes on a sour note.

  7. #7
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Wallabies have a tough kick off to the international season against the Six Nations champs Ireland however most NH teams seem to lose a step this late in the season and heading down south. That said the weather is doing us no favours with cloud and light rain expected to make Ireland feel right at home when they take the field.



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  8. #8
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Interesting game for England. Huge start, good finish, ropey middle that cost them the game. It's been suggested in some quarters that they didn't play the altitude very well and got overwhelmed. There's enough in there to find some positives after a poor six nations but it's still far from ideal and obviously there are some solutions, particularly in defence and in the pack, that need to be found sharpish.

    Can't win the World Cup without a good Six Nations. Can't have a good six nations without fixing some of these problems before hand. And the whole point of bringing Jones in, really, was to build towards either winning the world cup or looking heroic in the attempt.

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  9. #9
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Wallabies had a very promising game against Ireland. David Pocock and Kurtley Beale were the pick of the team. Great to see Pocock back in action after his year off, if there was one guy we need to be a force in world rugby it is him. Beale did a great job with tactical kicking and it was nice to see the team embrace the less attractive side of rugby at least a little. It is well known that the Aussie way is to attack with ball in hand but you can't argue that rugby is a game of territory, I don't want us to become a 10 man team but attacking is certainly a lot better when you are in the opponent's half.

    Eddie Jones is an interesting choice for a coach I must say. The guy has always had a different way of looking at rugby and has always been an innovator, sometimes not for the best but he seems to have done a pretty good job with England so far.



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  10. #10
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Pocock is a great player. Beale too. Australia has a top class first fifteen but I'm not sure the depth is there beyond that. But get everyone in and they are a match for anyone.

    England seems to have lost any ability to manage a game. The talent is still there but the winning mentality has evaporated.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  11. #11
    Super Moderator sheepster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirSam View Post
    Eddie Jones is an interesting choice for a coach I must say. The guy has always had a different way of looking at rugby and has always been an innovator, sometimes not for the best but he seems to have done a pretty good job with England so far.
    From a Welsh perspective, he's doing a grand job!!

  12. #12
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I know the rugby chatter only really flourishes here during the international Windows, but I for one am enjoying having the leagues back.

    Even though I can't get much of the Pro14 anymore.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  13. #13
    Great season so far. That Bath winger they've called up for England looks pretty tasty.

  14. #14
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm enjoying it too.

    Anyone see that freak Harlequins try against Sarries? That was insane.

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  15. #15
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Well Wales just beat the Wallabies for the first time in 12 years.

    I know they are good right now but that is the icing on the truly crap cake this year.

    Beaten 3-0 in Bledisloe Cup
    Beaten by Argentina and only just escaped the second match with a miracle comeback
    Now ranked 7th in the world
    Beaten 2-1 by Ireland at home

    The sad thing is that I actually don't think there is much that can be done about it, we simply don't have the troops to match. Australian Rugby is reaping the harvest is sewed when it failed to capitalise on the popularity of the game in the country during the late 90s and early 00s. It is now a completely niche game with AFL & Rugby League taking the majority of the most gifted athletes at a young age, leaving Union a very small pool.



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  16. #16
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I have never seen Australia make so many bad decisions, and so many pointless kicks. Wales deserved the win, though the booing of Too'mua when he was going to take the kick was appalling and really awful sportsmanship from the crowd. Good for him for nudging it anyway.

    They do still have some great players though. Folau, Beale, the back row. No idea why a team with that quality can make so many mental errors.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  17. #17
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    You've gotta think morale is at a pretty low ebb which is generally not great for decision making.

    As good as Michael Chieka is I cannot see him lasting past this year, a lot of that has got to rest on his shoulders.



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  18. #18
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Did anyone watch Ireland and the All Blacks? What a fucking game. I think we have to call the Irish contenders for next year now. NZ still favourites but Ireland flying against top sides.

    Won the last 2/3 against New Zealand
    Won the away series in Australia last year, and beat them in Dublin the year before
    Beat South Africa in the only game they've played against them in the last couple of seasons
    Ended England's unbeaten run in 2017 to deny them Grand Slam/Triple Crown
    Grand Slam themselves in 2018


    A real chance to do the business at the world cup, and if they both win their pools they'll be in the other half from New Zealand, so new excuses if they don't make the final, I'd suggest.

    Meanwhile, if England survive their pool (no guarantee with France and Argentina making it the toughest one on paper) then there's a 99% chance it'll be either Australia or Wales in the second round, so they'll have to do it the hard way. If they win their pool, they'd come up against New Zealand at the semi-final stage - and against Ireland if France or Argentina were able to turn them over.

    Obviously the situation for Wales is similar. I think they need to be thinking about getting past Australia, should then beat whoever they come up against in the second round if they do (and if England win their pool, otherwise that's a coin toss), and then they will find themselves against Ireland in a semi-final.

    Wales will probably be thinking themselves about the need to get past a semi-final themselves, but frankly I think that for everyone except the world's top two right now, semi-finals should represent success of a sort.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  19. #19
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    I haven't seen the match but I'm loving how tightly things are shaping up for at the World Cup. The last three have really been New Zealand's to lose but this one has a whole bunch of teams that look like they could put it together. Obviously NZ are there and as you said Ireland are shaping as real heavyweights but I think below that England could really do well if they find form, Wales have a very deep squad and you can never count out the Wallabies, South Africa or France in a World Cup either.

    It is going to be a really great comp, the last one I can think of that was this open was 1999.



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  20. #20
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Thoughts on the England/Australia game, Sam? I get the feeling there's a lot of doom and gloom around Aussie Rugby (Union at any rate), but I thought they did well considering they were missing a lot of players through that sickness bug and they got to half time all-square. That could have been a big score game but it didn't turn out that way. I mean, the fact I say that does show how far Aussie expectations have fallen in the past decade or so but still, doesn't change the fact that I thought they gave it a fair old go. Plus, Folau is awesome. I think if he was Kiwi he'd be considered the best in the world, hands down.

    Kinda wondering how people think the test rankings are at the moment. Obviously New Zealand and Ireland 1-2 respectively, but then it goes Wales, England, South Africa, with very little between the three - just wondering if people see it that way? I sort of see Wales and England in something of a dead heat, personally (we'd kill for some of Wales' back rows but generally I prefer the rest of our side) but I feel like South Africa are a greater distance off that, despite the occasional good result.


    Anyway.... Ireland promoting from within, Andy Farrell will replace Joe Schmidt after the World Cup. Probably for the sake of continuity, and to be honest why wouldn't you?!

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  21. #21
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    Who wins the 6 Nations?

    In my totally biased view, it’s Wales. Ireland and England are our home games, meaning we get an advantage. We’re oretty good right now as well. Obviously we could combust and lose all 5 as Italy and Scotland away aren’t as easy as they used to be. Ireland are our biggest challengers though.

    Any thought?

  22. #22
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I'd love to be able to include England in the mix but I think it's a brave or biased man that looks past Ireland. They've lost, what, once since the 2017 Six Nations, and that was in a game where they'd already tied up a series, and they've beaten the All Blacks in that time - and they are the only team to have beaten the Kiwis twice since the last world cup. 2012, incidentally, was the last time another Northern Hemisphere team beat them.

    I definitely get why you'd be optimistic as a Welsh fan, though, and think they are the most likely to provide serious competition. Can't see much coming from England to be honest, and while Scotland are improving I still think they are a way off.


    I'm not sure I agree with your assessment of Italy. I think they've gone backwards in recent years if anything. Just one win in the last five seasons now - and perversely that was actually in Scotland. It looked to me like they were building something in the period 2006-2013, where they halved their negative points difference and got a couple of fourth place finishes, but it seems like they've fallen back off the pace again. It could just be that everyone else has gotten better, where it not for the fact that they haven't beaten France in five years, and they've only been finishing in 4th or 5th (mostly) themselves.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  23. #23
    Wales never do well in a world cup year and then do well when the world cup rolls around instead. Expect they'll finish third especially with Faletau out injured.

  24. #24
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Actually yeah, Wales have never before done well in a RWC year have they?

    Second bottom in 87, wooden spoon in 1991 and 1995, 3rd in 1999, then in the 6 Nations Era it was another wooden spoon in 2003, 5th in 2007, 4th in 2011 and 3rd in 2015 (the only one you can maybe say they did well at, perhaps). But under Gatland at least, they outperformed that 6N performance in both 2011 and 2015.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  25. #25
    They were pretty crap in most games in 2015, the Irish win and domination of Italy flattered then in the end. But they should probably have beat South Africa in the quarters of the world cup.

  26. #26
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Good value for their win against England in the end, too. Very even game but they got the W and with their injuries that's also worth credit.

    But yeah, I don't see it being anyone but Ireland without the run of the ball going against the B.I.G.

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  27. #27
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Good start for France against Wales. Two tries up. One disallowed for Wales as Williams knocks-on at the try line.

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  28. #28
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Can't believe France threw that away. Nervy performance from both overall, but you feel with Italy next, Wales may be able to gather momentum. Playing England at Cardiff too...
    Last edited by Gooner; 2 Weeks Ago at 05:37 AM.


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    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    We were shit. A really lucky win and worrying really.

    But Wales never start well and to get a win is a reason for optimism.

  30. #30
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    They were better second half. Not great, but better. In fact, the worry for France is just how quickly they started fucking up when Wales just cut out the silly plays. France are getting better again but clearly still a lot of work to be done.

    I'm thinking that Wales can really build on that, too. In many ways surviving your mediocre game is a big part of Rugby. They'll beat Italy next and then you've got England in Cardiff - I don't think we have an inkling how England are going to be yet but I can easily imagine a version of this year where the home advantage in that game is decisive. If they do go to Scotland with three wins I'd expect them to squeak it and then all of a sudden you're in a Grand Slam decider.

    I'd still back Ireland to win that game right now - but I mean, second is a really solid finish, and to get to a Slam decider is always a good tournament when you don't come in as the favourites.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  31. #31
    If all the talk before the game was about the best Ireland team ever then does this have to go down as one of the best England away wins of all time?

  32. #32
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    England vs Wales just became massive. It’s a fascinating result and opens up the tourney. I didn’t see Ireland losing a match in the 6 Nations. Now England could easily go on and win the whole thing.

  33. #33
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    And now that England have shown the blue print how to beat Ireland, Wales might copy it - and could also win the whole thing.

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  34. #34
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Probably from a neutral standpoint, that was the best thing that could happen, Ireland losing. Opens the field up quite a bit I feel.

    Fantastic match, a combination of both England playing out of their skins and Ireland not quite being at it. Agree with Nony, the Wales v England has become massive.


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  35. #35
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Oh absolutely, throwing Ireland's Grand Slam ambitions out of the window in the opening game, when they still have to go away to Murrayfield and to Cardiff, is absolutely best for the neutral and for the tournament. They're still going to back themselves to win all four remaining matches, but at the same time it really does open up the possibility for the other two strong sides to get grand slams.

    On the one hand, Wales now know they just have to win the two games they'd usually expect to win, and then do the job in the two tough matches at home. Conversely, England will respect Wales at Cardiff but will also know if you can turn Ireland in Dublin, you can turn over Wales, too - and indeed, in their poor six nations last year year, Wales were the only side (apart from Italy) that England still managed to beat.

    So yeah, it's completely wide open now.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  36. #36
    One sided game today and England looking impressive, might be slight favourites going into Cardiff now

  37. #37
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I don't know about favourite - home advantage counts for a lot. But they won't fear Wales, that's for sure.

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  38. #38
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Right so with France being so bad I thought I'd go through and try and think of their better times, and pick a XV from the time I've been watching Rugby. Here's what I've got.

    1 Thomas Domingo
    2 Raphael Ibanez
    3 Sylvain Marconnet
    4 Fabien Pelous
    5 Olivier Roumat
    6 Thierry Dusautoir
    7 Olivier Magne
    8 Imanol Harinodoquy

    9 Fabien Galthie
    10 Thomas Casteignede
    11 Aurelien Rougerie
    12 Christophe Lamaison
    13 Yannick Jauzion
    14 Vincent Clerc
    15 Clement Poitrenaud



    Had to leave out a couple of really big names because I missed their prime, and so this is possibly a weaker team than someone who was 5-6 years older than me might be able to put out, but it's still a pretty obscene side. The only position I really struggled with was Prop, and maybe fly-half - I think Casteignede might be a better full back, but Poitrenaud is better than any of the fly-half options. I bet there are still some French fans wondering what might have been with Michalak.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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