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THE New Zealand v Japan match at the Waikato Stadium began with a solemn minute’s silence for the lives lost in the earthquakes in both nations earlier this year.
Following the haka, the All Blacks gave Japan the expected routing of scoring 13 tries and more points than there were minutes over the course of the evening. Japan did score a single converted try, but this was no doubt not much consolation for the Brave Blossoms who fought hard. Despite the result, unbelievably, the possession and territory stats were almost 50-50.
Japan coach and former All Black, John Kirwan made a host of changes from the team that gave France a run for their money last week, targeting their best team for winnable matches in the remaining rounds of the pool stages. The New Zealanders were without significant members of their squad including captain Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Mils Muliaina and Israel Dagg.
The loss of Dan Carter was poignantly felt with his understudy, Colin Slade missing five conversions and a penalty. And what coach Graham was thinking as he chopped and changed the squad throughout the match must be a concern for All Blacks supporters. It is very late in the day to be making radical changes mid-way through the pool stages of the most important tournament in rugby. Though the options he has to choose from must be an envy for other coaches, the biggest dilemma being the inimitable Sonny Bill Williams, who scored his first two tries for the All Blacks in only his eighth appearance for his country.
Try no. #1 came in the third minute as excellent team handling skills played out to put Conrad Smith over the whitewash. Over the next 37 minutes, Richard Kahui, Jerome Kaino, captain Keven Mealamu, Andy Ellis and Colin Slade himself all crossed to take the first half total to six tries. There were only four conversions from Slade who looked so nervous that he could be sick at the pressure heaped on his 26 years young shoulders in only his sixth All Blacks appearance. But his teammates realised how he was feeling as 6’5” lock, Brad Thorn gave Slade a reassuring big brotherly shoulder hug on missing his third kick at goal.
Meanwhile, the Brave Blossoms were struggling to even get out of their own half. They finally made a break in the 38th minute, but the All Blacks jumped all over them like a rash and crushed any momentum, at which point referee Nigel Owens called half time.
Early on their return, Henry began to tinker with his options and replaced the captain, Keven Mealamu and Cory Jane with Sonny Bill Williams and Andrew Hore. Kahui scored his second try, along with Sonny Bill and Isaia Toeava all by the 55th minute. Whatever was said to Slade in the changing room worked as he grew in confidence and converted all three, taking the scoreline to 59-0.
When Japan did get possession, they figured they had to keep it tight to make any headway, which worked for a while, but eventually the All Blacks turned it over again and again. Until an appalling offload from the ABs was smartly intercepted by Hirotoki Onozawa who ran like the wind to score Japan’s solitary try. Murray Williams converted and the Brave Blossoms were delighted.
More changes were made on both sides as the replacements benches were emptied. Atsushi Hiwasi escaped a high tackle attempt from Thorn for an excellent break before he was shut down by Kaino. With just 11 minutes left, from a scrum on half way Kensuke Hatakeyama neatly offloaded behind to Yuta Imamura to Hirotoki Onozawa who charged for the tryline and would have made it had ref Owens not picked up on an earlier forward pass. The tackle on Imamura was severe enough to have him stretchered off the pitch.
The All Blacks meanwhile continued to stack up the points with tries from Andrew Hore, Ma’a Nonu, Adam Thomson, and a second from Sonny Bill Williams taking the tally to 13 and the final score to 83-7.
A final moment of amusement came as the clock had already passed 80 minutes as the All Blacks broke one final time to charge upfield, and the referee was heard to cry “Oh my God!” at the prospect of having to keep up. Japan won a final penalty and headed right back into the All Black 22, but the chip forward was collected by Sonny Bill who kicked it to touch.
1 Tony Woodcock 2 KEVEN MEALAMU (C) 3 Owen Franks 4 Brad Thorn 5 Sam Whitelock 6 Jerome Kaino 7 Adam Thomson 8 Victor Vito 9 Andy Ellis 10 Colin Slade 11 Richard Kahui 12 Ma’a Nonu 13 Conrad Smith 14 Cory Jane 15 Isaia Toeava BENCH: 16 Andrew Hore 17 John Afoa 18 Ali Williams 19 Anthony Boric 20 Jimmy Cowan 21 Piri Weepu 22 Sonny Bill Williams
SCORERS T: Smith, Kahui (2), Kaino, Mealamu, Ellis, Slade, SM Williams (2), Toeava, Hore, Nonu, Thomson C: Slade (9)
1 Naoki Kawamata 2 Yusuke Aoki 3 Nozomu Fujita 4 Hitoshi Ono 5 Toshizumi Kitagawa 6 Itaru Taniguchi 7 Michael Leitch 8 TAKASHI KIKUTANI(C) 9 Atsushi Hiwasa 10 Murray Williams 11 Hirotoki Onozawa 12 Yuta Imamura 13 Koji Taira 14 Takehisa Usuzuki 15 Taihei Ueda BENCH: 16 Hiroki Yuhara 17 Kensuke Hatakeyama 18 Yuji Kitagawa 19 Sione Talikavili Vatuvei 20 Tomoki Yoshida 21 Shaun Webb 22 Alisi Tupuailai
SCORERS T: Onozawa C: Williams
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)
THE last encounter between these two proud rugby nations was at the Rugby World Cup 2003, which Argentina won 50-3. After Argentina’s narrow loss to England last week, they were out to put the record straight, and did so securing a bonus point with a six try-fest to Romania’s one.
Argentina made just two changes with Marcelo Bosch replaced the injured Gonzalo Tiesi, who is out of the rest of the tournament, and Lucas González Amorosino came in at full back to allow positional switches for Martín Rodríguez and Santiago Fernández, the latter of whom replaced captain Felipe Contepomi at fly half. No. 8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe captained the side in the absence of Contepomi.
Romanian coach Romeo Gontineac switched Tiberius Ionuţ Dimofte from inside centre to fly half, Florin Surugiu and Ionel Cazan were promoted from bench to scrum half and left wing, Constantin Gheara went to inside centre and Madalin Vlad Lemnaru shifted to the opposite wing.
The game began as it was destined to continue being refereed in a staccato and unnecessary manner. Referee Steve Walsh now represents the ARU having been forced to leave his native the NZRU under a cloud following two major incidents: he was suspended for inappropriate behaviour towards England coach Dave Reddin during RWC 2003, and again for verbally abusing Irish winger Shane Horgan during the 2005 British & Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand.
Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga made a break and was clear to go all the way to the tryline, but Walsh brought him back to penalise Marius Tincu for obstruction, a tactic he used a second time in the first half when the Pumas were clear to score. But the Pumas attacked again and this time Santiago Fernández crossed, and Rodríguez converted in the 5th minute. Juan Manuel Leguizamón flew over for a second score 3 minutes later, with another conversion from Rodríguez and the Pumas led 14-0.
Dimofte managed a penalty for the determined Romanians, but the Pumas soon retaliated with an unconverted try from Juan Figallo.
At the scrum, Walsh let it go static for extended periods before talking down to the Oaks front row repeatedly. Just before the half hour mark, Amorosino crossed, Rodríguez converted. But the Pumas rested on their laurels for just a moment giving the Oaks an opportunity to show off their team skills, putting Ionel Cazan over in corner for an unconverted try; with no additional score in the last 9 minutes, the Pumas went into the break 26-8 up.
Rodríguez began the second half with a missed penalty, but redeemed himself a minute later. Meanwhile, Leguizamón went down injured and Walsh did not stop play until the players were almost on top of the medics.
Repeated offside infringements at the breakdown from the Oaks did not get properly penalised until the third quarter when Mihaita Lazar was finally shown a yellow card. Of course immediate replacements had to be made for the front row to operate one man down. Argentina took advantage of their numbers and Juan Imhoff ran in directly under the posts. The conversion took Argentina to a 36-8 lead.
The last 10 minutes saw the Oaks get close and Cazan again charged to the corner before being hurtled into touch, but the ball was still in play for Imhoff to offload to Genaro Fessia who ran the length of the pitch to score, and Rodríguez converted.
Both sides had sent on all the necessary replacements, and with just 2 minutes left, the Argentineans secured a 5m lineout, but the Oaks turned the ball, conceded a penalty, regained possession, kicked to touch but could not find it. The Pumas attacked one last time before the Romanians turned over the ball and this time found touch in an exciting final 5 minutes.
1 Rodrigo Roncero 2 Mario Ledesma 3 Juan Figallo 4 Manuel Carizza 5 Patricio Albacete 6 Julio Farías Cabello 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón 8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (C) 9 Nicolás Vergallo 10 Santiago Fernández 11 Horacio Agulla 12 Martín Rodríguez 13 Marcelo Bosch 14 Gonzalo Camacho 15 Lucas González Amorosino BENCH: 16 Agustín Creevy 17 Martín Scelzo 18 Mariano Galarza 19 Alejandro Campos 20 Alfredo Lalanne 21 Nicolás Sánchez 22 Juan José Imhoff
SCORERS T: Fernandez, Leguizamon, Figallo, Amorosino, Imhoff, Fessia C: Rodriguez (5) P: Rodriguez
1 Mihaita Alexandru Lazar 2 MARIUS TINCU (C) 3 Paulica Ion 4 Valentin Neculai Ursache 5 Cristian Constantin Petre 6 Mihai Macovei 7 Ovidiu Tonita 8 Daniel Carpo 9 Florin Surugiu 10 Tiberius Ionut Dimofte 11 Ionel Cazan 12 Constantin Gheara 13 Csaba Minya Gal 14 Madalin Vlad Lemnaru 15 Iulian Dumitras BENCH: 16 Bogdan Zebega Suman 17 Silviu Florea 18 Valentin Poparlan 19 Daniel Gabriel Ianus 20 Valentin Nicolae Calafeteanu 21 Marin Danut Dumbrava 22 Florin Adrian Vlaicu
SCORERS T: Cazan P: Dimofte Mihai Lazar
Referee: Steve Walsh (ARU)
SOUTH AFRICA returned to championship form this week and annihilated Fiji by the biggest margin so far over their three match history. The last time the sides met was at the quarter finals of RWC 2007 in Marseille, when Fiji ran the Springboks far closer before being dismissed from the tournament 37-20, which South Africa of course went on to win.
The statistics for this encounter belied the final result completely. Possession was 53:47, territory exactly 50:50; the Boks won all 9 of their scrums whilst Fiji lost only 1 of 8; both teams lost only 1 lineout each, South Africa with 7 and Fiji with 8. South Africa made 124 tackles and missed 26 to Fiji’s 133 and 32 respectively. The winning side conceded 7 penalties and made 11 handling errors where Fiji gave up 10 and made 12. And yet the Springboks came away with 6 tries and 3 penalties while all Fiji could produce was a solitary penalty.
The first good sign was the match was refereed by Romaine Poite, a generally level-headed and diligent adjudicator who allows the match to run its course without unnecessary interruptions. And so it began.
It was Fiji who first entered their opponents 22 and ran through 14 phases before JP Pietersen upset the momentum. And from a penalty, the inimitable Frans Steyn thumped over the perfect kick from 57m away to put the Boks on the board.
It was good to see the Springboks not go for the easy option of kicking for goal at every penalty, and at the next opportunity, Morne Steyn kicked for the corner to set up a 5m lineout. The South Africans attacked the tryline with a passion but a knock on from Pierre Spies lost the moment.
The second quarter began with the Boks winning a lineout in their own territory thanks to Spies, but an awkward bounce gave Fiji the option to run deep into the 22. Multiple offside players handed Seremaia Baikeinuku the chance to equalise which he did admirably. But then the Bokke dug in and began their try scoring adventure to produce a most clinical finish to each attack that Fiji simply could not halt.
Try no. #2 came from Frans Steyn breaking, being held back but ball recycled through Pietersen to prop Gurthrö Steenkamp who hurtled over in the corner, and Morne Steyn had no problems converting, followed quickly by a penalty.
The flattest drop goal attempt from Frans Steyn did not even get close, but a moment later excellent teamwork led to Jacques Fourie going over in the corner. Poite deferred to the TMO who confirmed the third try, but Morne Steyn's conversion drifted wide, quickly followed by another missed penalty from way back.
The Bokke ran some beautiful lines but Fiji had done their homework, stifling them where possible until an offside in their own 22 was punished with Morne Steyn banging over another penalty at half time. Springboks 21, Fiji 3.
Bakkies Botha was tactically replaced by Willem Alberts, and Jacques Fourie made an incredible break right into Fiji’s 22 before he was ceremoniously shut down. A knock on from captain John Smit again questioned his position as first choice hooker when arguably the world’s best - Bismarck du Plessis - was sitting on the bench, again.
Both teams played expansive rugby, but Fiji were thwarted at every turn, whilst the Springboks found every inch gap to take advantage.
The next try came from Frans Steyn again from a super team effort and his namesake converted with 32 minutes to go. The replacements began on both sides, including du Plessis, and a neat offload from Schalk Burger put Morne Steyn over for the fourth try securing the bonus point. With just the last 20 minutes to go, Steyn converted and the Boks led 35-3.
From the restart, Fiji intercepted and the ball went through Bai to Campese Ma'afu to Napolioni Nalaga for a try, and the fans became very animated to see the underdogs do well, despite the predominantly South African crowd, but it was no to be. The referee silenced the stadium -correctly- pulling up Campese for his forward pass.
The Springboks showed immense skill when replacement ‘Beast’, Tendai Mtawarira scored under the posts after Frans fell short of the tryline by inches.
Fiji broke one final time with 10 minutes to go for Nalaga to go over in the corner, but the TMO confirmed he had lost the ball forward from Pietersen’s tackle.
The final try-scoring flourish came from Danie Rossouw in the 76th minute which converted took the score to 49-3. But the Springboks or Fijians were not done yet even though by now there was just a minute to go. The Bokke headed back into the 22, Francois Hougaard got close but tripped, the ball recycled and they were even closer before being pushed into touch. Fiji would have had the penalty but the touch judges picked up on Dominiko Waqaniburotukula dangerously tackle Patrick Lambie, so the penalty was reversed.
The Bokke remained in Fiji’s 22 for two scrums and an offside for Fiji to go on the rampage before a turnover; continuous recycling and phase after phase went by before Steyn chipped forward but Hougaard could not quite get there. The ball found touch and finally the most exciting match so far was over.
15 Pat Lambie 14 JP Pietersen 13 Jaque Fourie 12 Frans Steyn 11 Odwa Ndungane 10 Morné Steyn 9 Fourie du Preez 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp 2 JOHN SMIT (C) 3 Jannie du Plessis 4 Bakkies Botha 5 Danie Rossouw 6 Heinrich Brüssow 7 Schalk Burger 8 Pierre Spies BENCH: 16 Bismarck du Plessis 17 Tendai Mtawarira 18 Francois Louw 19 Willem Alberts 20 Francois Hougaard 21 Ruan Pienaar 22 Juan de Jongh
SCORERS T: Steenkamp, Fourie F Steyn, M Steyn, Mtawarira, Rossouw C: M Steyn (5) P: F Steyn, M Steyn (2)
1 Campese Ma'afu 2 Sunia Koto 3 DEACON MANU (C) 4 Leone Nakarawa 5 Wame Lewaravu 6 Dominiko Maiwiriwiri Waqaniburotu 7 Akapusi Qera 8 Sakiusa Matadigo 9 Nemia Kenatale 10 Waisea Sedre Luveniyali 11 Naipolioni Nalaga 12 Seremaia Bai 13 Gaby Lovobalavu 14 Vereniki Goneva 15 Kini Murimurivalu BENCH: 16 Talemaitoga Dautu Tuapati 17 Waisea Nailago 18 Netani Edward Talei 19 Sisa Koyamaibole 20 Vitori Tomu Buatava 21 Nicky Little 22 Ravai Susau Fatiaki
SCORERS P: Baikeinuku
Referee: Romaine Poite (FFR)
Ireland put the boot into Australia's Rugby World Cup hopes with a 15-6 victory as a spate of penalties put the Wallabies to the sword in their Pool C game at Eden Park tonight.
Boasting one of the slickest back lines in the tournament, the Wallabies struggled to live up to their billing and the Irish got home on the back of four penalties and a drop goal.
As much as full back Kurtley Beale tried to weave his magic from the back, Ireland stood firm with a defence that refused to buckle under anything that the Wallabies threw at them .
Having won 20 of their 29 clashes with Ireland, with another match being drawn, Australia were favourites on paper, though these two countries have produced some epic battles over the years.
The Wallabies' preparations suffered late setbacks, with star flanker David Pocock withdrawing on the morning of the game with a back strain. He was replaced by his Western Force teammate Ben McCalman, while Tatafu Polota-Nau came into the front-row for an ill Stephen Moore.
It was a lively start, the Wallabies immediately putting pressure on the Irish after Keith Earls put his foot into touch from Quade Cooper's kick-off.
Australia had their first chance for points in the fifth minute after full back Rob Kearney was penalised for a high tackle on his opposite number Kurtley Beale, but wing James O'Connor sent his shot just wide of the left-hand upright.
O'Connor, back in the starting side, made no mistake from in front six minutes later after the Wallabies were gifted a penalty from a scrum five metres out.
Ireland had their first chance to get on the scoreboard but fly half Jonathan Sexton's long-range penalty from just inside half-way went wide. However, he drew his side level at 3-3 with a much easier effort after 15 minutes.
Australia then had to weather an onslaught from Ireland and Sexton put the Irish ahead 6-3 with only his second drop goal in international rugby.
O'Connor squared things up in the 24th minute after the Irish were caught offside. With the Wallabies upping the tempo in attack, they were gifted another three-point chance when the Irish were penalised for hands in the ruck, but O'Connor could not convert.
Sexton missed another long-range penalty seven minutes from half-time as both sides struggled to break the line in attack.
The Wallabies were again caught offside in the 49th and Sexton landed his third penalty to put Ireland 9-6 ahead.
Minutes later, Australia again infringed at the scrum but they were fortunate that Sexton's relatively easy attempt rattled off the upright.
It was the Will Genia-Quade Cooper combination that almost found a way through wide on the right but Cooper's final pass went astray with the line in sight.
But again Australia's scrum conceded a penalty and this time it was a gift for Ronan O'Gara, who had come on as a replacement in the 48th minute. At 12-6 ahead in 61st minute, Ireland sniffed a victory and Australia were desperate for a break.
Australia needed all their resolve to keep Ireland out in the 67th minute, a timely penalty coming just in the nick of time as Ireland were bearing down on their line.
But another collapsed scrum virtually in front minutes later gifted O'Gara another penalty to put Ireland 15-6 with 10 minutes left.
Australia were camped all over Ireland's line in the closing minutes but could not break through.
It took some desperate cover defence to stop Tommy Bowe from almost running the length of the field after intercepting a stray pass from Cooper in the last few minutes.
1 Sekope Kepu 2 Stephen Moore 3 Ben Alexander 4 Dan Vickerman 5 JAMES HORWILL (C) 6 Rocky Elsom 7 Ben McCalman 8 Radike Samo 9 Will Genia 10 Quade Cooper 11 Adam Ashley-Cooper 12 Pat McCabe 13 Anthony Fainga'a 14 James O'Connor 15 Kurtley Beale BENCH: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau 17 James Slipper 18 Rob Simmons 19 Wycliff Palu 20 Scott Higginbotham 21 Luke Burgess 22 Drew Mitchell
SCORERS P: O'Connor (2)
1 Cian Healy 2 Rory Best 3 Mike Ross 4 Donncha O'Callaghan 5 Paul O'Connell 6 Stephen Ferris 7 Sean O'Brien 8 Jamie Heaslip 9 Eoin Reddan 10 Jonathan Sexton 11 Keith Earls 12 Gordon D'Arcy 13 BRIAN O'DRISCOLL (C) 14 Tommy Bowe 15 Rob Kearney BENCH: 16 Jerry Flannery 17 Tom Court 18 Donnacha Ryan 19 Denis Leamy 20 Conor Murray 21 Ronan O'Gara 22 Andrew Trimble
SCORERS P: Sexton (2), O'Gara (2) DG: Sexton
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (NZRU)
Wales survived a scare from Samoa to emerge 17-10 victors in a fiercely contested Pool D clash on Sunday.
The islanders, who had won both previous Rugby World Cup encounters between the nations, looked likely to register a third when prop Anthony Perenise crashed over for a try on the stroke of half-time.
But wing Shane Williams struck back with a try in the last quarter to settle the nerves of the Welsh, who had lost to South Africa by a single point a week earlier.
Both sides showed an eagerness to run the ball in the bruising encounter at Waikato Stadium.
In the eighth minute Samoa were unlucky not to get on the scoreboard after number 8 George Stowers knocked on as he tried to touch down following a destructive drive at a five-metre scrum.
Wales coach Warren Gatland's plans suffered an early setback when Andy Powell had to replace flanker Danny Lydiate, who injured his right ankle in tenth minute.
But Wales rallied and almost immediately took the lead when James Hook slotted a penalty from in front of the posts after a high tackle on fly half Rhys Priestland.
Samoa responded with a Williams penalty midway through the half.
The Wales scrum began to gain the upper hand and when the Samoans were penalised for collapsing after 26 minutes Hook was again on target to make it 6-3, despite losing his footing as he made his kick.
Samoa felt aggrieved not to get a try after half an hour when Maurie Faasavalu was penalised for a double movement on the Wales line.
But they got their reward when Perenise crashed over after some sustained pressure.
Priestland narrowed the gap to 10-9 straight after the break with a long-range penalty that bounced on the cross bar before going over.
With full back Hook not returning to the field after half-time, Wales were without their most potent attacking influence.
But Priestland put the Welsh back in front with a penalty before Shane Williams rounded off a breakout to make the score 17-10.
Despite some committed attack by the Samoans in the last 10 minutes, Welsh defence held firm for the win.
1 Paul James 2 Huw Bennett 3 Adam Jones 4 Luke Charteris 5 Alun Wyn Jones 6 Danny Lydiate 7 SAM WARBURTON (C) 8 Toby Faletau 9 Mike Phillips 10 Rhys Priestland 11 Shane Williams 12 Jamie Roberts 13 Jonathan Davies 14 George North 15 James Hook BENCH: 16 Lloyd Burns 17 Gethin Jenkins 18 Bradley Davies 19 Andy Powell 20 Tavis Knoyle 21 Scott Williams 22 Leigh Halfpenny
SCORERS T: Shane Williams P: Hook (2), Priestland (2)
1 Sakaria Taulafo 2 MAHONRI SCHWALGER (C) 3 Anthony Perenise 4 Daniel Leo 5 Kane Thompson 6 Ofisa Treviranus 7 Maurie Faasavalu 8 George Stowers 9 Kahn Fotuali'I 10 Tasesa Lavea 11 Alesana Tuilagi 12 Seilala Mapusua 13 George Pisi 14 Sailosi Tagicakibau 15 Paul Williams BENCH: 16 Ti'i Paulo 17 Census Johnston 18 Joe Tekori 19 Manaia Salavea 20 Jeremy Sua 21 Eliota Sapolu Fuimaono 22 James So'oialo
SCORERS T: Perenise C: Williams P: Williams
Referee: Alain Rolland (IRFU)
ENGLAND and Georgia had met before on only one occasion, at the Rugby World Cup in 2003 when the champions that year beat the Pool C team 84-6. Georgia has come on leaps and bounds since then, and is arguably one of the best sides in Europe outside of the Six Nations. England had much to prove after beating Argentina by a narrow margin in the first round.
The two countries proudly stood side by side for the anthems, with more in common than most, sharing a patron saint in St George, and national flags that are very similar. And then England closed the game out with six tries to Georgia’s one, but not in any seriously convincing fashion. England displayed too many flaws and were ill-disciplined amassing 14 penalties, whereas Georgia showed grit and determination, taking the fight to England at every given opportunity.
The referee for this encounter was the infamous Jonathan Kaplan of South Africa; not quite as dubious as some other southern hemisphere referees, but still, both sides were no doubt aware how he is known to operate so not to get on the wrong side of him from the start. England did not pay enough attention.
Shontayne Hape at inside centre made his Rugby World Cup debut by running half the length of the pitch to score under the posts. Fly half Toby Flood started ahead of Jonny Wilkinson this week and had no problem converting from in front of the posts; 4 minutes and it was England 7, Georgia 0.
Georgia replied with an awesome break and Irakli Machkhaneli flew over in corner, but was clearly in touch, which TMO Shaun Veldsman confirmed to Kaplan. Two more opportunities then went begging as England were twice penalised for offside but Merab Kvirikashvili missed both, one from directly in front of the posts.
Not until the 19th minute did England force Georgia out of their territory, and then ferociously attacked the 22, closing in on the tryline. It was Hape who made it through the strong defence for a second try, and Flood converted again. The inside centre silenced a host of detractors who had questioned his inclusion in the squad over the likes of Riki Flutey to a point. But putting it into perspective, IRB world ranked 4th place England were playing 16th placed Georgia, so yes, two tries were excellent, but how would he fare against a top three nation?
England’s indiscipline continued and directly after increasing the score to 14-0, they gifted a penalty which Kvirikashvili missed, but then redeemed himself 5 minutes later putting 3 points on the board for Georgia. Penalties continued on both sides and Flood took advantage. Only 5 minutes were left of the first half and the score stood at 17-3.
Matt Stevens was penalised -the first time in many- for not binding at the scrum; Georgia found touch to set up a 5m lineout and heaped pressure on England. A penalty this time from hooker Dylan Hartley with hands in the ruck earned him a yellow card, Tom Wood his place on the field so that Steve Thompson could come on to fill the void in the scrum that Georgia opted for.
A massive drive and Dimitri Basilaia crossed the line, which the TMO confirmed. Kvirikashvili converted and Georgia went into the break with a well deserved 10 points to England’s 17.
Reports came out of the England camp that coach Martin Johnson went ballistic at half time at his team’s lack of discipline. It appeared the message was received loud and clear for a while at least, and the second half began with an almost try for Delon Armitage except for a foot in touch. But just 4 minutes later, with the Georgians offside en masse, England set up a 5m lineout and Armitage scored, but there was no accompanying conversion this time. 22-10.
As replacements came off the bench, Hartley returned sheepishly to the paddock, Kvirikashvili missed another two penalty kicks, Tom Croft came on for Lewis Moody and Simon Shaw took over the captaincy. And not until the final quarter did Manu Tuilagi score his first RWC try from excellent offloads and convincing teamwork. Another conversion and England had secured the bonus point.
Georgia fought back valiantly, but a loose ball in the 22 allowed Tom Wood to make the break, offload to Chris Ashton who ceremoniously swan-dived under the posts. With the conversion England led 36-10 with 15 minutes to go.
More replacements came on including Joe Simpson for Ben Youngs earning his first full international cap for England, and Levan Datunashvili on for Aleksander Todua who’s head ran into Youngs at full speed. England struggled to get out of their own half until finally James Haskell led the way. Matt Stevens limped off the pitch, and Tom Palmer won yet another lineout in Georgian territory before Hape knocked on.
With just 2 minutes remaining, England switched gears and played out wide from Croft to Matt Banahan to Ben Foden to Armitageand back to Foden but a forward pass negated the try. Following yet another time out in the 80th minute, when England had won the penalty from a Georgian scrum, Simpson showed off his wares as scrum half, offloading to Foden to Ashton who hurled himself over in the corner for his second and England’s sixth try.
England finished the game with a win of 41-10, but it was not necessarily an entirely convincing team performance. Certain individuals stood like Armitage, Simpson, Haskell, Shaw and Thompson, but others just did not step up to the mark. Flood may have managed four conversions and a penalty, but he showed no other signs of deserving his place at fly half over Jonny Wilkinson.Conversely, Georgia proved they were a side worthy of their place on the world stage.
1 Matt Stevens 2 Dylan Hartley 3 Dan Cole 4 Simon Shaw 5 Tom Palmer 6 Tom Wood 7 LEWIS MOODY (C) 8 James Haskell 9 Ben Youngs 10 Toby Flood 11 Delon Armitage 12 Shontayne Hape 13 Manu Tuilagi 14 Chris Ashton 15 Ben Foden BENCH: 16 Steve Thompson 17 Alex Corbisiero 18 Tom Croft 19 Louis Deacon 20 Joe Simpson 21 Jonny Wilkinson 22 Matt Banahan
SCORERS T: Hape (2), Armitage, Tuilagi, Ashton (2) C: Flood (4) P: Flood
1 David Khinchagishvili 2 Jaba Bregvadze 3 David Kubriashvili 4 Ilia Zedginidze 5 Vakhtang Maisuradze 6 Shalva Sutiashvili 7 Mamuka Gorgodze 8 Dimitri Basilaia 9 IRAKLI ABUSERIDZE (C) 10 Merab Kvirikashvili 11 Alexander Todua 12 Tedo Zibzibadze 13 David Kacharava 14 Irakli Machkhaneli 15 Revaz Gigauri BENCH: 16 Akvsenti Giorgadze 17 David Zirakashvili 18 Levan Datunashvili 19 Giorgi Chkhaidze 20 Bidzina Samkharadze 21 Givi Berishvili 22 Lasha Khmaladze
SCORERS T: Basilaia C: Kvirikashvili P: Kvirikashvili
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (SARU)
THE anthems rang out around McLean Park in Napier with La Marseillaise having the spectacular effect it always does, not surprising since it has to be the best anthem in world rugby. And then the two teams went head to head, but not for the first time.
France and Canada have met on seven previous occasions over 20 years, but Canada had won only once in ’94, and today was not going to add to that tally. Les Bleus eventually put on a magnificent performance led by captain, Aurélien Rougerie, scoring four tries and securing a second bonus point to match New Zealand. The only real question before kick off was which French team would make an appearance this very wet evening, since the rugby world has not been sure of who will play in which position thanks to coach Marc Lièvremont’s schizophrenic attitude. The Canadians made a concerted effort, but in the end were simply outplayed.
The match began with a very different flavour before France kicked up their game a gear or two. It was Canada that opened the scoring very early with a penalty from James Pritchard. A neat up and under manœuvre allowed Vincent Clerc to score almost immediately, and scrum half Morgan Parra added the conversion. But Canada replied a minute later with exactly the same tactic finished by Ryan Smith at the other end of the pitch. A conversion from Pritchard and the Canadians were in front again, 10-7.
Pritchard missed a penalty, and Ander Monro a drop goal before Parra equalised, and prop Jean-Baptiste Poux had to exit to be stitched up after his face met a stud on the way down. Fabien Barcella replaced him, and the two yoyo’d on and off the pitch for 45 minutes. France offered no shortage of penalties but Pritchard was not having the best day as penalty kicks alluded him; had he and Anders been on target, the score would have been level going into the break.
It wasn’t until the second quarter that France took advantage of their superior skill, and began to ratchet up the points thanks to Parra through til half time, by which time he had taken the score to 19-10.
Pritchard’s form continued after the break as again he missed a penalty, but Monro slotted the first of his two drop goals. In between, Parra added another penalty of his own, before missing one himself. The next penalty came from Pritchard forcing Clerc into the perimeter hoardings which he quite eloquently flipped over; the result was France heaving over the tryline but with no clear view, referee Craig Joubert was forced to move play back into the 22, only for Francois Trinh-Duc to drop a goal.
By the final quarter, Canada had notched up last score from a 3 pointer, whilst sublime open play from a lineout on half way saw the ball float from Trinh-Duc to Rougerie to Damien Traille to score. Parra added the extras, and there were just 15 minutes left on the clock.
The benches were depleted over the next 10 minutes and play became a little static, but as the end drew nigh, France attacked again knowing that elusive bonus point was out there to be had, if they could just get into that 22. A penalty for not rolling away gave Les Bleus the scrum and Vincent Clerc threw himself over in the corner. The conversion was from the most awkward angle on the touchline but Parra’s kick just glided out and curved back in to take the score to 39-19.
At the 79th minute, France were on half way and the team ran superb lines; Harinordoquy was brought down in the 22, but the ball was promptly recycled and again it Clerc who scored. The hat trick made him only the second player in history to score two hat tricks in two rugby world cups (’07 and ’11) alongside New Zealand's Jeff Wilson (’95 and ’99).
No conversion took the final score to 46-19 and all that was left was for the ball to find touch.
1 Jean-Baptiste Poux 2 William Servat 3 Luc Ducalcon 4 Pascal Papé 5 Romain Millo-Chluski 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo 7 Julien Bonnaire 8 Louis Picamoles 9 Morgan Parra 10 Francois Trinh-Duc 11 AURÉLIEN ROUGERIE (C) 12 Maxime Mermoz 13 David Marty 14 Vincent Clerc 15 Damien Traille BENCH: 16 Guilhem Guirado 17 Fabien Barcella 18 Julien Pierre 19 Imanol Harinordoquy 20 Dimitri Yachvili 21 Fabrice Estebanez 22 Maxime Médard
SCORERS T: Clerc (3), Traille C: Parra (4) P: Parra (5) DG: Trinh-Duc
1 Hubert Buydens 2 PAT RIORDAN (C) 3 Jason Marshall 4 Jebb Sinclair 5 Jamie Cudmore 6 Adam Kleeberger 7 Chauncey O'Toole 8 Aaron Carpenter 9 Ed Fairhurst 10 Ander Monro 11 Phil Mackenzie 12 Ryan Smith 13 DTH van der Merwe 14 Ciaran Hearn 15 James Pritchard BENCH: 16 Ryan Hamilton 17 Scott Franklin 18 Tyler Hotson 19 Nanyak Dala 20 Sean White 21 Nathan Hirayama 22 Conor Trainor
SCORERS T: Smith C: Pritchard P: Pritchard (2) DG: Monro (2)
Referee: Craig Joubert (SARU)
Two tries apiece for Tommaso Benvenuti and Giulio Toniolatti plus a towering performance from Sergio Parisse saw Italy notch a resounding 53-17 win over Russia on Tuesday.
The Azzurri secured a bonus point after just 23 minutes, finishing with nine tries in total, as Russia were overcome by slick passing and uncompromising forward play.
Russia stuck to their task to finish with three tries at Trafalgar Park, with second-half scores from Vladimir Ostroushko and Alexey Makovetskiy complementing Alexander Yanyushkin’s first-half score.
Benvenuti completed his brace eight minutes into the second half, touching down his own chip ahead.
Luke McLean took advantage of a marking mismatch, going past Alexander Voytov in the 64th minute then racing away for a try, and Alessandro Zanni’s score brought up the half-century on 77 minutes.
The score could have been greater but Italian kickers Riccardo Bocchino and Benvenuti missed five conversion attempts between them.
Captain Parisse had a hand in four of his side’s six first-half tries as they raced to a 38-7 lead at the interval.
The number 8 opened the scoring in the sixth minute when he sold a neat dummy then cut through the line, and his deft touch was instrumental in wing Toniolatti's 14th-minute try.
Centre Benvenuti profited from a Russian defensive mix-up to plunge over, then Parisse dummied to set up Toniolatti’s second and bring up the bonus point.
A strong scrummage forced Russia to concede a penalty try, before The Bears finally got on the scoresheet with Italy reduced to 14 men after Fabio Ongaro was sin-binned for an illegal tackle.
Yanyushkin’s score was converted by Konstantin Rachkov but Italy scrum half Edoardo Gori hit back almost immediately.
1 Salvatore Perugini 2 Fabio Ongaro 3 Lorenzo Cittadini 4 Quintin Geldenhuys 5 Marco Bortolami 6 Paul Derbyshire 7 Mauro Bergamasco 8 SERGIO PARISSE (C) 9 Edoardo Gori 10 Riccardo Bocchino 11 Luke McLean 12 Matteo Pratichetti 13 Tommaso Benvenuti 14 Giulio Toniolatti 15 Andrea Masi BENCH: 16 Tommaso D'Apice 17 Martin Castrogiovanni 18 Cornelius van Zyl 19 Alessandro Zanni 20 Pablo Canavosio 21 Gonzalo Canale 22 Alberto Sgarbi
SCORERS T: Parisse, Toniolatti (2), Benvenuti (2), PT, Gori, McLean, Zanni C: Bocchino (4) Fabio Ongaro
1 Vladimir Botvinnikov 2 VLADISLAV KORSHUNOV (C) 3 Ivan Prishchepenko 4 Alexander Voytov 5 Adam Byrnes 6 Vyacheslav Grachev 7 Andrey Garbuzov 8 Victor Gresev 9 Alexander Shakirov 10 Konstantin Rachkov 11 Vladimir Ostroushko 12 Alexey Makovetskiy 13 Andrey Kuzin 14 Vasily Artemyev 15 Igor Klyuchnikov BENCH: 16 Valery Tsnobiladze 17 Alexander Khrokin 18 Denis Antonov 19 Artem Fatakhov 20 Alexander Yanyushkin 21 Mikhail Sidorov 22 Yury Kushnarev
SCORERS T: Yanyushkin, Ostrushko, Makovetskiy C: Rachkov
Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU)
The boot of Kurt Morath helped to secure Tonga’s first win of Rugby World Cup 2011 as they edged Japan 31-18 in a fast-paced Pool A clash on Wednesday.
The fly half collected a personal tally of 16 points, missing just one of his seven kicks, as the teams traded tries at Northland Events Centre.
His boot had been the difference when Tonga went into the break 18-13 after a frenetic first half.
And he was on target again after the interval, landing two more penalties and a conversion, as Japan battled in vain to narrow the margin.
After seven days to recover from their defeat by Canada, Tonga were swiftly on the attack.
Although the Brave Blossoms were able to withstand a succession of scrums on their line, number 8 Viliami Ma'afu eventually crashed over for a try in the seventh minute.
Japan bounced back and drew the scores level when the TMO ruled that prop Kensuke Hatakeyama had touched down despite suggestions of a double movement.
But from the restart Tonga pounced on spilled ball and second row Tukulua Lokotui was on hand to crash over in the left corner for a converted try that put them 12-5 up after 15 minutes.
Minutes after his try-saving tackle on Tonga centre Siale Piutau, Japan flanker Michael Leitch displayed his value in attack when he powered over for his side's second try following some deft handling by the Brave Blossoms' backs.
With less than 10 minutes of the half remaining Japan playmaker James Arlidge was sent to the sin bin for deliberately stifling a Tonga attack while standing in an offside position.
But full back Shaun Webb took over his kicking duties and dragged Japan within a score by kicking a penalty from in front of the posts on the stroke of half-time.
Right wing Fetu'u Vainikolo started and finished a sweeping counter-attack for a try, again converted by Morath, that pulled Tonga clear at 28-13.
But when replacement prop Halani Aulika was sent to the sin bin in the 61st minute for repeated infringements by the Tongans, Japan quickly took advantage.
After a maul was held up over the Tonga line, centre Alisi Tupuailai picked an unstoppable line through the defence for a try in the 63rd minute.
Arlidge missed his third conversion of the night.
1 Soane Tonga'uiha 2 ALEKI LUTUI (C) 3 Taufa'ao Filise 4 Tukulua Lokotui 5 Paino Hehea 6 Sione Kalamafoni 7 Sione Vaiomo'unga 8 Viliami Ma'afu 9 Taniela Moa 10 Kurt Morath 11 Sukanaivalu Hufanga 12 Alipate Fatafehi 13 Siale Piutau 14 Fetu'u Vainikolo 15 Vungakoto Lilo BENCH: 16 Aloisio Ma'asi 17 Alisona Taumalolo 18 Halani Aulika 19 Joseph Tu'ineau 20 Samiu Vahafolau 21 Samisoni Fisilau 22 Viliame Iongi
SCORERS T: Ma'afu, Lokotui, Vainikolo C: Morath (2) P: Morath (4) Halani 'Aulika, Lua Lokotui
1 Hisateru Hirashima 2 Shota Horie 3 Kensuke Hatakeyama 4 Luke Thompson 5 Toshizumi Kitagawa 6 Itaru Taniguchi 7 Michael Leitch 8 TAKASHI KIKUTANI (C) 9 Fumiaki Tanaka 10 James Arlidge 11 Hirotoki Onozawa 12 Ryan Nicholas 13 Alisi Tupuailai 14 Kosuke Endo 15 Shaun Webb BENCH: 16 Yusuke Aoki 17 Nozomu Fujita 18 Hitoshi Ono 19 Sione Talikavili Vatuvei 20 Atsushi Hiwasa 21 Takehisa Usuzuki 22 Murray Williams
SCORERS T: Hatakeyama, Leitch, Tupuailei P: Webb James Arlidge
Referee: Dave Pearson (RFU)
Wing Bryan Habana became South Africa's all-time leading try scorer as the Springboks defeated Namibia 87-0 in their Pool D match at North Harbour Stadium.
His score in the 23rd minute of Thursday night's game took his tally to 39, taking him clear of Joost van der Westhuizen, who he shared the record with going into the match.
Wing Gio Aplon and second-half substitute Juan de Jongh scored two tries apiece as South Africa ran in 12 tries, with Morné Steyn chipping in with a try, six conversions and a penalty.
These two African countries had only met once previously, with South Africa notching a 105-13 result in a warm-up match on their way to becoming champions at RWC 2007.
An improving Namibia, however, are no pushovers these days, going down in fighting style to Fiji (49-25) and Samoa (49-12) in their two appearances before this match.
The Springboks were quickly on the board soon after their number 8 Pierre Spies charged down a kick from Theuns Kotze, but the bounce was not kind enough for him to regather.
Pressure exerted at a scrum paved the way for Morné Steyn to land a straightforward penalty after just four minutes and soon after wing Gio Aplon scampered over after Namibia had been dispossessed.
Quick hands created the overlap out wide on the right and Steyn converted to put South Africa 10-0 up.
But, for a spell, the Springboks were then kept in check by a combination of handling errors and a lively Namibia, who were not afraid to test young full-back Pat Lambie under the high ball.
Nambia continued to have their moments, with Tinus du Plessis racing 40 metres downfield from a lineout.
But South Africa extended their lead to 17-0 after 23 minutes when Habana grabbed the try to put him in the record books.
Namibia were struggling with the force of the Springbok scrum and, seven minutes later, they conceded a penalty try, their forwards destroyed with the big men of South Africa bearing down on the line. Steyn converted and, with a 24-0 advantage, the world champions were in the driving seat and looking ominous.
Jaque Fourie then crossed by the posts after a neat pass from Frans Steyn and, at 31-0 up, South Africa were starting to look unstoppable and Namibia were at sixes and sevens.
Aplon came close to scoring his secong try minutes after the break but was ruled not to have had control of the ball.
Scrum half Francois Hougaard took a quick tap which eventually led to their fifth try, with Frans Steyn finishing off the easiest of scores.
Namibia did well to mometarily repel a sustained onslaught from their rivals midway through the half but it was inevable that they would eventually break, this time Morné Steyn crossing and adding a seventh conversion from as many attempts.
Juan de Jongh then scored from the restart and the Springboks were finding holes in the defence at will, with the South Africans evenally finishing with 12 tries.
1 Gurthrö Steenkamp 2 JOHN SMIT (C) 3 CJ van der Linde 4 Bakkies Botha 5 Danie Rossouw 6 Willem Alberts 7 Schalk Burger 8 Pierre Spies 9 Francois Hougaard 10 Morné Steyn 11 Bryan Habana 12 Frans Steyn 13 Jaque Fourie 14 Gio Aplon 15 Pat Lambie BENCH: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle 17 Tendai Mtawarira 18 Francois Louw 19 Heinrich Brüssow 20 Fourie du Preez 21 Ruan Pienaar 22 Juan de Jongh
SCORERS T: Aplon (2), Habana, PT, Fourie, F Steyn, M Steyn, de Jongh (2), Hougaard (2), Rossouw C: M Steyn (6), Pienaar (6) P: M Steyn
1 Johnnie Redelinghuys 2 Bertus O'Callaghan 3 Marius Visser 4 Heinz Koll 5 Nico Esterhuyse 6 Tinus du Plessis 7 JACQUES BURGER (C) 8 Jacques Nieuwenhuis 9 Eugene Jantjies 10 Theuns Kotze 11 Heine Bock 12 Piet van Zyl 13 Danie van Wyk 14 Danie Dames 15 Chrysander Botha BENCH: 16 Hugo Horn 17 Jané du Toit 18 Pieter Jan van Lill 19 Rohan Kitshoff 20 Ryan de la Harpe 21 Darryl de la Harpe 22 Conrad Marais
Referee: George Clancy ((IRFU)