The Lions built the win against the Tahs by being hard at the breakdown. Under a New Zealand coach the Lions have their mobile back row playing far more like those in a Kiwi side than a European side – gone are the big English lumbering number 6 & 8’s playing like second rowers and in their place are players like Warburton and Croft with speed, fitness and the ability to win ball at the breakdown.
The Argentinian Pumas fully deserve to be in this competition. For a team that has never been involved in an annual tier one rugby tournament and that has to travel half way around the world for every away game they have been extraordinarily impressive. New Zealand, Australia and South Africa are ranked 1, 2 and 3 in the world respectively and Argentina (currently ranked 8th in the world) is playing like a team that fully deserves a spot in the world’s top three.
1. The All Blacks showed why they are the number 1 team in the world with daylight second. They played superbly with speed and accuracy at the breakdown, an almost faultless kicking performance from Carter and Dagg, a brilliant offload and support game from their back row and centres, brutally effective defense across the park and a rock solid set piece. They played the kind of rugby every team aspires to play.
1. The Australians generally played a good game. Good discipline, lots of possession, good defense and a solid kicking game resulting in a close but deserved win. It was not without its slight blemishes though, namely tonight in the set piece (missed lineout throws and scrum infringements).
The Welsh weren’t just talking themselves up during the week when they said that were going for a fast start. Blistering pace and strong pressure to start both halves resulted in two early tries (also who said the Welsh can’t play soccer with beautiful ball control by Davies leading to his 2nd half try).
1.What a difference a dry track and an attacking opponent makes.
Compare this game to Tuesday night’s and it is chalk and cheese, not only were Tuesday’s conditions appalling but the Scots would of never played anything else but the style of rugby most suited to those conditions. Last night’s game however consisted of expansive attractive rugby from both teams from the very first kick off. This was not just because of the weather conditions but also because the Welsh play attractive rugby – having a go from anywhere with great enthusiasm, offloading across the park and happy to take calculated risks.
During the Wallabies’ June Internationals I’ve been asked to write short editorial pieces by the ARU and rugby.com.au for every second Test, but I’ll be covering every Test on Alastairbaxter.com. All pieces will be based on the theme of ’5 things we learnt…’
Over the weekend was my first ever visit to the NSW Government House. The function was the Historic Houses Trust Foundation Governor’s black tie dinner to thank our governors (major sponsors).
Having never been to Government House I was very excited about my first visit. For those who don’t know Sydney well, Government House is on the eastern edge of the CBD directly behind (to the south) of the Sydney Opera House. It is set amongst magnificent gardens leading down to just above the harbour and into the Sydney Botanic Gardens.