How long has it been for the Wallabies? Not since the outstanding run from the late 90’s where the team won everything does Australia enter a “grand final” with such a strong chance of winning. Not to discount the 2003 World Cup, but England deserved to win. For Australia to defeat them in that final would have been an injustice to an England squad which was so adept it was able to defeat the All Blacks on New Zealand soil prior to winning the tournament. This is the first time in a long time the Wallabies enter a decider with such a good chance of winning. Continue reading Tri-Nations: Wallabies v All Blacks Bledisloe Cup Preview
Oh how the wheels of the rugby world turn. South Africa have gone from being World Champions, to defeating the All Blacks in New Zealand, to being on the verge of a hat-trick of home losses. The Wallabies have gone from being bundled out in the quarter finals of the Cup, to a team with new hope after the appointment of a new coach and a run of victories. They then flipped back to a team that doesn’t perform on the road but now it is attempting back to back victories in South Africa – at altitude no less. Not only that but they have a strong chance of winning back the Tri-nations title, with only the small matter of a Brisbane date with some team called the All Blacks still to come. Continue reading Tri-Nations: Wallabies v Springboks Preview (30/08/08)
Thanks for nothing All Blacks. The Wallabies do you a favour by showing you your deficiencies with your worst loss for… ever? I’m still trying to find an All Blacks supporter who can ever recall their team being so comprehensively beaten in the physical confrontations.
So of course they come out and smash the Wallabies in New Zealand. Just as predictably the Aussie media lambaste the team. Continue reading Tri-Nations: Wallabies vs Springboks Preview, Bledisloe Cup Review
The rugby clock is ticking – but for who will it toll come full time? A Wallabies victory would surely give them one and a half hands on the treasured Bledisloe. I say half because surely a Wallaby victory would mean that Game III would see the All Blacks with a new coach. Can the Kiwis accept loosing the Bledisloe and exiting the World Cup with the same guy at the helm – still don’t think so. Continue reading 2008 Bledisloe Cup Game II: Wallabies v All Blacks.
Australia has passed its first true test by defeating the Springboks. Immediately you must ask yourself – how switched on were the Springboks? To go into a Test match without a true number 7 set them back. By attempting to strengthen their line-out capabilities the Springboks damaged their ability to compete at the breakdown. When this is coupled with an inability to dominate at scrum time the South Africans were ripe for the picking. Of course a couple of Tests against the All Blacks didn’t hurt to soften them up. Continue reading Tri-Nations: Wallabies vs All Blacks Bledisloe 1 Preview and Springbok Review
After two brutal contests in New Zealand, Australian rugby fans will finally get to see some competition when South Africa ventures to Perth on Saturday night. All rugby lovers have been impressed with the physicality of the All Blacks and Springboks, but are unsure of where Australia currently sits in comparison.
So far Australia has beaten an Irish side which, through no lack of effort, was not capable of winning away from home. In the two tests against the French, Australian and French fans were insulted by what France delivered. None of those two matches were of Test standard. Continue reading Rugby Union and the 2008 Wallabies Tri-Nations Hopes
Congratulations Queensland, a victory thoroughly deserved. To the Qld coaching staff and selectors, well done. To the players, enjoy it because such a sustained run of success is rare. To win 4 series in a row would be unprecedented. It is amazing to think that Qld could achieve something so remarkable given that prior to their run of victories, New South Wales had won 3 consecutive series (2003-05).
Both teams came to play what turned out to be a classic State of Origin battle. The game itself couldn’t go down as a classic, but in the aggression, fights, injuries and spectacular tries it is everything we love about Origin. Continue reading 2008 NRL State of Origin Game Three Review
Game III brings up thoughts of great returns. Alan Langer, Brad Fittler, Andrew Johns. Is it possible, could we add the name Braith Anasta to this list? What of his half-back Mitchell Pearce, what a time to make a debut! Is this the fairy-tale: The son of a former Origin great making his debut and starring in a series decider? Playing alongside him is a man previously voted “The most overrated player in the game”, previously banished from Origin, but now returning triumphant? Or this: Queensland going down in history as a three time consecutive series champion.
In my estimation Qld has exerted more influence over the series – at no stage have New South Wales truly been dominant. You must remember Qld is the two time defending champion with (at this point) far more depth and options in most positions. Continue reading Rugby League State of Origin Game 3 Preview
Have you ever experienced déjà vu? By the end of the match I could have sworn I was still watching the first game of the series again. Hang-on, it was NSW that won, and that guy in the centres he couldn’t be stopped. But now it is Qld on top and their centre was outstanding – oh that’s right, they swapped jerseys after the game, just forgot to put on their real ones before the second match!
Just who has been better/worse so far – Qld were poor in the first, but lifted in the second. NSW dominated but were completely outplayed by the end of the second match. At this stage of the series, Qld have everything going for them. Continue reading 2008 Rugby League State of Origin Game Two Review
How valuable is the result of one game? Queensland were amazingly confident before game one. The positive hype was enormous – “Best backline in history!”. So ferocious was the hype it swept up the Qld selectors. The Maroons in 2006 and 2007 were well-balanced as a team – they played with an inner-belief and faith in the plan of their coaches; they gained strength and confidence from playing in positions they were comfortable with, and had faith in their mates on either side of them to do their job. So successful were they, 2008 presented an opportunity for a hat-trick of titles.
How did things look so dire after one game? Going back before game one, the selectors had a pretty easy job. Israel Folau comes in, and the question is then what of Billy Slater. Does he slot in on the wing, the bench or for the balance of the team he misses out. Continue reading 2008 Rugby League State of Origin Game Two Preview