All Blacks v Springboks

I’m glad I got up to watch the test between New Zealand and South Africa at Cape Town this morning. A classic match.

The ABs were relentless at times but made a lot of mistakes and failed to capitalise on their dominance. The teams were barely separated after a 50 minute first half.

Then the second half was absorbing. The Springboks started well and took the lead, and the lead kept changing from there. A couple of very good All Black tries, but the Springboks kept coming back. In the end a 25-24 scoreline was a fair enough reflection on how the game went, but it could easily have gone either way.

Commentators complained about the red card but I think that was the only option. A deliberate late charge with forearm contact to the head had to result in marching orders. It would always have been a yellow at least so it made no difference to the final outcome, apart from giving the All Blacks what turned out to be a crucial 3 points.

 

All Blacks v Springboks

It’s been a good year for rugby. First the Lions tour, drawn. Then Australia came very close to upsetting the All Blacks in Dunedin after a great come back from a poor first test.

Tonight the ABs get to test themselves against a resurgent Springbok team. This is the last home game of the year but it should be a good one.

It’s good to have a diversion from the election campaign.

Guptill v. South Africa

South Africa let loose in their last few overs to put up a challenging total of 279/8  in today’s one day game. Commentators called it a formidable total.

But Martin Guptill.

180 not out.

The fourth highest chasing score in a one day match ever, with the higher scores being 185, 183, 183.

A great innings, which ties the series with one game to go.

 

 

All Blacks dominant

The All Blacks have dominated the Springboks in their final Rugby Championship game, scoring seven tries in a second half rout and nine in the game to South Africa’s five penalties. The final score was a record high versus the ‘Boks, 57-12.

The All Blacks played very well but the Springboks were very disappointing. They did little but shovel the ball a bit and kick a lot.

The AB’s have dominated the whole Rugby Championship, winning all games and leaving South Africa, Australia and Argentina scrapping over the dregs.

With the latter two soon to play their final game the table already says it all, with none of the others getting half the AB’s points – in fact no matter what the result is there the All Blacks have clocked up as many or more table points than the other three teams combined.

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With their dominance this year some games get boring but this game was well worth watching given the performance of the All Blacks, they played some fantastic rugby.

 

Two T20 triumphs

Both New Zealand teams won their final World t20 pool matches overnight and both have topped their pools in impressive style.

The New Zealand women’s team restricted South Africa to 99. Devine and Kasperek each took 3 wickets.

They then easily reached 100 in 14 and a half overs with the loss of only 3 wickets. Bates (29), Priest (28) and Devine (27 not out) all contributed.

Their semi final opponent won’t be decided until other pool matches are played.

And the Black Caps outplayed Bangladesh to complete a clean sweep of their pool. They batted well on a slow pitch to reach 145 for the loss of 8, with Williamson top scoring with 42. Munro also adapted to the conditions well to score 35.

They then restricted Bangladesh to a record low score of 70. Elliot and Sodhi each took three wickets.

England have just beaten Sri Lanki in the other men’s pool to secure second slot so will be the Black Cap’s opponent in the semi finals. South Africa have missed the cut with a game yet to play.

West Indies won Group 1. They will play the winner of India versus Australia.

 

Pistorious found guilty of murder

A South African court of appeal has overturned the verdict in the trial of Oscar Pistorious, upgrading the conviction to murder.

This doesn’t surprised me. It surprised me that the original verdict was just of manslaughter.

Firing multple shots into a bathroom knowing that someone was in there msut have been with the knowledge that it could kill someone.

Specific intent to kill is more difficult to determine but multiple shots suggest some degree of intent.

The big unanswered question is whether there was intent to harm or kill Reeva Steenkamp. This may remain unanswered.

 

New Zealand 20 – South Africa 18 (fulltime)

What’s happened in the last four weeks and what’s happened in the last four years doesn’t matter. At 4 am (New Zealand time) the All Blacks and the Springboks will start the first Rugby World Cup semifinal exactly the same 0-0.

From there it’s up to the teams. May the best team win.

UPDATE: And the best team has one, just. It could have gone either way right to the end but the All Blacks were good enough to close it out.

A classic semi final match and a classic All Black-Springbok battle.

Southern hemisphere semis

A slightly surprising win to Argentina and a near shock loss to Australia has resulted in an all southern hemisphere semi final in the Rugby World Cup.

The semis will be:

  • South Africa versus New Zealand – 4 am Sunday 25 October (NZ time)
  • Argentina versus Australia – 5 am Monday 26 October (NZ time)

Results from the quarter finals:

  • South Africa beat Wales 23-19

The Springboks ground out a win against a weary looking Wales without wowing. They are still in the hunt but surely have to lift and show more enterprise to match it with the All Blacks in their semi final.

Wales were gallant and kept close but looked like they ran out of gas after some punishing pool games and an awful injury toll.

  • New Zealand beat France 62-13

The All Blacks bltized Les Bleus as individuals and the new Zealand team came into form at the business end of the tournament. The question will be whether the ABs can repeat this sort of performance again next week. And if they win that whether they can lift to that level again. They are well prepared and may, but sport does funny things sometimes. They must now be favourites.

France battled well in the first half but couldn’t match the ABs and couldn’t keep up in the second half. They have serious questions to ask about their coaching and club system.

  • Argentina beat Ireland 43-20

I didn’t see this game but the Pumas pounced after showing promise in pool play and ended up with a decisive win.

Ireland had lost some key players to injury after a punishing clash with France last week, which turned out to be both teams’ peak.

  • Australia beat Scotland 35-34

Scotland nearly had a shock win over the Wallabies with a late intercept try putting them in front but a controversial penalty two minutes from full time let Australia rescue what would otherwise have been an embarrassment.

Scotland played very well an deserve much credit. That penalty was a huge blow but they bumbled the lineout that led to the penalty. And then after the Wallabies took the lead Scotland kicked off deep, Australia took it and played out the remaining seconds. Why on earth didn’t Scotland kick short so they could contest possession instead of giving possession to the Aussies on a plate?

Australia managed to do what counts, they won, and they scored five tries, but they didn’t have a very good game in many respects. They looked lacklustre. Their scrum fell to pieces. Scotland may have beaten them on turnovers. And Foley missed his first three kicks (but nailed the one that really counted at the end).

The Wallabies will have a big battle against Argentina next week and will have to up their standards.

Already this World Cup has been a major disappointment for the Northern Hemisphere, with four teams from the south filling all semi final slots.

RWC and All Blacks versus France

The business end of the Rugby World Cup started this morning. I’m writing this during half time of the first quarter final, between South Africa and Wales.

It’s been an even first half with South Africa punishing Welsh mistakes clocking up 12 points in penalties, but the Welsh kept in touch with a penalty, a very good try and a drop goal right on half time to give them a one point lead – 13-12.

At 8 am this morning New Zealand time (7 am if you want to sit through a big bunch of Sky advertising and 7.55 am if you want to catch the anthems and haka) the All Black campaign to win back to back world cups gets serious with a knock out match against France.

The French have been predictable in their unpredictability in the lead up, with rumours of squabbling in the squad and dumping their coach, but this is nothing new from them.

The All Blacks will be very well aware that anything can happen playing the French, including getting a beating, so this will test their mettle.

UPDATE: South Africa 23 – Wales 19

South Africa ground out the second half in typical fashion, dominating much of it but trailing Wales until a well executed scrum move led to a good try in the corner. They got away with several missed shots at goal.

Wales hung in but looked jaded and lacking the passion that beat England. They led well into the second half but finally leaked a try and just didn’t have enough in the tank or in their heads to take the lead back.

Wales should be credited with a gutsy World Cup considering their difficult pool and a number of major injuries, some to key players, but it goes down in the record books as a quarter final exit.

South Africa did just enough to win this. They will be a difficult opponent in the semi final against either France or New Zealand but they look quite beatable, this is not one of the best Springbok sides – unless the win the cup perhaps!

Now the countdown to the All Blacks versus Les Bleus.

Wales wow!

South Africa are back on track with a decisive win against Samoa in the Rugby World Cup.

But Wales – wow!

England played well in the first half and Wales struggled to make headway apart from through a few penalty kicks.

But through the second half Wales worked hard and despite adding to their horrendous injury list they came out on top. Just.

England could have gone for a penalty shot for a draw but that would have been risky in a very tight pool. I think they made the right decision going for a win (their coach looked like he may disagree with that) but they couldn’t pull off a try from a lineout – Wales out thought and out muscled them in a drive and held out.

England face a precarious existence.

Apart from England it was a very good game for the World Cup.

And especially, a very good game for Wales.