Monthly Archives: August 2015

RUGBY UNION – July 18th – Rugby Championship – Australia v South Africa

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If there is one team in world sport that manage to win games when all hope is lost, and even after the final buzzer has sounded, it is the Wallabies. Not since Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United teams dragging themselves out of the gutter in “Fergie Time” has there been a team been so dogged and determined to get over the line. I could mention others, Michael Jordan for one, but basketball is a game that lends itself to those situations; I’m sure there are numerous others but I challenge someone to prove me wrong! I myself have witnessed this live on SEVEN occasions now, four of which have come against Wales and countless more on TV. I just have to throw up Eales versus the All Blacks, Stephen Hoiles (who?) in the corner against Wales in Sydney, Mike Harris kicking a penalty against Wales in Melbourne, Kurtley Beale against Wales in Cardiff…. there does seem to be a pattern emerging….. The old adage of playing the game for the full 80 minutes has never been so truer! All of those I mentioned here were AFTER the game clock had expired.

I love Rugby Union. I am addicted to the International side of the game. I dislike the Wallabies; primarily for the reasons outlined above and very little else. Even when South Africa were 20-10 up with less than 10 minutes to go in this game I just knew that the Qantas team weren’t out of it – they rarely are. I do find it very strange that a country can disown it’s own identity to a corporate body and the paying public just accept it. At no stage during this game (and the previous 20 odd internationals I have attended in Australia) are the Qantas team referred to as “Australia”. They are known and announced as the Qantas Wallabies. I would love it if the crowd turned up wearing red adorned with Kangaroos as that is truly who they are supporting. There would be outcry in Wales if we were “re-branded” the Dove Care+Men Dragons…..

A very good mate of mine always proclaimed that if he won the lottery he would buy a Mr. Whippy van and pour the rest of the money into sponsoring the National team. Can you just imagine “And now entering the field it is YOUR MR. WHIPPY WALLABIES“…. Worth the expenditure alone. Would the away kit be pink and white too???

mr whippy

Suncorp Stadium is a great ground to watch rugby. The proximity to the many hospitality establishments on Caxton Street is a small scale rival to Cardiff but adds to the match day experience all the same. But in saying this the punters must have been all sported out in Brisbane as only 30 odd thousand showed up for their only Rugby Union of the year. The night before Liverpool played Brisbane Roar in a pre-season tour to a sold out stadium and the next day the Brisbane Broncos attracted nearly 40,000 to a top v bottom Rugby League match! Perhaps they managed to realise that in a World Cup year these games are not essentially meaningless, but very close to. It’s all about game time, fitness and combinations.

Qantas have been struggling of late and recalls for Matt Gateau (pretty on the outside, soft in the middle) and Drew Mitchell from their French clubs against previous Wallaby policy, highlighted the need for strength in depth and added quality. Genia, after a torrid Super XV season, was recalled to scrum half to partner Kiwi born, wannabe-boxer, charged-but-not-convicted burgler, Queensland team mate Quade Cooper at 10.  They continued with a centre on the wing in Adam (2-dads) Ashley-Copper and a winger at the centre in the monstrous shape of Kuridrani – which speaks volumes about the bang-smash International game in its present form. Pocock was on the bench which surprised a few.

wallabies celebrate win25

South Africa were near enough at full strength. The ever-green Victor Matfield winning his 131st cap and captaining the team from the second row. No matter really as all 23 players on both teams were set for decent game time, although Matfield and Malherbe went off injured within the first quarter of an hour for the Saffas. Schalk Burger stood out for the Bokke and seems to get better with age. South Africa were 13-7 up at half time with a try apiece. Genia went off at the break, but he had been incredibly poor – Phipps came on and at least got the back line moving. Pocock came on for Higginbotham and made such a marked difference all over the field. If there is one person that Wales will fear in RWC, it is David Pocock – a real game changer. I would go as far as even saying that without Pocock playing the whole second term then there would have be no way way South Africa would have lost this game!

wallabies pocock

For the first 72 minutes the atmosphere was pretty subdued. The Springboks had the ascendency all over the field. The Qantas scrum went backwards as normal until the Bokke made mass changes to its front five. Slipper & Kepu must be a worry. Skelton, who is 6’9″ and 148 kilos is visible and makes yards around the field, offers little in the set piece the way the Aussies get dominated. When captain Hooper barged over with less than 6 minutes remaining, you could sense the inevitable. This finally woke the crwod and when South Africa conceded a penalty with less than 30 seconds to go, Qantas made it count – or did they? Kuridrani made a dive for the line through a green wall. The Qantas players celebrated. The replays intimated that the ball more than likely didn’t reach the try line but it was enough for the TMO (a Kiwi before you ask!) to award the try and send the Qantas faithful into delirium. Quite an amazing scene as players, officials and fans alike all gravitated towards the big screens waiting for the decision.

wallabies celebrate win21Australian Wallabies Tevita KuriDrani (bottom) scores a try to win the game in the last minute of their Rugby Championship match against South Africa's Springboks in Brisbane, July 18, 2015. Teammate Nick Phipps (top) reacts to the try.   REUTERS/Jason Reed

Apparently, this is a try!!!!!

This was a game that should not have been as close as it was. We still had the few that left just before the end “to beat the rush!” A lad and his dad sitting next to us left with the score at 20-17 and about 2 minutes to go. A memory that will be forever lost to young boy!!!! But saying that, all in all the result will mean nothing come September and the World Cup. However in years to come, it may offer everything that the Wallabies will draw upon to win those close games where they will have to pull something out of the bag when it’s most needed. You never know you might be cheering on the Mr. Whippy Wallabies if those numbers come up!

RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP

QANTAS 24 – 20 SOUTH AFRICA

wallabies celebrate win

 

 

 

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