This rugby is a funny old game!
You may think that being a Canterbury supporter (surprise!) that I wasn't worried about such things as a slow start. I mean 10 of the 15 are Canterbury players, so we can naturally expect a fight-back.
But I would have to say that it is still hard to watch, especially when the Irish forwards were all over everything, and the backs were sticking passes together like they had 3M gloves on.
The AB's forwards were looking far too polite... (no that's OK, you blow over that maul if you want, I didn't really want to get a turnover then!) And the backs were just trying too hard.
Still the defence was fairly good, but the kicking was shit!
So in all, it took until Jack's try (reassuringly after many phases of recycled ball) to make me feel like the AB's had come to play the game.
I admit the Irish try just after half-time had me a mite concerned, but then the AB's started dominating the rucks and mauls, started coming up with the turnovers and started finding the gaps. Crikey! the kicks even started finding the gaps and bouncing right!
The rest of the game is pretty much a blur for me, an excitment filled blur! (I am sure that I must have bruised legs from slapping them!)
Most of the Canterbury boys looked good, Scotty had a blinder at #8, Richard McCaw came to his own in the second half and was the Irish Commentators' choice for Man of the Match. All the backs had a good second half, Aaron Mauger made sure that Alatini will be getting more splinters, and even Jonah started to play well.
Kelleher played a handy game, but could learn to shut up!
Special congratulations to the lone Aucklander. Dougie didn't have much of a chance in the first half, but really got stuck in and his support play was not only rewarded with a try, but also my admiration for his work in the mauls when his backline mates got isolated!
Was a bit of a suprise to see that there was only one subsitution, Hewett for Feek, but then I think that Mitchell might have wanted to remind the team that they stuffed up the 1st half, so they could jolly well make amends by playing the full game.
Not a bad ploy, I was suggesting to DH that starting the tight 5 against Ireland A (playing them at least for the first half) might have primed them for this game. But then it might have cheapened the game.
But one thing I can say with some confidence... Look out Scotland!