Wallabyís v Ireland
Sat 7 June 2003
Subiaco Oval in Perth.
Ref: Nigel Williams (Wales)
Wallabies 45 def Ireland16
Jamesonís is best thing to be exported from Paddy Land. So I couldnít drink that during the game and just had to settle with the sponsors drop! Iíll just wait until the Welsh game when Iím down in Sydney. Have to see if I can scrounge a ticket for next weekend. Going cheap, my morals for a ticket from a scalper. Just canít understand why you would buy rugby tickets just to try and re-sell them!
The game opens up and it is joyful not to have to listen to the Ďvoice of rugbyí Gordon Bray (name like nature) informing us of useless trivia, like the ref is tall. It was nice to see the main commentator asking for opinions from the other commentators instead of driving me towards insanity with useless comments. Unfortunately, the donkey will be giving the call against Wales. Well that is just another reason to go to the game!
Everyone associated with the Wallabies were warning about rust and they were correct on that score. The Irish showed some very good attacking nous in the opening minutes and make me think that they were in with a real chance in the opening stanza. But as the number of knock-ons, dropped balls, penalties during the scrum and missed opportunities by both side during the first half really stalled an exciting first 20 minutes. And had me tempted to start channel surfing.
The set pieces were a shambles and the refsí interpretation of what was going on in the scrums really deserved a good rucking by both sides. The lineouts were simply atrocious by both sides and the refsí idea of a 1m gap reminded me of happy hour at the uni local. While Paulís lineout execution demanded an execution.
On the positives Sharpe did a mountain of work during the game and was the go to man to get them over the gain line time after time. He was running the ball up all night and was everywhere. The only reason why he was probably subbed early was that he is guaranteed a spot next week but the question of who is starting between Giffin and Vickerman isnít resolved yet. T. Kefu and Lyons also put in the really hard yards but Lyons jumping left a bit to be desired but the innovation in some takes by running to the front of the lineout had to be admired as a stop gap measure to the poor throwing.
Thankfully, Eddie Jones must have given them a kill rust enema at half time to remove some of the blockage. It wasnít entirely effective however, the Irish coach didnít do it so the Irish didnít improve much during the second half.
S.Kefu really benefited from the removal and managed to play in the same vein as he did against the Crusaders when Qld beat them in the pre-Super 12 comp. His running was on song and he took the line on with gusto as the Irish shut his outside supporters down and continually broke or ducked through the first line of defences and then terrorised the fullback all night. His breaks lead to several tries and could have resulted in some more but for some serious infringements by the Irish in defence.
It was good to see wee Georgie shut up and actually re-discover his running and kicking game to great effect in those two tries. By attacking the line he opened up the attack, as then Flatley was running on to the ball and then so was S.Kefu. It was unlike last year when Greganís only option was passing to Larkham and the running was left to the IC.
Flatley was wearing a bright red headgear that made him look like a used _______. I spose he wanted to be noticed by Chucky all night. As he had a very good game and his try was a piece of sheer genius while his covering try-saving tackle stunned everyone (or it was bad reffing depending upon who you support). While I have to be honest as the score line was so safe that the penalty try he was awarded was a bit suspect. But it was good to see him willing to run after the ball and make as many opportunities as possible. While his goal kicking action was sweet and he didnít miss a kick, kicking for territory needed some work and its one area the Irish generally preformed better at.
Latham also chipped in with a try and very nearly had a couple of others. So all in all the Reds backs were on fire (why couldn't they do this during the Super12) apart from Sailor but in his defence he hardly saw the ball after the first 10 minutes. While the Reds forwards and Lyons really provided impetous in the tight.
The ref certainly didnít make himself a popular individual and he has the quickest yellow card in the world. Now you see it, now you donít. If he keeps up this sort of form he is guaranteed a RWC spot, as this is what the IRB love. An anally retentive chap with a whistle fetish.
It was good to be wrong about the Wallabies playing in a negative fashion. As this is the most points in ages they have actually scored against quality opposition (no, sorry Italy and Spain do not count) and it was good to see the mentality of kick the penalty when its on offer disappear at least for one game and be replaced with lets go for the try.
If the Wallabies can iron out the mistakes in their game they should easily score 50 points against the wooden spooners of the 6 nations.