The 4 Nations, is in its 1/2 way phase and controversy reigns. While the Welsh have shown their improvement from their match last week. New Zealand though expected to win, should have been a more dominating team. There is still some work to be done against the English next week in Hull. While in the Australian Game against the English rookie referee Henry Perenara made 4 crucial mistakes that possibly cost England the match, if not at least make a better point differential.
The Welsh cam out to prove that they are not the easy beats in the 4 Nations. Though despite the 36-0 score-line it was abundantly clear by the end of the match that Wales had improved in their defence. Their over all play was also good, Lee Briers being the focal point of the attack setting up some great plays, however Wales’ inexperience came through with their inability to convert any of their great goal line attacks into points. One wonders weather Gareth Thomas could have made a difference or not. Still at the end of the match it was clear to see that Lee was proud as punch of the team. Craig Kopczak had one hell of a game as well, some of the hits he was able to lay on were spectacular. Kopczak’s hit on McKendry was spectacular it’s not often that you see a Kiwi get floored. It certainly makes for an interesting match next week against the Kangaroos. Though Australia will win, I can see Wales inflicting some more damage.
Speaking of damage, in a game that was billed as the game of the tournaments, where International Rugby League returns to its spiritual home in the UK, Wembley, it took 5 minutes of madness to spoil what was turning into an amazing game. The first half of the game was spectacular, England held off the Aussies to draw first blood through a spectacular, Inglis/Folau/-esque, try to Ryan Hall. Hall managed to score two tries with equal pizzazz. Tompkins also displayed the footwork, passing skill that has had everyone talking him up and I hope we’ll se him in the NRL soon tearing it up. Both England and Australia scored 2 tries in the 1st half, and as always Jonathan Thurstons consistently freakish kicking was the difference. England missing both conversions going into the break 12-8 down. Rangi Chases kick from the 20 restart, though a smart move in theory, he executed it very poorly and gave Australia the chance they needed to score a try. I will be curious to see if he makes the cut next week.
But it was in the second half when England were on the attack that in a 10 minute brain fart that referee Henry Perenera had. No matter what you say, weather Ben Westwood played it up, the attack on his head by Williams was 100% a sending offence. If the Aussies were having a whinge about the cannonball the week before, Williams’ deliberate attack on the head should have scrubbed him out. No matter what Perenera says the shot never came off the shoulders, it was a full head high. The second mistake was the double movement call, Tom Briscoe try should have been given, he still had momentum with no player on him and none of his arms had touched the ground, when it should have gone to the video ref it didn’t. The third that could have changed things was the advantage call not soon after. England were on the attack and only 5 meters from the Australian line, they spilled the ball and Australia picked it up, passed it and had actually gained a meter of where the ball was picked up and then the tackle from the English pushed them back into the in goals. England should have got the line drop out, however Perenera called no advantage and brought the scrum back with head and feed to the Aussies. I am sorry, the last time I saw the rules when a team takes a pass and gains ground from the spilled ball, the advantage has been taken and its play on. The fourth poor decision was when Perenera made a mistake when England were on the attack. He made the wrong call when a tackle was actually not made. What SHOULD have been done was a scrum put down with the attacking team (England) with the head and feed, what happened was Australia got the head and feed and it killed any last momentum England had.
This middle section of the half was the defining change in the game, it shifted the momentum that England had gave it to Australia. Now I am not saying that England would have won the game, but the game should have been much, much closer and they should have had a much fairer chance. Sheen’s pressure on referees needs to be looked into. What is done is done, if England makes the final then it will be one hell of a game at Elland Road.
Ireland 16-34 France
Ireland fell to their third defeat of the Autumn International series despite their best performance of the season when France rallied late to secure a 34-16 victory in Thomond Park.
In what was the first ever rugby league international in Thomond Park a record number of spectators were in attendance to see Irish wing Joe Taylor scoring a hat trick.
Mark Aston’s men got off to a flying start when a kick from Paul Handforth forced a goalline drop out which led to a sweeping back move down Ireland’s right with Greg McNally supplying the final ball to the Laois native.
France looked to bounce back and a thundering run from Jamal Fakir saw him go twenty yards but in the end his handling let him down as he lost possession over the line.
They did draw level on the next play when Kane Bentley squeezed between two defenders to touch down. Dane Chisholm added the conversion to put his side in front.
The visitors were inspired following this score and held onto the large share of possession but the Wolfhounds defence held strong and began to frustrate the French.
As a result of their defence Ireland went back on the attack and after a break from Tyrone McCarthy Joe Taylor bagged his first ever international try in the corner.
France again broke through this time with Mickael Simon making yards but again a knock on ended their assault on the Irish line.
The errors proved costly for Bobby Goulding’s men as three times they knocked on with the try line begging.
Ireland were happy at the break as they went in with a two point lead ahead of a side they had never beaten before.
A dream start followed in the second half when Liam Finn chipped into the corner for Taylor who rose above his opposing winger to gather and score in the corner.
Elima then dropped the ball over the line. It would be the fourth time in the game France had lost possession with the line at their mercy.
However, with 66 minutes on the clock Elima made amends when he touched down to bring his side to within two points of the hosts.
France then took the lead when Bentley crashed over for his second of the game. Bosc added the conversion to put them 16-12 up.
The with 15 minutes left France extended the lead when Greg McNally misjudged the bounce of the ball and Bosc pounced to touch down. He added the conversion n to put France ten points ahead.
Elima then rubbed salt in the wounds with his second of the day leaving the score at 28-12 to France following Bosc’s conversion.
Ireland did their best to get back into the game but France’s big forward’s made it difficult for the hosts to get on the front foot.
And with five minutes to go Bentley grabbed his hat trick again breaking around the ruck to crash over from close range. This made the score line 34-12 which if you were being fair was flattering to the French.
Then with seconds left Taylor had the last laugh with a hat trick of his own to make the score 34-16.
This would be the last action of the game as the referee Richard Silverwood called an end to proceedings.
It was a tough loss for Ireland in the end after leading for sixty five minutes before the French rallied.
Ireland: Greg McNally, Tim Bergin, Ian Cross, Elliot Cosgrove, Joe Taylor, Paul Handforth, Liam Finn, Kyle Amor, Bob Beswick, Luke Ambler, Tyrone McCarthy, Ged Corcoran, Callum Casey Interchange: Pat Smith, Paddy Barcoe, James Haley, Aaron McCloskey
France: Cyril Stacul, Vincent Duport, Mathias Pala, Jean-Philippe Baille, Frederic Vaccari, Dane Chisholm, Thomas Bosc, Jamal Fakir, Kane Bentley, Remi Casty, Olivier Elima, Cyrille Gossard, Jason Baitieri Interchange: Eloi Pelissier, Mickael Simon, Damien Cardace, Teddy Sadaoui
Referee: Richard Silverwood
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