Who’d play in the back row?
5 of the starting back row players in the 2 games on Saturday left the field injured. David Wallace has been ruled out of Irelands RWC campaign. Medical reports are still pending for Kieran Read, Adam Thompson, Jamie Heaslip and Hendre Fourie. Fourie was called up on Friday for the Ireland game, only after injury concerns over Nick Easter and Tom Wood.
Manu’s the man
Samoan-born Manu Tuilagi answered his critics by scoring a scintillating individual try after 5 minutes in Dublin. The English midfield pair, weighing a combined 24kg (nearly 2 stone each) more than their Irish counterparts, look like they may be the first choice starting combination for England next month.
As the Wallabies launched their World Cup slogan “One Team”, it was reported that some of the back line brat pack were anything but united whilst on tour in France last year. However, on Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium they fronted the Haka as one, while the non-playing members of the squad stood and cheered in solidarity as Radike Samo sprinted 60 metres for a magnificent try. Dressed in their number ones, they resembled a group of excited guests in the members’ enclosure at Flemington for the Melbourne Cup
Tri Nations Questions
- With Dan Carter performing well below par, why was replacement 1st Five Colin Slade the only All Black substitute not to get game time?
- Why did Adam Thompson stay on the pitch for nearly 20 minutes after being injured by a Samo spot tackle?
- Which was the best charge down of the night, James Horwill on Will Genia or Ben Alexander on Dan Carter?
- Did the Wallabies physical approach more closely resemble the Springboks or Pacific Islanders?
Tonga announced their World Cup squad last week and confirmed Finau Maka as captain and his brother Isitolo as coach. It’s as well that Tonga are unlikely to meet Australia during the World Cup as the competing bouffant hairstyles of Maka and Samo might prove too much for rugby traditionalists. Colin Charvis may have been ahead of his time!
Eddie O’Sullivan, the USA coach, will have watched with interest as Ireland struggled during their August warm up games. The Eagles face Ireland in New Plymouth on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, which will no doubt help motivate the American players. “Eddie the Eagle” will be hoping to erase the memories of the ill-fated Irish RWC campaign he led in 2007.
The warm-up games are over and RWC 2011 is nearly upon us. Fiji is the first team to arrive – scheduled to land in Auckland at 3.15pm on Monday. They will be followed by England, Japan and France on Wednesday and by Friday September 2nd, twelve of the nineteen visiting teams will be in the Land of the Long White Cloud. The Scots will be the last team to arrive, when they touch down in Invercargill on Wednesday 7th, a mere three days before their opening pool game against Romania.