Match Reaction: Australia 25 – 23 Wales

David Harris celebrates with Dave Dennis; Adam Jones is gutted. Losing in the last minute has a taste all of its own, and both Welsh and Irish players reacquainted themselves with it at the weekend.

Of all the northern hemisphere teams touring southern hemisphere countries, Wales were the most confident. A number of factors were stacked in their favour: their players are well rested, due to the Welsh clubs’ lack of success in European competition [even those players based in France like Mike Phillips and James Hook had no involvement in the business end of the Top 14]; they had an almost entirely injury-free squad, with the notable exception of Big Bopper Jamie Roberts; and they were Grand Slam champions. They should have represented the Six Nations teams’ best chance of a series victory against an injury-ravaged Australia. Instead, they haven’t even been able to take the series to a third test.  Continue reading

Match Reaction: New Zealand 42 – 10 Ireland

Israel Dagg didn’t bag a hat-trick of tries, but he was just as damaging to Irish hopes. His much-anticipated match-up with Rob Kearney was a blow-out.

Ireland started their three test series against New Zealand with enterprise and verve, but the All Blacks were able to stand up well to the twenty-five minute onslaught, bought a lead with a couple of long-range Dan Carter penalties and then utterly took over, wrapping up the game before half-time. Continue reading

Match Reaction: South Africa U20s 19 – 23 Ireland U20s

The Irish U20s celebrate a cracking opening day win over hosts South Africa in the Junior World Championships. They led 13-3 at halftime and withheld a ferocious early second half onslaught to calmly see out the game. 

A win against a Bok U20 team on home soil is an enormous result – normally at this age-group, the physical advantage of the South Africans over their Irish counterparts is even more pronounced than at test level, but a hard-nosed Irish pack got down and dirty and showed outstanding toughness, effort and discipline to take the game away from the Boks. Continue reading

Match Reaction #3: All Kinds Of Everything

Morrison has Tommy Bowe pinned for the one-two-three! Whatchu gonna do when Hulkamania runs wild on you, brutha?

This was an oddly splintered sort of match, which suffered quite badly from the spectator’s point of view from innumerable breaks in play. The Mole doesn’t want to belittle the injury suffered by Scottish winger Lee Jones in a clash of heads with Andrew Trimble; while that provided for the longest delay, it was a fair and correct call from referee Pollock in order to safeguard the health of the player.  Continue reading