Autumn Internationals 2021 - the final tests!

Victories for England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy & France will set up a fantastic 6-nations, whilst questions remain for the southern hemisphere power-houses who return home with only 2 victories from 7 matches.

Autumn Internationals 2021 - the final tests!

Scotland 29 v 20 Japan

Italy 17 v 10 Uruguay

England 27 v 26 South Africa

Wales 29 v 28 Australia

France 40 v 25 New Zealand

Ireland 53 v 7 Argentina

At the start of the Spring tour, I suggested the Southern Hemisphere, (OZ/NZ) might be happy with 4 wins from 7 games. If that was the case, then 2 from 7 should be totally unacceptable!

New Zealand will have much to contemplate. Successive losses to Ireland and France have raised serious questions about their toughness up front. France dismantled them up front and made repeated progress close to the breakdown.

Australia showed pockets of individual and unit quality against Wales, but ill-discipline and poor technique re-surfaced and the final penalty was as certain as winter arriving.

That said, do not write Australia off. The blend is not there yet, but the new young players are playing with increased confidence and demonstrating their skills. Beale remains an enigma, capable of brilliance, a spark that changes a game and a multi positional player. Banks at full back gives you at least 30 meters extra on every touch finder!

In the modern game you must keep the referee and TMO out of the contest. Television producers can fuel the crowd by re-showing clips on the giant screen, the crowd howl in derision and that invites the officials in.

Some recurring themes……

Blocking a kick chaser is dumb!!

Poor tackle technique is unacceptable!

Flying into a ruck like a scud missile is stupid!

Pretending to wrap your arms in the tackle when you are trying to stop the ball in flight is silly!

Thinking you can talk the referee into changing his decision is arrogant!

“Smart rugby players use their skills effectively.”

Ireland and France both gave New Zealand a lesson in intense continuous play and always going forward. In the 34th minute in Paris the French loose head, Baille, was the second player to arrive to a kick chase deep into the New Zealand 22. He wanted to be there!

No need to wait for the young French players to emerge…. they have surfaced!

(France v New Zealand is the opening game of the World cup in 2023)

Published: Monday 22 November 2021