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Thread: World Cup Warm-Up Matches 06/08/2011

  1. #1
    Apprentice Davo's Avatar
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    Feb 2009

    World Cup Warm-Up Matches 06/08/2011

    Scotland vs. Ireland

    A try from Joe Ansbro three minutes from time saw a previously wasteful Scotland team beat Ireland 10-6 in a scrappy World Cup warm-up clash at Murrayfield.

    Two penalties from Jonathan Sexton to one from Chris Paterson had looked to have given a heavily under-strength Irish side the win, but Ansbro finished a move started off a line-out at midfield late on that Ruaridh Jackson's converted to give the Scots the win.

    It was an important psychological boost for Andy Robinson's side who would have been seriously worried if they had lost the match given that they put out what should be much closer to their first XV in New Zealand than Ireland who effectively played a reserve pack; while Declan Kidney's side were also without the likes of the injured backs Brian O'Driscoll and Gordan D'Arcy.

    A Sexton penalty in the 33rd minute was the first and only score of the first-half but the first 40 minutes was reasonably entertaining fare for the crowd who had to wait an extra 15 minutes for the action to start due to the large number of ticketless fans who opted to pay at the gate.

    Scotland were flinging the ball around with glee as they adopted a surprisingly expansive game-plan and they completely dominated the opening 20 minutes.

    However, Ireland defended exceptionally well and, after soaking up lots of pressure, they invariably forced the Scots into handling errors.

    The match evened up a little as the half progressed but Scotland still must have been miffed to go into the break without any points to their name.

    What’s more they also lost Nikki Walker to an injury mid-way through the first-half which might put the Osprey winger's World Cup in doubt.

    The match had plenty of 'pre-season' errors in the first-half, and such wastefulness only increased in the second-half as both teams made a number of changes and the watchabilty of the contest suffered as a result.

    Paterson levelled the match in the 50th minute but Sexton put Ireland back in front with a superb penalty from beyond the 40-metre line in the 65th minute.

    Handling errors and a lack of imagination in good positions continued to leave the Scots empty-handed after lengthy attacks and they seemed to have wasted their chance to win when they made a mess of two line-outs inside the Irish 22 in the final five minutes.

    However, it was from a line-out at midfield that they finally scored the winning try. After a clean gather – they shifted the ball quickly from left to right and then substitute Nick De Luca found an angle to break things open.

    He then fed a fine pass to Ansbro on the right wing and the London Irish centre cleverly checked back inside to go in for a try that was converted by Jackson.

    Scotland gathered the restart and then just held onto the ball until time expired to pick up the victory.

    However, they made life exceptionally difficult for themselves and still have mountains of work to do before they are ready for the World Cup.

    Ireland meanwhile, have plenty of players to come back into their side before they start finalising their World Cup team but they are likely to be disappointed with the outing too given that they failed to see out the win when they looked to be on the brink of victory.

    England vs. Wales

    Jonny Wilkinson ran the show for England at Twickenham - but prospective World Cup captain Lewis Moody gave manager Martin Johnson a major injury scare in a 23-19 win over Wales.

    Wilkinson marked his possible Twickenham farewell by guiding England to victory in trademark fashion against their opening World Cup warm-up opponents.

    Wilkinson, as he has done throughout an outstanding 83-cap Test career, showcased his considerable repertoire of kicking skills, taking his England tally to 1,141 points through two drop-goals, a penalty and conversions of tries from James Haskell and debutant centre Manu Tuilagi.

    England's next game at Twickenham is a Six Nations clash against Wales in February, by which time Wilkinson could be out of selection range given the Rugby Football Union's intended post-World Cup stance of not selecting foreign-based players.

    Of more immediate concern for Johnson was the sight of flanker Moody limping off midway through the second period, nursing what appeared to be a knee problem.

    Given Moody's poor injury history, Johnson might already have to consider his World Cup captaincy options. Centre Mike Tindall would be the favourite, closely followed by number eight Nick Easter.

    While Moody faces playing an anxious waiting game, Wales back Morgan Stoddart suffered a horror experience, being carried off early in the second-half suffering from what turned out to be a broken left ankle, his World Cup dream shattered.

    Wales started and finished strongly, George North collecting two tries and his fellow wing Shane Williams also crossing, with Rhys Priestland slotting two conversions in front of an 80,000 crowd.

    And they can at least have a degree of confidence of turning the tables in next Saturday's Millennium Stadium rematch, having fought back strongly from 20-7 adrift.

    Tuilagi, born in Fatausi-Fogapoa, Samoa, qualifies for England on residency, and he underlined why Johnson rates him so highly by producing the telling score of a match high on effort but low on skill.

    England wore their contentious World Cup change kit of all black, but they did not come close to impersonating the real All Blacks, favourites to be crowned world champions in New Zealand 11 weeks from now.

    There were some eye-catching individual displays - notably from Wilkinson, Haskell and full-back Delon Armitage - yet they never seriously threatened total control on an afternoon that wavered between full-blown Test match and pre-season friendly.

    Wales, humiliated 62-5 on their last World Cup warm-up visit to Twickenham four years ago, were light years away from that dreadful surrender, and after shading the try-count 3-2 they might even take greater satisfaction from the encounter than their hosts.

    Wales suffered a late injury blow when Stephen Jones, who had been due to become his country's most capped player by making a 101st Test appearance, was ruled out with a calf muscle injury suffered during the warm-up.

    It meant full-back Priestland switching to the number 10 shirt on his first international start, with ill-fated Stoddart featuring at full-back and Lloyd Williams - son of former Wales scrum-half Brynmor Williams - drafted on to the bench.

    Jones' late withdrawal, though, did not appear to disrupt Wales as they enjoyed a prolific supply of possession and were confident of shipping the ball wide early on.

    Wilkinson kicked England into a sixth-minute lead, but Wales bided their time, continued to move through the phases and England eventually ran out of defensive numbers as Stoddart sent North over.

    It was a simple try in terms of its execution, and Priestland showed no signed of nerves as he bisected the posts with his touchline conversion attempt.

    Wales had not been put under any pressure, yet a searing break by England full-back Delon Armitage suddenly stretched them defensively, and there proved no escape for the visitors.

    England did not need a second invitation from an imposing attacking scrum, and it was Haskell who powered over, easily brushing off Wales flanker Dan Lydiate's attempted tackle.

    Wilkinson added the extras, giving England a 10-7 advantage, before a trademark drop-goal left Wales six points behind at the break.

    England came out firing in the second period, and it took them just five minutes to prise open Wales' defence, courtesy of an exquisite Wilkinson offload that freed Tuilagi.

    And the Leicester powerhouse required no second invitation, powering through three attempted tackles to touch down between the posts just minutes before Stoddart was hurt.

    But the rest of the second-half belonged to Wales, as Williams and North touched down, underlining how a summer of relentless fitness work - it included two punishing training camps in Poland - had paid dividends.

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  2. #2
    Senior Player theforceguy's Avatar
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    Jul 2008

    Canada vs USA

    Canada too good for USA

    Canada beat the United States 28-22 in their Rugby World Cup warm-up clash at the BMO Stadium in Toronto.

    Tries from lock Jebb Sinclair, winger Phil Mackenzie and scrum-half Ed Fairhurst, along with the boot of James Pritchard propelled the Canucks to victory in the first of two back-to-back Tests with their North American rivals. First half tries from winger Taku Ngwenya and flanker Todd Clever - who crossed for another late in the game - gave the Eagles the lead at the break but they were unable to hold off the home side's fightback.

    Canada began strongly and soon had the Eagles scrambling with a sly pass from Fairhurst finding Sinclair who burst outside Ngwenya only to be pushed out of bounds as he stretched for the line. But he was rewarded seconds later when the Eagles tried to take a quick lineout but fumbled the ball straight to Canada, allowing Sinclair to cross for an easy try that was converted by Pritchard.

    Canada's shortcomings at the breakdown led to a penalty for Eagles fly-half Nese Malifa and the home side's hopes took another blow soon after with an injury to fullback Matt Evans who was replaced by Ciaran Hearn.

    The USA looked to turn the screw and a high ball from Malifa proved a little too slippery for Pritchard, who fumbled the catch. The Eagles turned the ball over at the ensuing ruck and spread the ball wide to the hands of Ngwenya who split the defence of DTH van der Merwe and Sinclair to cross over for his team's first try. Malifa hit the extras and the Eagles led for the first time in the match, 10-7.

    Handling errors plagued Canada's efforts to give the ball some air but the USA were not so wasteful with Clever exploiting time and space out wide to touch down in the corner for the first of his tries. Canada had the last say in the first half with Pritchard kicking a penalty to reduce the arrears to five points as the sides headed to the tunnel.

    Early in the second half, Canada trapped the Eagles in their own end with some fierce defence. In what should have been a simple play from the ensuing ruck, a bad pass from Nic Johnson to Malifa resulted in an in-goal fumble and Mackenzie dived on the loose ball to score before Pritchard landed the conversion to give his side the lead.

    Malifa was replaced shortly afterwards by Rolan Suniula, leaving Andrew Suniula with the kicking duties. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the older of the Suniula brothers missed a penalty from almost directly in front. Pritchard then added an extra three points for Canada before the game really opened up for the home fans.

    From a scrum inside their own half just before the hour mark, Aaron Carpenter picked the ball from the base and popped it to Fairhurst as he was tackled. The scrum-half found space and ran 60 metres, toying with the idea of kicking before dipping his head and barging into Eagles fullback Blaine Scully and smashing over in the corner.

    Clever scored his second try of the day from some quick hands from Inaki Basauri to close the gap to 25-22, but another penalty from the boot of Pritchard sealed the final score for Canada.

    Despite elation at winning in front of the home crowd, Canada coach Kieran Crowley knows his team must improve from Saturday's performance, which was at times riddled with errors.

    "It's a win," Crowley said. "It's a test match and today Canada beat U.S.A. Obviously the performance wasn't exactly how we would have liked it, but any test match is a challenge and a battle and I'm very pleased with the way our guys stuck to it in the second half."

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  3. #3
    Apprentice Davo's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Wales vs. England

    Beaten 23-19 by England at Twickenham seven days ago, Wales looked set to suffer a similar fate as the visitors dominated possession and territory in the first half.

    But England did little to promote confidence ahead of their opening World Cup fixture on September 10, seemingly running out of ideas as Wales' defence held firm.

    Wales, on the other hand, will be confident heading into their final World Cup warm-up against Argentina next weekend after they managed to turn around a match in which they looked to be in trouble, with scrum-half Mike Phillips and captain Sam Warburton standing out for the hosts.

    Fly-half Rhys Priestland continued to make the most of Stephen Jones's absence as his creative kick-off was collected by George North, immediately drawing the error from England and setting up a penalty.

    Priestland's brilliant right-to-left kick gave the hosts an early lead that was cancelled out by Toby Flood from the re-start as he matched his opposite number from the other side of the park after North had failed to release in the tackle.

    Gavin Henson, playing just his second match for Wales in two years - his first was against the Barbarians in June - looked threatening from the outset, breaking in the fifth minute for Wales' only real attack of the first half.

    But the former Saracens and Toulon centre was eventually forced into touch and departed the field in the 32nd minute after receiving a knock to the arm.

    Wales re-established their lead just before the 10-minute mark when England were penalised at the scrum and Priestland duly drilled home the easy kick, 10 metres out and right in front of the posts.

    Flood again levelled the scores, albeit a good 10 minutes later, with a second successful kick after North played the ball off his feet, but England will have gone in at half-time ruing missed opportunities for a try.

    England enjoyed by far the better share of the possession, pushing for the line on numerous occasions but always failing to find the final ball as Wales produced some immense defence.

    First the visitors tried the driving maul, a move that broke down with a knock-on on the floor, before Courtney Lawes sent substitute Danny Care away from the back of a line-out.

    Care's break was ended when Mark Cueto failed to release the ball after being tackled and Matt Banahan was also held up by James Hook after receiving the ball 15m out on the left wing.

    Another break just before the interval saw skipper Mike Tindall race across the field towards the try-line but once again Shontayne Hape, who endured an error-riddled return to the England team, spilled the ball forward and Wales went in for the break level at 6-6.

    England began the second half in much the same manner they ended the first, taking the lead for the first time with a Flood penalty kick after Jamie Roberts had been sent to the sin-bin for coming in over the top.

    Banahan was lucky to escape the same fate as Roberts as he too was penalised for coming in over the top but England kept their one-man advantage.

    England also continued to push for the opening try, but Wales again held strong in defence with first Alex Corbisiero then Lawes losing the ball.

    Roberts's reintroduction to the action after his spell in the bin and Aled Brew's introduction as a substitute turned things around for Wales as they suddenly began to string moves together and enjoy their first real spell of possession.

    England nearly turned the action around, with Hook losing the ball - but Hape's forward pass to Tindall saw the visitors fail to break despite acres of space and Hook immediately punished them, skipping through a hole in England's defence, Corbisiero and Care both missing tackles as the fly-half scored the only try of the day.

    Hook converted his own score before going on to add another penalty nine minutes later.

    Wales briefly looked like surrendering their advantage when Phillips became the second Welshman sent to the sin bin, effectively ending his match with eight minutes left on the clock.

    But once again England could not find the final ball as a break by substitute Delon Armitage and Ben Foden ended when Foden's kick forward dribbled into touch.

    Cueto was then penalised for failing to release the ball allowing Hook to add his second penalty, from just inside the half-way line, and secure the win for the hosts 35 seconds from time.

    England now have just one more warm-up clash, against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in two weeks time, before opening their World Cup campaign against Argentina in Otago in four weeks' time.

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