22 Jun 2012

June Internationals - Team of Week Two

Week two of the June International window churned out some surprising but gladly received drama, as the northern hemisphere fought back following a mauling a week earlier in the first round of matches.

Wales were silenced after the hooter with a heart-breaking penalty by Australia's Mike Harris, which secured a narrow win for the Wallabies in Melbourne. Ireland were also denied late as a 14 man All Black side showed the composure needed to prevent an embarrassing loss for the World Champions' new coaching team. Dan Carter as always was the man to settle any nerves as his wobbly drop-kick separated the teams in Christchurch late on. England also provided a late surge in Jo'burg but were undone by the early exploits of South Africa's power men. 

For your critical eye, Dumptackle Rugby Blog scanned the games with intent and after much deliberation, produced week two's team of the week. 

What do you make of the selections? Please leave your views in the comments section below

14 Jun 2012

England robotic, but proactive Lancaster can provoke evolution

England's first up 22-17 loss to South Africa in Durban was a truly brutal affair and with two tests remaining, this series could well develop into a war of attrition. At times during the first test, the game resembled a gladiatorial stand-off. The power, intensity and ferocity of the Springbok challenge was a couple of notches above anything that the majority of England's squad would have faced in the Aviva Premiership, Heineken Cup (or even the Six Nations for that matter) and eventually the pressure which was exerted on them told.

England did seem to achieve parity for a while though, so fans of the Red Rose should not despair.  The respective forward packs went at it hammer and tong for the best part of an hour and that was a good indicator of England's relative strength up front. Dan Cole's battle with 'the Beast' was a joy for the purists out there, while England's new loose-head prop with the punk rock hair-do, Joe Marler, had an encouraging day at the office. Potential is certainly there for England. Will that potential be fully harnessed though?

10 Jun 2012

June Internationals - Team of Week One

The June International window churned out some pretty enticing test matches in week one, as the Southern hemisphere exercised their dominance on the men from the north. The All Blacks hammered a confident Ireland side at Eden Park, helping dispel fears of any potential 'World Cup hangover' while the Springboks came out on top in a brutal affair in Durban against England.

Wales will probably be the most disappointed side, as they mostly flattered to deceive, losing to an understrength Australian side despite coming into the game with an unheralded sense of belief. It appears the Six Nations is not a worthy benchmark for global dominance.

For your critical eye though, Dumptackle Rugby Blog scanned the games with intent and after much deliberation, produced week one's team of the week.

What do you make of the selections? Please leave your views in the comments section below!

7 Jun 2012

Spanish Hakas, Glasweigan Kisses and a Pissed off Frenchman

Its getting closer th the weekend and the rugby is creeping up on us once again. The Super 15 takes a break for a month but we have the June Internationals to keep us from twiddling our thumbs. Judging by Scotland's surprise victory over Australia in the driving rain, anything is possible. Who would have picked the Tri Nations champions to lose to the Six Nations wooden spooners after all?

Until then though, Dumptackle Rugby Blog brings you some of the more quirky happenings from this week. We divulge on poorly thought through Scottish celebrations, Spanish hakas and the best play of the week. What more could you want?

6 Jun 2012

Wallabies wobbling, Wales waiting to tip them over

Not since 1969 at the Sydney Cricket ground have Wales won a test-match against the Wallabies in Australia's back yard. Trawl back through the record books and it makes dire reading for any Welsh supporter. Eight  played, eight  losses. The last of which was a disastrous drubbing by 31 point to nil. So one might presume that there wouldn't be much optimism when faced with a three test series against the same opposition.

On the contrary, probably for the first time since their glory days of the 1970's (when the likes of Gareth Edwards, Phil Bennett and JPR Williams weaved their magic), Wales will travel to Australia with genuine hopes, lest I say, belief  of gaining a test series victory. Nicking a solitary test would probably be regarded as par for the course.

4 Jun 2012

All Blacks 2012 Squad finalised - 'Piri and Shags go to White Castle'

Piri trusted despite questionable fashion sense
So Piri Weepu made the final cut. Did we really expect anything else? Looking at Shags, it's clear that Weepu isn't the only one who likes a few burgers so I suppose it's no surprise he has a soft spot for the nuggety halfback from Lower Hutt. Maybe he sees a late night snacking partner in the bloke. Who knows? I can just see it now...'Piri and Shags go to White Castle'. All hell ensues. Or something along those lines.

In all seriousness though, Weepu has been a class player in the past for the All Blacks and almost single handedly carried them to the final in last year's World Cup after Dan Carter got struck down. 'Keep Calm, Piri's On' was the phrase being bandied about at the time. It appears us fickle fans have short memories. Hansen and co have made no secret of the fact that they believe the All Blacks environment can overturn any lack in fitness or form too, as we saw with Nonu and Jane in 2011. Weepu has lost the 10kgs supposedly required since the start of the season, so they are half way there.

2 Jun 2012

Meyer shocks South Africa with Springbok squad for England

Heyneke Meyer has raised more than a few eyebrows in South Africa today. Nine uncapped players have been included in his Springbok squad for their three match series against England. There are a few shock omissions too... most notably two men who had been talked up as Meyer's potential captains; 2007 World Cup winning legends Fourie Du Preez and Victor Matfield.

The nine new caps are flankers Marcell Coetzee and Jacques Potgieter, locks Eben Etzebeth, Juandre Kruger and Franco Van der Merwe, fly-half Elton Jantjies, centre JJ Engelbreht, prop Coonie Oosthuizen and scrum-half Jano Vermaak. The introduction of these talents to International rugby meant that there was no room for former Lions destroyer Heinrich Brussow, or the Stormers' electric duo of Juan deJongh and Gio Aplon too. Shocked?

1 Jun 2012

Chiefs the pace-setters, but Crusaders are still the team to beat

There's no doubt about it. The Chiefs are on a mission in 2012. Head coach Dave Rennie has galvanised a previously flagging franchise since his appointment as top dog. His assistant Wayne Smith also didn't snub a lucrative contract offer from England just to be Super Rugby challengers. Winning is everything and that attitude is dripping down to the players.

 Compare there work-rate in defence to that of the Blues this season and it's like they are playing a different sport, let alone competing in the same conference! Maybe that's just a sad indictment on how poor the Blues have been though (another story altogether).

Friday Fun: Chiropractor 2.0, Deans an E.L.O. fanboy and the Beast is on bathsalts

Dingo's got a dirty secret!
It's Friday and that means the rugby gets underway today! Woohoo. The Top 14's top four teams are in action in France, as the competition's semi-finals get under way. Meanwhile the Super 15 acts out it's last round before the international break (the Crusaders have just thumped the Highlanders as I write this).

To get you in the mood, Dumptackle Rugby Blog brings you some of the more quirky happenings from this week. We reveal the birth of the Chiropractor 2.0, Robbie Deans love of E.L.O. and ponder the Beast's use of bath salts. What more could you want?