It’s time for our Monday wrap of who has their name in lights and who is making the headlines for all the wrong reasons over the past week.
THEY’RE ON FIRE!!
Western Force: They are not going down without a fight, that is for sure, as the Force’s fans came out en masse for a WA Rugby Supporters’ Rally. Western Force wanted their supporters to “speak with our feet” and as you can see from the below picture, they certainly did that.
The Sea of Blue! Amazing turnout at the WA Rugby Supporters’ Rally!
The passion of WA rugby fans is undeniable! The best fans in the world! pic.twitter.com/s8RQtKVJuz
— Western Force (@westernforce) August 20, 2017
Western Province: A fantastic performance from the men from the Cape as they smashed the Golden Lions 39-3 at Newlands on Saturday. It was a dazzling display of ball-in-hand attacking rugby from Western Province, with Dillyn Leyds and Seabelo Senatla in particularly sparkling form. Senatla grabbed a brace and Leyds the man-of-the-match award. The win puts them five points behind pace-setters Free State Cheetahs.
Canterbury: The Christchurch-based side thrashed last year’s beaten finalists Tasman 39-0 in Nelson on Friday. George Bridge, Dominic Bird, Luke Whitelock, Rob Thompson and Mitchell Dunshea all crossed the whitewash, wrapping up a bonus-point victory that sent a message to their rivals that Canterbury are challengers once again. You wouldn’t think they had lost both Jordie Barrett and Jack Goodhue in the off season.
Women’s Rugby World Cup semi-finalists: New Zealand, England and France put in dominant displays to seal their respective semi-final spots and the former pair remain favourites to meet one another in the final. The Black Ferns smashed Canada 48-5, the Red Roses dispatched USA 47-26 while France overcame Ireland 21-5, with the three sides looking a cut above the rest, including the remaining semi-finalist, USA.
All Blacks’ first-half display: In the Rugby Championship opener against the Wallabies, the All Blacks produced one of their best showings of all time as they ran in six unanswered tries in a masterclass of attacking rugby. What a way to respond to critics that felt their era of dominance might be coming to an end after the drawn Lions series. On this form it’s hard to see who will stop them over the tournament.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) August 19, 2017
COLD AS ICE
221-0 result in schoolboy rugby: There was a lot of controversy caused with news from South Africa that Grey College’s U15D team, based in Bloemfontein, scored 221 points in their game against Durban’s Glenwood on Saturday. Even Grey College’s director of Rugby agreed this was demoralising and humiliating and shouldn’t be imposed on youngsters. We agree as no one benefited from the game which needed to be stopped.
Roman Poite: The French whistle-blower came in for heavy criticism for his management of the South Africa-Argentina fixture. The Boks were denied an early try for what Poite deemed a knock-on but it was clear it was punched back by a Puma. The keyboard warriors were not happy.
Argentina: Speaking of the Port Elizabeth clash, Argentina once again failed to impress as they appear destined for a battle to avoid last spot in the Rugby Championship. Argentina’s recent decline has seen them win only three of their last 15 matches as they look a shadow of the team that finished in fourth place in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Pumas fans will hope they can turn things around in Salta on Saturday.
All Blacks sex scandal: Just after the Aaron Smith scandal reared its head again, after the emergence of new text messages between him and his mistress, the All Blacks’ image took another hit with newspaper reports that Jerome Kaino was sent home to New Zealand after allegedly being exposed for an extra-marital affair despite having a wife and three children. A Respect and Responsibility Review is underway by NZR.
Wallabies defence: How woeful was that defensive effort from the Wallabies? The hosts missed a monstrous 30 tackles against the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday, making 68 out of 98 with a tackle percentage of 69 percent. Despite having extra time to prepare together as a team due to their Super Rugby woes, it seems a long and gruelling training camp prior to the Rugby Championship did not have the desired effect.