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Posts Tagged ‘ Dan Carter ’

Autumn Internationals – Schmidt Era Stutters Drastically

O'Connell's look of dejection sums things up adequately

O’Connell’s look of dejection sums things up adequately

France 38 – 18 Tonga

France started this game in brilliant fashion when Guitoune was setup with a superb cross field kick that gave them the early lead. Morgan Parra was on form from the boot, slotting three successive penalties despite missing the early conversion. France didn’t have it all their own way however as Tonga were creating try scoring chances that really should have been converted. Apikotoa slotted over two penalties to give them some respectability on the scoreboard.  Continue reading

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All Blacks Claim Victory As Wallabies Hold Off Argentina

Daniel Carter of New Zealand walks off injured

Rugby Championship

The Rugby Championship enjoyed a fiesty fourth round of fixtures with the physicality of South Africa’s performance and some dodgy refereeing decisions stealing the headlines from a tight affair in Australia.

New Zealand 29 – 15 South Africa

New Zealand were the most consistent team in this game and really established their lead in the first half.

An early try by New Zealander Kieran Read set the tone for a classic game of rugby, with the ever reliable Dan Carter making no mistake with the conversion. South Africa responded with a penalty by Morne Steyn. Shortly after Carter was injured due to a powerful tackle by Bismark Du Plessis, who was sin binned for this tackle.  There was some controversy over some refereeing decisions in this game but this was not one such incident.  New Zealand went on to score a second try as Brodie Retallick raced over the line to pull his team further in front. Beauden Barrett converted in Carter’s absence . Du Plessis returned to score the Springboks first try of the game , with Steyn duly converting . New Zealand’s Barrett put a penalty between the posts to give his side a half time lead of 17-10.   Continue reading

Inspirational Teenager Donal Walsh Passes Away

Inspirational teenager Donal Walsh (16) has passed away after a brave four year battle with cancer.

Donal,a terminally ill teenager, rose to prominence after an interview on RTE’s The Saturday Night Show in which he publicly appealed to young people not to end their lives.

Walsh had been battling cancer since he was first diagnosed four years ago and passes away peacefully at his home in Blennerville,County Kerry.

Having twice overcome cancer, Donal was diagnosed again in the latter part of last year with what had now become a terminal illness. Since he was informed of the diagnosis he spent the rest of his days travelling with friends and family and attempting to ensure young people enjoyed their lives. He had raised over €50,000 for charity.

Speaking to RTE’s Morning Ireland Fr Francis Nolan of St John’s Parish in Tralee described the teenager as an “inspiration” to people in Tralee and beyond.

Weeks before his death, Donal recorded a video message to be circulated in schools, Fr Nolan said the anti-suicide message had already had an impact on many.

“So many letters have come to the family about people who have actually been helped by Donal already to embrace the gift of life.

“Young people who may have been contemplating suicide, you know they’ve actually thought again,” he said.

Fr Nolan said Donal managed to stay positive throughout his four-year battle with cancer.

“Donal has been an inspiration here in Tralee, and the way he has embraced his illness with such acceptance, and never once shown any bitterness or resentment about being ill.”

Tributes have poured in from all around the globe with many top sports stars including New Zealand rugby player Dan Carter revealing his sadness at the death of Donal, who he had spoken to just weeks earlier.

The All Blacks fly half tweeted “Sad to hear the news of young @Donal_Walsh #RIP #Inspiration thoughts go out to his family & friends”.

Over 77,000 have liked a Facebook tribute page that was set up early yesterday afternoon, showing the impact his efforts had on many people throughout Ireland.

Donal’s funeral will take place at noon on Wednesday at St John’s Church in Tralee.

His family have asked for donations in lieu of flowers to the Palliative Care Unit, Kerry General Hospital and Care 4 Kids, care of the Gleasure Funeral Home.

 

Autumn Internationals Round-up

Scotland 22 –v-  New Zealand  51

Dan Carter guided World Champions New Zealand to victory against Scotland in front of a full house in Murrayfield.  Carter is peerless in world rugby and today he showed all his skills as he orchestrated three of the All Blacks’ tries and amassed 21 points with his boot.  Before kick-off, a fiery Scottish side marched forward to meet the haka, signalling their intent.  Throughout the match the Scots endeavour could not be faulted but the gulf in class was always evident as New Zealand never looked troubled.

It only took two minutes for the All Blacks to register points in this game courtesy of Carter’s boot.  Then Scotland struck.  In what was his only mistake of the game, Carter threw a pass that was picked off by Scottish centre Matt Scott.  He galloped free but had the presence of mind to pop a pass to his flying winger Tim Visser on his left shoulder who outpaced Corey Jane for the first try of the game.  It was converted and Scotland had the lead 7-3.  An aberration?  Indeed.  Minutes later Carter was making amends; with two breaks in quick succession he tore the Scottish defence asunder.  Each time he realised he was up against a forward – a mismatch – and stepped inside.  On the second occasion he fed Israel Dagg who crossed for the try. Carter converted, and normality was resumed 7-10.

In a ten minute spell from the 30 minute mark, scoring three tries in quick succession, the New Zealanders showed why they are the best team in world rugby at present.  Led by their captain Richie McCaw’s example they got their hands on the ball, rucked mercilessly, passed deftly and ran at space; no other team combines all these skills as they do.  The second try summed it up.  It was quick hands all the way across the field but each man, no matter what number was on his back, especially Adam Thompson, displayed the hands of a first class centre.  It is the simple skills but they have mastered them and they do it at such pace.  Scotland could not live with them as Piri Weepu displayed the same deft handling down a narrow channel before Andrew Hore crossed for the try.  With three hammer blows this game was effectively won and with panache.  It threatened to get ugly with the All Blacks scoring at will but Scotland fronted up again and they were rewarded deep into first half injury time with a score of their own.  After a number of quick tap penalties, Geoff Cross slipped under Richie McCaw’s tackle for the try that did not need the TMO.  Scotland went in 17 – 34 down.

In the second half the All Blacks were down to 14 men when Adam Thompson stamped a Scottish player in the head while he was lying prostrate in a ruck.  He will be cited for the offence and could miss the remainder of the tour.  Scotland took advantage of the numbers as Visser went over for another try.  Warren Gatland got proof today that Visser is a test level winger.  Visser and Richie Gray could be the only Scottish players on the starting Lions team when Gatland’s men tour Down Under at the end of the season.  New Zealand received a penalty shortly after this try and they elected to kick for goal this was a measure of the resilient Scottish performance.  Two further All Black tries inevitably came to put a gloss on the scoreboard but Scotland will take pride in their resolve and the fact that they scored three tries and 22 points – more than any other team has put on the board against New Zealand in the last two years; moral victories are made of such.

These Autumn Internationals will showcase the All Blacks in the first stage of transition towards the 2015 World Cup in England.  Their squad is a mix of fresh caps, new combinations, experience and excellence.  Hanson and his coaching team know that in three year’s time they will come to the Northern hemisphere to defend their World Cup.  The All Blacks’ conveyor belt looks as healthy as ever and the transition appears seamless – it doesn’t bode well for the rest of us.  Next year, Captain McCaw will take a six month sabbatical from the game which will see him miss the whole Super Rugby campaign.  This is in order to increase his longevity in an attempt to have him play until 2015.  It’s a long shot but Hanson is willing to do whatever he can to keep his inspirational leader, together with his playmaker Dan Carter, on the international paddock for as long as possible.

France 33 –v- Australia 6

 

France were the only Six Nations team to beat their Rugby Championship opponents this weekend and they did so convincingly.  Warren Gatland will bemoan the fact that he can’t select any of the Gallic men for his touring squad at the end of the season but he will draw comfort from the weak state of Australian rugby.

The Wallabies have to select from a smaller pool of players than their fanatical neighbours New Zealand as a result of the sport being the fourth most popular code in the country.  Yet in the face of this they have always managed to produce attacking players of the highest calibre but with an injury list including most of their marquee names their strength in depth will be tested on this tour.  The Wallabies have failed to cross the whitewash in their last two tests.  This doesn’t signal a crisis for coach Robbie Deans but he will know that England will be targeting next weekend as a chance to put one over on the Wallabies.

French intensity at the breakdown and scrum-time blew away a callow Australian team.  The men in blue were led by Freddie Michalak – plying his trade in Super Rugby with the Sharks franchise – he kicked two penalties, three conversions and a drop goal for a total of 15 points from his boot.  The mercurial fly-half has been out of favour with the national team. This was only his third test in so many years but with current form he looks ready to guide this team.  The French at home are hard to live with but the Wallabies will need to re-group and fast or this will be a long Autumn tour.  They will be boosted by the return from injury of their captain David Pocock and winger Digby Ioane.

Wales 12 –v- Argentina 26

 

Argentina have emerged battle hardened from their first year in the inaugural Rugby Championship competition and this showed in their defeat of Wales in the Millenium Stadium.

It was a gruelling encounter as is always the way when the Argies are involved.  The game saw the re-introduction of Felipe Contepomi to the test arena but this was short lived as he came off injured only fifteen minutes in after tackling George North.   Welsh centre Jamie Roberts, who has become the latest Wales international to announce that he will leave the Cardiff Blues for the lucrative French Top 14, also came off injured after 25 minutes because of a head clash.  He was replaced by James Hook who is already playing his club rugby in France.

All the Welsh points in this game came from the boot of Leigh Halfpenny.  Argentina were 9 – 6 down at half time but they came out in the second half and scored two tries to take victory.  Argentina more than matched Wales throughout the game and their reward came on 55 minutes when Juan Imhoff beat Leigh Halfpenny to score the first try.  Gonzalo Camacho also scored in the corner.  Both these tries were converted by out-half Nicholas Sanchez who also added a penalty that gave them the deserved win.

The Welsh team were bereft of attacking ideas during the game and the home fans showed their dismay at the final whistle by booing the team.  Rob Howley, who is interim coach with Warren Gatland on Lions duty, has now presided over four defeats in five games in charge.  Perhaps the Welsh team’s gruelling Polish training camp has them a little flat on the field or maybe the mass exodus of players is having an effect on the international side.

In the other games on the weekend England hammered a weak Fijian side – England 54 –v- Fiji 12  and Italy narrowly defeated Tonga –  Italy 28 –v- Tonga 23.

One Final Chance For Ireland In New Zealand

Paddy Wallace is the surprise inclusion in the Ireland 22 for the final test against New Zealand. Read that again. In an Irish team run by Declan Kidney, this fact is truly puzzling. Thankfully it is the only subject of contention ahead of Saturday’s clash, but the turnaround from the Irish management to initially not even bring him on tour, to finding him starting the final test is mindboggling. The only thing to be drawn from it with any certainty is that Kidney smells blood and is going for the jugular. Wallace is the only change alongside O’Mahony replacing the injured Heaslip from the team who came so close to making history. The time to experiment is gone, Kidney knows that there is a prime chance here to break the duck.

News from the New Zealand camp further consolidates this notion, as both Dan Carter and Kieran Reid are out of the fixture. Both players were two of the biggest nuisances for Ireland in Christchurch and their loss will definitely be felt by the team. Ireland’s biggest issue in both matches has been an inability to secure possession from the restart and Reid and Carter have been instrumental in this. With this massive factor out of the equation the game is now wide open. Hansen has also seen changes on the wing and the loss of Reid sees McCaw move to 8. All in all this is one of the first times Ireland has gone up against a New Zealand team that actually looks beatable. And as much as they will not admit it, the Irish camp know this.

Stop Smith and Gear from getting any momentum on the wings, let Earls tackle with the aggression and determination he has mustered up in all his games since the World Cup. Let the Irish back row rattle up a Kiwi one with a blindside on his second ever test, another on his first in a long long time at 8,and an openside who hasnt had much brouhaha about him this summer. Most importantly however, this is another one of those milestones for Sexton. He has the chance here to throw down the gauntlet to a less experienced opponent in Cruden. Nullify the out half and the rest may follow, or at least that’s the hope.

Getting ahead of myself? No, not really when you take into account what we witnessed last weekend. Kidney gets a lot of stick for his repetitive nature when he throws out his anecdotes and catchphrases, about player commitment and waiting for it to come together. Well, as he did against England last year and Australia, and in Grand Slam year, he has proven his doubters wrong, but only for a week. What he is yet to achieve is two consistently massive performances from his players. Hopefully this can be finally realised on Saturday. If Ireland show up as they did last time out and put the fear in the All Blacks once more, it is theirs for the taking. A sixty minute substitution of Reddan still wouldn’t go amiss, even though Murray’s game evolved leaps and bounds between Eden Park and Christchurch. The fuel injection of a fresh scrumhalf is exactly what kept Ireland in it last time, and realistically if a scrum half is doing their job right they won’t last eighty anyway. The physicality they should be bringing around the rucks and the endless number of late hits they have to endure in order to get that perfectly timed pace to space should be taking their toll after an hour, that’s when Reddan enters and closes out the game. The Sexton/O’Gara axis is still one that’s hard to remark on. On the one hand, why take one of the world’s best out halves and play him out of position, on the other hand the two in sync do actually work very well indeed. Nobody would ever call for it from the beginning but few argue when it happens and works. .

Truth be told, the players have shown now that they have the skills to achieve this task. Now it is up to the coaches in both training and substitutions to show that they have the cojones. The game plan needs to be refined and the subs need to be spot on. Get these right and then leave it up to the players to fix what went wrong last weekend. This is it, game on.

Elsewhere, the summer tour has seen Wales and England found wanting up against Australia and South Africa. Wales can be commended for losing by the smallest of margins in both games, but Gatland is missed of that there is no doubt. England on the other hand, more so Stuart Lancaster, are getting a trial by fire. After impressing in a Six Nations that, in truth, was filled with teams playing to mediocre standards at best, they have now travelled to the World beaters of 2007 and have been somewhat caught out, many of the points margins flattering to deceive. It looks likely we will have many redesigned Northern Hemisphere teams come November.

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