NEW YORK, NY – Yeah, the Super Bowl was Sunday but rugby had one hell of a weekend. We had the 6 Nations, 6 Nations B, Women’s 6 Nations, Wellington 7s and USA Women’s Houston 7s! But we’ve broken our Weekend Rugby Wrap-Up into two parts: the ladies deserve equal time, click this to read about their great weekend.
6 Nations: What a first round of matches! Ireland went into Millennium Stadium in Wales and started like a house on fire. They looked to be running away with the match but one must never underestimate Welsh resolve. Indeed, Wales came storming back but it was too little, too late… See, Ireland has this player… his name is Brian O’Driscoll. You may have heard of him… plays center? Well, Saturday he was healthy again and when he’s healthy, BOD is everywhere. He was in rucks, nosing about like a Rory Best clone. He was in the jerseys of Welsh ball carriers. He even played a bit of scrumhalf. Ponce de Leon should have searched Ireland for the Fountain of Youth because for one day at least, there was no denying that Brian O’Driscoll knew its location.
The Scots were trying to win at Twickenham for the first time since 1983. No member of the current England side was yet born when that happened. Would youth be served or would Oscar Wilde’s lament hold true with an English let-down after their historic defeat of the All Blacks on the same grounds? Well, youth was not wasted on the young on this day as England proved to be in rampant form against the Scotland. Billy Twelvetrees, who was 1 of 4 of our RWU Euro Class of 2012 members to play this weekend, was solid for Stuart Lancaster’s boys. To their credit, though, Scotland started out aggressively but the home team withstood the initial onslaught, put the game in a stranglehold and beat back the Scots… Kudos to England for a job well done. Be sure to see our report on England Women, who were equally successful.
Now to the biggest upset since Davey kerplunked Goliath. If you had asked most of the Italian fans jamming Stadio Olimpico in Rome if they’d be happy if their Azzurri simply kept France from running them out of their building, they’d like say “si.” But if you had told them that their team could win by 5 points with 14 men on the pitch as the hooter sounded, they’d have likely respond with “idiota” or something to that effect. But leave it to Les Bleus to make us idiots look smart, for just when you thought the French had put their notorious inconsistency behind them, they proved that they indeed have not. Credit the Italians, though. Force of Nature Sergio Parisse, Italy’s captain and #8, was everywhere and anywhere. Martin Castrogiovanni, the Italian Adam Jones, was hunting for scalps and found the try zone. This Italy had no patience for a half-hearted France and beat the French in the trenches. Moreover, they may have found another Luciano to bellow “Bravo!” at in fly-half Luciano Orquera. Orquera, who is no kid, was brilliant at #10 – when was the last time one could say that about an Italian fly-half? He kept the French at bay with his decision-making, made difficult conversions and nailed a gutsy drop-goal to boot. Pun intended. We’re certain that Pavarotti, the “other” Luciano is toasting with General Garibaldi in that vineyard in the sky.
Final scores were:
Italy 23 – 18 France
England 38 – 18 Scotland
Wales 22 – 30 Ireland
6 Nations “B”: Officially called the European Nations Cup, this will always be the 6N “B” to traditionalists and runs parallel to the 6N. It features best 6 teams after the Big Six and even has a relegation aspect… RWU friend, Pedro Leal, and his Portugal teammates will be bitterly disappointed at having coming up short to a tough Romanian side at home… Georgia, who like Romania are another forward-dominated side, won an away game in Belgium in an arm wrestle of a match… Russia, the only home side to win, scored the only try in a goal-kicking contest against Spain.
Portugal 13 – 19 Romania
Belgium 13 – 17 Georgia
Russia 13 – 9 Spain
Wellington 7s: For a complete and exceptional Wellington 7s recap, click this and click this… England defeated Kenya in OT, in a match that can only be described as an instant classic. The final had loads of drama. My African roots saw me very happy to see Kenya play so well, though I was upset with the two late cards. Staff member Mathew Drew Turner made a triumphant return and we are glad the faith the RFU showed in Coach Ben Ryan has been proven valid. Team USA had another poor showing in the win column but did tie the eventual champion and was a bounce away from beating New Zealand. Still, losses are losses and their consistent slow starts are a real concern for Coach Magleby.
England 24 – 19 Kenya Final Cup
Samoa 7 – 17 New Zealand Third Place
Scotland 7 – 22 Australia Final Plate
Canada 28 – 19 Fiji Final Bowl
Tonga 21 – 26 Wales Final Shield
Finally, in an incredible weekend, all of England’s senior rugby sides won this weekend. The Men’s and Women’s National 15s sides were complimented by tournament victories for the Men’s and Women’s 7s sides. God Save the Queen! … and God spare the rest of us until they get knocked off their royal pedestals. With that, we’re off for tea and some proper biscuits.
Feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp, @JunoirBlaber, @Declan Yeats, @Mathew Drew Turner and @Ebstide52, respectively. And until the next time… stay low and keep pumping those legs.