NEW YORK, NY – The emphatic 3rd test victory by the British and Irish Lions over the Wallabies of Australia dominates the rugby headlines all over the world. There was however other action in the rugby world, including Super 15 regular season battles for playoff places and Rugby World Cup Qualifying in the Oceanic confederation. With no further adieu let’s get to the wrap-up.
Lions v Wallabies: Lions fans can celebrate the first successful Lions tour since 1997. In 2001, a lineout steal by Aus. In the 3 and deciding test won it for Australia 2-1. In 2005, with the captain injured minutes into the first test and a shambles of a tour, saw the Lions blanked 3-0 by New Zealand. In 2009, a catastrophic final 10 minutes in the 2nd test saw the series slip away, winning the dead rubber 3rd test was small consolation as South Africa took the series 2-1.
All those bad times are in the past as the only thing people can talk about was just how emphatic the victory was. The Lions managed to gain the upper hand in forward play and it created a wealth of penalties and opportunities for the backline. The key difference for the previous 2 tests was that the scrum became a weapon. The Lions scrum earned them several penalties, with one leading to a try in the opening minutes, several converted PKs, a yellow card against the Aussie tighthead prop and a stable platform for backline moves. The Lineout for Lions was also stellar as it also help sett up a try and made use of kicks to touch. Another truly key area was the breakdown and the commitment the Lions showed to throwing their bodies around to create turnover ball, a penalty or deny Aus clean ball. Referee Romain Poite’s interpretation of the laws at scrum time and at the breakdown fell directly into the Lions favor. It seemed having a NH ref made it easier for the Lions to adapt to as they were more experienced with his style. Final Score:
Australia 16 – 41 British & Irish Lions
Deans Out/McKenzie In: The Australian Rugby Union acted swiftly to series defeat by releasing Head Coach Robbie Deans. Deans was in the final few months of his contract and it appeared that with no offer to renew, his future was dependent on winning this series. If not for a Kurtley Beale footslip he could have been ahead. Unfortunately for Deans, Beale did slip and the Wallabies did lose the series. Having the Lions score a test record amount of points did not help either. In comes Queensland Reds Director of Rugby, Ewen McKenzie. McKenzie made his intentions clear when he announced that at the end of this Super Rugby season, he was looking for a greater challenge. The greater challenge has come. Link, as McKenzie is nicknamed, is a born and bred Aussie. A former player and coach, who has worked his way up the system to now be the national team coach.
SUPER 15 Rugby: Super Rugby’s penultimate round of play, saw the final round of play become nearly irrelevant. A vast number of teams confirmed their playoff places like the Crusaders, who demolished the Chiefs, and the Cheetahs who trumped the Blues. The Highlanders got their 2nd victory of the season over the Hurricanes, The Stormers doubled up the Kings and the Bulls narrowly defeated the Sharks. Here are the final results:
Crusaders 43 – 15 Chiefs
Hurricanes 44 – 49 Highlanders
Cheetahs 34 – 13 Blues
Southern Kings 12 – 24 Stormers
Bulls 20 – 19 Sharks
Oceanic Conference RWCQ: The Oceanic conference held their World Cup qualifiers this weekend. As predicted favorites the Cook Islands steamrolled Tahiti and co-favorites Papua New Guinea did enough to get by the upstart Solomon Islands. Here are the final results:
Papua New Guinea 29 – 22 Solomon Islands
Cook Islands 38 – 5 Tahiti
That is it for now, 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.