AUCKLAND, NZ – Granted, there is no real concern in the Dan Carter camp that he will be the next Wally Pipp (the guy Lou Gehrig stepped in for) but Piri Weepu did indeed ease the loss of the All Blacks star by going a mere 7-7 in penalty kicks. That’s a cool 21 points that alone would have tamed the naughty Pumas. It also made Mils Muliaina’s 100th Test match that much more enjoyable. While it may be a tad alarming for New Zealand supporters that it took the home team more than 60 minutes to score a try, the fact that Argentina was forced into 134 tackles to the Kiwis 54, would mean the ultimate demise. There’s no way can win when you’re asked to make that many stops… Or can you?
Australia, behind their all-world flanker, David Pocock, took punch after punch in a heavyweight title match with South Africa. The Wallabies, unlike their southern hemisphere counterparts from Argentina, won the match despite having to make a whopping 147 tackles to the Sprinboks’ 53.
Boks captain John Smit, retiring after 111 caps, said “It’s the first time I have lost a game on the scoreboard and won it every other way from a stats point of view so it makes it even harder to accept.”
Next week’s matches will be flat-out wars. Our early inclinations lean toward Wales over France and NZ over the Aussies… Stay tuned…
Tomorrow, a Q&A with Team USA’s Pat Danahy, whom coach Mike Tolkin called the team’s most improved player.