NEW YORK, NY – With the dust settled from the clashes of the Top 12 last weekend, only 2 matches are left for this weekend. The carnage for seeds for Rugby World Cup 2015 has already been done. Only England and Wales have games this weekend of the northern giants.
England look to defeat an unbeaten New Zealand side, meanwhile Wales look to finally get one over on Australia. According to the system that the IRB uses to determine ranking, however, England cannot move-up with a victory. Meanwhile Wales must win or draw Australia to remain in the Elite 8. Here is the complete Fixture List. Now let’s look at this week’s matches and pick the winners for you.
There will be an England vs. New Zealand doubleheader on Saturday. The English and Kiwi Ladies will play the curtain raiser to the men’s game. Currently their 3-match series stands at 2-0 in favor of England. With England already having won the series, they will be looking for a sweep in front of their home fans. The Kiwis are the defending WRWC 09 Champs and won’t go out with a whimper. They will be as dangerous as a wounded animal and will come out fighting. I really can’t see the Black Ferns going winless. I see them scrapping a victory by a score of 17-15 or so.
England vs New Zealand at Twickenham: England Captain Chris Robshaw subjected himself to much second-guessing regarding his decision to go for the posts while down by 4… with only minutes left. We say it was a good decision. The English attack is as imaginative as a block of cement. There was no way they were going to breach a defense like South Africa’s. If the re-start was claimed to perfection, this would be a non-discussion. Meanwhile, the All Blacks have survived Hore-gate (more on that in just a bit) and seem no worse for the wear. They are a well-oiled machine and will continue their unbeaten run by easily putting England away.
Wales vs Australia at Millennium Stadium: The pick here is actually for Wales to surprise Australia and get their first win of the Autumn Tours. The Welsh lads have had such a dreadful run, that it must break soon. With all the smart money against them and no one giving them a chance, the moment is ripe for an upset. Let us not forget, that Aussies escaped in all 3 previous games, so if there was a better time for Wales to dig deep with a sense of national pride, it is now.
And finally… The IRB judiciary committee continues to be a farce. Andrew Hore, he of the blindside hit to the jaw and neck of Bradley Davies (see clip below), was suspended for 5 games (8 games minus 3 for his clean record). To put that into other terms, Hore misses a game he was likely not to play in anyway, then 3 preseason games and then ONE Super 15 regular season game. So, the “Seal Killer” (he killed a protected fur seal) gets and extended holiday. Check out this malarkey:
“However, the Judicial Officer found that the player had not intended to make contact with the victim player’s head…
“The Judicial Officer received unreserved assurances from Ian Foster, Assistant Coach, New Zealand, the player and his legal representative that the pre-season matches to be played by the Highlanders during the weekends of 1, 8 and 15 February all had significant and meaningful consequences for the player in accordance with IRB Regulation 17.”
Having read that, look for yourself:
It sure as heck looks like he is going for the guy’s head there, doesn’t it? And why in blazes do preseason games count? What idiot made that call? As for the lawyer/judge that rendered this decision, he seems to be lacking in his understanding of rugby. The IRB should have a disciplinary process with consistency… not one shrouded in secrecy.
We’ll end there 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 and @Mathew Drew Turner, respectively.
And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.