SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: Autumn Internationals, week four
Due to being away in London watching The Dark Side (rugby league), the computer has only just caught up on all the action from the weekend, so here are the slightly late ratings. Give us yours in the comments, or if you're Irish, just punch your keyboard in sheer horror and frustration.
Jonny Sexton - The margins at the very top are fine, sometimes as fine as a width of a post, as the Ireland fly-half discovered in the last five minutes vs New Zealand. No matter how well he may have played leading up to that kick he absolutely should have nailed that; there are no excuses for missing and it is absolutely right that he is judged on it. However, unlike Cruden a few minutes later, he did only get one go at it.
Wales vs Tonga - There are men who spent years in Japanese POW camps who couldn't take the torture that was second half of this game.
Sean Lamont - Scotland's inability to cross the whitewash is becoming so overwhelming there is a real chance that the whole squad may have some kind of mental disorder. Either that or they've all shagged a witch to give them such bad luck. However, it's more likely that they all keep cocking up scoring chances like Sean did. Why a lad his size didn't just put his head down and smash over is mystery. Also struggles with having all the pace of a 1989 Ford Transit.
James Hook - Why will they not be told? If history has taught us anything it's that James Hook is not as good as anyone thinks he is. It was worth giving him a run at 10 vs Tonga, but all it has demonstrated is that Wales's options here are limited to Biggar (decent but limited), Priestland (broken brain), and Hook (SHIT). Time for Patchell? Also, is Jason Tovey staying fit long enough to fulfill his potential yet?
Conor Murray - This blog has been critical of the Irish nine previously, and no doubt it will again because that's kinda what this blog does really, but credit to him for the performance on Saturday. Stood out in a team of standouts.
Luke Charteris - Even dropping the ball over the line couldn't take away from a very good performance. Also, remember, it wasn't long ago that he looked like a horse doing a cartwheel when on a rugby field, so it's good to see his transformation into a top player is permanent.
Nigel Owens - Has his faults as a ref. Has a novel way of dealing with the complexities of the breakdown, namely by ignoring them and letting the game flow, which tends to make for good matches, so fair play. Also, "this is not soccer"
Samson Lee - "Samson Lee, Samson Lee, his hair's the colour of morning pee!" Bow down before your master.
Sean O'Brien - Out-barnstormed Kieran Read. Nothing more needs to be said.
WIN WIN WIN! A Copy of The Real McCaw: The Autobiography
To mark the release of the paperback version of Richie McCaw's biography, "The Real McCaw", we have three copies to give away to B&M readers.
In the book, McCaw talks with brutal honesty about the roots of his family life that defined his character and how it gave him the strength to emerge from the lowest moment in his career to lift the Webb Ellis Cup, and become the most successful captain world rugby has ever seen.
You'll have to read it yourself to see how many of the chapters are offside at the breakdown. To be in with a chance of winning, send an email with your address, entitled "Richie Comp" to firstname.lastname@example.org
Fancy buying it? Grab one here.
SHIT/GOOD Ratings: Autumn Internationals, Week 3
|JP Pietersen: Twat|
You all saw the scores in the matches at the weekend, but now the real results are in. Give us your yap in the comments.
Joel Tomkins - Lancaster gave him a crack, and it wasn't a bad selection on the face of it, but after a full series he looks a long way short on pace, penetration and class. As an aside, anyone who watched his brother Sam's performance for England RL cannot help but wonder what could have been if he was in the 13 shirt.
Devin Toner - As Crocks said on Twitter, "Ireland would have been better picking Peter Stringer in the 2nd row".
The Rest Of Ireland - The team, obviously, not the entire country. Ireland have entered so many transitional phases in the past five year that this blog can't keep up, even with the use of an abacus; but this performance shows that it's time to actually do it properly. Schmidt is no fool so he will have a plan, he just needs to engage it now. Tinkering will no longer suffice. And to lose to Australia in the scrum is the most embarrassing thing to happen to Ireland since Michael Flatley's accent.
Greig Laidlaw & Ruaridh Jackson - Scotland were never going to win that game, but he Scots halfs seemed determined to make it as painful as possible by continually sending the forwards into yet another pick & go nightmare, or spraying it around like a student on spring break. Any semblance of a plan was either ignored, or it was the worst plan in the history of plans.
JP Pietersen - Big hit on Denton was top class, the facewipe and press into the ground afterwards was, at 28-0 up, the act of a 24-carat twat. Anyone who thinks it wasn't that bad ask yourself this, how would you react if Chris Ashton had done it?
Tom Youngs - Single-handedly turned England's greatest strength, the lineout, into a scene from The Three Stooges, but will less composure. It's not too much of a leap to say that he may have cost England the game
Tom Wood - Amazing work rate and was consistently excellent. I'm going to go out on a very long limb here, as what I'm about to say is a big call, but sod it, I'm going for it: England may have finally found a replacement for Richard Hill. There, I've said it.
Dylan Hartley - He seems to have developed a bit of sense to go with his aggression. This is a good thing, but surely it's only a matter of time before he returns to usual form and bites a referee's bollock or something.
Ma'a Nonu - Sublime run and pop for the decisive NZ try. This display of skill was even more impressive when you remember he only learned how to pass in 2011.
Dan Biggar - Unlike Rhys Priestland's brain, Dan's is working fine. Tougher tests than Argentina lie ahead, but Gatland needs to accept the fact that the Osprey is the best Wales have at the minute.
Richard Hibbard - A cross between a tank and He-Man and shaping up to be a Wales legend. More than his strength, it's the sheer effort he gives. Never leaves the field without being so spent he's breathing through his eyeballs.
Kieran Read - There's nothing else to say, is there?
The Galactic Tangerine Overlord Samson Lee - Came on late, got himself binned. This blog suggests you all bow down before his Golden Majesty.
Autumn Internationals Preview: England vs New Zealand, Saturday, 14:30
|Read: an incomparable lump of man|
England famously beat the All Blacks in Autumn 2012, a result which, if you believe the media afterwards, confirmed them as the GREATEST TEAM EVER TO WALK THE EARTH. This obviously wasn't true, and even the decent run of results for them since then cannot cover the black hole sized void in class between the two sides, particularly behind the scrum. Make no mistake, England are going to lose this game.
But this is no reason to be miserable. Playing against a great team and losing can be an opportunity for this developing England team to hone the way they want to play. Lancaster does not want to produce a team that performs like the 80 minutes vs Aus, or the second forty vs Argentina, and as an England fan myself I would settle for a losing margin of less than 10 and a display that resembles that of a modern, dynamic international team.
England's backs have to play a lot better, that's the absolute minimum requirement; Farrell must take the ball to the line, they must get something resembling an offloading game moving. The ball must arrive at Dickson's feet quicker at the breakdown so he can execute his ferret doing a cartwheel style passes with greater speed . Many Eyes will also be on Billy Vunipola to see how he fares against the incomparable lump of man that is Kieran Read.
Frankly, if England can get anywhere near South Africa's performance in losing to the All Blacks last month, then this blog will be so happy it will shit glitter.
B&M Prediction: New Zealand by 12
Spotter's Badge: Joe Marler is twisted in the scrum so badly that when he stands his beard has been put into in a perfect three braid plait.
England: Mike Brown; Chris Ashton, Joel Tomkins, Billy Twelvetrees, Ben Foden; Owen Farrell, Lee Dickson; Joe Marler, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, Chris Robshaw (c), Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: Tom Youngs, Matt Mullan, David Wilson, Geoff Parling, Ben Morgan, Ben Youngs, Toby Flood, Alex Goode.
New Zealand: Israel Dagg; Charles Piutau, Ben Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea; Dan Carter, Aaron Smith; Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, Richie McCaw (captain), Kieran Read.
Replacements: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Luke Romano, Steven Luatua, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Aaron Cruden, Ryan Crotty.
O2 Inside Line: England vs New Zealand
Behind the scenes of the England camp as they prepare
lose to play the All Blacks.
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: Rugby Championship, Final Round
It's been a while, so let's turn on the SG Computer to run its beady, lifeless eye over the Rugby Championship weekend. Let's have yours in the comments.
The dawning realisation that you won't see as good a game as Boks vs NZ for a long time - Arse.
Morne Steyn - Predictable in his kick-run-pass options, resolutely sticking to the pass most of the time when a bit of his trademark tactical approach would've perhaps one better for his team. Missed a couple of kicks as well.
Ben Alexander - Still rubbish
Nigel Owens - Easy to give the players all the credit for that wondrous spectacle of a match on saturday, but respect is also due to the ref and his team, who had a superb day.
Jean de Villiers - Unlike his Point Break haircut, the Springbok captain was a powerful and welcome presence in the midfield. Credit to him also for not making a big deal of the "wrong name on the teamsheet" incident.
Israel Folau - If anyone was in any doubt about his best position, the ludicrously talented outside back proved beyond any doubt that it is fullback.
Kieran Read - Like a plains buffalo fed on genetically modified grass that has been pissed on by a t-rex.
Video: South Africa 27 - 38 New Zealand, highlights
If you can bring yourself to be put through this craphouse of a match again, here are the highlights
Preview: South Africa vs New Zealand, Rugby Championship, Saturday
This is about a big as it gets really. The top two teams in the world, playing each other to decide the victor of the southern hemisphere's crappily-monikered premier rugby competition, The Rugby Championship. It's a bit like Wales vs England in the final round of this year's Six Nations, except this one is likely to look like two teams are actually playing, rather the one playing musical statues while the other runs around them taking the piss and inducing orgasmic spasms in the crowd.
South Africa have this year returned to their bludgeoning best; fully utilising the output from the Bok Forwards Factory of Power & Doom to great effect, crushing all before them in tight and at the set piece. This physical prowess, at home and at altitude, just be enough to snatch them a win in the game, but as bwin sport will tell you, it will not be enough to get them the four tries and denial of losing bonus point they need to win the whole tournament. And they probably won't win the game either.
New Zealand on the other hand, blah blah, best in the world, waffle waffle, unstoppable, blah, Richie McCaw back in team, blah blah, will win probably, zzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Still, should be a blinding match.
B&M Prediction: Love to see the Boks do it by 5, but it's likely to be All Blacks by sev..zzzzzzzzzzzzz
Spotter's Badge: The universe folds in on itself and everything turns to dark matter when Tendai Mtawarira and Charlie Faumuina run into each other full pelt at exactly the same time as Richie McCaw stands in an onside position at ruck for once.
South Africa: Zane Kirchner, Willie le Roux, JJ Engelbrecht, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Eztebeth, Juandre Kruger, Francois Louw, Willem Alberts, Duane Vermeulen.
Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Gurthro Steenkamp, Coenie Oosthuizen, Franco van der Merwe, Siya Kolisi, Ruan Pienaar, Pat Lambie, Jan Serfontein/ Juan de Jongh
Replacements: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Steven Luatua, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Charles Piutau.
Infographic: How does Dan Carter measure up to previous All Black 10s?
This is a really interesting Infographic detailing how Dan Carter compares to previous NZ out-halfs. The biggest shock is the size of him compared to the others, he's over 50% heavier than 1920s incumbent Bert Cook!
If you want to share this infographic yourseves then visit this page
Rugby Video: I've seen some decent offloads in my time...
...but this one is a cracker.
Kieran Reid vs Argentina at the weekend.