Monday, November 10, 2008

Rugby Notes II

Wales went down again to South Africa, 15-20, in a game they could have won. They never lead, but had plenty of the ball and lots of opportunities. South Africa, though, were more composed and professional, and when their chances came, they did not miss out.

Andy Powell, on his debut, played like a man possessed, and was rightly named man of the match. Other stand-out players included Lee Byrne and Leigh Halfpenny.

But there were too many mistakes. Three missed penalties and too many mistakes at the ruck (diving in) and line out (poor throws). When the lineout came under pressure Matthew Rees failed to find his jumpers consistently and vitally at the last Wales attack. Little Shane Williams ran up too many blind alleys.

And the kicking game was bizarre: why give Steven Jones just one attempt before handing the ball over to Halfpenny? Halfpenny, of course, doesn’t get to kick goals for the Blues, Kiwi Ben Blair gets to kick goals and block development there.

Scorers: one penalty for Halfpenny and four for substitute James Hook.

Team: L Byrne (Scarlets); L Halfpenny, T Shanklin, J Roberts (all Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Ospreys); S Jones (Scarlets), G Cooper (Gloucester); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), M Rees (Scarlets), A Jones, A-W Jones, I Evans, R Jones (all Ospreys, capt), M Williams, A Powell (both Cardiff Blues).

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