Bruce Pope

Wales ratings v Australia (121)

Cardiff - I was at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday as Wales lost 32-20 to Australia in a match that leaves the Wallabies in control of Pool B.

Here's how I rated the individual Wales players' performances. See whether you agree and let us know what you thought of the match.

Gareth Thomas – The captain lasted 22 minutes before going off dazed. Showed some nice running lines in attack and was his usual brave self in defence, but his kicking too often handed the initiative back to Australia. 6

Mark Jones – The wing was unable to find any space when the ball did get to him and his decision to shovel on poor ball under pressure set Australia away for Stirling Mortlock’s try. 5

Tom Shanklin – Added some much-needed physical presence in the Wales midfield but got little change out of Wallaby skipper Stirling Mortlock. 6

Sonny Parker – Stretchered off after 18 minutes and unable to make any real impact on the game. 5

Shane Williams – The man most likely to open up the Wallaby defence brought a roar from the crowd each time he touched the ball and generally made ground. Got the try he deserved five minutes from the end. 8

Stephen Jones – Showed up well, never scared to take the ball forward himself and give his forwards a target to drive into, but had a mixed day with the boot. 6

Dwayne Peel – Just about held his own against George Gregan, although a few wayward kicks – one charged down in his own 22 – and few trademark breaks. 6

Gethin Jenkins – Anchored the Wales scrum well and put in some good defensive work. 6

Matthew Rees – Usual mixed bag from the hooker who was tigerish in the loose, outstanding at the breakdown, but still suspect with his line-out throwing. 7

Adam Jones – Lost his battle at the scrummage against Matt Dunning and left the gap in the Wales defensive line that led to Matt Giteau’s opening try for the Wallabies. 4

Ian Gough – Laboured manfully but overshadowed by the Wallaby lock pairing of Nathan Sharpe and Dan Vickerman. 5

Alun Wyn Jones – Never took a backward step and was a secure jumping option at the line-out. 6

Colin Chavis – Another quality performance from the veteran, made his presence felt harrying and hurrying Australia. Spent a couple of occasions on the sidelines being patched up for his troubles. 7

Martyn Williams – The open-side rarely stopped running, was usually on the shoulder of his backs when they needed him but lost out to George Smith in the scavenging stakes. 6

Jon Thomas – Made the most of his switch to number eight, punching holes with ball in hand, barging over for a try and taking responsibility in the Wales line-out. 8


Thomas Rhys Thomas – Hooker was introduced for the last 14 minutes alongside Duncan Jones and Michael Owen. Not great with what throw-ins he had. 5

Duncan Jones – Helped bolster the scrum and give Wales a platform for their late flurry. 6

Michael Owen – Came on at lock but found time to get in the mix out wide as Wales spread the ball. 6

Alix Popham – Had quite a bit of match time due to Charvis needing running repairs and caught the eye with some typical big hits. 6

Mike Phillips – Strong and direct when he came on for Peel 10 minutes from the end. 6

James Hook – Came on after 22 minutes when Thomas was injured, rarely caught the eye but kicked his goals well. Had the chance to stop Chris Latham for Australia’s third try but his tackle was lightweight. 6

Kevin Morgan – Early introduction after Parker’s injury. The full-back was bright and solid at the back, making a crucial try-saving tackle on Drew Mitchell midway in the second half. 7

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Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:13 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Welsh Jim wrote:

Think that the ratings are once again extremely generous for a European nation, particularly with regards to Mike Philips, Jon Thomas, TR Thomas and Gareth Thomas.
Overall Wales were poor and the scoreline didn't really reflect that Australia always looked dangerous with ball in hand, but were unable to make the most of their chances. All in all Wales lacked physicallity and continued to run too close to the touchline and throw silly passes when they needed to keep hold of them. Offloading in tackles requires a level of skill that clearly a number of these players don't have, so they should stop doing it. The number of times players were driven back 5 meters because someone else had shovelled on a bad ball.
Most frustratingly was their apparent inability to put any pace on the ball apart from in a few patches of play. Players, particularly forwards, taking the ball at a stand still is a Northern Hemisphere affliction at the moment and players need to realise that by taking the ball so slowly they are unlikely to trouble any defenses. Mike Phillips' run 40 meters across the pitch at the end sums up the lack of a direct approach in my view.
SA will embarrass us in the QFs at this rate.

  • 2.
  • At 05:15 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Simon Maclean wrote:

Stephen Jones - 6?

Are you kidding me?

Did you forget his drop of the high ball which gifted Latham a try?

Not to mention his poor goal kicking which caused him to miss simple penalty attempts.

  • 3.
  • At 05:25 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Derek Belm wrote:

Pretty fair. I would give Alfie a 5, I didn't think he did himself or us any favours with that hit on the OH during the first try - he made a target of himself and as captain should have set a better example.
Not convinced we have found the answer at hooker yet, but options are limited. Also not convinced the Charvis thing worked as he didn't make the sort of overall impact that Popham has recently. Shane doesn't deserve an 8, more like a 7 at best. I thought Gethin Jenkins deserved a 7 and judging by Gregan's acknowledgement at the end of the match I think he probably thought our prop did well too.

BUT...having said all that, I thought the ITV commentary team were a disgrace today. Totally one-eyed. Barnes' love affair with the Southern Hemisphere is laughable. He accuses Alfie of a "disgraceful" assault on the OH, then when he gets hit himself by Mortlock, Barnes' reaction is to praise the Ozzie (!?!). He was very critical of Wales for various things, yet similar or worse indiscretions by the Aussies were either ignored, laughed off and even praised.
I hate to criticise ITV on a BBC site, as I'm not always a fan on the Beeb's efforts, but I thought the commentary was pretty shameful at times today - if it isn't England then it doesn't matter in the Harrison-Barnes world, apparently.
(You'd never have thought Branes went to school in Newport!).

The viewing public deserve more balance and less blinkered idiocy from supposed expert commentators.

  • 4.
  • At 05:30 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Gareth Thomas a 6?

For that late challenge he deserved a 4 and at least a yellow card. It was a cheap shot and not something you want to see from one of best players in the game.

  • 5.
  • At 05:35 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • simon wrote:

Thankfully no where near as bad as England if thats any consolation

We obvoiusly going to go at the quarter final stages but lets hope the team can add some thrills and entertainment - pardon my misspelling

  • 6.
  • At 05:40 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Pat wrote:

Welsh Jim was being a bit rough on the Wales side as I think have most (English) commentators. It's less than 24 hours since England failed to score a single point against South Africa- sounds a bit like they're trying to move on from that humiliation a bit quick for my tastes. We might not have won but we managed 20 more points than the World Champions did last night.

  • 7.
  • At 05:46 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Tony Joslin wrote:

Come on guys, look at these ratings compared to the inflated ones given to the England team yesterday!
Wales were a far better team this day than they have been at any time in the past twelve months, and their last twenty minutes were on a par with just about any team in the world. Though they deservedly lost today, we can only hope that they'll get the message about what makes a team win, and deservedly win when it counts.
I, being a Welshman exiled in England, and expecting them to lose heavily, was proud of their spirit and the fact that they never gave up. Keep it up boys!

  • 8.
  • At 05:53 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

These scores are way out!

Charivs=7?? he didnt even touch the ball, spent more time with the team doctor!
G.Thomas=6?? Past his sell by date a man partliy responsible for this recent welsh downfall!
M.William=6?? He did nothing, looked scared for most the match!
S.Jones=6?? missed 6points worth of kicks, very flat and what a catch!back to his normal international self!
S.Parker=5?? Deserves 0, just for being a waste of a welsh jersey, can't pass, can't run, can't kick, only can score tries all regional and international level when he is 2 meters from the line and defenders are wrong footed!

2 years worth of work from Jenkins and his crew and this is what the welsh public get!

Judge me on the world cup he says and the biggest match against Aus'.
If you want to play a kicking game, play Hook or Sweeney (or even Henson) Not Jones who can't kick more than 10meters to touch!

Wales played exaclty the same way against NewZealand in 2006, kick poor ball away and watch it come back.

Aus' have developed into a good team, but not one that will trouble SA or NZ.

Wales missed an easy ticket to the Semi's today!

So sad to see.

  • 9.
  • At 05:54 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Dan wrote:

As a englishman, i must extend some credit to the Welsh side for coming out of this game with pride and respect still intact. This was a performance that puts last nights england side to shame. At half time they could have collapsed and ended up being demolished but they continued to play direct and efficient rugby.

It was the extra bit of class shown by Latham, Barnes and Mortlock that won the game. Charvis, Williams and Rees among others held there own right till the end.

Wales must take a lot of positives from this performance.

  • 10.
  • At 05:56 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • harley wrote:

I agree with most comments, but why is it that refs always seem to give Wales` opponents the benefit of any 50/50 ball?
Further, the Aussie back-row--especially G Smith--spent most of their time over the Welsh advantage line.
And please--Welsh forwards--stop trying to out-muscle the physical sides; S. Africa will swamp you!
Once again our kicking was atrocious.

  • 11.
  • At 05:57 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Paul Skilton wrote:

Adam Jones should be given -4

He is a liability in defence. Did you notice how Barnes only ran the ball because he saw Adam Jones opposite him? I bet Scott Johnson tipped him off about how to expose the pie-eater.
Adam wobbles around the pitch doing nothing in particular. I've never seen him put in a hit of any kind or make a single ball carry. He just hides on the fringes of rucks.
He is an out-an-out scrummager who can't scrummage.
i.e a rugby joke!

  • 12.
  • At 06:01 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • ivor daniel wrote:


  • 13.
  • At 06:03 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Welsh Colin wrote:

Totally agree with Derek Belm's post no. 4 above. I thought Gareth Thomas did himself, his team and country a major disservice today with his hit on Barnes and if he had been sin-binned or even sent off there would have been no chance for Wales.
Discipline has to be at the highest standard at this level and at this stage of the competition as Vickery is finding out!!.
They played with pride and commitment in the second half I am just a little concerned that Australia had dropped back a level which made them look better than they were.
Our (as a Welsh supporter) main satisfaction is that we have played by far the best, with the exception of perhaps Italy, out of the six home nations although compared to the Southern hemisphere are in a different league unfortunately.

  • 14.
  • At 06:06 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • tombo14 wrote:

I think most of you are being a bit harsh!! Yes admitedly Wales did not play great by any standard. However some phases of play were really well played and thought out, on the ohter hand some set peices were slopy and irratating which balances out and sums up Wales at the moment-INCONSISTENT! The forwards played well especially Gethin Jenkins and Alun Wyn-Jones. I still don't understand Wales' or Gareth Jenkins' tactics, play bad to alright for 60 minutes, then play some really good rugby, exciting moves and try to always go out with a bang and get a famous comeback in the last 5 minutes-I some how don't think so!

  • 15.
  • At 06:06 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • vol wrote:

Too many one eyed jacks on here. Get off the GJ/SJ-bashing bandwagon just because they're turks. That's the best WC performance agains a southern hem team since 87. We played to our level, so did the aussies. No complaints.

  • 16.
  • At 06:07 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • rugbylegend1015 wrote:

I agree with Dan above, Wales may have been on the wrong side of the scoresheet, but they can at least take away 20 points from that game. England however were poor and one dimensional. Praise where praise is due to the Aussies, they played well and deservedly won. Gareth Thomas maybe let his fustrations out in the tackle on BB, but it was not cynical nor deserving of a red card like Stuart Barnes was screaming for from his ITV commentators box. Well done to both teams today, in what has been the best match of the World Cup in my opinion.

  • 17.
  • At 06:13 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Ga Mogz wrote:

I agree with post number 12.

How Adam Jones has the face to collect a pay packet from playing rugby is beyond me.

Anyone who plays for their country could at least go to the trouble of looking remotely fit.

  • 18.
  • At 06:15 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

I thought Barnes was fairly fair for once. He reckoned Thomas should have been yellowed, which he should and also that Latham should have gone for his block on Williams. Overall I wasn't screaming at the commentary pairing like I normally would have! However, I must be missing things, every time we play Wyn Jones is bigged up to the hilt by the pundits and Goughie usually dismissed with a line or two. In my opinion Goughie is the real engine in that pairing, great workrate and big hits. Overall I don't think any of the coverage was unfair on us..Lynagh was fairly positive afterwards, Bayfield as well. The NH have got to front up to the fact that they are losing the battle on the floor and get it sorted and get more physical. Did anyone see when Rhys Thomas got smacked in the chops when Walsh called for a scrum to be reset? What happened, Duncan J gave a playful shove to the prop who threw the punch. Im not condoning or suggesting things chaps but if our whole pack had got involved it might have made the Aussies think for a minute! Anyway, roll on SA!

  • 19.
  • At 06:18 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Wales lost. The ratings are as much of a joke as the ones givenm to England last night.

The Welsh were playing at home in front of a partizan crowd against a pack lacking a front row and once more they lost.

The line out was a joke at times, the margin of defeat would have been greater but for a dreadful decision by the referee in awarding Shane Williams a try which was a blatant knock on. The margin of defeat would have been greater still had Wales not been playing against 13 men at one time and if Australia had got out of cruise control.

Wales are a second rate side (worse than England and that says it all!)

Even the reliable place kicking of Steven Jones was not.

Northern Hemisphere rugby is a joke in comparoson to what NZ, SA, Aus & Argentian are producing. Last 4 in the competition are likely to be those 4 teams. We need to look and learn or the Lions will get stuffed on their next tour. The Southern Hemisphere players are athletes with toned muscles and their speed of thought is far quicker than in the North. Look at Gregan today for example - the little chip ahead for Mortlock's try. In the All Blacks game against Portugal the description of Masoe as having the legs of a threequarter and the upper body of a forward.

God I am depressed. England losing was bad but no team from the 6 Nations can compete with the big boys currently.

  • 20.
  • At 06:20 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • popeth wrote:

Extremely disappointed, but still able to enjoy the game.

Comparisons to last night's England game are difficult, as the Boks are another rung or two up the ladder from the aussies.

The omission of Horsman now looks to have been a big mistake. I see a nice shape to the Wales squad (expecting a reaction to that), and see no big problems other than throwing-in and cover at full back. If you want to support a team that plays the perfect game, then you need to follow someone else. Perhaps the typically keen comments here are because we have indeed missed an opportunity here which we were good enough to take. But thats sport.

If you see an aussie out tonight, congratulate him for his team playing well, because thats the game we love.

  • 21.
  • At 06:37 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • North East Steve wrote:

We were completely out muscled, out thought and lacked flare 'n' invention. The passing along the line to Mark Jones summed up the lack of inspiration needed to win world cup matches.

The north/south hemisphere divide was highlighted when Latham put up his kick (the one jones dropped), as he began his run Popham facing Latham held his arms outstreched to show the ref he was not interfering. We all know what happened. If Popham had been an all black, he would have turned his back to Latham started jogging back after the ball forcing Latham to run around him, Latham would then not have got to the ball. Its an example of the instinctive rugby brain playing to win that we are lacking, as well as the hard edge. And the long in the tooth Welsh rugby public know it, I'm sure there were empty seats today! Sad, we should have played in france and stopped trying to stack the deck in our favour only to fall flat on our faces in our back yard.

  • 22.
  • At 06:37 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

We must remain postive and had our kicks went over or given it could have been different. did anybody else think the Hook penaly went over?

as a nation we have got to get behind the team who ever is on the field, i was in nantes listening to so much negativity even in the second hald when we overpowered Canada!

The referee was very poor i thought, he never gives us any slack!

  • 23.
  • At 07:05 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • sd101 wrote:

strange to see so many comments on the game last night in this forum; along with the moaning its a typical welsh reaction I suppose!

as an englishman, I am glad wales came out after a first half drubbing and played some good rugby in parts - a good spirited performance against a huge side.

  • 24.
  • At 07:14 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • jo wrote:

Yes I have to agree that Gareth Thomas has proved yet again that at heart, although he has ability, he is a no gentleman.
There are others far more worthy of the captaincy. A position which should set an example to the squad. They showed spirit in the second half and the subs were often better than those they replaced.

  • 25.
  • At 07:19 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Gavin B wrote:

Wales were clearly outplayed and outmuscled during the first half, and as a Welshman I didn't really look forward to the second half! That said, Wales were by far the better side in that second half. Two yellow cards against the aussies and Latham escaping a clear offence earlier was also interesting don't you think? As no-one else mentioned it I thought someone should.

  • 26.
  • At 07:22 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Huw Butler wrote:

Australia beat Wales comprehensively in the first half. Wales were able to 'win' the second half. The former is where Wales went wrong. You cannot end a half trailing by 20 points against ANY southern hemisphere team and hope to win.
The positive(for Wales) is obviously the second half. They showed they can compete. What I do worry about is the fact that, as Stephen Jones put it, they didn't play "cleverly". Stupid high balls to the able Chris Latham were criminal! Among other things..
However, this was a very entertaining match, with lots to take away, for both teams. I enjoyed it immensely.

  • 27.
  • At 07:22 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • England Fan wrote:

I thought the Aussies were flattered today. They were very good in the firs half and Wales were very good in the second half. Latham's try was a fluke and should be discounted.

I thought Australia's Barnes was streets ahead of Larkham and their wingers were badly shown up by Williams who dorked both Tuquiri and Mitchell.

  • 28.
  • At 07:42 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Sean wrote:

After reading all the comments, thought that some were unfair. Some of the boys have had better days but the best team won on the day. But hey they came close enough to scare the aussies due to the two yellow cards and although they lost, at least they played rugby, not like the England match last night where they were completely out played in every phase of the game. It is something Wales can build on.

  • 29.
  • At 07:59 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • robin jones wrote:

some of the marks are WAY OFF. fIRST of all i blame the half backs in the first half for consistently running across and passing the ball out to the rest of the backs who were consistently being knocked back time after time. Obviously our game plan was to run and offload and keep the ball alive, which was admirable at times, but they needed to adjust after 20 minutes and vary the game, ie up and unders , chips and kicks into corners. there was enough ball in the first half, plus aussie mistakes to keep the score closer. the second half was a lot better but the game was in the bag for the aussies, especially after the dreadfull attempt of acatch by jones !! we need to find hard , fast and aggrsessive forwards , and quickly-- we are carrying mathew rees, adam jones, ian gough and its a pity j thomas isnt 2 stone heavier. gareth thomas is not a full back, like his aimless kick which led to one of their tries showed, you can not play on passion alone!! these are my maeks-- g thomas -5 m jones-6,tom shanlin -7,parker -6, shane -9,s jones-4 peel - 4, geth jenkins -8,m rees- 4 adam jones -3, gough -3, alun wyn -6,charvis - 7williams -6 ,j thomas 7

  • 30.
  • At 08:02 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Rugby Fan wrote:

Latham not getting a yellow for what was almost a clothesline is a bit of a joke. What was more of a joke was the Australian punching the Welshman in the face. In front of the ref. On a video replay. Shocking. But then again bad luck and welsh rugby tend to go hand in hand.

  • 31.
  • At 08:03 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • E Swain wrote:

As another Englishman watching the game, at least the Welsh Team can come out with some credit. The team got some points, scored tries, ran with the ball and never gave up. I think the team were simply outgunned by the Aussies. The only real negatives were the late tackle by the captain and the dropped catch and missed kicks by Jones which added up to a few points.

Not many Welshman will feel sorry for an English Suporter but we scored no points even Portugal scored against the All Blacks and we all know the RFU management will still be in there next year they might sack a coach and a few players but will never accept the fact they have the biggest Rugby Playing population in the World and keep serving up a poor product (i,e, poor and boring Rugby)charging ridiclas prices for tickets and then gloating they have a healthy balance sheet.

Can we have some passion for the game some players who understand we want to see tries scored by free, imaginative running backs- dream on!

  • 32.
  • At 08:08 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • murphyfish wrote:

A win by the Aussies, which they deserved, doesn't paper over the cracks and that they are the 3rd best southern team. I'm as frustrated as any other Welsh supporter with our flashes of how we can and should play the game. And is it not about time the powers that be have the guts to drop "team Alfie", he that fails to stay in his position and without whome Wales seem to relax and flow much better! Just a thought

  • 33.
  • At 08:10 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Not A Gareth Jenkins Fan wrote:

I think it's fair to say that Stephen Jones cost us alot of points by missing two penalties and handing Chris Latham his 2nd try. All this debate about how good he is/has been in the buld up to the match and he plays crap. James Hook had a poor game against Canada, fair enough. But to drop him after 1 bad game against Stephen Jones' entire season's of bad games, well that just speaks for itself. I rate him as 1 out of 10. Gareth Jenkins must go, he did say judge him on the world cup and I have. We've lost a must-win game against the Wallabies and we will probably be facing possible world cup winners South Africa in the quarter final, thats assuming we beat Fiji.

Tom Rhys Thomas is not a good hooker, Matthew Rees was playing well, throwing in good lineout ball to Wales; then Tom Rhys Thomas comes on and throws it straight to the Aussies. Apart from him, Stephen Jones and Sonny Parker(another player that must be axed from the squad) the boys did well. Shane Williams was good with the ball in his hands and our back row also played well(including substitute Alix Popham).

Anyway, the bad news is we won't reach the semi-finals. The good news is Wales will be waving goodbye to Gareth Jenkins and his lame excuses at the end of the rugby world cup; and be welcoming a new international coach(whoever he may be).

We pray for the day when Mike Ruddock returns to us. Hopefully he will.

  • 34.
  • At 08:12 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Steven H wrote:

I agree with Derek about the ITV commentary. It just lacked depth of understanding and balance.

I tried to synchronise ITV pictures with BBC FiveLive commentary, but the radio was behind the action!

Sadly the southern hemisphere seem to be very dominant!

  • 35.
  • At 08:22 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Wales have probably given the best southern hemisphere performance so far in this World cup. We shouldn't be pleased about losing but I was heartened by some of the skill shown by the Welsh players. It was, at
the very least,a bit of a contest, unlike the England/Boks game. Sadly it looks like the QFs is as far as we'll go - roll on Six Nations 2008!
And let's hope that at least one NH team can make it to the semis.

  • 36.
  • At 08:25 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • simon wrote:

You were at the match, you say?

  • 37.
  • At 08:30 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Llinos wrote:

The commentary on ITV was, in my opinion, completely one dimensional for the aussie side. Some of the comments were unprofessional and downright silly, somehow managing at one point to compare the 'elegance' of three (aussie, obviously!) fans to 'a Welsh fan with a funny hat', linking this to the state of play on the field.(what???) Commentators should give a professional, expert, balanced commentary rather than the biased drivel served today.
Enjoyed the game though. Well done Australia, and Wales - I'm still a proud fan!

  • 38.
  • At 08:54 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Edwards of the East wrote:

As a Welshman living in England I suffer everytime we loose. However lets just look at this from a differnt perspective. As mentioned above the Northern Hemisphere have received a kicking over the last week or so. Even the so-called minnows have caused us problems. As I'm typing this Ireland are only 4 points up and we're approaching half time. Isn't it time we worked together so that the North is the dominant force in world rugby? As a matter of interest my English friends also think that the coomentry is rubbish and this also includes that on Sky.

  • 39.
  • At 08:55 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Edwards of the East wrote:

Can I add to my previous comment.

Ireland now trail

  • 40.
  • At 09:05 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • E Swain wrote:

I thought Wales played with a lot of pride and at times some skill they were simply out classed.

As an Englishman I would have been happy if England has shown the same pride skills and determination.

One post about The Commentary being biased towards the Southern Hemisphere (or against Wales) well they are playing the better Rugby so there is likely to be more good things to be said about them. I thought that the Welsh Captains tackle was stupid and mean and anyone who havs ever played Rugby knows he would be a marked man and Barnsie was only pointing that out. Barnsie was also very flattering about Wales moving the ball about and playing better than England or anyone other team in the Northern Hemisphere, so I think out Welsh friend should be just a little less sensitive and 'one eared'. Wales done well.

  • 41.
  • At 09:08 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • P R Thomas wrote:

Wales showed nice movement when they tried to attack but it was all too slow. Personally, I thought the Thomas's did ok!!!!

  • 42.
  • At 09:10 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Wales had a very experienced backline out there today, yet so often they took the wrong decisions. Little chips over the defence when there were plenty of defenders waiting for it. When Aus kicked they kicked well and gained a lot of ground or put our defenders under pressure, too often we kicked "nothing kicks" putting ourselves under pressure.
Why do the backs always line up flat, taking the ball standing still, despite the experience in the backs no one seems to have the vision "or authority" to change the plan to attack from deeper, bringing players on to the ball at pace.

  • 43.
  • At 09:17 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Brian Llewellyn-ap-Dafydd wrote:

Clearly Wales are to be congratulated in not simply giving up at half time.
However, one wonders exactly when the boys will decide to turn on the power from the get go.The match against Australia seemed to mirror the match against Canada: a lacklustre first half followed by an almost inspired second half. 25-3 first half, 10-17 second half:there's a message there.
What really baffles me are 3 elements.A)Why do our players repeatedly kick away posession and hand over the ball to the other side? (not a good receipe if the other side have superior ball-handling skills).B) Why do we fail to initiate rapid and incisive breaks from the loose mauls? When a loose ruck is formed our players wait for ever to'get every one lined up'.Have they not noticed that the opposition also gets lined up in the time provided. The charge down of the kick in the second half was sadly predictable.C)Why do our lads go sideways so much. It has two effects 1 they do not gain ground.2 worse the rest of the line cannot overrun them and thus stays static, and when they get the ball, standing still, they are knocked down by the opposition who have got up a nice head of steam.Notwithstanding these major concerns,the team is to be commended for doing as well as it did,and showing at the end that we could have done better.PS I realise that there is a reason the Aussies are so quick on the tackle:they are very fit,and it's something to do with the offside law and where you stand...the referee does not see what I see...pity.

  • 44.
  • At 09:34 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Meg Loves Wales wrote:

We played an amazing 2nd 1/2 today. We played the Welsh way, with some great moves going on. Alfie is our best player, he deserved a good rating today, his tackle was not a late one, he was committed, the Aussies should have been penalized for late tackles on Shane Williams and Kevin Morgan. The referee was completely biased and didn't help Wales at all. If we had started better, we could have won the game.

  • 45.
  • At 09:48 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

World class rugby from Latham. A penalty could not possibly be given to him after the very late Thomas tackle and he knew it. His try a fluke? What are you going to complain about next? The shape of the ball maybe...?

  • 46.
  • At 10:16 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • James wrote:

Very disappointing performance from Wales. It is basically the same team that won the grand slam i just don't understand why they continue to preform so poorly. They were so predictable and the Ozzies had clearly studied the Welsh play. It has to be down to the coach this team is packed with talented players SO WHAT IS GOING WRONG???

  • 47.
  • At 10:17 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • eugene wrote:

Aussies were better and won. Wales should have played a tighter game in the first half moving the ball forward through the their back row and trying to play most of their rugby in the Aussies half - they may still well have lost but would not have gone into the break so far behind - this world cup is teaching us that games are tight for the first 50-60 minutes then begin to open up in the last quarter. Wales need to remember this for their remaining games.
They also need to pop out passes in the tackle to break defensive lines rather than spread the ball wide and go nowhere against well organised defenses. This requires support players to be on the ball carriers shoulder as he takes the tackle and has the added advantage of being there to recycle the ball if the ball is not released in the tackle.

By the way a question for everybody - can Gareth Thomas be cited for his dirty hit on the aussie 10, as he was not punished by the ref. I personally feel he should not pull on the welsh jersey again!

  • 48.
  • At 10:24 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Robert wrote:

Just a comment regarding the fact that there were 10,000 empty seats in the satdium today. This is shameful for such a big game in a nation as passionate about rugby as Wales is. Whatever is to blame - ticket prices, corporate block buying etc needs to be changed.. Disgraceful!!

  • 49.
  • At 10:29 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Jules wrote:

Firstly is there an area to put everyone's score to calculate an average in the same way as the Football.

Anyway, My scores would be Thomas 5, M Jones 5, Parker 5, Shanklin 6, Parker 5, Williams 7, M Jones 5, S Jones 5, Peel 6, Jenkins 7, Rees 6, A Jones 7, Gough 7, AW Jones 7, Charvis 7, Williams 6, Thomas 7.

Firstly I thought the Welsh scrum was certainly on top today, so that's why I gave 7 to the front row, it would have been a 7 for Rees but he made a few bad lineout throws, but maybe I'm being a little harsh.
I thought Australia were very good in the firest half, and Wales did well in the second. 1 or 2 kicks were missed at times that might have had an impact.

Unfortunately it does look as if Quarter Finalists is our limit, but
that's what most people said before the World Cup anyway.

  • 50.
  • At 10:40 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • keef wrote:

Post No8 Dave ur a clown

Wales 4 all their faults under ..admitedly...the worst coach since Waldron ..are nit bad players...Colin Charvis was yet again superb in a sea wEST Walian mediocray....discuss ;)

  • 51.
  • At 10:45 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • VancouverTaff wrote:

I can't believe that Gareth Jenkins is quoted as saying that "making the quarter finals is our ambition".

Surely the ambition of any team is to win the world cup, no matter how remote the probability? If this is the mentality being instilled in the Welsh squad then Jenkins should go. The Welsh team that thrilled rugby fans under Ruddock is a distant memory. How can the powers that be in Welsh Rugby allow this to happen?

The quality of the northern hemisphere teams so far, demonstrated by England's failure to score a single point agaimst SA (a team that came last in the Tri-Nations) and Ireland's scrape past Georgia shows that NH rugby in general has regressed, shows that preparation for this RWC has been amateur at best. Very sad.

  • 52.
  • At 10:48 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Tigerlily wrote:

I thought that even though the Welsh team lost it was a really good game. The second half was great team play by the Welsh and the passing was good. Peel and Willams did very well and I think at the end the whole team pulled together and was not going down without a fight!! They did not loose hope which was the main thing!! Also I think Phillips is majorly talented and should get more time on the rugby pitch.

  • 53.
  • At 11:10 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Ospreys fan wrote:

Just like the Canada game Wales didn't look comfortable or fired-up until the 2nd half. 4 years ago we could only play for the first 40mins, now we can only play for the last 40mins! At least we wern't standing flat in attack like other recent games, but didn't run any decent angles either. Chances of a semi-final spot pretty much gone, can't see us touching the boks

  • 54.
  • At 11:24 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Jamie wrote:

Disagree about Adam Jones, i thought he scrummaged well. Matt Dunning was always going for the early hit which was reflected in the penalty count against him. The problem with the scrummage occured after he went off. How many games and how many coaches will it take to realise Gethin Jenkins is not a tight head. Chris Horseman would have destroyed the wallaby six if he had been given the chance, but alas every coach since Hanson has tried Jenkins with no success on the tight. Why change M Rees when things were going well ( for a welsh lineout) as soon as Thomas came on we lost three on the trot.

  • 55.
  • At 11:26 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Shu wrote:

Having lived in Oz I know 2 things -

1. A N.Z ref would never be biased towards Australia - the rivalry between the 2 is fierce and there is nothing a kiwi loves more than beating big brother. It is a passion and an obsession. The score flattered us and the unnecessary yellow carding of the 2 Aussies was more what you would expect from a NZ ref.

2. Australia, NZ and South Africa play each other in the Tri-Nations tournament each year and it is a class above what we see here in Europe. The clashes are awesome and there is nothing between these 3 teams. They are 1,2 and 3 in the world in no particular order but probably NZ no.1.

Wales probably represented a regional strength rugby team in the southern hemisphere and were easy meat for the Aussies who were generally not too happy with the refereeing or their performance.

  • 56.
  • At 11:48 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Stan wrote:

Think The ratings are pretty harsh, things just didnt seem to quite go right, firstly

We Had about 8,000 empty seats as a result of what must be poor marketing by the Wru,

The Atmosphere in the stadium seemed very low key in comparison to those in france

We just didnt have much luck, Stephen jones's mistake for his try, the pens didnt go over, the bounse for lathem's try

And i just dont think we were clinical there was a few 4 on 1's and towards the end there was a chance for a offload to put charvis in under the post and it just wasnt thrown

Overall it want a dismal performance its just dissapointing, to give low marks to players like Popham 6 is a little harsh after some of the tackles he put in.

  • 57.
  • At 11:50 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Welshman23 wrote:

aimed at post no. 54. Agree with your comments regarding how far ahead the Southern Hemisphere is, but an international level ref having a passion and obsession for being biased? Come on m8, these ppl are proffesionals

  • 58.
  • At 11:55 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Richard Isaac wrote:

The only thing I will say in our defence is at least after the first half, we came out for the second and showed some courage. We unfortunately have too many players out of form, I believe partly due to a poor coach,and also just bad luck. Gavin Henson was at least a must as a squad player and due to a puzzling personal vendetta towards him from Jenkins hes been put on the scrapheap. Today was a missed opportunity as I believe with all guns firing and our main players such as Peel, S Jones, Shanks, Gethin and M Williams in form, that we could have beaten Australia with home advantage. I find it unlikely that we will ever have such an opportunity to get to the semi-finals at a world cup again and its such a shame.

  • 59.
  • At 11:56 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Damien Osborne wrote:

Gareth Thomas is a joke, let him go now! let him have 100 caps and leave?

I can't believe how far Welsh rugby has gone backwards!

Gareth Thomas plays like he has all the pride in the world, then the shot he put on the Aussie 10? what a rolemodel! get him off.

Jenkins Out

Thank You

  • 60.
  • At 12:04 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Len wrote:

Australia were deserving winners, although Wales played better than I thought they would.

Wales have undoubted talent, certainly more than England behind the scrum, but too often they forget to do the basics.

South Africa are beatable in the quarter-final, assuming we get that far, and an appearance in the final is not impossible.

Thank God we're not in Ireland's group.

  • 61.
  • At 12:34 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • slightlylessdepressedwalesfan wrote:

First half: 25-3 Australia

Second half: 7-17 Wales

So basically, if for once wed just go straight into fifth gear from minute zero, not minute forty, and stay there, we could have beaten them. all those who say that wales only scored when there were thirteen australians on the pitch need to remember that the surfeit of binnings probably reflected australian indiscipline and panic when put under severe pressure. they werent expecting such a fierce welsh attack with the game lost and it threw them. tis a shame we did not do that from the start, because its indicative tha they didnt like pressure. we could have gotten a couple sent off.

when you look at all the points s jones conceded/didnt score we win 26-25, which is even more depressing. we sacked mike ruddock in 06, and i cant help but think that not only would he have masterminded a fairly convincing win over australia, but that by gaining a good coach and then sacking him for a stupid reason we have garnered seven years bad luck discuss-:

still, we actually scored two tries and twenty points today, which is two and twenty more than england managed. all those england fans calling us a second rate side are deluding themselves. wales have flashes where they look like a tri-nations side--five tries in ten minutes against canada is something they could not have done much better. if we could convert those ten minutes into eighty wed blow most teams away. sadly i dont think this coach can do that, but with luck we will soon get a decent one...

ps itv news page headline: 'classy australia give wales a lesson'. because england, lets be fair, did so brilliantly against south africa, didnt they?

  • 62.
  • At 12:36 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Shu wrote:

In response to post 55.

It probably did sound a bit that way but the way that was worded was aimed more at ealier comments (43 etc) that the ref. was biased towards the Aussies. I thought the ref. had a pretty fair game and yes of course is a professional. Just wanted to make it clear there is no love between Oz and NZ.

Also I didn't say the ref had a passion and obsession - NZ does. You have taken this out of context.

  • 63.
  • At 12:55 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Neil wrote:

Just a small comment regarding post 18. Mark, having been at the game today I can assure you it was not a partizan(sic) Welsh crowd as this was not classed a 'home' game when it came to ticket sales. Looking around the stadium it was not far off 50/50.

Good game to watch.

  • 64.
  • At 12:59 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Nick Johnson wrote:

I only caught the first half and was a bit surprised that the game was as close as it was in the end. I though Wales were completely outclassed and that Thomas was lucky not to go into the bin early on. Wales are now kicking themselves for having all the cards in thir favour and frankly blowing it badly. They had a home game, courtesy of the French who have enough stadia to cope, versus the most tricky pool rival and yet it looked like it was all over after the first forty.

When are people going to learn? Open flowing rugby is all very well but the platform is set by the front 8. Watching British Isles forwards' ball handling is only made more palatable by the fact that misery loves company; we all are horrible. The Aussies last night ran with purpose and into lanes they had thought about. More often than not "our" forwards receive the ball standing still like it's a surprise and wonder what to do with it. Until we rediscover this basic of the modern game we will continue to underachieve.

Australia, by contrast, must be tickled pink by the result. Back in 2003 (yes I know that's all we talk about as Englishmen but it is the last time we were truly happy so cut us some slack) England had a tough but not very pretty win over SA in the group stages. People in the telly studio afterwards were gassing on about how it wasn't a quality win until Will Carling put them straight, saying that it was the one England really needed; neve mind the quality. Last night was the win the Aussies needed and I see them getting stronger from here on out. Look for them to pull some kind of upset.

  • 65.
  • At 01:03 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • matt wrote:

i'm a kiwi and i'm sorry but the northern hemisphere is just an embarrassment.

no team bar france plays witih with any strength or speed. wales are prob the best of the 6 nations teams alongside france. england are a disgrace.

i know you like to think you got close last night by you didnt. we play aussies every year and they are the one team on the face of the earth that makes me nervous cause they are simply THE most intelligent street-wise team. haha, 2 debateable yellows cards and the fact that a few people argue that latham should be yellowed would be laughable if it wasnt so sad.

its a shame now we are looking at playing wallabies in semis. i was hopeing for a aus nzl final to bring some class back into what is the embarrassing world cup im yet to seen.

  • 66.
  • At 01:49 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

Australia won the first half, and the referee won the second. This was the most frustrating, disgusting display of biased refereeing of the world cup thus far. Hopefully it's the exception, not the rule from now on.

  • 67.
  • At 02:06 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • mike wrote:

Looking at the ratings I believe some are rather generous personally I think Alfie deserved no more than a 4. His main contribution being to splatter their Outside half and in return get splattered himself by the man who made the difference today Stirling Mortlock. Let's give Alfie his 100th cap against Japan and then say thanks very much time for you too retire as I believe he has very little left to offer the Welsh side. The main reason Wales lost today was simply their kicking game was not up to the same standard as Australia's and they made to many basic mistakes. We proved in the last 20 minutes we can play so wonderful rugby that is a joy to watch but we have to learn to do the basics right. Our scrumage today was let down by a terrible performance from Adam Jones who offered very little to the Welsh cause.

For wales to be competitive and lets face it we do not lack talented players Peel, Shanklin, the much maligned Stephen Jones (send him back to French rugby it made all the difference to his game), Shane Williams, Marin Williams, Hook but when it comes to the crunch they do not perform the question we need to ask is why? Is it the coach yes I think so to a certain degree but there is this big problem in Welsh rugby and it is lets try to play the flashy stylish game all the time. This cannot work especially if we cannot secure ball at set plays i.e. scrumage and lineout. So come on Wales lets get back to basics we know how well you can play but without the ball there is no point.

  • 68.
  • At 02:23 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Eifion J wrote:

RWC in the NH play it in early spring (6N time).
RWC in the SH play it as now in the autumn.
As it is, the competition is biased towards the SH as its played when they have had a half a season's rugby, whilst the NH players have not had any club games and only an occasional semi-serious warm-up game. As Cockbain said on the radio, Wales are still under-cooked. In 2003 they were lucky in that they had the 3 weakest teams in their group early, so had time to get cooked prior to meeting the ABs and England. Its difficult enough to compete against the big 3 without having to play with one arm behind your back.

There is no doubt that prior to the Latham fluke bounce (Stephen is obviously not a cricketer as he made the cardinal mistake of rushing to the ball without focusing on it first, he ended up over-running etc), the Australians in the crowd were getting the shakes. Their team was being forced into giving away yellow cards as Wales began to play.

  • 69.
  • At 02:37 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • masterdeluxe wrote:

In regards to comment 43 Meg loves Wales "The referee was completely biased & didn't help Wales at all"??? & "We could have won the game"??? It is just so unbelievable that you & many other welsh fans are so blind. It's so obvious that the Aussies were always going to win & all this false hope of Wales causing an upset. All NH teams are absolutely boring & have no idea when it comes to attacking rugby...and then to blame the ref - WHAT A COMPLETE JOKE!!! Imagine if Larkham had been fit enough to play & at one stage you were playing against 13 men...wake up & realise that even if you make the QF, you will be making an early exit by yet another SH team. Will you blame the ref for that again???

  • 70.
  • At 02:43 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • James wrote:

Wales played the "sexy" rugby they're renowned for (in broken play)... trouble was, the aussies were down to 13... hardly a ringing endorsement. Still, Wales look in much better shape than England and Ireland. I'm sure Scotland do as well.

But they're not guna get passed the mighty 4 SH teams. France have home support, that's their lifeline.

  • 71.
  • At 02:55 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • HORTENSE vaughan wrote:

A very charitable assesement of a mediocre team to go with the very charitable decisions of the Kiwi referee.My assesement of the whole team 4.5. The singing and crying was better than that of the Wallabies however

  • 72.
  • At 04:14 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

If Wales are to seriously compete and threaten the boks they have to be far more physical and be quick out of the blocks. The Australians have a very annoying habit (for Oz supporters anyway) of only doing enough to win the match and nothing more whereas NZ and SA are more inclined to put sub-par teams to the sword. Wales showed promising play in patches but need to show more urgency at the breakdown and need to lay the foundation before spreading the ball wide.

From an Oz point of view I thought we always had the game under control but assuming I'm viewing the game through tinted glasses and if some of these comments are to be believed that the Welsh think they blew a chance to make it to the semi's they shouldn't fear the boks any more they did the Aussies. Remember the boks finished last the in the tri-nations and only beat Aus by a bees d!ck in the last few minutes in Africa so there really isn't that much separating the Southern hemisphere teams at the moment.

SA generally play a tried and tested game plan: big physical contest up front and good tactical kicking into the corners. The game against England they seemed to show a bit of uncharacteristic flair which could easily work against them under pressure. Wales should approach that game with as much expectation as they
did this one and with some better structured play anything could happen.

On the issue of late hits and the niggle etc... the last time I checked these guys aren't out there running around in tutu's having a tickling contest. This was an important game and I thought the intensity reflected that. The Welsh crowd was fair and all up was a good spectacle.

  • 73.
  • At 05:22 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • michal low wrote:

well, the walsh team, needs more polishing in attack, you cannot play SA with this sort of aimless running. Luckily you have the Aussie winding down after half time, maybe trying to conserve their potentials for more important games to come and preventing injuries. With Pietersen, Habana and Jacque Fourie, you have very deadly and blitering speed to cope with.

However, i wish Wales can pull an upset. Match their speed, attack the wings, Habana and Pietersen needs to cope with that, both are out and out wingers.

The SA attack only comprise of 4 person, the scrum-half, the centre and the 2 wingers. the rest too heavy for anything.

Also preventthem for any drop goals.

  • 74.
  • At 06:51 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • down under wrote:

to post # 54: well said mate.

again the NH has to play catch up with the far superior SH teams.

Aussies were not in their best form they seemed to relax in the second half and that cost them a few points.

Wales played a good match, but it is obviously a different league. Lucky for them the ref made some favorable calls. "the welsh try was a knock on"

the best team won, so stop whining wales, that's a job for the english.

aussie aussie aussie.... oi oi oi

  • 75.
  • At 08:23 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Matt Mytton wrote:

Kevin Morgan 7 - Spare me, he kicked straight down Chris Latham's throat for his second try. Obviously nothing learnt by Morgan since the November test when he did exactly the same thing, a good tackle on Drew Mitchell but that's a full backs job, so is find touch at crucial times.

As a Welsh man living in Oz a received a fair bit of stick today, although we did win the second half!!!

  • 76.
  • At 08:40 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • rugbylegend wrote:

Agree with Nick Johnson above, the reason why Wales were so successful in the Grand Slam under Mike Ruddock was because the fowards layed the platform for some dazzling backs skills.

The same skills and passion are still there, it is just we are not laying the platform. And it is ridiculous to blame Gareth Jenkins. The man is not intentionally doing badly for his country! He has just got some aspects of the Welsh performance wrong. After watching the Ireland Georgia match, it has convinced me that Wales are doing ok.
Congratulations got to the Wallabies for a good win, however, there is no need for petty comments about the ref, Thomas' "sinbinning" or anything else. It was a very good match and I am proud of Wales for the tenacity and team spirit they showed at half time depspite being 25 - 3 down. If we learn to come out firing, then I believe we could shock a few people. Come On Wales!

  • 77.
  • At 08:58 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • eifion jones wrote:

Thank god for post no74...Kevin Morgan is just a complete waste of time...I wish someone would count how many aimless kicks he puts in during a match.

  • 78.
  • At 08:58 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • illume wrote:

Too much aimless kicking in the first half.. The Aussies played all the rugby, put the big hits in and made us rejig our team. They clinically finished off every half chance, and by half time, it was pretty well game over.

But there were positive signs in the second half. The Ozzies had to give away a number of yellow cards because Wales were threatening with ball in hand.

the key for me is that Wales learn from this. Let's focus on Fiji and Australia, and get in some continuity. If we want to play a kicking game, then let's get good at it. If we want to play a handling game, now's our chance to get some practice in.

If we do qualify for the QFs - and please let's not assume it - then let's play 80 minutes of quality rugby.

  • 79.
  • At 09:35 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • CharlieC wrote:

Matt from NZ.
Could not aggree with you more! I really don't know whats going on in NH Rugby but obviously the fundamentals of getting your team ready for the pinnacle of its sporting competition with 4 years to prepare is something the NH doesn't seem to regard. I was so hoping for a close great game of Rugby against the Welsh but before we knew was a great game for one team only! As for the comments about the Aussie crowd going quiet in the 2nd half..I hardly think that could compare with the complete silence of the Welsh crowd in the first half! If anything the Welsh should step up and do what we do here in the NH, take pride and work hard and have belief..... the fact that England can win a World Cup should inspire not only the Welsh, but the Irish and the spirited Scots who all deserve to be up there winning!
From and Aussie married to a Scotsman!

  • 80.
  • At 09:39 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • BP 13 wrote:

I think on the whole the ratings are very fair. Although mistakes were made by each player it was the likes of shane williams and JT that give us a lift. It still seems impossible to find a hooker that can throw in effectively and as a result we can rarely attack well off first phase. The backs needed to stand far deeper to counter the blitz defence of the aussies as was highlighted by hooks miss pass behind everyone. Kicking out of hand rarely relieved pressure also. On another note, having played on the pitch 4 to 5 years ago i can personally state that the pitch is terrible to play on, everyone slipped that day and as yesterday showed it has not improved. The pitch is ruining most games and something needs to be done!

  • 81.
  • At 09:49 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • taff in aus wrote:

Some interesting comments about Latham. Lucky bounce etc. The man makes his own luck and Wales should have known after his effort last year in Cardiff. We see it lots of times in the games down here. Kick the ball at him and he'll come right back at you and he's very very difficult to stop. The up and under to Jones, Jones screwed it up but where was the support? Hook was too close and Latham ran past him.It seemed to me there was no preparation on how to handle the Latham threat and in that particular situation there should have been a few more players back there in support.

Wales tried too much to play the wide game often desperately at times; generally outclassed but a spirited performance nonetheless.

  • 82.
  • At 10:15 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • dangerous dave wrote:

wales r the most over rated team in the world!
the only reason u kinda came back at the end of the second half waz because australia were down to 13 men !!!
lol and u were playing at home.

  • 83.
  • At 10:37 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • rob_vet69 wrote:

Wales were outclassed by an excellent Aussie team but at least in patches they provided some cutting edge and flair, traits sadly lacking from the 6 nations so far. Generally agree with the scores though I think Stephen Jones was a 4 for 2 missed penalties and a bad missed catch.

Also completely agree with an earlier comment re ITV commentary - Miles Harrisson and Stuart Barnes are a disgrace. Harrison's description of events through the match is nothing short of shambolic and Barnes 'expert' analysis is mostly just plain wrong.

They made a huge deal of the Thomas late hit (which I hasten to add Berrick Barnes massively exaggerated) but nothing was said of the cheap shot made by Stephen Moore on Shane Williams in the opening minutes, Mortlock's revenge hit on Thomas and Lathams late 'clothesline' later on. All of these were far worse hits than Thomas not getting out the way - he even put his hands up to lessen the impact if you watch from one view.

Why these 2 are commentating I have no idea - especially when the ITV do have good analysts such as Will Greenwood and Murray Maxted.

  • 84.
  • At 10:39 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • DaveM wrote:

I think after yesterday's game there are a few things we need to start getting right. Although its not just after yesterday's game - it been obvious for a while.

1. we need to start running a bit straighter, to stop the drift defence of most teams making us look one-dimensional.

2. when we DO have the ball, to stop aimlessly lumping it away. This was spectacularly demonstrated yesterday, in the difference with how we kicked the ball away, whilst the Aussies kicked it to put us under pressure.

Sort those out, and perhaps put our best team on the field now and then, and we might start doing things. Time to start planning for the RWC 2011 is NOW.

Oh, and is it just me, or do the refs in this WC ALWAYS favour the big teams. NZ never seem to get pinged for handling in the ruck for example, cos the refs seem to expect they are going to win it, so let them get on with it.

  • 85.
  • At 11:26 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Rzlty wrote:

Just like to agree with the Barnes bias.
I ended up watching with the sound off as I couldn't bear to listen to any more of their sicophantic drivel.
They couldn't have disapeared any further up Australia's nether regions if they'd tried!
Surely we can manage a commentator who supports Wales? Or at least manages to be fair.

  • 86.
  • At 11:37 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • brian evans wrote:

Overall, I thought we did reasonably well but were made to pay for a slow start and individual errors.
I thought the referee was a joke - but then again, this one always is !

  • 87.
  • At 12:05 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • joolz101 wrote:

Why are we talking about commentators they did'nt lose the match for us .
we were slow again at breakdown, did'nt hit touch with our kicks and we throw the ball around in our 22 like a bar of soap then will not pass in the opponents 22.
All in all the ozzie's were the better side.
As for the crow the ozzies out shouted and sang us bring back the Morriston chior:) like the old days .

  • 88.
  • At 12:08 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • steve wrote:

I can't agree that James Hook didn't catch the eye - agreed not his best performance, but he made a couple of telling breaks. Were you watching the same game??!!

I agree with one of the comments - its the result we should have expected: Australia are a better side, and deserved to win on the day. Im relieved we didn't get humiliated, we played below par in the fiurst half, but made some nice moves in the second. We are not a world class side any longer, and until we stop eating pies in the valleys then we never will be again either.

  • 89.
  • At 12:21 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • steve wrote:


I suggest you look at the Thomas foul again, this time without the rose coloured specks. Don't know about the Moore attack you mentioned but its totally untrue to say the Morlock hit was either as bad or wasn't commented on. True they had a mixed view on the retaliation by Morlock. However I think most people would see a hell of a lot of difference between that and a blatant and deliberate shoulder-charge on a young player by a veteran who should have known better. Your talking total garbage saying Thomas simply didn't get out of the way when he simply charged straight into the player well after he passed the ball. I would expect he would be cited and probably banned. [There might well be a case for other players in the game, on both sides, also having to answer questions but Thomas was lucky to stay on the pitch at all.

Interesting that you also think the commentators were hostile to Wales. How far up the Welsh team's collective rear do they need to be before your satisfied? Wales have preformed the best of the home nations against top class opposition in this tournament but not by much and as a couple of other people have said the score rather flattened Wales.


  • 90.
  • At 12:38 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Darren Thomas wrote:

I can't believe people giving Shane Williams 8 out of ten (someone actually gavce him a nine!!). He , along with the other winger, Mark Jones, are terrified in contact and more often than not, turn the ball over to the opposition. Shane might be a threat attacking (although he often chooses the wrong option there as well) but his defence is woeful.

No-one on the Welsh team deserved more than 6. Totally inept and the coaching staff should hang their heads in shame. Wales are a rudderless (or should that be Ruddockless) ship.

  • 91.
  • At 12:55 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • g williams wrote:

"the only reason u kinda came back at the end of the second half waz because australia were down to 13 men !!"

The reason why Australia were down to 13 in the first place was because Wales had stepped up a gear and the Aussies started to infringe under the pressure. The Welsh comeback started whilst there were still 15 Australians on the field.

  • 92.
  • At 01:01 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • PC wrote:

Once again under Jenkins we showed that we are clueless on the field of play. To play "well" for 15-20 mins out of 80 is just not good enough from basically the team that won the Grand Slam. We certainly don't seem to be as fit or conditioned as the GS season.

The score line yesterday only surprised me in the fact that it was that close, and having seen the other games, Japan and Fiji are no dead certs.

We have some major problems up front, but by far the biggest is Hooker or the Line Out, perhaps it is time we went to the old French solution when the Scrum Half threw in and the Hooker was part of the Line - it couldn't be any worse than at present.

For me, Stephen Jones showed once again that he is a good Regional player but not an International, we need to be looing to the future and that has got to be a Hook and Henson partnership. Another concern for me is the back 3, we only have 1 winger = Shane Williams, Mark Jones is a waste of space - he is supposed to be quick but that is about it, he drops and loses more ball than he catches. As for Kevin Morgan, yes he has good speed but he is too light weight and his decission making is suspect. Unfortunately I don't really know what our options are as we seem to be weak in these areas.

As far as Alfie is concerned, forget his 100 caps, that injury looked to be to his collar bone and I think he'll be cited anyway, the quicker he goes and we can get Ruddock back in charge the better. Having said that I think that the GS was not totally down to Ruddock, but Scott Johnson had a big part to play and I believe that has shown in the Aussie game since he went back.

  • 93.
  • At 01:06 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • g williams wrote:

Post 89: "I can't believe people giving Shane Williams 8 out of ten ... He [is] terrified in contact and more often than not, turn the ball over to the opposition."

I'd suggest you watch the game again - Shane Williams made far more ground than most players, was audacious in defence (his looping run inside our 22 followed by a great clearance kick saved another potential try) and ensured Welsh possession in the contact area more effectively than many of the forwards.

  • 94.
  • At 01:25 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Adrian wrote:

I have been teaching my girlfriend about rugby for sometime, telling her about the passion and sporting attitude of the fans. She is now an avid fan of rugby, which as you can imagine pleases me somewhat. However I have to ask a question to all you welsh fans, The English dont like you, you dont like the English. Why dont you just get on with the game and stop trying to compare yourselves. Comments like "at least we played better than the English" are words of a 5 year old. The truth is considering your home advantage, the fact the Boks are looking awesome, I am not sure if you did play better. I watch all the games in a climate of many nationalaties, and find the worst fans by a long stretch the Welsh, always complaining, always critising the Ref, Grow up guys and gals and enjoy the rugby.

  • 95.
  • At 01:59 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • sd101 wrote:

The supposed strong second half was with Mortlock gone, who is the fulcrum for the aussies.

I am not sure they would have 'won' the 2nd half with him on the pitch.

Despite the spirited performance, Wales were as far from winning as England were, irrespective of the points on the board.

  • 96.
  • At 02:20 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Andy Steele wrote:

What I can't fathom is why Wales and other countries persist in using the garryowen against Australia. Too many of the Aussies have experience of Rules Football and quite frankly it shows every time they challenge for the high ball. 9 times out of ten it's no contest. They jump high with (clean) aggression and invariably take it cleanly.
Secondly ITV's commentary makes Alan Partridge sound professional. And the guy directing the camera shots and angles doesn't seem to have much instinct for the flow of a game.
Performances...I thought Charvis was the pick of the bunch with Shane a close second. I'm sorry but I'm still convinced Stephen Jones is yesterday's man. And the cult of Alfie shouldn't be allowed to mask the fact that Morgan is the better fullback.

  • 97.
  • At 02:32 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • village wrote:

I agree with north east steve/comment 20- very incisive point. The Southern Hemisphere teams have an ability to play the grey areas often just to the wrong side of the rules /good sportsmanship (as part of their drive for the victory), this combined with their excellent fitness/skills often wins them matches- you have to wonder whether NH side should start being more cynical (they are a little already-eg Gareth Thomas yesterday) but not to the point of SH teams. ?would we triumph more often?

They have a hard edge win mentality at any cost perhaps lacking by Nhemishphere.

Still proud of the boys yesterday-Cymru am Byth.

  • 98.
  • At 02:49 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Welshman in Dubai wrote:

I agree with much of the ratings given, and although Gareth Thomas is lucky not to be sited for that late shoulder charge in the first half again he showed a mature knowlegde of the game which makes him a good skipper when his tempers comtrolled.

Charvis played well with the appearance of his curls being present at every breakdown a show of how true backrow should play. As did Shane Williams who never fails to suprise spectators and opposition players alike with his foot work.

But these things from 2-3 player don't win top flight rugby matches.

Although we showed brilliance in phases of play and our wide expansive rugby can break defences I feel that our unclinical finishing and more importantly school boy errors such as poor passing and the inabilty to slow the game down when needed will mean that we will never beat the top 3 nations.

  • 99.
  • At 02:57 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • J Evans wrote:

The commentary team on ITV were a disgrace. Fortunately, here in Switzerland, I I was able to switch over to the French channel TF1.
Recently we saw Rob Styles suspended for his handling of Liverpool-Chelsea well I hope that something similar happens to Steve Walsh.
He lost the plot from the start.
Moore should have been at least yellow carded; Gareth Thomas a yellow if not red; Mortlock at least a yellow (and it was not the only late tackle); Latham at least a yellow for a high tackle.
Citing officials will have to try and cover Steve Walsh's incompetence or bias.

I agree with most of whats said but with three changes

Stephen Jones (4) Very lateral again.his tactical kicking either showed a massive deficancy in his game or that of the coaches tactic and his failure to judge Lathams kick and his three missed penalties in all likelihood cost Wlaes the chance to win.

Adam Jones (4) his scrummaging was poor against Dunning and his con tribution in the loose was non existant. Should of been his day to shine.

Gareth Thomas (2) In my opinion the work he did when he was on the pitch was up to his usual high standard, but the brutal late tackle on Berrick Barnes was horrendous. Hopefully he can come back from his injury because he needs to redeem himself after that.

  • 101.
  • At 03:24 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • rob_vet69 wrote:

Steve -

I am assuming you are either English or Australian as there is clearly no impartiality on your comment about the Thomas incident. Thomas was already committed to the tackle and was going in 100% as any other centre would.

I am not Welsh nor English (as your moronic comment about rose-tinited spectacles would imply). I watched the match yesterday from a truly impartial point of view and as a former centre myself as I am annoyed that so much was made of this incident.

With regards to your comment about the commentators not crawling up the Welsh backsides, that's probably because they were firmly wedged up the Aussies !!! All I am asking for from commentators is that they call the action correctly and provide sensible expert analysis. I personally think that Will Greenwood's analysis for example in this tournament has been superb. Stuart Barnes however is clueless.

I do agree with you however that the scoreline flattered Wales. Australia were excellent in all areas and played some superb rugby - a 12 point margin was a poor reflection of the overall game.

  • 102.
  • At 03:47 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Clev from Pooler wrote:


  • 103.
  • At 03:54 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Alan Melville wrote:

Only saw the last thirty-five minutes of this, so maybe I shouldn't comment, but I thnk you're being very generous to Stephen Jones, who was just awful. That missed catch, ye Gods, international rugby players don't miss those, or rather shouldn't miss those. That said, I thought Larkham was lucky to be on the pitch at that point.

Walsh is a pretty average ref, and rarely, IMHO, gives NH sides the benefit of the doubt, but you could see how frustrated he was with the blatant cheating cynicism of the wallabies through the last 20 minutes. Deliberate obstruction, lingering on the wrong side, a spear tackle (lucky to get a yellow only), endless lying over the ball, offsides, early hits at the scrum, whinging to the ref, even a punch which fortunately for the aussie in question wasn't noticed (hope he's cited and banned). Australia were lucky to leave the field with 14 men and no red cards, and I really hope someone (NZ probably) does a serious number on them. If by some miracle the Wallabies actually win the RWC I'll quit watching rugby forever. They're a disgrace.

And, no, Australians, I'm not Welsh; Scots in fact. Pity we won't play you unless we beat NZ, 'cos I think we could give you a proper doing too, especially up front. Unfortunately you'll destroy ingerlund in the QF, but then, you might end up playing Samoa.

  • 104.
  • At 05:56 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • bright spark wrote:

We lacked up front and were given a kicking. A couple of years ago the aussies couldnt even scrumage and we ripped them apart, so whats happened?
Also think the backs looked clueless with the ball in hand.(When they did get it)
Ratings far too high especially S Williams as no 1 deserved more than 5.

  • 105.
  • At 06:58 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • rob_vet69 wrote:

Good comments from Alan Melville re. ref though rather ironically Steve Walsh had one of his better games I thought. Certainly in the past he has favoured SH sides especially in the scrum and the breakdown, but in this game he refereed the scrum well, not letting the Aussies get away with the usual SH trick of driving before the engage and penalising them as appropriate.

The Aussies were cynical around the rucks at the end and on the whole I would have to say they are without doubt a dirty team - but no more so than the Irish for example - BOD may be a god in Ireland but from watching plenty of Celtic league rugby he is an almighty cheat!!! I guess the take home message is that refs need eyes on the backs of their heads these days....

Like your comment about Scotland, I admire your optimism and I think Jason White and co. would give the Aussies a heck of a battle up front though I think unfortunately the Scots would be hopelessly outclassed in the backs.

  • 106.
  • At 08:50 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Welshman23 wrote:

Does any1 else think ITV's coverage is garbage? Everything evolves around England and no1 really cares

  • 107.
  • At 09:21 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Alan the realistic welshfan wrote:

Lets not get over excited the first half showed how poor we are. In the second half the Aussies made changes to rest players(one sin binned then one sent off)and obviously took their foot off the gas. Let us face facts, Stephen Jones and Dwayne Peel are way past their peak, Mark Jones and Sonny Parker are not good enough to play international rugby, and saddly, we have no strength in depth to fill these cracks. With this squad and Gareth Jenkins leadership I have doubts that we will reach the quarters.

  • 108.
  • At 09:24 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Alan the realistic welshfan wrote:

Lets not get over excited the first half showed how poor we are. In the second half the Aussies made changes to rest players(one sin binned then one sent off)and obviously took their foot off the gas. Let us face facts, Stephen Jones and Dwayne Peel are way past their peak, Mark Jones and Sonny Parker are not good enough to play international rugby, and saddly, we have no strength in depth to fill these cracks. With this squad and Gareth Jenkins leadership I have doubts that we will reach the quarters.

  • 109.
  • At 10:28 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • rob_oz wrote:

Wales is a good side, but they have just not come of age for this world cup, which is sad to see.
I thought their game in Brisbane early this year is better footy then this world cup.

Playing oz team, which is frankly not going to win the world cup, without mortlock, larkham and a centre playing out of place was not 6 out of 10 effort.

wales need to have more faith in themselves. a loss at home should be a 4 out of 10 average, unless to the worlds top team, which that oz team was not near.

Latham Lucky? As an Aussie and a proud Reds supporter I can tell you that Latham pulls off that sort of stuff all the time. If you think Latham is "lucky" you need to watch more Super 14.

As for the state of Nth Hemispere Rugby, it's a discrace and I'm very disapointed that we have not seen better competetion from them. Maybe they will improve through the competition but even if they improve by 100%, they are still going to be bad. I don't know what the problem is but I must say that all of the northern teams look small and unfit. I remember when the poms took the cup in '03 they looked fit, big and menacing. They looked like a team you didn't want to mess with. Now most of the nothern players (with a few exceptions) look like a strange mix of librarians and over wieght lorry drivers!

I thought the game was OK. I love it when we play Wales. They are great sportsmen and their supporters are fantastic. I think the Welsh should develop an "A" side and tour more. Henry has done it for the Kiwis and as much as it kills me to say this, I think they will take the cup this year. Dont get too down on the Welsh. They played fairly well. You just have to lift more wieghts, eat more steak and play more. (Preferably down under!)

  • 111.
  • At 07:10 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • LTHW wrote:

In reply to Paul Skilton's post (#11) Id like to know how many scrums he's been involved in and if he has a clue what he is talking about. Adam Jones scrummaged his heart out and did really well!! As for his part in defence, a back is always going to run at a prop forward. Thats what they aim to do!!! Also it should have been the inside man that tackled Barnes cos we play a drift defence! Get your facts straight mate!

Re Alan #103, Are you serious mate? So you think Australians are the only ones who ocasionaly play dirty? Have you seen Richie McCaw in action for the Kiwis? I don't know if you have ever played Rugby but when I played you did what you could to slow the ball down without being stupid about it. And if you think that was a punch that Hoils threw then you need your eyes checked. It was more of a girly swat.

The wallabies came out and played hard. They wanted to make a statement after last years embaressment and they did it well. Your sensless rant about cheating Ausies and "never watching Rugby again if they win the world cup" shows what a fair weather fan of the game you must be. And to think that Scotland could give the Wallabies a "proper doing" is taking delusion to a whole new level. And yes the Kiwis probably will beat Australia in the Semi but if there is one team in the world that can beat them it is Australia. That was proven a few weeks ago.

As for the reffing, I have seen better performances but I thought he kept it reasonably fair. I saw a few bad calls but they didn't seem to favouring any one side.

The Aussies won and Wales were uncharactisicly lame. I'm sure you will get over it. One day.

  • 113.
  • At 09:39 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Gareth wrote:

So Wales play half a game again.
Just to add some perspective they won the Grand Slam doing that as well. Let England stay in a match that should have been dead and buried, let the Scots off the hook in the 2nd half, turned around a poor first half against the French with a great second half.
Even under Ruddock Wales were not playing 80 minute rugby and not much has changed.
Oh and 'the score flattered' is a load of old rubbish, the score reflects exactly what happened. If the Aussies could have scored more they would have - same for Wales. Stop replaying the games on message boards with 'what if' results.

  • 114.
  • At 10:50 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • CharlieC wrote:

Totally agree with Pete.

As I posted earlier I am an aussie married to a scotsman and I was totally appalled by Alan Melville's comments.
I have always thought that the Scots were a spirited team....and need to get back to their Glory Gavin days.
They proved a few years ago to be a formidable opponent to the Wallabies when they toured here last. To have a Scotsman call the Wallabies cheats is completely ludicrous!
Case in point is the Scottish team will get a well timed lesson in Rugby from the All Blacks this saturday and a well timed one too.

  • 115.
  • At 12:25 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • David Thomas wrote:

Overlall, the Aussies were far too good for us; having said that, it was surprising that we appeared to be fitter - in the last 10 minutes, the Aussies seemed out on their feet. One of their coaches (I think) even said they might have lost if the game had lasted another 10 min!

Just two more points: I agree with LTHW that Adam Jones did well - the 4 rating is a joke. After the first 2 scrums - when the Aussie 1 was pulling down - the ref got wise and stopped it happening - Jones did fine after that.
It was not his fault that he was isolated in midfield and had the no. 10 run past him - that was just good Aussie play to spot the mis-match.

Finally - when is the Western Mail going to stop crucifying the Welsh coach (WHOEVER it is) when we lose?
The Aussies were always favourites - at least we gave them a game, unlike England vs SA!

  • 116.
  • At 01:06 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Phil Tolhurst wrote:

Post 88

"I can't agree that James Hook didn't catch the eye - agreed not his best performance, but he made a couple of telling breaks. Were you watching the same game??!!"

Are you aware how many fluffed passes Hook made during the game. He couldn't pass candy to a baby!

  • 117.
  • At 01:54 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Kev Fellows wrote:

Hi, I am agreeing with most comments said so far, yes it's a good job there are two halves, yes the aussies took their foot off the gas, of course the english comentators are biased.
But there is one thing that i am repeatedly dumbstruck about: Why, Why,Why does Dwayne Peel continue to be selected before Mike Philips!!!!!
Peel's delivery from the break down is (When not making ineffectual sideways runs and hospital passes to the centres!!) slow & dithering. A fact which the Aussies took advantage of at least twice during the game by having the stronger desire to posess the ball and driving off the welsh forwards, leaving a rather stupid looking Peel to watch, as the ball he's spent so long lining up is snaffled away.
Philips on the other hand is decisive and snappy with his delivery, allowing our backs to play the wide, expansive and imaginative rugby that is required (Nay, DEMANDED!) in todays modern game.
Just look at the Canada and Austrailia matches! The difference is there for all to see.

  • 118.
  • At 03:22 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • bloobirdcymru wrote:

agreed, commentary on this game was particularly bad. i got so disgusted that i opted watch the second half on the welsh language channel s4c - i can't speak a word of welsh myself but at least i could watch the game in peace!

  • 119.
  • At 04:47 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • village wrote:

agree with comment 117, much as I hate to say it,as he is a legend, Peel seems to have lost his spark to slay the defence around the breakdown/scrum and make breaks.maybe defences have just got more organised, but Philips is like another forward with more nouce and speed, and I felt he lifted the backs when he came on. There seemed to be more on the go, even if it was lateral at times.

The question has to be who would do best against Free de Preez(apologies for spelling), SA scrum half who seems to be playing as Peel was a few years ago- that is to say on fire. arguably player of the tournament so far...

  • 120.
  • At 04:47 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Richard Lanchbury wrote:

I am in agreement that the Thomas - Barns incident was unfortunate and has been blown up out of proportion....anyone who has played the game in the last 5 years understands that when it's a 2 on 1 20metres from your line and your the defender you go for the man with the ball, fast and hard. If he decides to pass it 1 second before you hit him it's not your responsibility to get out of the way. Thomas was committed (as ever) and can possibly be blamed for not using his arms to make the tackle but it was never a yellow, the ref dealt with it appropriately. I hope he comes back and gets his 100 cap he deserves it.

Jones rating was to high, he missed kick which would have kept us remotely in touch at half time and missed that shocking up and under to gift 7 points.

p.s. ITV coverage is v poor

  • 121.
  • At 05:25 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • village wrote:

agree with comment 117, much as I hate to say it,as he is a legend, Peel seems to have lost his spark to slay the defence around the breakdown/scrum and make breaks.maybe defences have just got more organised, but Philips is like another forward with more nouce and speed, and I felt he lifted the backs when he came on. There seemed to be more on the go, even if it was lateral at times.

The question has to be who would do best against Free de Preez(apologies for spelling), SA scrum half who seems to be playing as Peel was a few years ago- that is to say on fire. arguably player of the tournament so far...

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