Saturday , January 23 2021

England v Australia: Rugby World Cup 2019, quarter-final – live! – The Guardian, Theguardian.com


TRY! England 7 – 3 Australia. Jonny May

18 mins.England have the ball back and there’s more fast soft hands right to Watson, it’s recycled and goes all the way left, some clever dummy runs in midfield hold the Aus defensive line and May crosses in the left corner.

Farrell slots a great kick from the touchline

Updated

15 mins.England get the ball out and run a nice pattern out right to Watson who nearly gets away but is scragged, it goes all the way left and England are laying siege to the line before Pocock & Hooper get in and nick it at the breakdown. First defensive test passed by Australia

13 mins.Australia take the restart and try to run it from their own 22 via Allan Alaalatoa, who knocks on to give England a magnificent scrum position if – and it’s a big if based on what happened so far – they can actually get a scrum completed.

11 mins.Slade’s first contribution is to have the ball bumped off him in the tackle, Beale receives it and is through the gap and runs 60 meters up to the England 22, but he’s gone so far that there’s no support with him. Not that it matters as England have given a penalty away that Christian Lealiifano is lining up.

Updated

8 mins.Jordan Petaia has had the ball in hand three times already and has looked quite the handful each time, carrying strongly and has just done a sweet offload to Kerevi. England now have a chance to play with the ball for first time off a lineout.

6 mins.After four minutes of trying not a single scrum has been completed as England now get a free kick, which Farrell punts into touch in the Australia half.

4 mins.Well, the upshot is Kyle Sinckler is pinged for early engagement and Australia take the scrum in the England 22 on the right. Great platform this if we can actually get a scrum completed, which looks beyond the wit of the teams at the moment

3 mins.First scrum of the game to see if the much vaunted England pack will have the nudge everyone expects.

Jordan Petaia catches the ball in front of Anthony Watson and Sam Underhill.
Jordan Petaia catches the ball in front of Anthony Watson and Sam Underhill. Photograph: Christophe Simon / AFP via Getty Images

Updated

2 mins. Australia’s tackle line was flying up there and now on attack they are all fast hands and mobility for ten phases and into the England 22. They are very much up for this before the ball is spilled for an England scrum.

Kick off!

Reece Hodge gets us underway and Daly gives Vunipola his first carry before the ball is booted back to Australia.

Anthems Watch!

Lots of singing from the stands for the England anthem, which suggest a more balanced fan presence than expected. Australia match it and we’re very nearly there.

Here come the teams …

England are wearing tracksuit tops and Australia are not. What could this mean? Nothing, Lee, calm down.

“Watching in the great city of New York,” says Jimmy Nutt, “where 16 years ago I watched the same teams play in the final of RWC ”

I watched that final in the great city of Cardiff. Very different vibe there, I have to say.

Owen Farrell and the England players leave the pitch after the warm up.
Owen Farrell and the England players leave the pitch after the warm up. Photograph: Peter Cziborra / Reuters

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Ten minutes until we get underway in the knock out stages. Imagine, for a second, that England, Ireland, Wales and Japan get through to the semis.

Savor that thought, then dismiss it from your mind, for that way madness lies.

“Why oh why oh why do these kinds of occasions fill us England fans with trepidation and anxiety?” Asks James Acton, “There’s something about Australia and they always ‘have one game’ in them and it’s usually against us ”

Imagine being a Wales fan facing an Australia game for a decade up to last year, James, that’s real anxiety right there.

“Dread is the feeling, as I cycle to Notting hill from Peckham,” says Ollie “my dad is an antique dealer so he has to be at the market, as he was the morning Jonny dropped us to glory in ’03. This WC he’s not missing it so is bunking off to watch. ”

Ah, good old English dread and good old English bunking off. A perfect cocktail.

England fans enjoy the atmosphere in Oita.
England fans enjoy the atmosphere in Oita. Photograph: Michael Steele / Getty Images

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“Bacon butties and coffee on the go.” Neil Stockton informs us, “Sofa screwed to the wall to avoid the temptation of diving behind it. Expecting 80 minutes of high anxiety. Come on England! ”

Very good choice on the breakfast and a wise choice on the sofa, not just to avoid taking cover behind it, but also to remove the risk of launching it across the room if it doesn’t pan out as you would want.

Martin Turnbull emails.

“Just back from the bottle shop and have realized with abject horror that Becks beer has lowered the alcohol content and it tastes terrible! Not a good start to a game I fully expect England to thump us in. ”

I get the impression there’s not a great deal of Aussie confidence about, and this is another example. Also, Becks has always tasted awful, Martin, whatever the alcohol content.

Australia are nervous.

Don’t have a go at me for making such insinuations, Michael Hooper himself has admitted as much here.

Billy Vunipola is backin the England team and has been telling Rob Kitson what the necessary is for today

Teams

Eddie Jones has made what are considered to be some big calls with George Ford and Joe Marler both relegated to the bench after being in from the start and bang in form since the warm-ups. Owen Farrell is back to out-half, Tuilagi shuffles in one position to 12 and Henry Slade is back at 13 – a position in which he hasn’t started an international match since the Six Nations brilliant farce vs Scotland. Jones is clearly worried about the carrying of Kerevi and didn’t fancy the big Wallaby center careering down Ford’s channel like a thermonuclear traction engine in the first half – best to remove the Leicester man and save him and his body for later.

That’s probably part of it, but my reckoning is that Eddie is as concerned about what young Petaia, Beale joining the line from fullback and Koroibete may do wider out. Tuilagi has many (often brutal) strengths, but defending the 13 channel against an attack as inventive and mobile as Australia’s is not one of them. Slade, with his extra pace both in his feet and head, is tailor-made for such a job.

It has not escaped notice that Jones’s forward selection is largely a repeat of the victory in Dublin back in January, when the England pack ground Ireland to a fine paste in tight and in the carry, kicked from hand beautifully and had the game pretty much won after 65 mins. Expect the same approach here.

Michael Cheika has seen his side not exactly fire in the tournament yet, but unlike England the Wallabies do have a proper hit out vs Wales under their belt. It was a loss, sure, but they can look at the game and believe there was enough there to know they could have won it, and that they roared back after a poor start. They must not allow such a start here, given England’s bench contains all spoiling forwards then the men in gold are ill advised to be behind by a few with 20 minutes to go. I don’t fancy them getting enough ball – or certainly enoughgoodball – to come back, so Cheika’s focus must be on being ahead at the half and if they put pressure on the sometimes flaky kicking of Ben Youngs, that could be the key to it all.

England:Elliot Daly; Anthony Watson, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, Jonny May; Owen Farrell (captain), Ben Youngs; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements:Luke Cowan-Dickie , Joe Marler, Dan Cole, George Kruis, Lewis Ludlam, Willi Heinz, George Ford, Jonathan Joseph.

Australia:Kurtley Beale; Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete; Christian Lealiifano, Will Genia; Scott Sio, Tolu Latu, Allan Alaalatoa, Izack Rodda, Rory Arnold, David Pocock, Michael Hooper (captain), Isi Naisarani.

Replacements:Jordan Uelese, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Adam Coleman, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Nic White, Matt Toomua, James O’Connor.

Updated (at 2.) am EDT

*****

Preamble

Hello and welcome to this firstRugby World Cupquarter final from Oita.

The late, great cycling commentator, David Duffield, was known for his one-liners that could be mangled, daft, cryptic or perfect – often at the same time. My personal favorite was one he used as things became more tense than was comfortable, “It’s turn your granny to the wall time!”

On the face of it this means nothing, and yet every fan in white or gold joining us here will know how exactly what that feeling is all about: it’s knock-out rugby, it’s England vs Australia and – like Disney World or a chicken vindaloo – it’s equal parts exhilarating and excruciating.

England have beaten the Wallabies in their six most recent meetings, including an historic whitewash series down under in 2016. However, Australia will remember that their last victory was not only in a Rugby World Cup, it was the absolute hiding at Twickenham that machine-gunned the nails into the coffin that England were carried out of their own tournament in.

The intensity on the pitch will likely pale in comparison to the plethora of coach-cam shots of raging foul mouthed outbursts from Cheika & Jones throughout. The fans with a vested interest will try to enjoy it as best they can through the juddering cluster-nausea of ​​nerves, while “neutrals” struggle to decide which one of these coaches they wish to see the back of least.

Settle yourselves in, it’s going to be emotional.

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