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Reviewpilez: England V Wales, 6th August 2011 August 7, 2011

Filed under: England,Game Reports,Rugby World Cup,RWC2011,Wales — Manpilez @ 1:15 am

The first of these two alleged friendlies between England and Wales today was a bit of a mixed bag. Both teams were as rusty as an old gate but one showed promise of great things to come… but it wasn’t the one we expected.

Yes, England ended the 80 minutes with four more points than Wales, but in terms of defence, tenacity and creativity, it seems Wales may just have clinched the pride points. England, on the other hand seemed to be coming away with a slightly hollow victory.

For the first 20 minutes, the sides seemed quite evenly matched, Jonny Wilkinson had dispatched three points from his reliable boots and George North had gone over the whitewash for a try. The turning point came when a promising intercept by Toby Falatau was in turn intercepted by Delon Armitage, who was clumsily pulled up deep into the Welsh 22’. No points were scored, but Wales’ confidence was shaken. Clumsy mistakes and spilled balls followed from both sides with England gaining the edge enough for James Haskell and debutante Manu Tuilangi to breach the Welsh defence before Wales got their groove back.

As much as we hate to use this particular cliché, Ryan Jones in particular was talismanic (sorry) this time around, and it was obvious from the moment he took to the field that not only did he mean business, but the boys around him were going to pitch in with him. The Welsh hope started to build from that moment on and every single man in a red shirt seemed to step up a gear.

While England fell back on trademark Wilkinson drop goals when their attacks were pulling up short, Wales held their nerve to grind out two more tries, going through the phases until they had the kind of space and shape they had been severely lacking in recent tests. This was not the Wales that fell at the English sword at the Six Nations, this was a tenacious Wales with the confidence to push forward even when completely surrounded by black shirts.

That’s not to say England didn’t deserve the win, there were some fantastic performances from the Saes boys. England’s Marmite player Matt Banahan shone out with some fantastic runs and barnstorming tackles, man of the moment Manu Tuilangi was fierce enough to frighten the usually fearless Shane Williams into running into Jamie Roberts for support and Danny Care proved that it wasn’t just Ben Youngs’ residual medical niggles that had seen him pull on the 9 shirt.

The return fixture next week is now looking like a very different prospect as both teams go away and look at what went wrong and iron out the kinks in their game plans. Who can take more from the experience of this game only time will tell, but we’re very glad it’s looking towards being a more evenly matched game.

Manpilez Man of the match – Extremely hard to choose this time around, it’s almost easier to name those that didn’t show flashes of brilliance, in fact. In terms of solid 80 minute performances though, I can still only narrow it down to one for each Team, England’s Matt Banahan and Wales’ Sam ‘The Warburtron’ Warburton

Manpilez’ sniggery moment – Shane’s retreat from Manu, he ploughed into Jamie Roberts like Scooby Doo when confronted by a ghost. Hilarious, if unfortunate, stuff.

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Finalpilez: The Amlin Challenge Cup Final – Harlequins 19 – 18 Stade Francais May 21, 2011

Filed under: Amlin Challenge Cup,Game Reports,Harlequins — Manpilez @ 11:37 am
from the bbc

Come all without, Come all within...

Blimey, that was… a bit of a dog’s breakfast actually.

Sometimes, 80 minutes can feel very short, and yet like a million years at the same time and for anyone at Cardiff City Stadium last night, whether they were in pink or multicolours, that will ring painfully true. This was a game that felt like it never truly got off the ground.

There was a sense that both teams got a bit more than they bargained for, with Quins looking out and out baffled by Stade’s blitz defence and Stade going to pot whenever Harlequins got any meaningful possession. This lead to penalty ping pong for much of the first half, meaning the pervading memory most people will take from this is the sight of a bright pink remote control car delivering kicking tees for Stade Francais and Nick Evans’ ‘birthing a cow’ method of kicking prep.

Stade were the side more out for a scalp and thanks to some inspired drop goals from Mathieu Bastareaud and Martin Rodriguez, were in the lead for most of the second half. To the relief of the amassed South London contingent, Quins finally turned up in the 77th minute and, after a fantastic offload from Manpilee Danny Care, Gonzalo Camacho went over the whitewash and without enough time (but still a bloody good effort) for Stade to truly answer the challenge, Man of the Match Nick Evans kicked it out from deep within the Quins 22 before it’d truly hit home what had just happened.

Credit must go out to the albeit small Stade Francais supporters contingent, who, while Connor O’Shea’s men celebrated like they couldn’t quite believe it, cheered, sang, and applauded like that was the result they wanted all along. Those crazy Parisians, we love them.

Manpilez Man of the match: Mike Brown. Many players will make a cursory mention of the supporters in their post match speech, Mike Brown however, took a moment, while the pressure was on in those dying minutes to not only gee up the supporters, but to truly make them feel like the 16th man.

Words by Lauren, Picture from the BBC

 

Newspilez – Week Ending 29th August 2010 August 30, 2010

With less than a week to go before the Magners League and Aviva Premiership (which we WILL remember is no longer anything to do with Guinness by the end of the season, promise) put boot to ball, we assess a rather busy week in Rugby land, considering…

With two games left of the seemingly never ending Tri Nations, South Africa came back from a dramatic opening in which visitors Australia scored 14 points in the first four minutes to win 44-31. Sadly for the Springboks, it’s still nowhere near enough to catch up to table leaders New Zealand, who’d better get the brasso out to keep that trophy shiny.

Meanwhile, the Women’s world cup has thundered on so quickly we can barely keep up. The most exciting news is that the England Ladies have fought their way through to Wednesday’s Semi Final at the Twickenham Stoop, where they will battle it out with Australia for a place in the final, with defenders New Zealand  fighting against France for their opportunity to make history by remaining the only side to ever take the title.

Sadly, our other home nations were not so lucky and Scotland and Ireland will go on to play for their ranking between 5th and 8th place while our poor lovely Wales ladies are going to be trudging on to claim their ranking between 9th and 12th place.

As ever, Manpilez will be cheering on all four home nations but as you can imagine we’re all hoping  that England show those Black ferns a bit of what for  and bring that trophy to the homeland!

Bloodgate has continued to make headlines as the enquiry by the British Medical council got underway to determine the fate of the doctor who got mixed up in the whole sorry mess. Sadly, this story reached the point where everyone was past caring nearly a year ago so the stories served only to help us take mid-commute naps…

Following on from last week’s retained captaincy update, this week we got the breaking news that the new captain of Stade Francais Sergio ‘The Big Man’ Parisse will now also be known as ‘The Big Daddy’ after his wife gave birth to a beautiful baby.  Aaaaw!

Closer to home, news came in from Ospreylia that in order to concentrate on Wales’ World Cup efforts, Ryan Jones will no longer be wearing the armband for this season but it will be ably filled by none other than Mr Alun-Wyn Jones.  We tried to write a non-hormone led reaction to this news, but we failed so let’s just say that we’re very pleased, yeah?

In Ellie’s homeland, Cardiff,  the Blues got their campaign under way in a last gasp friendly in the form of a testimonial for good ole Nugget. We couldn’t make it ourselves but after speaking to some reliable sources, here’s our Ellie with a report …

Cardiff Blues V. Newport Dragons – 27th August 2010

Picture from Huw Evans at www.welshrugbypics.co.uk

Nuggest runs in support of the all new Beef Halfpenny

Well, I’m sorry to say that I missed the first Blues friendly match on Friday, and seeing as it wasn’t on the telly I can’t give you a personal view of how it went. Still, I’ve talked to a few friends who made the tripand have since read some fans’ reactions, and it all sounds promising! Our new fly half, Mr. Dan Parks, went down very well with his tactical kicking and general level-headedness, and Martyn Williams (whoseTestimonial game it was) played a blinder as ever. We love you, Nugget – NEVER LEAVE US.

Bradley Davies and Richie Rees are just getting better and better every time we see them, full stop. Great tosee Richie getting to play with Parksy, in what’ll hopefully become a classy double act, and Bradley paired up with lock-in-crime and head honcho, Tito. Tiiiito.

Judging from the pictures, Pencey’s beefed up big time over the Summer and was apparently almost unrecognisable with his beard and minus the previously omnipresent scrum cap. There seem to be a few worried mutterings going round that the new bumper sized Pencey might be a wee bit slower too – only time will tell!

Shanks appears to be back on top and working extremely well with Casey Laulala, our excellent signing from last season, the pair of them guarding the field with everything they’ve got. He scored one of our three tries too, but did go off in the second half with what looked like an injured wrist – here’s hoping it’s nothing serious – I want him back and giving old Jamie some competition.

Two more tries were scored by Ma’ama Molitika and Lloyd Williams, while the Dragons’ only points came from a penalty kick by the ever-sharp Jason Tovey.

Scott Morgan and Robin Sowden-Taylor – both Blues boys last season, now Dragons – both caused some nice trouble around the pitch, but the Dragons were definitely having some difficulties due to a current swathe of injuries. Jonathan Evans was their only fit scrum half, and so was required to play the whole match.

All in all, a solid friendly to start the season. Three yellow cards (we expect no less from a Cardiff/Newport game!) and a good crowd of 10,016 supporters.

Cardiff Blues Squad: 15. Chris Czekaj 14. Leigh Halfpenny 13. Casey Laulala 12. Tom Shanklin 11. Tom James 10. Dan Parks 9. Richie Rees 8. Xavier Rush 7. Martyn Williams 6. Maama Molitika 5. Paul Tito (c) 4. Bradley Davies 3. Scott Andrews 2. Rhys Williams 1. Tom Davies

Replacements: 16. Sam Hobbs 17. Kristian Dacey 18. John Yapp 19. Deiniol Jones 20. James Down 21. Tom Brown 22. Michael Paterson 23. Sam Warburton 24. Lloyd Williams 25. Ceri Sweeney 26. Gavin Evans 27. Richard Mustoe

Newport Gwent Dragons Squad: 15. Matt Evans 14. Will Harries 13. Tom Riley 12. David Bishop 11 Aled Brew 10. Jason Tovey 9. Jonathan Evans  1. Hugh Gustafson 2. Tom Willis (Capt) 3. Ben Castle 4. Adam Jones 5. Scott Morgan 6. Joe Bearman 7. Robin Sowden Taylor 8. Hugo Ellis

Replacements: 16. Steve Jones 17. Nigel Hall 18. Pat Palmer 19. Ali Mckenzie 20. Adam Brown  21. Danny Lydiate 22. Lewis Evans 23. Jevon Groves 24. Matthew Jones 25. Tom Cooper 26 Adam Hughes 27. Nicky Griffiths 28. Matthew Pewtner

Words by Lauren and Ellie