Autumn Internationals review: Red cards, East Enders & much more

The November Autumn Internationals Round 4 was highlighted by England’s brutal win against Argentina and Ireland’s historic triumph against the Wallabies. 

Here are just some of the talking points from an awesome Saturday of international Test rugby.


Red Cards & East Enders

Eddie Jones has tipped Elliot Daly to bounce back from his red card after the centre was dismissed just four minutes into the clash against Argentina at Twickenham. Click for the full-time match report.

“It was about ten episodes of EastEnders all put together in one,” Jones told Sky Sports 2.

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“(The referee) he was busy. He made those decisions, they’re always tough decisions, I’m not going to question them.

“It’s just an error of judgement (from Daly), he’ll get over that. The boys will support him tonight, and he’ll be fine.”

The Wasps star was attempting to take a high-ball but got it all wrong as Leonardo Senatore was in the air. He then, in my opinion, very accidentally collided with the number eight, who landed heavily on his neck and head. This gave referee Pascal Gauzere no option but to show him red.

Daly‘s ban, however, should not compare to what Enrique Pieretto receives. The Argentina prop is likely to be hit with a lengthy suspension after being sent off for stamping on the face of Joe Marler.

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From the initial angle, it was difficult to see if the contact with the Harlequins props face was intentional, but eventually, they found a camera that looked very nasty. It was sad to see what was a brutal classic end on such a sour note.

RUCK users reacted angrily, suggesting the Pumas props should perhaps receive a ban upwards of 20 weeks, but I think it will be closer to ten, at max 15.


Captain fantastic

Ireland’s fourth and final November Test ended with a nail-biting win over Australia at the Aviva Stadium tonight. Click for the full-time match report.

First of all, an inspirational performance from the Ireland skipper Rory Best on the occasion of his 100th cap was great to see. This was exemplified by a timely tackle to prevent Reece Hodge sprinting clear for a try just before the interval.

He needed every ounce of his captaincy skills to steady the ship after the rocky third quarter, but Ireland excelled to close the game out. The Centurion then took a rapturous round of applause as he departed the field knowing the game was (almost) won.

History will remember Chicago but Irish fans will never forget a Dublin victory that was against every conceivable piece of logic.

Johnny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw, the important 10-12 axis, were out. Sean O’Brien’s hip saw him withdrawn at the 11th hour. Jared Payne was in a holy heap. CJ Stander, Simon Zebo and Rob Kearney could take no serious contact all week. The XV that started had never, ever trained together in that set-up.


Ireland though saw a number of their young players truly blossom with Garry Ringrose and Josh van der Flier particularly impressing on the night while Tadhg Furlong and Jack McGrath were monstrous in the front-row.

Finally, returning to the XV, CJ Stander has now cemented himself as world-class back-rower, delivering another Trojan effort with the ball in hand, making 17 big carries in heavy traffic for his team.


Pathetic Springboks

A late Justin Tipuric try sealed a comfortable victory for Wales over South Africa in Cardiff on Saturday. Click for the full-time match report.

Allister ‘Toetie’ Coetzee has been coach of the South African rugby side for barely six months, but his job is already heavily under fire after the worst year in Springboks history. Is he already a lost cause?

The defeat means South Africa have lost eight times in a calendar year for the first time in their history.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander was quick to put Coetzee on notice after the Italy loss, releasing a statement on the Boks performance.

“The whole of South African rugby is extremely disappointed with this year’s Springbok results and deeply worrying aspects of the performances,” he said.

“It has not been good enough and no one is pretending otherwise.”

In the last six months the Springboks have also been handed their first Test defeat against England in a decade and their first ever loss to Argentina on the road. Plus, a record margin conceded against New Zealand in the last round of the Rugby Championship earlier in the season and a first ever home defeat against Ireland.

It’s been a tumultuous start to his coaching career to say the least and many were calling for his head after just a couple of losses.

But now, with a record of eight losses from 12 games, is it too far gone to give him another chance? He’s been very successful in Super Rugby in the past with the Stormers and was touted as the obvious choice for the national job, but those same supporters have been very quick to turn.

The Proteas are certainly reeling on the back foot after a shocker of a campaign in 2016, and all fingers point towards the head coach.


Superb Scotland

Scotland finished their autumn campaign in some style with a six-try spectacular at Rugby Park over a spirited but outpaced Georgia. Click for the full-time match report.

It was a great result for the men in blue, who finished off their November Series with two wins from three games, with their only loss coming at the hands of Australia when they suffered a terrible case of Deja Vu as they lost by just one point.

Fullback Stuart Hogg was absolutely outstanding, setting up Scotland’s first try with a fine kick before scoring a brilliant solo try and finishing off a scintillating team one. He’s my current favourite to start for the British & Irish Lions in 2017 with Leigh Halfpenny not far behind.

Meanwhile, Georgia will be disappointed with the loss after scoring the first try and looking very competitive at the start of the game. They finish their November series with two losses and a win against Samoa.


Everything Else
All Blacks

Finishing the tour finale with a 24-19 win over France looks fine on paper, but this result didn’t come easy for the All Blacks. This much improved Les Bleus had a monstrous scrum and always have flair among their backs. This display sets up the upcoming Six Nations nicely with anyone, apart from Italy, in with a chance of winning the whole thing.


The Red Roses

England scored seven tries to convincingly beat Canada in a repeat of the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham on Saturday. Click for the full-time match report.

The girls were outstanding with Danielle Waterman scoring a very special try.


Italy

Just a week after beating South Africa for the first time, Italy came back to earth with a thud, losing to Tonga 19-17 on the last kick of the match on Saturday.

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STEVE’S PLAYER OF THE WEEK
England: Chris Robshaw

The flanker’s energy was relentless as he chased down possession in tandem with his back-row colleagues. Must have covered more grass than anyone else at Twickenham.


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