Rugby: Australia vs England


Match Notes: Australia vs England, Twickenham (UK)
16-11-2008 (AEST) 15-11-2008 (local)
Halftime Report
We’re at the halftime portion of the England v Australia rugby test match live from Twickenham, in the UK. 
Besides being a closely contested match, and the referee not handing out a yellow card to any number of English players for being intentionally offside when Australia is attacking within 15m of their goal line, it’s been a pretty good match to watch (although messy and frustrating).
Strangely enough, the game isn’t bothering me half as much as Channel 10’s coverage.  I never thought I’d miss Channel 7, but at least they could judge when it was appropriate to run an advertisement during the game.
C’mon Channel 10 – you’ve twice had an ad play over the top of game-critical footage; the first being the touch judge report, the second an English scrum feed right in front of the goals, just prior to their try.  It’s not just the critical stuff either, we’ve missed several results after restarts (after successful penalty goals) and a number of scrums.  It’s like watching half a game.
I understand advertisements create income (surely there’s a better way to integrate such things into the broadcast??) which allows a station to broadcast the game in the first place – *but* please learn to treat the telecast properly or give it back to Channel 7 (or someone else) because punching in those stupid halfwitted ads (worse: actually losing live game footage) during a live running match makes it not worth watching the game at all.
Dear Channel Ten:
Broadcasting ‘live’ means liveSave the ads for halftime and let Rugby fans enjoy the game unmolested!
Post-Match Wrap Up
Well, the game is in the history books now – though you might consider the Wallabies had the game pretty much won before Ashley-Cooper’s try late in the second half (although that’s all we seem to see in highlight reels).  The try gave England a bit more steam, but their inexperienced players couldn’t rise the the challenge, and by the middle of the final ten minutes it was quite obvious that Australia were walking away victorious.
Now, some serious questions need to be asked about the Australian halfback position.  Clearly the quality drop from former captain George Gregan has (and always was going to be) quite steep, but we need and deserve a better effort than the one Luke Burgess produced at Twickenham.  At times he looked completely lost, was slow to the breakdown and his ball distribution was horrendous.
England caught some very lucky breaks in the game – I actually think Australia played better than the 28-14 score line suggests.  The Australian forward pack clearly dominated the English forwards (despite English pre-match swagger) and the line out was quite strong. 
Open field running was not as good as it could have been (England had many more line breaks) although you have to give credit to a very strong defensive effort from the Wallabies – not just in preventing tries but from avoiding giving away too many penalties (something England need to master, with experience).
England.. Still a young team in terms of age and experience.. However, you can clearly see the potential.  Given more test caps between the forwards and backs you can’t fail to predict a resurgence in English Rugby.  My only knock on the English team from this weekend’s match were their indiscretions when defending close to their goal line – far too many offside penalties which should have resulted in at least one yellow card.
Man of the Match
Matt Giteau for his superb goal kicking performance, which put immense pressure on the home team, and made the Wallabies dangerous every time they ventured into English territory.
Next week: Australia vs France at the wee hour of 06:30 AM.  Until then.

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