ARGENTINA 41-13 FRANCE
JOSE AMALFITANI STADIUM, BUENOS AIRES – Saturday 26th June 2010
ARGENTINA, whop beat tournament hosts France twice in Paris during the 2007 Rugby World Cup, rubbed slat in still gaping wounds by chalking up a record win over Les Bleus in Buenos Aires, outplaying the Six Nations Grand Slam champions on their way to a thumping 41-13 victory.
The Pumas scored four tries to one with fly-half Felipe Contepomi scoring two of those and adding three conversions and five penalties for a personal haul of 31 points
It was a welcome return to winning ways for the South Americans, who lost both Test matches to Scotland at home earlier this month.
For France, it brought the curtain down on a miserable summer after their 42-17 trouncing by world champions South Africa in Cape Town two weeks earlier.
The French’s poorest previous results against Argentina came in the third- place playoff at the 2007 World Cup, when they lost 34-10 in the Parc des Princes.
The French took the lead through a Jerome Porical penalty but two penalties from Pumas fly-half Felipe Contepomi gave the Pumas the lead which they stretched to 19-6 at half-time.
France tried hard to get back into the game at the start of the second half with Julien Malzieu scoring a try after 49 minutes but that was as close as they got as Argentina touched down for a third try through winger Rafael Carballo five minutes later.
T: Contepomi 2, Carballo
C: Contepomi 3
P: Contepomi 5
SOUTH AFRICA 55-11 ITALY
BRU STADIUM, EAST LONDON- Saturday 26th June 2010
SOUTH AFRICA blew the cobwebs away in their final match before the Tri Nations with a comprehensive seven-try 55-11 rout of Italy in the second Test at East London.
Morne Steyn set the platform for victory with the game's opening 20 points, including two tries, as the Springboks produced a far more convincing display after their 29-13 win over the Azzurri seven days earlier.
Steyn's early match-winning burst, plus a try from Pierre Spies, fired the hosts' into a 27-6 half-time lead, with Mirco Bergamasco adding a pair of penalties for Italy.
The Springboks then romped clear after the interval with Jannie du Plessis, Bryan Habana, Flip van der Merwe and BJ Botha all touching down while Steyn finished with 26 points.
Winger Michele Sepe scored Italy's only try in the 66th minute but the Springboks easily wrapped up a 2-0 series win to fill them with confidence ahead of their opening game of the Tri Nations against New Zealand in a fortnight's time.
Steyn did the damage early on, however, as he crossed twice in the opening half hour in a 20-point burst to make the Springboks' intentions clear.
The fly-half had traded early penalties with Bergamasco when he scored his first try untouched under the posts after 11 minutes.
That score was followed by penalties at each end before Steyn was touching down again on the half-hour thanks to Habana's assist.
Spies added his side's third try on the stroke of half-time and Steyn stroked over the extras to send his rejuvenated side into half-time with a 27-6 lead.
Three tries in the 20 minutes after the break blew the game apart.
Du Plessis finished off a sustained period of pressure in the 51st minute before Habana crossed ahead of a queue of team-mates six minutes later.
The winger was then immediately withdrawn but the procession continued as Van der Merwe profited on a good run from replacement Wynand Oliver. Ruan Pienaar this time added the extras after Steyn was then also rested.
The visitors earned some consolation when Sepe touched down after Gower's clever kick through, but the Springboks fittingly finished the scoring when Botha barged over for his first Test try with two minutes remaining.
T: Steyn 2, Spies, Du Plessis, Habana, Van der Merwe, Botha
C: Steyn 5, Pienaar 2
P: Steyn 2
AUSTRALIA 22-15 IRELAND
SUNCORP STADIUM, BRISBANE – Saturday 26th June 2010
AUSTRALIA bounced back from their narrow defeat by England in Sydney with a hard-fought 22-15 victory over Ireland in Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium to build some precious momentum ahead of the 2010 Tri-Nations series.
The Australians ran in two tries, both in the second half, with scrum-half Luke Burgess scoring an interception try and fly-half Quade Cooper crossing after a skilful individual run on the stroke of half-time.
The Irish were held scoreless in the second period and, despite their best efforts were unable to grab a try in the contest; all 15 of their points coming from the boot of Jonathan Sexton.
Both sides had hinted at an attacking approach to the game, but it was not until late in the second half that either back-line was able to find real space.
For the Australians, skipper Rocky Elsom was typically strong, but Drew Mitchell and Kurtley Beale missed an opportunity to impress in the backs.
After trailing for the majority of the first half, the Wallabies snatched a 16-15 lead going into the break, courtesy of Cooper's attacking flair.
The Queensland Reds star created something from nothing as he danced his way through an invisible gap well after the siren.
Earlier, the Australians had first use of the ball, but it was the Irish who had first points on the board when Sexton sunk a penalty in the second minute, after Cooper was judged offside.
The chance to level the scores came just minutes later for the Aussies, but Matt Giteau's radar was still out and his kick from right in front sailed left of the uprights.
An interception from Rob Horne was called back for a knock-on, but from the scrum Luke Burgess made it second time lucky with an interception of his own to run in the first try of the match and give the Wallabies the lead for the first time.
The Wallabies were forced to shuffle their backline with the resumption of the second half, sending Kurtley Beale to full-back, Adam Ashley-Cooper to centre and James O'Connor to the wing, after their starting outside centre Rob Horne was forced out with a gluteal strain.
Unfortunately for Beale, his first significant contribution for the Australians was not a good one; with space out wide and the try line almost within reach, the Waratahs star opted to send in a grubber that steamed over the backline.
Play was eventually called back and Giteau registered his first successful kick of the match to give the Wallabies first blood in the second half.
As the contest began to open up for the first time, the Wallaby backline showed signs of clicking into gear but, once again, a penalty conceded by the Irish close to the line ensured the points continued to accumulate in threes.
The Australians continued to attack in the late stages of the second half, but regular handling mistakes stopped them from increasing the lead in the low-scoring second half.
T: Burgess, Cooper
P: Cooper 2, Giteau 2
P: Sexton 5
NEW ZEALAND 29-10 WALES
WAIKATO STADIUM, HAMILTON-Saturday 26th June 2010
NEW ZEALAND struggled to a 29-10 win over Wales in the second Test here Saturday to complete their Tri-Nations preparations unbeaten.
They outscored Wales by two tries to one and the boot of fly-half Dan Carter punished Wales for frequent infringements, kicking five penalties.
The All Blacks went looking for a far more convincing showing as they prepare to launch their Tri-Nations campaign with two home Tests against South Africa, who beat them in all three Tests in 2009.
As in the first Test, Wales took an early lead with a long-range penalty by Leigh Halfpenny and had a chance to break a five-year try drought soon after with a five-metre scrum.
The Welsh pack had the All Blacks on the back foot on the tight-head side only for the scrum to screw too far and were then penalised when it was reset.
It took until the 15th minute for the All Blacks to reply with a Dan Carter penalty as they began to take command up front after a slow start.
Cory Jane scored the first try after the All Blacks' forwards drove Wales back to their line and when Jimmy Cowan opted to move the ball wide the right wing came across to find a gaping hole in the Welsh defence.
Carter landed the conversion and a penalty right on halftime when Welsh fullback Lee Byrne was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle on Tom Donnelly.
The All Blacks pivot extended the lead to 22-3 in the opening 13 minutes of the second half as the All Blacks pinned Wales deep in their own half and within Carter's kicking range as the penalties flowed.
Wales coach Warren Gatland had, however, demanded his side earn the respect by testing New Zealand until the final whistle and his players answered the challenge.
In the final 10 minutes, with both sides down to 14 men after Sam Whitelock and Gavin Thomas were yellow-carded for an altercation, Wales took control.
Their relentless battering of the All Blacks line was eventually rewarded with a try for Jamie Roberts which replacement fly-half Stephen Jones converted.
Not to be outdone, the All Blacks scored from the kick off when Aaron Cruden scored from a lucky bounce after chipping over the Wales line.
T: Jane, Cruden
C: Carter, Weepu
P: Carter 5
NEW ZEALAND MĀORI 35-28 ENGLAND
McLEAN STADIUM, NAPIER – Wednesday 23rd June 2010
Attendance: ≈ 16,000
NEW Zealand Māori scored 18 unanswered second-half points to beat a second-string England side 32-28 in Napier, where wing Hosea Gear’s try hat-trick set up an historic victory in the last of three Tests organised to celebrate the Māori side’s centenary.
The Māoris outscored England by four tries to three in a thrilling match as they completed their celebrations with a 100 per cent record after earlier wins over New Zealand Barbarians and Ireland last week.
England continued their momentum from Sydney and after a Hodgson penalty had given them an early lead, the Sale fly-half put through a beautiful grubber which Chris Ashton did well to hack on for Steffon Armitage to touch down.
Another Hodgson penalty made it 13-0 but when another effort on goal bounced off the upright Māori full-back Robbie Robson launched a stunning counter attack from deep in his half that ended with Gear crashing through tackles of David Strettle and Steffon Armitage to score a superb try.
The outstanding Luke McAlister added the conversion and a minute later scrum-half Aaron Smith pinched the ball from Care at the base of an England scrum and launched an attack that finished with Liam Messam diving over in the corner.
At 17-13 down England were under huge pressure but did well to claw back their momentum and finish the half on the front foot.
Care scored their second try when he took a quick tap from a penalty in the Māori 22, and moments later Hodgson intercepted a McAlister pass before feeding Ashton to go over in the corner.
But the second half was all Māori and they wasted little time cutting England's lead when McAlister burst through midfield and Gear claimed his second after some questionable defence by Mathew Tait.
Three minutes later Messam pinched another England ball and a superb miss pass from lock Hayden Triggs set up Gear for his hat-trick and a 29-28 lead to the Māori.
Johnson introduced Shane Geraghty for Hodgson soon after in an attempt to spark England's back line but it paid little dividends as the Northampton back struggled with the pace of the match.
Youngs also came on for Care and managed to add a little shape to England's game but the Māori continued to threaten the visitors' line every time they had possession.
England's midfield defence was stretched again on the hour when Dwayne Sweeney made ground and the Māori came close to putting the game to bed when McAlister was hauled down a metre short.
A penalty from replacement Willie Ripia extended the home side's lead to 32-28 in the 73rd minute and the replacement fly-half added another four minutes from time as Māori closed out the game despite England's brave effort to grab an equalising score at the death.
New Zealand Māori
T: Gear 3, Messam
C: McAllister 2
P: McAllister 2, Ripia
NEW ZEALAND 42 - 9 WALES
CARISBROOK, DUNEDIN-Saturday 19th June 2010
WALES have never won a match on Kiwi soil, and have not beaten the All Blacks in 57 years...the record holds firm.
All Black fly-half Daniel Carter returned to his sparkling best with 27 points in New Zealand's 42-9 victory over Wales in an emotionally charged match at Carisbrook.
Carter scored two tries, one from 40 metres out as he challenged and taunted defenders, while he slotted 17 points with his boot as he displayed the kind of form that appeared to desert him during the recent Super 14 season.
Keven Mealamu, Cory Jane and Richard Kahui also scored tries for the All Blacks, whose forwards were challenged in the first half but played at a higher tempo and took advantage as their opponents wilted in the second term.
Wales fly half Stephen Jones slotted a field goal and a penalty, while Leigh Halfpenny converted a long-range penalty for the visitors, who have not beaten the All Blacks since 1953.
Wales dominated the early exchanges, retaining possession and hammering the All Blacks' defensive line but its only reward was from a Jones field goal and a long-range penalty by winger Halfpenny.
The home side responded and while it was guilty of forcing too many passes in the tackle, the tactic paid dividends when Mealamu scored after half-back Jimmy Cowan had taken a quick tap penalty and laid the ball back for the hooker to drive over.
Carter converted and added a penalty to give the home side a 10-6 lead before winger Cory Jane pounced on a loose ball from a Wales attacking ruck and scampered 70 metres to give the home side a 15-6 lead.
Jones slotted another penalty to make it 15-9, though he could have reduced the gap further by half-time had his late penalty attempt not drifted wide of the left upright.
It wasn't until the second half that the Kiwis kicked into their usual annihilation gear and began to tear the Welsh side apart...slowly and deliberately. The All Blacks dominated the second half as the Welsh were unable to sustain their intensity of the first 40 minutes, and failed to muster even one more point in the second half.
Carter scored his first try, which he sparked from 95 metres out as the All Blacks swept downfield after Joe Rokocoko's initial burst, before he dotted down for another after he ran from 40 metres continuously teasing defenders.
Richard Kahui also took advantage of the tiring Welsh defence when he ran untouched for 45 metres. Carter was replaced after he slotted the conversion.
New Zealand proved yet again that in-between world cups, they are undoubtedly real contenders and will fatally maul any team brave enough to come play in their park. But the big question is have they finally learnt to play knock-out rugby as is required to win a world cup? Well, definitely not in the history of professional rugby...we shall see...there are only 64 weeks to go...
T: Carter 2, Jane, Kahui, Mealamu
C: Carter 4
P: Carter 3
Half-time: 13 - 15
AUSTRALIA 20-21 ENGLAND
ANZ STADIUM, SYDNEY – Saturday 19th June 2010
ENGLAND claimed an historic 21-20 victory over Australia in the ANZ Stadium in Sydney with what was their finest display under Martin Johnson and, arguably, their finest performance in the southern hemisphere since they lifted the Rugby World Cup crown on the same ground in 2007.
Tries from scrum-half Ben Youngs and wing Chris Ashton inspired England with fly-half Toby Flood and his replacement Jonny Wilkinson keeping the Wallabies at bay.
Two tries from returning centre Matt Giteau, who contributed all of his side's points, ensured the contest went down to the wire, but the hosts were eventually undone by a much-improved performance from an England side oozing energy and vigour.
Early pressure from England forced the ball loose on the Australia 22 and although they could not breach the home side's defence, a penalty came their way for offside that Flood slotted to give the tourists a 3-0 lead.
When tempers boiled over at a scrum, a punch from England loose-head Tim Payne gifted Australia a penalty and Giteau stepped up to land the penalty and level the scores.
Australia were living off scraps but it proved enough when an early tackle from Lawes allowed Giteau to put his side ahead for the first time with his second penalty.
But they were soon chasing the game after a moment of magic from Youngs. A penalty allowed England to take the game to the Australia 22 and from the line-out the Leicester scrum-half collected the ball from club-mate Tom Croft before tearing through a gap and scampering away from Wallabies wing Drew Mitchell for the opening try of the game with Flood adding the conversion.
Australia's response was swift with Quade Cooper pulling the strings before winger Digby Ioane cut England wide open and released Giteau, who touched down and added the conversion.
But quick ball continued to fuel England's impressive tempo and they were rewarded with another exceptional try when Youngs and Tom Palmer combined well to create an opening for Ashton, who danced through the stretched defence to touch down with Flood missing the extras.
Winger Mark Cueto was penalised for going off his feet soon after but again Giteau failed to make the kick - this time hitting the post.
Unsurprisingly the game took on a cagier feel as the half-time approached with the pace of the game seemingly taking its toll.
Early in the second half, Australia hit back when Genia, Cooper and Mitchell set up Giteau for his second try and the subsequent conversion, but Flood notched his second penalty to keep England in the driving seat.
Jonny Wilkinson replaced Flood midway through the second half and he made an immediate impact by kicking England back into the lead after the England pack had once again hammered their opponents at scrum-time.
The game tightened up as it entered the last quarter but Giteau twice missed the target with penalties which were well within his range.
Australia recovered their composure but a superb steal from Croft allowed Wilkinson to take the game deep into the Wallabies' half as the clock ticked down, but Wilkinson missed a great chance to take the game out of the Wallabies’ reach with five minutes to go when he pushed a simple penalty wide.
But the England pack, which had laid the foundation for a terrific team performance came up trumps again at the re-start and they snuffed the life out of the game to ensure an England victory.
Despite the victory, Australia retained the Cook Cup for the fourth consecutive time.
T: Giteau 2
C: Giteau 2
P: Giteau 2
Half-time: 13 - 15
SOUTH AFRICA 29-13 ITALY
JOHANN VAN RIEBEECK STADIUM, WITBANK - Saturday 19th June 2010
SOUTH Africa managed a stuttering and disappointing 29-13 win over Italy, who battled their way to their best ever result against South Africa with one of their best performance away from home in Witbank.
Italian fly-half Craig Gower of Italy kicked off with the wind and the opening dozen minutes belonged entirely to Italy, who enjoyed 73 percent of possession and 78 percent of territory, nearly scoring when Jean de Villiers tackled Tito Tebaldi right under the Springbok posts.
Butch James was penalised and Gower clipped over the penalty for a 3-0 lead after 12 minutes.
Most first-half Springbok raids were ineffective in the first half but when Simone Favaro was penalised at a tackle in front of the posts, Morné Steyn made it 3-3.
Three minutes later, it seemed that everything was running to plan as the Springboks attacked left and Kirchner slid through a grubber kick. Habana chased, gathered the sympathetic bounce and scored with Steyn’s conversion giving the home side a 10-3 lead.
They extended their lead from a 31st minute rolling maul when François Louw broke off and dived over to make it 15-3 after Steyn missed the conversion.
Just before half-time, the Springboks got the ball to Spies and he flicked an underarm pass to Steyn who gathered the bouncing ball, sold a dummy and beat the Italian defence from 18 metres out to make it 22-3 at the interval.
Another Springbok raid paid off early in the second half when Chiliboy Ralepelle flipped a pass to Steyn and Ricky Januarie sent full-back Zane Kirchner racing over for his maiden Test try.
That gave the Springboks a 29-3 lead with 48 minutes gone but they lost their momentum when James was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle on Italian full-back Luke McLean four minutes later.
Rejuvenated Italy responded with a try when scrum-half Tito Tebaldi dummied Alistair Hargreaves and broke clean through, drew Gio Aplon and slipped an offload to captain Sergio Parisse, who raced away from Ralepelle to score.
And when Spies was penalised at a tackle, Mirco Bergamasco clipped over a penalty with 12 minutes to go to make it 29-13 and that sparked a big finish from Italy, who twice came close to breeching the Springboks line before the end.
T: Habana, Kirchner, Louw, Steyn
C: Steyn 3
Half-time: 22 - 3
ARGENTINA 9-13 SCOTLAND
MAR DEL PLATA – Saturday 19th June 2010
SCOTLAND won their first ever test series on foreign soil with a 13-9 victory over Argentina at the Estadio Jose Maria Minella in Mar del Plata securing Andy Robinson and his side a place in Scottish rugby history.
The visitors went in at half-time 10-6 ahead thanks to a Jim Hamilton try, his first at international level, but they were never out of danger as the Pumas battled to close the gap. A Martin Rodriguez penalty brought Argentina within a point of their guests.
However, Scotland held on and stole a line-out at the death as they weathered a late charge to take the series.
Having secured a 24-16 victory in Tucuman without scoring a try a week earlier, the Scots were eager to show they weren’t a one trick pony and crossed the line in the third minute from a five-metre line-out.
Hamilton’s tenacity won the try with Dan Parks converting to put them ahead.
Argentina fought back but their opponents allowed them back in it when they were twice penalised for failing to release an opponent on the ground.
Argentina narrowed the gap to just one point and a new lease of life was evident in the side as they pushed to go ahead.
Scotland’s defence was solid, notably Hugo Southwell whose tackle stopped prop Rodrigo Roncero from putting the Argentines in front. Roncero was later sin-binned for committing a line-out offence.
Not giving up, it was Argentina again who led the charge to the line but the Pumas had to make do with a penalty when Scotland were ruled to have brought down the scrum.
Robinson changed the team towards the end with injured captain Alastair Kellock and scrum-half Rory Lawson being replaced with Scott MacLeod and Mike Blair.
It looked like Robinson’s men were holding on for the victory but they managed to re-establish a four-point lead when Parks kicked from the 10 meter line.
NEW ZEALAND MĀORI 31-28 IRELAND
ROTORUA INTERNATIONAL STADIUM– Friday 18th June 2010
NEW Zealand Māori celebrated their centenary Friday by maintaining a proud record against touring sides with a tight 31-28 victory over Ireland in Rotorua.
New Zealand Māori have had a number of famous victories over major touring international sides -- including a 19-13 win over the 2005 British and Irish Lions -- but doubt remained until the final whistle that they would add another scalp.
The home side scored three tries to one but the boot of Irish fly-half Jonathan Sexton kept the tourists in the game with seven penalties.
Sexton missed only the final and most vital attempt -- which could have drawn the teams level in the last minutes.
"It's been a hundred years and I think we celebrated it the right way tonight with a win," captain Liam Messam said of the New Zealand Māori centenary.
Ireland's starting line-up contained none of the players who first took the field in their 66-28 loss against the All Blacks on Saturday, but early on it appeared they might be buried in similar fashion.
The Māori side started explosively, scoring two tries -- and two penalties from inside centre Luke McAlister -- to lead 18-3 midway through the first spell.
All Black Hosea Gear scored the first Maori try after just four minutes after fullback Robbie Robinson came into the line to put the winger into space with the tryline looming.
Outside centre Dwayne Sweeney further exposed holes in the Irish defence to add a second try after 12 minutes, throwing a dummy pass before cutting inside his marker.
But Ireland clawed their way back, stringing together more phases and playing increasingly in the Maori half.
Almost invariably, the home side infringed at the breakdown within kicking distance.
Sexton kicked six penalties from six attempts to see the teams go into the break locked at 18-18.
Ireland took the lead in the first minute of the second spell when inside centre Paddy Wallace went over for a converted try after veteran fullback Geordan Murphy broke out of the Maori defensive shackles.
The Māori side regained the lead 28-25 midway through the second-half with a brilliant end-to-end try started with a 50-metre break by winger Sean Maitland, who jinked his way through at least five Irish defenders.
The ball was spun through the Māori backs for replacement forward Karl Lowe to touch down on the opposite flank for a try converted by replacement fly-half Willie Ripia.
Ripia and Sexton traded another penalty each but Sexton's miss after 72 minutes proved decisive.
New Zealand Māori
T: Gear, Sweeney, Lowe
C: McAllister, Ripia
P: McAllister 3, Ripia
ARGENTINA A 14-37 FRANCE
MAR DEL LA PLATA – Friday 18th June 2010
Attendance: Not reported
FRANCE bounced back from their defeat by the Springboks six days earlier to turn an early lead into a comfortable victory over Argentina’s second string at the Esta Tarde en la Ciudad stadium in De La Plata.
Tries from Marc Andreu, Julien Malzieu and Jerome Porical got the French going, while Argentina struggled to get anything going.
They didn't cross into the French half until midway through the first period.
To compound their misery, the Argentine captain Alberto Vernet Basualdo left the field injured in the 20th minute and was replaced by Eusebio Guinazu.
Argentina finally found the ball and Martin Bustos Moyano scored after a pass from Matias Viazzo. Bustos Moyano converted to close the gap and end the first half down 25-7.
Argentina started after the break in the same lively way they ended the first half, moving the ball about with greater ease. But they couldn't break through a tight French defence and the ball stayed mostly in the middle of the pitch.
France padded their lead in the 64th minute with a second try from Malzieu. David Skrela didn't convert to leave the score 30-7.
Frances fifth and final try followed 12 minutes later with Malzieu passing to Gregory Lamboley. This time Skrela didn't miss the conversion.
Argentina managed a try near the end of the second half from Miguel De Achaval. Moyano converted to make the final score 37-14.
T: Moyano, De Achaval
C: Moyano 2
AUSTRALIAN BARBARIANS 28-28 ENGLAND
ME BANK STADIUM, GOSFORD – Tuesday 15th June 2010
Attendance: Not reported
Since 22 November 2003 England have been unable to record a win in Australia; it must be the seven year itch as finally the cycle was broken. But with what a lack of flair and excitement.
A crowd of less than 10,000 turned out in Gosford to see the Australian Barbarians take on the auld enemy for the second time. Unfortunately a spectacle it was not.
There can’t have been high hopes from the offset since yet again the match was not televised at all, but available to view via live streaming in Australia. But if you weren’t there, one had to be somewhat creative to be able to tap into said live streaming from Fox Sport. For the majority who didn’t, you missed nothing other than two Aussies chatting over the match with little commentary on the game.
Is this what football is all about? The ball gets kicked from one end to the other and not a lot else goes on...this match was the most tedious 80 minutes of rugby football in a long while, peppered only by 8 penalties, 3 from the BaaBaas’ Berrick Barnes, 2 from England’s Charlie Hodgson and 3 from replacement fly half Olly Barkley.
And England managed to pick up its third citing in two games; the David Attwood citing was dismissed on a technicality, the Mark Cueto penalty dropped, but this week Matt Banahan was not so lucky; his tackle on fly half Berrick Barnes was construed as dangerous and has received a two week ban until 30th June, putting him out of contention for the final two matches of the tour. Saturday’s game is not such a great loss as he was unlikely to be picked ahead of Chris Ashton or Mark Cueto, but unless England chooses to appeal and successfully, he won’t be eligible to play against the New Zealand Maori.
However, to give you a slightly more positive spin, we bring you a report from former England prop, GRAHAM ROWNTREE, now assistant coach of England [courtesy of RFU.com]:
England received a slight boost in morale ahead of the second Test against Wallabies as they secured the first win of their tour to Australia with a 15-9 victory over the Australian Barbarians.
A week after the same two sides battled out a 28 all draw, this match looked as though it would also end equal with the scores level at 9 apiece going into the final 10 minutes.
However, the England pack started to dominate proceedings in the final few minutes and won two vital penalties at the scrum which Olly Barkley duly converted to secure the win.
After a bright opening, the second half was a disappointing affair, strewn with handling errors and penalties conceded by both sides.
England just about deserved to edge it given their superiority up front and will take heart from a much improved defensive display but few of the England side would have forced their way into the selection reckoning for Saturday.
The Gloucester duo of Dave Attwood and Paul Doran-Jones showed up well. Doran-Jones scrummaged well particularly in the latter stages whilst Attwood secured his usual share of lineout ball and carried strongly in the loose.
P: Barnes 3
P: Hodgson 2, Barkley 3
NEW ZEALAND 66-28 IRELAND
NEW PLYMOUTH – Saturday 12th June 2010
IRELAND’S 105-year wait for a win over New Zealand will go to a 24th Test match after a record defeat by the All Blacks in New Plymouth, where the Irish were outscored nine tries to four, going down 66-28.
Outscored by nine tries to four in New Plymouth, it was a bad night for the Irish who were reduced to 14 men when number eight Jamie Heaslip was sent off with just 15 minutes gone and then had fly-half Ronan O'Gara sent to the sin bin midway through the first half.
As a result, by half-time the hosts were 38-7 up after tries by Conrad Smith, Kieran Read, Ben Franks and two from Jimmy Cowan.
Dan Tuohy, who came on for the injured Mick O'Driscoll, brought a moment of cheer for the Irish with a try just before the break, but the good moments were few and far between.
The tries kept coming for both sides in the second spell with Smith, Sam Whitelock (2) and Neemia Tialata going over for the All Blacks while Brian O'Driscoll, Tommy Bowe and Gordon D'Arcy touched down consolation scores for the Irish.
T: Smith 2, Cowan 2, Whitelock 2, Read, Franks, Tiatia
C: Carter 7, Weepu 2
AUSTRALIA 27-17 ENGLAND
SUBIACO OVAL, PERTH – Saturday 12th June 2010
AUSTRALIA overcame England’s absolute scrum superiority to win the opening Test of England’s two-match tour 27-17 in the Subiaco Oval in Perth.
But the Wallabies had to weather a determined England comeback in the second-half after leading 14-0 at the interval and looking by far the better side for much of the first half.
Two penalty tries twice narrowed the gap to four points as England exploited their scrum dominance in the second period but the Wallabies held on with fly-half Quade Cooper capping a fine display that included two tries and the match-clinching 79th minute penalty.
The Australian front row of Saia Faingaa, Salesu Ma’Afu and debutant Ben Daley started the game with a combined total of two Test caps to England’s 80 for Tim Payne, Steve Thompson and Dan Cole, and it showed as the Wallabies had no answer to their English counterparts, with the home side conceding a host of scrum penalties.
But the unpredictable Cooper ran in two of the Wallabies’ three tries, with captain Rocky Elsom providing the other while England, who never crossed their hosts’ try line, were awarded two penalty tries by Welsh referee Nigel Owens.
First to score for the Wallabies was Elsom, after some sharp passing instigated by Cooper ended with Mitchell sending his captain over out wide in the 17th minute.
The Wallabies’ continued pressure paid off in the 31st minute, with Luke Burgess finding a gap to send Cooper over for an easy try next to the posts, which O’Connor converted for the 14-0 lead that lasted until the break.
The English lifted their game in the last 10 minutes of the first half, when they finally spent some time in the Australian 22.
Danny Care tried to barge his way over in the corner and Simon Shaw got close to the try line only to be driven back.
T: Cooper 2, Elsom
P: O'Connor, Cooper
C: O'Connor 2
T: Penalty 2
C: Flood 2
SOUTH AFRICA 42-17 FRANCE
NEWLANDS, CAPE TOWN – Saturday 12th June 2010
Attendance: Not reported
SOUTH Africa cantered to an emphatic win over reigning Six Nations champions France in Cape Town after an early blitz saw the Springboks run up an early 17-0 lead at a point a minute.
The French were never really in the game after the opening try came thanks to a fine piece of opportunism from Bryan Habana, who picked up a loose ball before pulling clear of the tacklers in his own half.
He off-loaded to Jaque Fourie who, in turn, found Pierre Spies on the overlap for a fabulous score under the posts with Morne Steyn, who finished with a personal tally of 15 points, adding the conversion.
They didn't take their foot off the accelerator any time soon after Gio Aplon - who only made his debut against Wales last week - scored his first try after just eight minutes on his home ground.
The France line-out had already faltered before Aplon pounced on another loose ball, bouncing off Maxime Mermoz before deftly side-stepping Vincent Clerc for an eye-catching touchdown.
The Springboks could taste French blood and came inches away from adding a third shortly afterwards, Zane Kirchner held up a metre short by Aurélien Rougerie but with the defence coming over the top, Steyn opted to take the three.
Desperate defence from the tourists led to South Africa extending the lead still further via Steyn's boot after full-back Clement Poitrenaud failed to release.
France got their first points on the board on the half-hour mark when Rougerie finished off a great move that went through Mermoz and Julien Bonnaire.
Morgan Parra added the extras but it was not long before the Springboks scored their third try, Steyn missing out three team-mates with a looping pass that found prop Gurthro Steenkamp in space on the left to power over.
Steyn missed his only kick of the day but the hosts went into the break with a 15-point cushion, France spending the remainder of the half on the offensive before finally opting for goal after another Bok penalty - Parra nudging it over from close range.
Another Steyn penalty re-established South Africa's 18-point lead after the break, and any hopes France may have had of a comeback were ended when a loose pass in a promising attacking position was seized on by Aplon and the Stormers speed merchant raced 80 metres to dot down. Steyn again added the extras.
With the visitors also ringing the changes the game became a scrappy affair but flanker Louw got his first Test score late on as he broke clear to race over. Pienaar added the extras, to cap an impressive display from South Africa.
But there was still time for replacements David Skrela and Andreu to link up for the latter to barge his way over for what was only a consolation score for the Six Nations champions.
T: Spies, Aplon 2, Steenkamp, Louw
C: Steyn 3, Pienaar
P: Steyn 2
T: Rougerie, Andreu
C: Parra, Skrela
ARGENTINA 16-24 SCOTLAND
TUCUMÁN – Saturday 12th June 2010
FLY-HALF Dan Parks was the hero as Scotland came roaring back from 13-6 down tonight to become the first side to beat Argentina in Tucumán, in Northern Argentina.
Parks maintained his man-of-the-match form from the RBS 6 Nations with another consummate kicking display, the rejuvenated fly-half landing six penalties and two drop-goals.
It looked ominous for the tourists early on in the first Test of their two-match tour when errors in defence and attack saw them concede tries to Gonzalo Tiesi and Juan Manuel Leguizamon, with Felipe Contepomi kicking Argentina's other points.
Both sides made an adventurous start but Scotland paid for their ambition early on when Contepomi fed Tiesi and he ran in unchallenged for an unconverted score.
Parks kicked a penalty as Scotland continued to run the ball but the Pumas were piling on the pressure at scrum time and were rewarded with a close-range penalty kicked by Contepomi.
Parks converted a penalty attempt from more than 40 metres but Argentina had their second try when Horacio Agulla claimed a Contepomi chip to the corner and off-loaded for Leguizamon, who shrugged off some poor tackling to get the ball down for a second unconverted try.
The Pumas continued to infringe at the breakdown and Parks landed another long-range effort to keep Scotland in contention and they were denied a try on the stroke of half-time when Lamont grounded the ball after being tackled into touch by Martin Rodriguez.
And Parks then kicked a drop goal on the stroke of half-time to cut the deficit to a point.
The Pumas started to make errors in their own 22 in the second half and a 25-metre penalty from which Parks put them ahead for the first time and the Scots survived a succession of five-metre scrums before Parks booted a 48-metre penalty to increase their lead to five points.
Parks, full of confidence and took on and missed a 55-metre penalty, but more excellent Scotland attacking set up a close-range drop goal which the fly-half converted to put the tourists eight points up and he wrapped up a famous Scottish victory in stoppage time with his sixth penalty.
T: Tiesi, Leguizamon
P: Contepomi 2
AUSTRALIAN BARBARIANS 28-28 ENGLAND
SUBIACO OVAL, PERTH – Tuesday 8th June 2010
Attendance: Not reported
ENGLAND’S second-string touring side needed a late second-half fight-back to escape with a 28-28 draw in their opening tour match against the Australian Barbarians in Perth.
Australia’s teenage full-back James O'Connor grabbed a hat-trick to help the home side open up a commanding 25-13 lead before he was replaced early in the second half.
Wasps number eight Dan Ward-Smith and Bath wing Matt Banahan followed up Bath hooker Lee Mears' first-half try and 13 points from another Bath player, inside centre Olly Barkley, edged England back into the lead before Australia fly-half Berrick Barnes levelled it up with a penalty straight from the restart.
Barkley kicked England into a 6-0 lead but the Barbarians breached England's line when O'Connor managed to hold off the covering Barkley and Ugo Monye to score.
The home side continued to cause England trouble out wide before O'Connor spotted a mismatch in the visitors’ defensive line and sliced past David Flatman and Mears to score his second try.
Barkley missed a simple penalty but England soon manufactured a reply when Mears burrowed over from short-range after some good build-up work from the visiting pack.
But O'Connor extended Australia’s lead with a second penalty just before the interval and it took Australia just three minutes after the break to stretch their lead again.
Scrum-half Josh Valentine attacked down the left to help create a two-man overlap and when he chipped in behind Banahan, O'Connor touched down again.
Barkley then slotted a second penalty as stubborn England began to build a fight-back which saw Ward-Smith barrel over from close range.
Shane Geraghty was sent on to bring some spark back to England's attacking game and his bold pass over the top sent lock Geoff Parling away on a charging run and Geraghty then spread the ball wide for Dominic Waldouck to send Banahan over in the corner.
England conceded a penalty immediately from the restart and Barnes wiped out the visitors’ hard-won lead but he missed a late chance to snatch victory for Australia when he his last-gasp long-range penalty shot went wide.
T: O’Connor 3
C: O’Connor 2
P: O’Connor 2, Barnes
AUSTRALIA 49-3 FIJI
CANBERRA – Saturday 5th June 2010
Attendance: Not reported
FLY-HALF Quade Cooper, Queensland Reds standout Super 14 performer, created four tries and scored one himself as a rusty Australian side prepared for two Test against touring England by beating Fiji 49-3 in the Canberra Stadium on Saturday.
The Wallabies opened the scoring when full-back Kurtley Beale crossed in the 11th minute after a long pass by Cooper put him into the gap with inside centre Matt Giteau converting.
But neither side troubled the scoreboard again until Fiji full-back Taniela Rawaqa slotted a penalty some 20 minutes later.
Australia number eight Richard Brown managed to give the home side some reward for their efforts when he scored after a break by debutant centre Rob Horne, who had been put through by a short pass by Cooper in the final minute of the first half.
Cooper was called upon for the conversion, because Giteau was having treatment after receiving his third heavy tackle.
He then opened the scoring in the second half when a Fijian attack broke down and the Wallabies stormed downfield and spread the ball quickly to the lurking Cooper.
Winger Digby Ioane also capitalised on another turnover and sprinted 50 metres untouched as a bemused Fijian side watched him run away.
Cooper then provided the final inside pass to replacement Drew Mitchell, while Ioane also crossed for his second try with 12 minutes remaining, before Cooper again turned the ball back inside for Beale to score his second with three minutes left.
T: Ioane 2, Beale 2, Brown, Cooper, Mitchell
C: Giteau 6, Cooper
WALES 31-34 SOUTH AFRICA
MILLENNIUM STADIUM – Saturday, June 5 2010
Attendance: 60, 465
JAMES Hook, Tom Prydie – who became the youngest international try-scorer in Welsh rugby history - and replacement lock Alun-Wyn Jones all touched down for Wales in the Millennium Stadium but a grandstand from the home side proved insufficient to pocket a win over reigning world champions South Africa.
Wales led 16-3 early on but 18 unanswered points by the Springboks put them back in the game and when they stepped up the pace in the second half, second row Danie Rossouw staked un unanswerable claim to the man of the match plaudits.
Fly-half Stephen Jones gave Wales a reward for their early dominance with a penalty in the ninth minute and three minutes later Wales doubled their lead when Hook calmly dropped a goal under severe pressure.
The Springboks eventually got onto the board when Adam Jones was penalised for not releasing and fly-half Ruan Pienaar stepped up to knock over the penalty but when BJ Botha was pinged for blocking at the re-start, Jones restored Wales’ six-point cushion.
John Smit, playing his 68th Test as Boks skipper, then gifted Wales seven points, when his looped midfield pass wide was picked off by Hook, who cruised in under the posts with Jones adding the conversion.
Pienaar immediately reduced the arrears with his second penalty and a catalogue of errors from Wales with Odwa Ndungane, who was injured in the process, snaffling a try for the visitors in the corner.
From there, South Africa grabbed the initiative and a Pienaar penalty reduced the deficit to two points at the interval.
The Springboks led for the first time two minutes into the second half when flanker Dewald Potgieter took the ball from Danie Rossouw and surged over for a converted try on his debut.
Wales responded with a Jones penalty to stay within two points of the visitors but the home side’s lack of composure cost them dear and Francois Steyn punished them with a monster penalty strike from halfway.
A bit of individual brilliance by centre Juan de Jongh then put the Boks in the driving seat after Wales coughed up possession and de Jong glided between Stephen Jones and Matthew Rees to touch down under the posts.
Prydie was then sent over in the corner by Hook as Wales refused to buckle and after Pienaar added another penalty, Wyn Jones finished off a Welsh counter-attack involving Leigh Halfpenny and Sam Warburton.
But Wales late bid for last-gasp glory ended when they lost possession in stoppage time.
T: Hook, Prydie, Wyn Jones
C; Jones 2
P; Jones 4