Thanks God, Rocky is back!
In the past few years I’ve lost most of my favourite players, due to injuries or aging. The list is quite long, and I must confess that that also contributed to my losing a bit of interest in the game… but at least one of them is back and running!
After the 2011 Rugby World Cup Rocky Elsom, former Wallabies captain, completely disappeared from the rugby stage. What a huge loss to the game!
It took him almost two good years to recover from the string of injuries that continually kept him on the sidelines and despite, at a certain point, after the 2011RWC he has been linked with Japanese team Kobe Steelers, there were rumors about him failing the physical test, and there aren’t any news about him really playing there.
But now he’s finally back, and it has been confirmed that he has joined R.C. Toulon as a replacement for the injured Stephane Munoz. Currently at the top of the Top14 league, Toulon is also a front-runners for the Heineken Cup.
It will be great fun to see him playing again along with Aussie pal Matt Giteau and a team full of old enemies like Jonny Wilkinson, Bakkies Botha, Gethin Jenkins, Chris Masoe, Simon Shaw, Carl Hayman… (the list is quite long!)
I’m really looking forward to see him back on the pitch showing some “Rocky-magic”. Welcome back mate, and all the best!
One year later and I’m still a bit fed up with Rugby… BUT despite my disaffection towards the game, I really couldn’t ignore the brilliant results of our teams in the first round of the 2013 Six Nations Tournament. That was too much even for me.
So, congratulations to both our Women and Men‘s team who beat the arch-enemy, our eternal rivals of France. It was the first time for the girls, and the third time for the boys in an international game, the second one in the 6Nations after the 2011 victory.
And congratulations to Maria Cristina Tonna, the Women’s team manager and former Captain, whose costant and passionate work throughout the years has led to this great achievement!
Well done girls and boys. Keep up the good job!
WOMEN 6 NATIONS 2013
ITALIA v FRANCE 13-12
Ф Ф Ф Ф Ф Ф Ф Ф Ф Ф Ф
6 NATIONS 2013
ITALIA v FRANCE 23-18
Here are the fixtures of the 2012 Six Nations Championship.
For the first round with France, Italy will be fielding an interesting young team. Twelve players from Benetton Treviso are named in the matchday squad a new record for an Italian side in the RBS 6 Nations. Here it is:
15 Andrea MASI (Aironi Rugby, 64 caps)
14 Giovanbattista VENDITTI (Aironi Rugby, 0 caps)*
13 Tommaso BENVENUTI (Benetton Treviso, 12 caps)*
12 Alberto SGARBI (Benetton Treviso, 12 caps)
11 Luke MCLEAN (Benetton Treviso, 33 caps)
10 Kristopher BURTON (Benetton Treviso, 9 caps)
9 Edoardo GORI (Benetton Treviso, 9 caps)*
8 Sergio PARISSE (Stade Francais, 83 caps) – capitano
7 Robert BARBIERI (Benetton Treviso, 16 caps)
6 Alessandro ZANNI (Benetton Treviso, 58 caps)
5 Quintin GELDENHUYS (Aironi Rugby, 25 caps)
4 Cornelius VAN ZYL (Benetton Treviso, 6 caps)
3 Martin CASTROGIOVANNI (Leicester Tigers, 82 caps)
2 Leonardo GHIRALDINI (Benetton Treviso, 41 caps)
1 Andrea LO CICERO (Racing-Metro Paris, 91 caps)
16 Tommaso D’APICE (Aironi Rugby, 3 caps)*
17 Lorenzo CITTADINI (Benetton Treviso, 8 caps)
18 Marco BORTOLAMI (Aironi Rugby, 88 caps)
19 Simone FAVARO (Aironi Rugby, 6 caps)*
20 Fabio SEMENZATO (Benetton Treviso, 8 caps)
21 Tobias BOTES (Benetton Treviso, esordiente)
22 Gonzalo CANALE (Clermont-Auvergne, 72 caps)
* product of the Accademia FIR “Ivan Francescato”
There’s no way out. As the Six Nations 2012 is approaching there’s no chance I can get out of writing a new post.
I have grown a bit weary of the game lately and I haven’t watched a match neither on tv or live since the 2011 RWC final.
After 20 years of loyal support of the game – on and off the pitch – I’m probably suffering from a rugby overdose. Nontheless, despite I’ve been trying to avoid any contact, there are some news that have struck me… here is a short list:
- the Allblacks finally won back the William Webb Ellis cup after 24 years (I wasn’t particulary struck by this, but since I totally neglected them at the time of their winning at least I’m making amend now) ;
- French captain Thierry Dusautoir won the IRB Player of Year (but I hoped for David Pocock or Will Genia);
- Jonny Wilkinson (Eng), Chris “Mossy” Paterson (Sco), John Smit and Victor Matfield (Saf), Shane Williams (Wal) and few other legends of our game retired from international rugby (a real tragedy. This is the end of an era!);
- Martin Johnson stepped down on 16 November 2011 as England coach after a disappointing World Cup campaign and was replaced by Stuart Lancaster, serving on an interim basis through the 2012 Six Nations (who’s Lancaster btw? No, seriously, I’m not being cheeky, I’ve never heard of him before);
- Italy has a new coach too, Frenchman Jacques Brunel (fingers crossed);
- France also has a new coach, Philippe Saint-André;
- Brian O’Driscoll and David Wallace won’t play the upcoming 6 Nations due to injury (I’ve already lost my interest in the tournament!);
- for the third year in a row Rocky Elsom won’t start the Super Rugby competition as he’s recovering from surgery but is expected to be named captain of the NSW Waratahs (get well soon Rocky!!!!).
The list should be longer but I’m already having a rash on my left forearm so I’d better stop here now.
Some news about the 2012 Six Nations will follow… probably….maybe…
In the first of the two semifinals Wales will face France in a very balanced game. The Welsh team will have to do without their talented and cool-minded fly-half Rhys Priestland, but apart from that the team is pretty much the same. As for France, they are a very gifted team and at this stage they seem they have put all the inner incomprehensions a side…
There are also several “games within the game“, with Shane Williams and Vincent Clerc on the wing, the flankers’ battle between the two captains Thierry Dusautoir and Sam Warburton, and the interesting match between the insiede-centers Jamie Roberts and Maxime Mermoz.
The second semifinal will be a real rugby “classic“: Australia v New Zealand. A what a game, what a battle, it will be! During the long way to the semifinal both teams suffered major blows due to injuries: the Allblacks lost Dan Carter and Mils Muliaina and rumors have arisen about captain Richie McCaw’s conditions. While for the Wallabies, there has been concearn about Kurtley Beale‘s fitness but apparently, both him and his fellow back Pat McCabe are fine and ready to play.
And here again we will see some interesting head to head: at scrum-half both Will Genia and Piri Weepu are pivotal for their teams. Weepu has taken the game management on his shoulder after Dan Carter’s loss and Genia is probably the best number nine in the business and is the real mastermind of the Australian side. The other huge duel is between Richie McCaw and David Pocock. These two guys are the best in the world in that position, and the breakdown area is really going to be a battlefield. I’m really looking forward to both games.
Anyway, I’m not going to do any predictions, but once again I will say….
GO THE WALLABIES! 🙂
WALES v FRANCE
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Shane Williams, 10 James Hook, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (capt), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Huw Bennett, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Lloyd Burns, 17 Paul James, 18 Bradley Davies, 19 Ryan Jones, 20 Lloyd Williams, 21 Stephen Jones, 22 Scott Williams.
France: 15 Maxime Médard, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Aurélien Rougerie, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Morgan Parra, 9 Dimitri Yachvili, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Julien Bonnaire, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (capt), 5 Lionel Nallet, 4 Pascal Papé, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 William Servat, 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Fabien Barcella, 18 Julien Pierre, 19 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 20 Francois Trinh-Duc, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Cedric Heymans.
Date: Sunday, October 16
Kick-off: 21:00 (20:00 GMT)
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa), Wayne Barnes (England)
Television match official: Giulio De Santis (Italy)
AUSTRALIA v NEW ZEALAND
Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O’Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Dan Vickerman, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Luke Burgess, 21 Berrick Barnes, 22 Anthony Faingaa.
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Richard Kahui, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Brad Thorn, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Sonny Bill Williams.
Date: Sunday, October 16
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 21.00 (08.00 GMT / 09.00 BST / 10.00 SAST)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Romain Poite (France)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)
What an incredible, terrifying, heart-stopping rugby weekend it has been! The Quarter-finals of the RWC2011 have been just how I expected them: maybe not always “spectacular” in its strict meaning but absolutely exciting.
I’m not going to analyse every single game, because, by now you’ll find plenty of articles and blog posts about it. I just want to fix those moments with some eloquent photos….
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After the, more or less, predictable results of the qualifying pools, except for a couple of astonishing results (Ireland v Australia and Tonga v France), here we are at the moment of truth. Will the Allblacks overcome the loss of Dan Carter to overcome the combative and passionate Pumas? Have the Wallabies regained their 3N consistency to defeat the Springboks for the third time this year?
And as for the Northern hemisphere… will the Coques be able to find enough peace of mind and motivation to face a pale but always dangerous England? And what about the most balanced – imho – game of the day: Irealand v Wales? Ireland proved to be extremely focused and Wales displayed a great game and determination.
Plenty of dark horses….
Anyway, as for me, I don’t have the slightest doubt who to support. 🙂
Go the Wallabies!
Unexpected, and sometimes weird, things are happening in this 2011RWC: France loses 2 games in the qualifying pool – 1 game from Tonga!! – and get qualified for the quarters anyway. Jonny Wilkinson has a worse place kicking rate that me (and I never kicked!). Australian N°8 Radike Samo played at wing in the game with Russia. Russia scored 3 tries to Australia. Japan and Canada draw. And I could go on for quite a while!
This RWC has really proved to be very interesting in many aspects, and now that the knock-out stages are fixed, there’s one thing that we know for sure, that is we will have a North v South final.
Springbok second row Victor Matfield said it seemed the SANZAR (South Africa-New Zealand-Australia Rugby) teams, compared to Northern hemisphere teams, had been hardest hit by serious injury, with Australia having to replace back row Wycliff Palu and wing Drew Mitchell; New Zealand losing talisman player Dan Carter due to a groin injury; and South Africa that will have to do without long-range goal-kicker Frans Steyn who hurt his shoulder in the pool match against Samoa. Some great losses indeed.
On the other hand tackle-busting Wallaby wing Digby Ioane is almost certain to be selected for Australia against South Africa in the quarter-finals after recovering from a broken thumb. Which is great news for the Wallabies who cheered the return of David Pocock too.
As for the “expected” things… well, Italy lost from Ireland in the deciding game of the pool stage and for the umpteenth time DIDN’T make it to the quarter finals…. but the subject, here, deserves a whole post of its own… 😦