Autumn Internationals

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With the autumn internationals kicking off yesterday, there were mixed fortunes for northern hemisphere sides Wales and Ireland. During Saturday afternoon Wales kicked off hoping to try and get one back against Australia, having lost to them on 11 consecutive occasions.

Things did not start well for the Dragons. Struggling to find any momentum within the first half, they conceded three tries, which would spell the beginning of the end for Wales. Aussie captain Steven Moore scored the first after a dominant performance in the Welsh half saw the ball scrummed over the touchline.

From then on it seemed like an up hill battle at the Millennium Stadium due to the reds not being able to find a rhythm or foothold in the game. Despite having scored from a penalty kick through Halfpenny, who made his return from injury after 14 months out of the game, the Aussies kept on coming. Before the half was over, Reece Hodge and Tevita Kuridrani scored two more tries, leaving the score at 3-18 going into half time.

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The second saw the Wallabies continue to dominate the game, with Bernard Foley touching down after a frankly stunning display of accurate passing through the Welsh line. However, Wales eventually found some luck with Scott Williams chipping and chasing through the Australian defence before landing a try. The game finished 8-25 to Australia, leaving Wales in the dust again with some serious questions to ask concerning their defensive set up.

Meanwhile, the Irish faced arguably the best team in international rugby – New Zealand. Now you would think that this game would be a walk over for the All-Blacks, but that could not have been any further from the truth. In Chicago, Ireland went on to beat New Zealand for the first time in 111 years – a monumental achievement.

The first half began with the Irish paying an emotional tribute to former captain, Anthony Foley, who died last month. After kick off Irish intentions were clear as they simply attacked the All Blacks defence showing no remorse. This proved successful as they managed to go into half time with the score at 25-8, courtesy of tries from Jordi Murphy, CJ Stander and Conor Murray.

Despite New Zealand scoring tries from brilliant runs to bring the final score to 40 – 29 to Ireland, there was an overriding sense that New Zealand were well and truly on the back foot as soon the game had kicked off. The All – Blacks coach even admitted to the fact that they had been lucky to win in Dublin during the 2013 internationals.

 

Callum Poole

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