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Romania score an upset victory over Italy 25 - 24

June 27th, 2004

Romania scored an upset victory in a one-off rugby test match against Italy in Bucharest on Saturday. Romania took a 22 to 5 lead going into half time break. In the second half Italy stormed back to lead 24 points to Romania’s 22. However a penalty to Romania 2 minutes before full time gave them the victory.

Romania - Tries: Ionut Tofan, Costica Mersoiu, Ovidiu Tonita. Conversions: Tofan (2). Penalties: Danut Dumbrava, Tofan.

Italy - Tries: Nicola Mazzucato, Kane Robertson, Gonzalo Canale, Paul Griffen. Conversions: Francesco Mazzariol, Griffen.

Boks beat woeful Wales 53 - 18

June 27th, 2004

Springboks beat Wales in a one-off rugby test match. The Welsh defense was no match for the attacking flair of South Africa.

South Africa - Tries: Brent Russell (2), John Smit, Breyton Paulse, Wayne Julies, Bolla Conradie, Schalk Burger. Conversions: Percy Montgomery (6). Penalties: Montgomery (2).

Wales - Tries: Dwayne Peel, Shane Williams. Conversion: Gavin Henson. Penalties: Henson (2).

Australia smash England 51 - 15

June 26th, 2004

England were simply outclassed by a superior Australian team. Australia capitalising on England’s many mistakes.

Wallaby winger Clyde Rathbone, a late replacement for Wendell Sailor who was injured during warmup, starred early in the game scoring three tries.

Australia - Tries: Clyde Rathbone (3), Jeremy Paul (2), Lote Tuqiri. Conversions: Joe Roff (3). Penalties: Roff (5).

England - Tries: Richard Hill, Lawrence Dallaglio. Conversion: Charlie Hodgson. Penalty: Hodgson.

All Blacks defeat Pumas 41 - 7

June 26th, 2004

New Zealand 41 defeated Argentina 7 in a one-off test match played at Waikato Stadium on Saturday.

The All Blacks opened the scoring with a try to Mose Tuali’i after Chris Jack broke through the mid field. Argentina were quick to strike with a try to Federico Aramburu as a result of an intercept near the All Black line.

First five-eighth Andrew Mehrtens, making his first test start for more than one year and a half, started off poorly. From the initial kickoff Mehrtens kicked the ball out on the full and the interception of his pass lead to the Argentine try. He did kick well scoring 16 points with a 100% strike rate.
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Preview: Australia vs England

June 25th, 2004

Saturday night’s match one-off rugby test match between Australia and England is shaping up to be a great match. The Captain Cook Cup will be up for grabs, but perhaps more significantly the match is a replay of last years Rugby World Cup final.

Both teams have lost some players through injury. However the sides that take the field will be strong although Australia will be a slight favourite to win.

Prop Tim Payne will make his debut for England replacing Trevor Woodman who is out because of an injured shoulder. The only other change to England’s run-on side is Mike Catt replacing Stuart Abbott at outside centre. Abbott is also out because of an injured shoulder.

For Australia utility back Mark Gerrard is out after tearing his hamstring during training, only hours after being named in the team.

Australia at $1.35 is a the bookmakers clear favourite to win the match over England who are at odds of $3.15. Personally I feel the game will be a bit closer than those odds suggest.

Australia: Joe Roff, Wendell Sailor, Stirling Mortlock, Matt Giteau, Lote Tuqiri, Stephen Larkham, George Gregan (captain), David Lyons, Phil Waugh, Radike Samo, Nathan Sharpe, Justin Harrison, Alastair Baxter, Brendan Cannon, Bill Young.

Reserves: Matt Dunning, Jeremy Paul, Daniel Vickerman, George Smith, Clyde Rathbone, Matt Henjak, Chris Latham

England: Josh Lewsey, Tom Voyce, Mike Catt, Mike Tindall, Ben Cohen, Charlie Hodgson, Andy Gomarsall, Lawrence Dallaglio (captain), Richard Hill, Joe Worsley, Steve Borthwick, Simon Shaw, Julian White, Mark Regan, Tim Payne.

Reserves: Steve Thompson, Will Green or Mike Worsley, Martin Corry, Michael Lipman, Matt Dawson, Fraser Waters, Olly Barkley.

Andrew Johns to stay with rugby league

June 25th, 2004

Andrew Johns has announced that he will stay with rugby league, turning down an offer from rugby said to be worth $1 million per annum.

Andrew Johns switch to rugby still uncertain

June 24th, 2004

It was widely believed that Australian rugby league player Andrew Johns would announce future plans today. His options were to either stay with rugby league or switch rugby union. Although he did make an appearance on the Australian Footy Show he did not commit to either code.

There was been a strong effort by New South Wales Rugby Union to recruit him and an equally strong effort by his current Newcastle rugby league team to keep him. There is salary cap in rugby league which effectively limits the amount that he can be paid, however rugby league supports are trying to get around the salary cap by getting him broadcasting work.

However the rugby union has no such salary cap and Johns seems keen to represent Australia at the 2007 Rugby World Cup. In rugby he would likely play at fly half. At the moment Stephen Larkham basically owns the Wallaby number 10 shirt. So if Johns does make the switch and he plays well for NSW, then will Larkham be pushed out to inside centre?

Anyway Johns should make his announcement about his future soon.

Martin Johnson in car crash

June 23rd, 2004

Former English rugby captain Martin Johnson has escaped unharmed from serious car accident. The accident occurred while he was driving over the Kaimai Ranges, while on a speaking tour of New Zealand. The accident happened while during a sudden hail storm.

Despite significant damage to the car Johnson and his passengers escaped serious injury. Johnson has retired from rugby after leading the England team to win the Rugby World Cup in 2003

All Blacks Team to face Argentina

June 22nd, 2004

The All Black team to face Argentina for a one-off rugby test match on Saturday has been announced. In the starting team Chris Jack is the only forward to hold his place and Richie McCaw returns after missing last Saturday’s game through injury.

The outside backs remain the same as last week, but the inside backs have been swapped, giving Byron Kelleher, Andrew Mehrtens and Sam Tuitupou a start.

New Zealand - Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore, Greg Somerville, Chris Jack, Simon Maling, Jerry Collins, Richie McCaw, Mose Tuiali’i, Byron Kelleher, Andrew Mehrtens, Joe Rokocoko, Sam Tuitupou, Tana Umaga, Malili Muliaina, Nick Evans,

Keven Mealamu, Kees Meeuws, Jono Gibbes, Marty Holah, Justin Marshall, Carlos Spencer, Dan Carter.

Reihana and Blowers look to return to New Zealand

June 22nd, 2004

Both Bruce Reihana and Andrew Blowers are looking to return to New Zealand to play their rugby. Both players are former All Blacks, currently playing for Northampton in England.

However they want the New Zealand Rugby Football Union to give them exemption under the tough eligibility rules that require them to play in New Zealand before they can be considered for the All Blacks. All Black coach Graham Henry is keen on both players.

Personally I think that they should be considered for the All Blacks. The eligibility rules were a knee jerk reaction that put in to try and stop New Zealand players from going overseas. But they shouldn’t be used to hamper players who want to return.