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  #151  
Old 10-19-2019, 04:24 AM
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Game on in the first quarterfinal.
  #152  
Old 10-19-2019, 05:24 AM
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... and game over. Good Australia showed up in the first half but they couldn't break down the defence and they reverted to Bad Australia as the second half went on. Koroibete is a monster - there were times he looked like he could beat England on his own - but despite having 2/3 of the possession and covering lots of ground the rest of the backs never really threatened.
  #153  
Old 10-19-2019, 09:29 AM
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Well, so, what do I know? Australia-England was close for a bit until England really ratcheted up the pressure in the 2nd half and Australia's skills let them down under that pressure. Even in that tight first half, England were ahead much of the time because Australia struggled to break the defence aside from returns of kicks or broken field play in their own half; they really struggled to break England down once the defensive lines were set, whereas England scored relatively quickly off few phases of play (this is one reason why the possession stats are so skewed towards Australia - they laboured through many phases to make ground, particularly in the first half - and England scored all their tries off 4 or 5 phases or fewer plus some opportunism). The game was effectively won and lost by the performances of Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Sam Underhill and Tom Curry versus their opposite numbers - these 5 tackled very well and out-thought and out-fought Australia at the breakdown - particularly on defence, I thought they played the ref very well, knowing exactly what they could get away within what they couldn't (if I were Garces, I'd have had someone in white in the bin in the middle of the 2nd half for offences in the 22). The scoreline was perhaps a bit much but was a reflection of the need for Australia needing to take risks later in the game to try and get back into it - the last try in particular was cruel.

On the other stuff I moaned about - OK, Mako was evidently fit. Billy Vunipola didn't look like he was firing full bore and I am still concerned about his fitness. Slade is not fit - his injury and recovery seems to have lost him a yard of pace (needing to chip through rather than finishing the 2nd try, giving up the ghost in the chase back for one of Australia's tries). I thought Ford looked excellent when he came on and the team gelled better with him at 10 and Farrell at 12 (and given what I have said about my opinion of Ford's defensive frailties, I don't think it was necessary for Farrell to play at 10 to start with - but fair enough, they did soak up a lot of tackles at the start and Ford had the benefit of coming on with the hard yards largely done). I have to concede Jones knows what he's doing - he'd better because he's going to need a plan for next week.

Agree that Koroibete was fantastic - the best match up on the pitch was him versus Watson, both of whom seemed to be able skin the other at will - and there's the makings of a decent enough side there (was impressed by the teenage centre whose name escapes me and Toomua has impressed me throughout the tournament) but they look like they need a new coach and an injection of some new ideas. With Pocock and Genia retiring, new blood seems a given.

Ireland played about as well as they were allowed to play and got summarily doored by a very ominous looking NZ side. Ireland are in a similar boat to Australia I think, in that they need some new ideas and probably a bit of a changing of the guard, working out which players will get them to RWC 2023 and jettisoning the rest. It seems obvious now that they peaked between World Cups; whilst winning 6Ns matters and getting wins in Tests against good sides is important, the game has evolved into being judged at this tournament and, it has to be said, they've not got it right.

I am likely going to miss the semi finals as I am travelling. Might be a good thing - was pessimistic about Australia with little justification, but NZ are going to be different altogether. For starters, England can't afford to kick as loosely as they did in the first half of this match, or they're going to get hammered.
  #154  
Old 10-19-2019, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by merrick View Post
... and game over. Good Australia showed up in the first half but they couldn't break down the defence and they reverted to Bad Australia as the second half went on. Koroibete is a monster - there were times he looked like he could beat England on his own - but despite having 2/3 of the possession and covering lots of ground the rest of the backs never really threatened.
Actually, I think they were Bad Australia for quite a bit of the first half too. They appeared to be a bit unlucky in a couple of places, but much of the "unlucky" stuff came from bad decisions, poor passes, and poor ball control. They couldn't turn their first 10 minutes of pressure into points, thanks to some excellent England defense and also to the Wallabies' own errors. The intercept try seems a bit unlucky, but it's a pass that never should have been thrown. It was clearly over, for me, when the Aussies failed to score after being camped on the England line in the middle of the second half. The English tackling was fantastic, but the Wallabies didn't help themselves with too many predictable, flat-footed take-ups off the side of the rucks and mauls. Then the power of the English forwards really began to tell in the second half, with the Wallabies having few answers.

I hate to sound like sour grapes, because Australia definitely deserved to lose the game, but there was some bullshit going on in the mauls from England, and the referee did a terrible job of policing them. The scrums, too, needed a much firmer hand, although I will say that I think there should be more penalties for the scrum half not getting the ball into the scrum in a timely manner, and Australia was at least as guilty of this as any other side in the tournament. Will Genia, in some of the scrums, had plenty of opportunity to feed the ball, and delayed, resulting in a collapse and reset. He seemed to be gambling that the English front row would be penalized, but that's a dangerous gamble to take, especially when you should be winning the scrum on your own feed anyway. He won one or two penalties that way, but also conceded one for not putting the ball in, and one for an Aussie collapse.

I agree with Cumbrian that Australia just looked out of ideas. Much of their sparkle came from pieces of individual brilliance, and the predictability of their attack was only made more obvious later in the morning, watching the All Blacks run riot against Ireland. I don't really care who wins the first semi-final, but if I were betting my own money on the game, I just can't see England beating the All Blacks.

Last edited by mhendo; 10-19-2019 at 11:52 AM.
  #155  
Old 10-20-2019, 05:26 AM
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I think that Vahaamaina's elbow may give down as one of the stupidest act of foul play in World Cup history. To deliberately elbow an opponent in the head while nine points up, hot on attack and early in the second half is worse than a crime, it's a mistake. You don't need to be a Poirot to identify the villain (and it wasn't Moriarty).

And yet the French almost held on to win it anyway.
  #156  
Old 10-20-2019, 10:15 AM
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The French did't just give away a mindless red card, they also kicked badly, messed up multiple possessions near the opponents' line and still nearly held on for the the win against a Welsh side that started slow and never really showed much attacking threat. Wales are going to have to step it up against South Africa.

South Africa planned to kill Japan with power and killed them with power. It wasn't pretty, but the high-pace offloading game doesn't work when you're being crushed at the set-pieces and your runners are repeatedly being hit behind the gain line. It went a lot like those old 5-Nations games with Scotland or Ireland against England or France when we still talked about "Celtic minors" - 30 minutes of heroic action, 30 minutes of increasingly desperate holding on as the power tells, 20 minutes of getting smashed at the end. By the time it was 3-11 Japan had no way back.
  #157  
Old 10-20-2019, 11:03 AM
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South Africa planned to kill Japan with power and killed them with power. It wasn't pretty, but the high-pace offloading game doesn't work when you're being crushed at the set-pieces and your runners are repeatedly being hit behind the gain line.
Yeah, watching the first half, it was quite easy to be impressed with Japan. There were times when they did manage to gain ground, and when their sheer hustle and commitment, combined with their flair, made them look dangerous and kept them in the game. But when you have that much ball, and you're attacking so relentlessly, and you still find yourself going backwards, it becomes hard to see where the points are going to come from. I agree with you: once the Sprinkboks' lead was out beyond a converted try, Japan were basically done.
  #158  
Old 10-20-2019, 12:54 PM
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Yeah, watching the first half, it was quite easy to be impressed with Japan. There were times when they did manage to gain ground, and when their sheer hustle and commitment, combined with their flair, made them look dangerous and kept them in the game. But when you have that much ball, and you're attacking so relentlessly, and you still find yourself going backwards, it becomes hard to see where the points are going to come from. I agree with you: once the Sprinkboks' lead was out beyond a converted try, Japan were basically done.
Pretty much my sentiments about QF #4. The fact that JPN had the ball so much in the first half but could come away with only 3 points was not a good sign for them. Once RSA established its superiority in "physicality" in the 2nd half it was pretty much "curtains" for Japan.
  #159  
Old 10-25-2019, 05:39 PM
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England v New Zealand should be a great game. The two most in form teams in the tournament going head to head. I think it'll be an epic contest.

South Africa v Wales looks a little more one sided. South Africa have looked strong despite losing their first game and Wales unconvincing despite winning all theirs. Maybe Wales can do just enough to win again but I doubt it.
  #160  
Old 10-26-2019, 04:51 AM
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Go you mad Pommie bastards!
  #161  
Old 10-26-2019, 05:01 AM
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England very strong in the first half. No real NZ chances at all and that is unusual.
Unfortunately the try was correctly ruled out, thought so at first glance.
Still, only a 10 pint lead, not comfortable at all.
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  #162  
Old 10-26-2019, 05:31 AM
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Try assist to the England #2 for the All Black try

Last edited by penultima thule; 10-26-2019 at 05:32 AM.
  #163  
Old 10-26-2019, 06:05 AM
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Whew. Two tries disallowed, gave away the softest of soft scores just when they looked to have the game under control. kept waiting for the All Blacks to take it away and they never did. The England defence was massive.
  #164  
Old 10-26-2019, 06:10 AM
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Our Pommie mates on the SD have every reason to be roundly obnoxious in the wake of that effort.
  #165  
Old 10-26-2019, 06:45 AM
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Well, isn't that a thing...
  #166  
Old 10-26-2019, 06:52 AM
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Phew. Blimey. Am exhausted.


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  #167  
Old 10-26-2019, 08:28 AM
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Our Pommie mates on the SD have every reason to be roundly obnoxious in the wake of that effort.
As a Saracens* and England supporter I'm extremely chuffed, but there's no need to be unpleasant.
England were superb against a world-class side (who have had a magnificent run of results.)

Amazingly the All Blacks' only score came from an English mistake - the score could easily have been 19-0.

*7 of our club players in the England squad!
  #168  
Old 10-26-2019, 11:55 AM
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Shame it wasn't the final. Also a shame that yesterday I backed NZ at 5/6 to win the trophy. Ah well, money well spent I suppose. Won't be doing it again - hedging against your own team might make sense emotionally in theory, but in practice I was just uncomfortable for the entire game.
  #169  
Old 10-26-2019, 02:02 PM
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Was a pretty comprehensive display. The AB’s had three sorties into the England 22 in total apparently. Had it been 25-0 I don’t think it would have been an unfair reflection. I don’t think I’ve seen such a controlled and disciplined England display since the run-up to 2003.

All that is great of course but nothing is won yet. Roll on next week but I have no idea who I’d prefer we face.
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  #170  
Old 10-26-2019, 04:25 PM
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Wow it's been a while since any All Black team has been so utterly dominated. Hugely impressive from England. Their forwards were outstanding and ruled the set pieces pretty much from start to finish. England controlled virtually the entire game and the All Blacks had no answers.
  #171  
Old 10-26-2019, 04:59 PM
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As a Saracens* and England supporter I'm extremely chuffed, but there's no need to be unpleasant.
England were superb against a world-class side (who have had a magnificent run of results.)

Amazingly the All Blacks' only score came from an English mistake - the score could easily have been 19-0.

*7 of our club players in the England squad!
By my count England missed two penalties and a drop goal, as well. Very well could've been 28 - 0. But 19 - 7'll do.
  #172  
Old 10-26-2019, 05:02 PM
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Wow it's been a while since any All Black team has been so utterly dominated. Hugely impressive from England. Their forwards were outstanding and ruled the set pieces pretty much from start to finish. England controlled virtually the entire game and the All Blacks had no answers.
I'm relatively new to rugby but it was obvious which was the better team today. And actually, one of the commentators mentioned something about England being the hungrier of the two teams with the All Blacks having come in as two-time defending champions and with their early ouster at home 4 years ago still sticking in England's craw. Whatever the case, excellent play by England - I'll be pulling for them in the Final!
  #173  
Old 10-27-2019, 11:51 AM
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Yeah, England definitely the better team in the first semi-final. I'm not much of a prognosticator, it seems, because while I thought that England were better than Australia last week, I didn't think they'd have what it takes to beat the All Blacks. But their forwards were incredible, and never let New Zealand into the game. The All Blacks didn't help themselves by missing more tackles in the first half of play than they normally miss in five or ten games, but many of the Kiwis' mistakes were caused by incredible pressure from England. This guy is going to have to get his tattoo fixed.

The second semi wasn't exactly pretty, but the result was a fair indication of the game. I was hoping that Wales could overcome the Springboks, partly because it would be epic to see England and Wales against one another in a World Cup final - a real local grudge match. As it is, we've got two incredibly good forward packs going against one another. I don't think it's going to be a very high-scoring affair. I think England will win it.
  #174  
Old 10-27-2019, 12:02 PM
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I agree with glee about Eddie Jones - I think this World Cup will be either complete vindication or complete disaster.
Just wanted to bring up this quote from back on the first page.

I think, no matter what happens next weekend, it's clear that Eddie Jones has been completely vindicated. There were plenty of people criticizing his team selections all through the tournament, including for the semi-final, where he was roasted by a number of former England players and some commentators for going with Ford over Farrell at stand-off. But Ford played great, and Jones has to get credit for his management of the team and his game plans throughout the tournament.
  #175  
Old 10-27-2019, 01:12 PM
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The second semi wasn't exactly pretty, but the result was a fair indication of the game.
Yes. Wales missed Liam Williams, but they fell into the trap of trying to match the Springboks' kick-and-smash game without quite having the muscle to do it. South Africa got away with some poor kick-chases and flat-out bad kicking because both back lines were playing a defensive territory game and the Boks were slowly winning up front.

That said. Wales will be kicking themselves for letting through de Allende's try - it was a real nothing shot with the penalty already given and they just fell off the tackles.
  #176  
Old 10-27-2019, 03:11 PM
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I think, no matter what happens next weekend, it's clear that Eddie Jones has been completely vindicated. There were plenty of people criticizing his team selections all through the tournament, including for the semi-final, where he was roasted by a number of former England players and some commentators for going with Ford over Farrell at stand-off. But Ford played great, and Jones has to get credit for his management of the team and his game plans throughout the tournament.
Agreed, those comments baffled me seeing as it hasn't been a purely 15-man team for a long, long time. All this talk of "finishers" and powerful benches means you have to manage the full squad.

Incidentally. My little boy thinks Faf de Klerk is brilliant and has taken to calling him "The Little Guy". The pan across the team for the national anthem was hilarious. I knew I'd seen something similar before. (see 45 seconds in)

South Africa will be bulletproof I'm sure but if England can play like they did against NZ I don't think a sound scrum and kicking will be enough.

Still, one-off game and anything can happen. I'd put it 60-40 to England.
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  #177  
Old 10-28-2019, 05:42 AM
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I don't think it's going to be a very high-scoring affair. I think England will win it.
The way both teams have been looking, I think you're right.
  #178  
Old 10-28-2019, 04:39 PM
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I thought everybody loves Faf? Here's six minutes of him monstering dudes for you.
  #179  
Old 10-30-2019, 05:45 AM
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Nobody who has ever played rugby likes scrum halves .

I thought the second semi was as poor as the first one was good. Both teams had plenty of bad kicks, which often weren't punished. England will know exactly what they need to focus on in training this week. If England and SA both play like they did last weekend, the result is a foregone conclusion, but naturally that won't be the case. England are favourites, but then again they were big underdogs last time out, so I'm counting no chickens at all.
  #180  
Old 11-01-2019, 01:08 PM
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Well the All Blacks won the game no one wants to play in.

Roll on the big final!
  #181  
Old 11-02-2019, 05:57 AM
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Well, 6 point lead going into halftime. Cautiously optimistic, but man, some tries would be nice. Err, preferably South African ones.
  #182  
Old 11-02-2019, 07:10 AM
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Wish granted. That was not a boring second half.

And man, that second try...absolute legend!

Last edited by MrDibble; 11-02-2019 at 07:10 AM.
  #183  
Old 11-02-2019, 09:04 AM
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Still not sure the pass for the second try wasn't forward, but don't want to cast sour grapes - that was a deserved win for SA, they executed their game plan much better than England. Monstered the scrum and the breakdown, England were on the wrong end of some close decisions from the ref but again, they can't blame that for their loss. It's disappointing but I hope Eddie Jones stays on and continues to develop this team.

Has anyone else beaten the All Blacks and Australia in the same World Cup and not won it?

Last edited by Dead Cat; 11-02-2019 at 09:04 AM.
  #184  
Old 11-02-2019, 11:38 AM
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I don't think it's going to be a very high-scoring affair. I think England will win it.
Well, I was 0 for 2 on that prediction!

The best team on the day definitely won the final. South Africa applied pressure from the first minutes, in attack and defense. They forced England into a whole bunch of errors, and England also chose the final to make more unforced errors that all of their other tournament games combined. Especially in the first half, if England could have avoid some little mistakes, they might have made a much closer game of it. Still, full credit to the Springboks for a great performance.
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Still not sure the pass for the second try wasn't forward...
I think you must mean the second pass for the first try, scored by Mapimpe. The pass from Malcolm Marx to Mapimpi, near the sideline, did look a little bit forward from the replays.

There were only two passes leading up to the second try, by Cheslin Kolbe. England dropped the ball, and there was passes from Lukhanyo Am to Pieter-Steph Du Toit, and from Du Toit to Kolbe, and both of those looked completely fine to me.
  #185  
Old 11-04-2019, 09:54 AM
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I'm so glad I didn't bet on the final. I was absolutely sure that England was going to win, easily.
The Boks were fantastic and played England like england played NZ, they never let the English be comfortable. It was a great game and SA was the rigthful winner.
  #186  
Old 11-04-2019, 10:41 AM
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I think you must mean the second pass for the first try, scored by Mapimpe. The pass from Malcolm Marx to Mapimpi, near the sideline, did look a little bit forward from the replays.

There were only two passes leading up to the second try, by Cheslin Kolbe. England dropped the ball, and there was passes from Lukhanyo Am to Pieter-Steph Du Toit, and from Du Toit to Kolbe, and both of those looked completely fine to me.
Yes, you're absolutely right - thanks. The TMO did look at that, but seemed to dismiss it quite quickly, which surprised me. A rugby-playing friend watching it with me was convinced it was forward, I'm still not sure as it was a part of the pitch without much in the way of reference points.

To reiterate, I agree South Africa deserved their win, regardless.
  #187  
Old 11-04-2019, 03:40 PM
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Canon's put their crazy highlights up.

Here's South Africa's first try. That pass is shown top down at about 14 seconds.

Nothing marginal about Kolbe's second though
  #188  
Old 11-05-2019, 03:30 AM
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Thanks for that - good enough for me that it wasn't a forward pass.

Losses are so much more dispiriting when one can't whine about third party factors affecting the result.
  #189  
Old 11-05-2019, 08:21 AM
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I think that Japan was a great host (and did well as a team.)

Now we need Tier 1 Nations to include more teams (e.g. Japan, Fiji, Georgia) in their annual competitions.
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  #190  
Old 11-05-2019, 08:44 AM
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As a Saracens* and England supporter I'm extremely chuffed,

*7 of our club players in the England squad!
yes, but will they be in your squad later this year
  #191  
Old 11-05-2019, 03:41 PM
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North London supporter here...


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yes, but will they be in your squad later this year
Oh yes!

Saracens are the current European and English champions.
In the off-season they recruited an 8th England international, Eliot Daly.

If only my soccer team (Tottenham Hotspur) could match Saracens...
  #192  
Old 11-05-2019, 06:41 PM
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Oh yes!

Saracens are the current European and English champions.
In the off-season they recruited an 8th England international, Eliot Daly.

If only my soccer team (Tottenham Hotspur) could match Saracens...
You may have missed some news, glee

A 5-and-a-bit million quid fine and a 35-point deduction

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/50309676
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