Fitting end to a great player

March 15, 2014
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Plaudits started flowing for Brian O’Driscoll, minutes after he played his last match – the world’s most capped international finishing as a champion.

Ireland held on to beat France 22-20 to win the Six Nations title and give a fairytale ending to the career of O’Driscoll in a gripping climax to the 2014 Championship.

O’Driscoll, who finished his career with 142 Test caps (134 for Ireland and eight for the British and Irish Lions), was congratulated by England coach Stuart Lancaster in the immediate aftermath of Ireland’s dramatic win in Paris.

Joe Schmidt’s side finish level on eight points with England, who defeated Italy 52-11 earlier in the day, but Ireland prevailed thanks to a superior points difference.

In a compelling match at the Stade de France, France held a 13-12 half-time lead thanks to two Maxime Machenaud penalties and a conversion of Brice Dulin’s try, while Ireland scored two tries through Jonny Sexton and Andrew Trimble, the former missing two of his three kicks.

Sexton converted his second try early in the second period, followed by a penalty, but France fired back through a Dimitri Szarzewski try after some sustained pressure, Machenaud converting to make it 22-20.

French replacement Jean-Marc Doussain missed a penalty attempt with 10 minutes to play and the Irish defence held out, despite a late disallowed Damien Chouly try, to secure only their second win over France in Paris in 42 years and hand O’Driscoll the perfect send-off.

In Rome, Mike Brown scored two tries while Owen Farrell, Jack Nowell, Mako Vunipola, Manu Tuilagi and Chris Robshaw also crossed over for England, with Leonardo Sarto securing Italy’s only try of a one-sided encounter.

In the day’s other match, Wales inflicted a record 51-3 defeat on Scotland in Cardiff.
Jamie Roberts and George North both scored two tries for Wales, while Scotland were forced to play most of the match with 14 men after Stuart Hogg was sent off for a late tackle on Dan Biggar.

“Credit to Ireland,” England coach Stuart Lancaster said. “They are deserved winners and it’s a fitting finale and send-off for Brian O’Driscoll, a legend of the game whom everyone in this squad respects massively. “We always knew this was going to be one of the tightest Dix Nations tournaments and go down to the wire.”

Lancaster said he was “proud” of what England have achieved over the tournament, both in how his young group of players developed and also their intent to play attacking rugby.

“We have fielded 28 players, but it’s been a whole squad effort from players, coaches and management,” the England coach said. “I’d also include the supporters in that, both at Twickenham and away, because they have been brilliant and bought into what we are trying to achieve. “With other guys coming back from injury we are massively excited about the New Zealand tour which will give us further options to grow as a team.”

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14 Comments

  1. avatar Boertjie says:
    March 15th, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    You can all shit on me, but this the kind of rugby
    that is a pleasure to watch.

    Why don’t we have players with those darting, breaking,
    sidestepping, accellerating, jinxing, passing skills?

    Because bash, push, shove and fart is our style. The
    quicker you go to ground with a ball, the better for
    setting up the next phase of farting, shoving, pushing
    and fighting for the ball – just to repeat the whole
    exercise.

    Passing? Naaah. Rather kick the fucking ball if you
    run out of ideas. And then pray that someone, anybody,
    may just feel like chasing the kick. Maybe.

    So Marcel Coetzee had a GREAT game for the lucky Guppies.
    He made so many carries and tackles, but NOT A SINGLE PASS.

    And then we lament the injuries, like the Breezes now having
    SIX injured locks on their books.

    Our TV producers are as shit. Lions game: there is a
    go forward maul cum ruck in the far corner going hammer and tongs.
    So what does the arsehole producer do? He cuts to the wide shot, and
    then tells it to zoom out even more so that you can also see the
    crowd (and fuck all of the action on the field).
    Ditto with some scrums.
    Should be shot at first light. No, just hang him, why waste a bullet?
    :Rule 9:

    And also hang the guy that gave this Shimange ape a microphone to
    do interviews. Or at least give this BEE appointee a few
    courses in presenting, interviewing and elocution.
    He makes me want to kots. Fucking embarassment, almost as bad as
    Zuma.

    :Boertjie GOM:

  2. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    March 16th, 2014 at 2:52 am

    @Boertjie:

    You must have missed Brian Habana’s entire career?

  3. avatar Morné says:
    March 16th, 2014 at 10:38 am

    @bryce_in_oz:

    :)

  4. avatar Boertjie says:
    March 16th, 2014 at 11:50 am

    @bryce_in_oz:

    I’m at a loss at what you want to tell me
    and how it connects to my ranting.

    BTW there was an hillarious little rant from
    Jannie directed at the ref, telling him he
    can’t tell him anything about scrumming and
    binding – in Afrikaans.
    :D

  5. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    March 16th, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    @Boertjie:

    “Why don’t we have players with those darting, breaking, sidestepping, accellerating, jinxing, passing skills?”

    Hehe yeah I saw that footage today for the first time… classic Jannie (even though he was in the wrong)…

    “Paddy O Brian even told me I can bind there!”

  6. avatar Boertjie says:
    March 16th, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    @bryce_in_oz:

    Was he in the wrong? Remember he’s a doctor.

    Habs was a speedster, cutting inside, beating them
    on the outside. He had a swerve, yes, which is not
    quite a quick jinx of sidestep in my books.
    On a skills level the Saffas are well down the list.
    That includes offloads, chips and grubbers.

  7. avatar Boertjie says:
    March 16th, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Louis de Villiers:

    As Superrugby homself wil aanhou “super” noem, moet hy drie spanne uitskop eerder as om nog drie te nooi.

    Swak kuns is dikwels darem snaaks; swak sport voel egter meestal soos marteling as jy verplig is om daardeur te worstel. En met sy veelvuldige moontlike foute en oortredings en bitter betrokke stel skeidsregters, is swak rugby die vagevuur van dit alles.

    In swak sokker hou die bôl darem aan met rol. In swak boks word iemand minstens dan en wan geslaat. In swak rugby word elke derde bal aangeslaan en stort elke skrum drie maal in duie, met ’n fluitjie wat knaend piert-piert-piert

    Die nuus dat die middelmatige toernooi wat homself in die titel van “Super-rugby” verlustig, vergroot gaan word om nóg Suid-Afrikaners, Aussies, Argentyne en Japanese te betrek, het derhalwe my papmelk smôrens reeds skoon rens. Toe dié reeks in 1996 afgeskop het, was daar selde meer as een swak wedstryd per naweek.

    Deesdae is dit goeie wedstryde wat die uitsondering is. Maar nou ja – iets moet op TV gewys word en al is dit die Force teen die Rebels se sewende heruitsending van die week, is dit vir sommige blykbaar verkieslik bo ’n toetspatroon.

    Ek sidder as ek dink aan die arme ou by SuperSport wat uurlange “hoogtepunt”-pakkette moet saamstel uit Australiese derby-wedstryde.

    Om dié goed te kyk, is rakelings aangenamer as ’n prostaat-ondersoek.

    :agree:

  8. avatar Timeo says:
    March 16th, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    @Boertjie:

    There are two important skills areas where SA are ahead of the world.

    Line-outs and kicking (of all kinds).

    Think about it. These are learned skills (brain work). Running, jinxing and sidestepping are more physical attributes than skills.

    Line-outs and kicking are also the areas in which the Bulls lead the rest of SA.

  9. avatar Cheetah Glory says:
    March 16th, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    @Timeo:

    Our fielding skills are very good, and its because we play ‘dryfings’ at school.

    But agree with Boer. We hero the guy who runs 100 yards – we never stop to ask if those yards yielded anything other than momentum?

    Thats why in his later life Burger is more of an asset than he was when he was young. He now has a nifty passing game. Yet every new flanker that comes on the scene is another bruiser. Its odd that SA only produces one Skinstad-like player every 15 years or so.

    In my mind Vermeulen, Coetzee, Alberts and these guys are just tractors. They do a great job, but add a passing page to these bruisers and no-one will beat SA.

  10. avatar Timeo says:
    March 16th, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    @Cheetah Glory:

    Then, the Bulls built a game-plan that leveraged altitude and the skill set their players already had.

    The Cheetahs and the Lions do the opposite.

    Who is going about it intelligently and who is not?

  11. avatar Timeo says:
    March 16th, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Mauling is another area where SA leads.
    Perhaps because it goes with line-outs.

  12. avatar Americano says:
    March 16th, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    BOD passes the torch to …..
    Messerschmitt-Willie LeRoux

  13. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    March 17th, 2014 at 12:46 am

    On the subject of fielding balls… RSA teams need to have a few sessions with an AFL coach and take a leaf out of Israel Folau’s book on the high ball…

    Jake did the same at the Brumbies with his back three…

  14. avatar Boertjie says:
    March 17th, 2014 at 11:53 am

    @Cheetah Glory:

    “In my mind Vermeulen, Coetzee, Alberts and these guys are just tractors. They do a great job, but add a passing page to these bruisers and no-one will beat SA.”

    EXACTLY MY POINT TOO. Add Marcel Coetzee.
    Take a look at Kieran Reid, to mention just one.

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