Impressive performance by New Zealand, winning 70-7. Carlos Spencer needs to work on his kicking - Daniel Carter should be the fulltime kicker because he did much better when he took kicks than Carlos. Carter kicked one from the bloody sideline: that was AMAZING! That's the kind of thing you only expect Johnny Wilkinson of England to make. It was ... WOW. One of the most difficult kicks in rugby, and this guy who's only just made his way into the All Blacks put it right through. Although the problem is, I think Spencer and Carter both play first five eighth, and they don't want to take Spencer out of the run-on team because when he's on a good day, he's on one hell of a good day. He can really set up some brilliant plays.
Joe Rokocoko scored two tries. Another two tries. This guy is a try-scoring machine. Eight tests, thirteen tries. They only played him against Wales to really test him out - he was just supposed to be a reserve this year. But he's come out and scored so many bloody tries, he's cemented his place in the team. THAT is how you get yourself on a rugby team. He did sustain an injury at the end of the game, but it didn't look too serious and hopefully he'll be right. In the first half, Tana Umaga did some damage to his knee, and that better not be serious because he's a critical player on the team. He's so brilliant at setting up plays and losing him would be a real blow.
So all in all, stunning victory. Could've been 80-7 if our kicking had been better.
France versus Fiji;
Considering the final scoreline, it's hard to believe that, five minutes into the second half, the Fijians were only six behind. They ended up getting done by more than forty points. Very impressive performance by the French in attack, but when they lost the ball and had to defend, they were weak and there were holes the Fijians tried to exploit. When they succeeded at the start of the second half, it was great and they scored one of the most beautiful tries, but for the rest of the half, they blew opportunity after opportunity by dropping the ball, knocking it on, turning it over, et cetera.
Australia versus Argentina;
Not an impressive performance by any means. They should've done much better than 24-8. If the Argentine kicking had been spot-on, it would've been 24-19. And Argentina's lineouts were just crap. They couldn't throw a decent lineout if their lives depended on it. If they did manage to throw it straight - which was rare enough in itself - Australia would get up and steal it from them. Had they won their own lineouts and successfully kicked all their chances on goal, then they could've easily won the game. The Australians blew chances, didn't look very cohesive, and just were very unsatisfactory. The Aussie media's trying to talk the Australian team up, but it's such a blatant lie. If they played NZ or France today, they'd go down in a screaming heap. And NZ versus France? NZ would come away with the win, purely because their defense is much tighter.
Yesterday, the commentators were talking about how similar Australia and Argentina are, and the following comment I found quite hilarious. You Americans probably won't get it, though.
"Argentina has a substance abusing, womanising sporting superstar in Diego Maradona. Australia does in Shane Warne."
Matthew Hayden ... people are still talking about that innings. 380 off 423 or so - that's just AMAZING. It's awe-inspiring in the truest sense of the word. It's such a shame he got caught 20 before his 400. It was beyond amazing. I never thought I'd see anything quite like it. This is the stuff of legend, the stuff of Bradman. I can't believe it's happened - Hayden's the best batsman in the world at the moment, without a dout. You can't challenge that statement after his innings. What I find funny is that Adam Gilchrist scored 100 off 81 balls, and it got totally ignored. You don't usually get a century that fast in a one day match, let alone a five dayer, but when you have Matty Hayden belting the crap out of every record in sight, it just goes overlooked.
And now the poor Zimbabweans ... they got bowled out quickly in their first innings and were forced to follow on, so now they're back out there batting and just not doing very well at all! Poor blighters. I feel sorry for them. It's not like they're a bad team - they have good players and moments of brilliance - but up against a team with the brilliant bowlers Australia has, and chasing a nigh on impossible total ... you have to feel pity towards them. If I were out there batting, I'd just protect my wicket and try to stay out there for the rest of today and tomorrow. They'll never make the target, so they should just try to bat out these two days and force a draw. But with Australia's bowlers, they'll probably get bowled out soon enough. They can't hold off forever.
The Bathurst 1000 sure has been thrilling. Cars sliding all over the show. One crash up the top was spectacular: two cars lost it right over the winding bit at the top of Mount Panorama, slid through one sand trap, then one went back onto the track, hit a tyre wall (lucky he wasn't a few metres to the right, otherwise he would've hit a cement wall and the damage would've been worse), and then, just as the other guy slid back onto the track, got hit by a third car coming through, which subsequently got hit by the second car coming out of the sand along with a fourth car who had nowhere to go. It blocked the entire track.
The race has been action-packed. Cars have been sliding off the track all over the show, and when they go into the sand traps, they've raised massive clouds. Up the top, near the same spot as a previous crash, somebody crashed and was parked right across the road, there was heaps of sand obscuring the track, and another guy coming along couldn't see a thing, so, driving blind, he just followed the racing line and drove straight into the crashed car.
Hard to believe we're only halfway through the race. They don't call this The Great Race for nothing.