Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

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Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Ruck'd: Only Capt. Bligh Had It Worse.

OMG! England has now played 3 games against AUS-NZ-SA. The score line reads Southern Hemisphere 3 wins, 111 points - England 0 wins, 24 points. The autopsy report follows below....

Wallabies cut England to pieces 26/06/04
Australia notch up a half-century of points
Australia secured their first win over England since 1999 - and the Cook Cup - by recording an impressive 51-15 victory in Brisbane on Saturday, with Clyde Rathbone making the most of a very late call-up by collecting a hat-trick of tries.

The South African-born flyer was asked to start the match after wing Wendell Sailor pulled up injured during the warm-up, and the replacement went on to show England a clean pair of heels on three occasion.

Despite the frightening symmetry of the final scoreline, England were full of industry, and played reasonably well in patches.

Whether their overall performance was an improvement on their games in New Zealand is a matter of debate, but they manage to play some effective forward-dominated rugby that kept Australia in reverse gear for long periods of the match.

Not that it seemed to worry the Wallabies too much.

Each time England lost the ball in attack - and there were numerous occasions of this - the yellows seized on the opportunity and countered from deep with peerless verve, instinct and imagination.

England - in their 18th Test of the season - looked positively geriatric in comparison to the fleet-footed Australian backs, and had no answers to their opponents' scything breaks.

Australia fullback Joe Roff got the scoreboard ticking with a penalty after his opposite number, Josh Lewsey, failed to release -and he added another soon after for an England infringement at the line-out.

England fly-half Charlie Hodgson reduced the deficit from in front of the posts, but the home side replied with the first of their six tries.

Fly-half Stephen Larkham's long pass from a line-out on the half-way line found Matt Giteau, who released Lote Tuqiri, who sent Rathbone over in the right corner.

England responded with some tight rugby and got themselves back into the game with their first try of their three-Test tour on the 30-minute mark.

A wave of English attacks broke down in the Australian 22 and winger Ben Cohen reacted quickly, swapping passes with Tom Voyce before sending the supporting Richard Hill over in the left corner for an unconverted try.

The five-pointer sparked England's confidence, but the Wallabies soon burst the tourists' balloon with another long-range try.

Larkham's cut-out pass found Roff steaming up the middle. The veteran No.15 sold Cohen a dummy and sent Rathbone in for his second at the stroke of half-time.

Despite Rathbone's brace, England went into the break with a game to win - trailed as they did by only 21-8.

Their optimism was evident early in the second half when the arrival of Matt Dawson and Olly Barkley added a little initiative to the England backs, and they were soon rewarded with a try.

Dawson was at his spiky best, and two quick tap-penalties saw the Wallabies chasing backwards, and they failed to grips with England skipper Lawrence Dallaglio who went over from close range.

Hodgson converted to make it 24-15, and England were eyeing up a shock victory to close out their season - but it was not to be.

Rathbone opened the Australian floodgates by collected his own kick ahead to complete his hat-trick, and three more tries followed in a devastating 15-minute spell.

Roff showed his class to scythe through and send replacement hooker Jeremy Paul over a try, and the hooker collected his second score moments later when England's defence was caught short out wide.

Tuqiri then jinked his way through a demoralised field of English defenders to notch up Australia's sixth try, before Roff delivered the coup de grace by bring up the half-century with a penalty in the final minute.

This was England's fourth successive loss - equalling their worst sequence of results since coach Sir Clive Woodward took charge almost seven years ago.

England - like their footballing counterparts - will now return to the UK for a thankful rest, and a chance to work out where it all went so horribly wrong.

Tim Henman, it's over to you! Heaven help us.

Man of the match: Of course, Clyde Rathbone deserves a stout thump on the back for seizing the initiative and three tries - but it was the outstanding Joe Roff who masterminded the breaks and marshalled the Australian attack. What England would do to have such a thinker behind the scrum.

Moment of the match: Rathbone's speed and Samo Radike's athleticism combined to dizzying effect early in the second half during a break down the wing, but it was Lote Tuqiri's try that will live longest in the memory.

Villain of the match: Wallaby captain George Gregan may deserve a slap on the wrists for deciding to go for the poles in the last minute of the game - he was simply effectively a bucket of salt into a very painful English wound. But the 50 points were all well deserved, and it will only add to this fixture's rich pageantry - we'll let him off with a warning!

The scorers:

For Austalia:
Tries: Rathbone 3, Paul 2, Tuqiri,
Cons: Roff 3
Pens: Roff 5

For England:
Try: Hill, Dallaglio
Con: Hodgson
Pen: Hodgson

The teams:

Australia: 15 Joe Roff, 20 Clyde Rathbone, 13 Stirling Mortlock, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Stephen Larkham (vice-captain), 9 George Gregan (captain), 8 David Lyons, 7 Phil Waugh, 6 Radike Samo, 5 Nathan Sharpe (vice-captain), 4 Justin Harrison, 3 Alastair Baxter, 2 Brendan Cannon, 1 Bill Young.
Replacements: 16 Jeremy Paul, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Daniel Vickerman, 19 George Smith, 21 Matt Henjak, 22 Chris Latham.

England: 15 Josh Lewsey, 14 Tom Voyce, 13 Mike Catt, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Andy Gomarsall, 8 Lawrence Dallaglio (captain), 7 Richard Hill, 6 Joe Worsley, 5 Steve Borthwick, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Julian White, 2 Mark Regan, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Steve Thompson, 17 Will Green/Mike Worsley, 18 Martin Corry, 19 Michael Lipman, 20 Matt Dawson, 21 Fraser Waters, Ollie Barkley.


"Reciprocals"

As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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