So after 10 games between the B&I Lions teams and the 4 nations/rugby championship sides, the autumn aggregate is Lions 5 - Rugby Championship 5. Which, lets face it is better than usual.
Much praise has to go to the Irish who, after the heartbreaker vs New Zealand last season, had impressive wins against both South Africa and Australia to cap their most succesful autumn for many moons. Brian O'Who? Some great performances by the old heads, coupled with an improving pack, and some very good young players, Ireland certainly have the base of a very impressive unit, if they find themselves hitting form just in time for the world cup, they may shock the world!
Scotland got some rave reviews for an almost runaway win vs Argentina (who closed the final gap to 10 points) and a plucky losing effort vs an admittedly weakened Kiwi side before managing to not get beaten by Tonga for a change!! Fearne Cotton, the new Scottish coach.....oh, it's Vern Cotter, sorry... has instilled some attacking belief to a solid defensive outfit, which, as soon as they find the right balance between attack and defence, could start to develop into the strongest Scottish side for a long time. Of course, it may end as another false dawn!!
Wales autumn seemed to get a reprieve as they finally got a win over one of the top southern hemisphere sides, people have said that SA were under strength due to the match being held outside the 'International window', but lets not forget, so were Wales, with the likes of Hibbard and North, 2 key men, not being allowed to play. Other than that, it was the usual story for Wales, a loss to New Zealand, a defeat snatched from victory against Australia and a poor performance in the narrow win against Fiji. The Welsh fans will remember the Autumn though, for the last game, but shouldn't allow that to paper over the cracks that were shown in the other games.
England wanted to lay a marker down for the world cup, but seemed to go into the Autumn series without a real selection policy or first 15 in mind. The pack, despite missing 5 or 6 key players, were a highlight and may certainly have forced their way into the first XV, but the backs were a mixed bag. Despite Lancaster's ongoing "we will select on form" mantra, Owen Farrell was very poor by his own standards, despite leading England to narrow defeats to the worlds top 2 sides, coming off of an injury won't have helped his form, but George Ford certainly took his chance well, a great performance in the win vs Samoa and a solid display in the win over Australia. The only other backs really throwing their hands up were the defensive dynamo, Brad Barritt, who seemingly decided to only make tackles with his face vs Australia and Jonny May, who grabbed a world class try vs NZ and finished with 3 tries over the 4 games, despite receiving very little ball (and impressively managed to average 7.5 meters gained on every possession, not bad for a man slated for only running sideways) and has now firmly announced himself on the international scene.
so as some regular readers will know, I made my TV debut last month, alongside Gemma, for Crashball TV's pilot show All About Rugby. We got some pretty good reviews for our 5 minutes of fame so hopefully we'll get to have another crack somewhere down the line!
However, i still managed to get some media duties under my belt last month, thanks to an invite from Ollie Silverton (who previously appeared on our Predictions game) to be part of Rugby Radio, which is exactly what the name suggests, available online and soon as an app. I did a near 18 minute interview and found it a much easier and stress free way to talk about rugby to the media.
Ollie has hinted that i may be asked to do some fan commentary later this season, so my fingers are firmly crossed that we can stay involved in that exciting project!
for the past few months I've been a bit pushed for time, and whereas its generally the blog that loses out, I've also neglected our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/rugbyunited)
I'm now trying to remedy that by publishing more content to that page, whether its blog links, games, video, memes, news etc. A lot of it i can put on time delay so can do it around work, the rest will run as and when i can. There is certainly the market for facebook groups to be succesful, so i'm hoping this push will help us to grow. The #rugbyunited exclusive content will guarantee that we are unique, and a little different to what else is out there! One avenue to keep us apart from other groups will be that our video's will be themed on a daily basis. You'll have to keep your eyes peeled next week for that though!!
The content is there to be shared, so help us spread the word!! Also looking for contributors and moderators if anyone fancies it!!
Winner winner chicken dinner!
First up a couple of competitions that ran on Twitter for the #rugbyunited followers.
Congratulations to Luke Pickles and Rhydian Lewis for winning the copies of this new rugby management game. I will be reviewing this for the blog over the next couple of weeks!! Thanks to Alternative Software for partnering us in this!!
Also well done to Neil, who won tickets to the England vs South Africa pre game dinner (rubbing shoulders with many legendary players) - Thanks to Laurence at All About Rugby for this competition
Lastly is a clarification of the ESPN fantasy league result for the Smallest rugby world cup competition...... I WON! ME! I DID IT! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! :-D
Just a short one this time round, as i really don't have much to say for a change!
I'll be back to ramble some more before our 3rd #rugbyunited anniversary on December 23rd!