Sunday, May 17, 2009

Weekend Test Rugby Results: 15-16 May

Argentina 'A' 19, Namibia 7 in Buenos Aires

Japan 80, Korea 9 in Osaka (Asia 5 Nations)
Hong Kong 64, Singapore 6 in Hong Kong (Asia 5 Nations)
Poland 30, Moldova 28 in Chisinau (WCQ Euro.R4; ENC 2A)

The Argentina 'A' selection for Friday's test was very different from the one that swamped Namibia 62-8 last weekend. The Argentine selectors were out to experiment with as many players as possible before the World Cup qualifiers, CONSUR A and Churchill Cup test matches just ahead. Given that, and Namibia's improved play, a much closer match resulted. For Namibia the question is how much stronger will they be if they can secure their South African-based players for the Africa Cup and World Cup qualifiers just around the corner?

As expected Japan walked all over Korea to put considerable distance between them and the rest of Asia. The gap is not closing, except that below Japan the field is now a lot more even. So how will the rest of Asia catch up to Japan?

Hong Kong surprised by the size of their win over Singapore. Singapore will move down to Asia Nations Division 1 for 2011 and are thus eliminated from World Cup finals contention. They will be replaced by Arabian Gulf. The problem is that the demise of the Arabian Gulf rugby union is very much on the IRB's agenda, that body preferring to have the individual states on the Arabian peninsula members of the governing body.

Poland caused a minor surprise with its 30-28 win over Moldova away. Poland's policy of picking a good number of French-based players is paying off. By late 2007 Moldova were picked to progress to European Nations Cup Division 1, but since then they have dramatically fallen away. I wonder why?

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