Sunday, October 30, 2011


Malta 28, Latvia 0 in Riga (ENC 2A)
Sweden 24, Croatia 18 in Enkoping (ENC 2A)
Serbia 52, Slovenia 0 in Serbia (ENC 2B)
Denmark 21, Hungary 13 in Kecskemet (ENC 2C)
Israel 22, Norway 11 in Netanya (ENC 2C)

More details to come.


After 3 days without my computer things are getting back to normal. We have changed all our systems from vista to microsoft 7'. We lost all my favoutire book marks and our music folders (but not the play list). So ups and downs! I haven’t investigated my data but it looks like everything else has transitioned safely. It took a day and a half just to move my emails saved over (thousands as you can imagine. I communicate with most rugby nations and many rugby statisticians and journalists)

Thursday, October 27, 2011


We will be upgrading our computer system this weekend. Starting Friday am it could take 1 day or it could take 1 month. Such is life when one’s system was brand new and honky-dory and then much later one finds it is antiquated, redundant, out of date, worn out and generally buggered. Bit like how I feel at the moment. So coverage of the world of test rugby is going to be reduced accordingly. With a bit of luck I hope to be back in action Saturday morning with coverage of the following games.

Malta v Latvia in Riga (ENC 2A)
Croatia v Sweden in Enkoping (ENC 2A)
Slovenia v Serbia in Serbia-venue TBA (ENC 2B)
Denmark v Hungary in Kecskemet (ENC 2C)
Norway v Israel in Netanya (ENC 2C)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

RUGBY WORLD CUP: The Cup is New Zealand’s


It was just one point. But watching the game as a Kiwi supporter
it was the biggest, longest one point I have ever known.

The All Blacks hung on under immense pressure from the French to
clinch the most prized rugby trophy.

Richie McCaw holds aloft the Webb Ellis Trophy.
Image thanks to

RUGBY WORLD CUP: The Time Has Come! The Final.

France v New Zealand in Auckland (World Cup, Final)

Venue: Eden Park

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

The time has come. All what has happened in the 2011 Rugby World Cup culminates in 80 minutes of rugby in the final. What has been said is forgotten. It’s all about in the now.

It is somewhat fitting that these two teams meet in the final. The history of rugby matches between these two nations goes back to 1906. It was New Zealand that France played in its first official rugby test match. The ‘Originals’ won 38-8 in Paris and launched French test rugby.

France and New Zealand have locked horns in some famous World Cup games of the past. In 1987 New Zealand defeated France 29-9 in the first World Cup final. In 1999 France famously defeated New Zealand 43-31 in the semi final in the comeback of all time. In 2007 France again defeated New Zealand at the quarter final stage.

The French have wobbled there way to this final. They lost by 20 points to New Zealand at the pools stage. They had to come back strongly in the second half against Japan to win. Canada gave them a right old tussle. Tonga created history by defeating France in THE major upset of World Cup rugby history. They defeated England the very next match knocking their old foes out of the tournament.It was a superb display but the only one of note. Next they defeated 14 men of Wales by a single point. It was a game Wales could so easily have won. They have fought among themselves, with their coach and with the media.

New Zealand’s journey has been totally the opposite. They cruised through pool play, defeated Argentina at the quarter finals in a tough match and then played sublime rugby to defeat Australia in an astonishingly complete game of rugby. They did lose their key player Dan Carter, but recovered with two sound replacements.

So now put all that behind you because it means very little when it comes to a final.

Finals rugby brings out the the best/worst/indifference of a team. Whichever mode your team is in will dictate the outcome of the match. Very little of what has happened counts once that whistle goes to start the game.

France will have to draw out of their game bag another display as per against England. On top of that they will need to play even better. They will need to be monsters of forwards, tackle demons and attacking backs with all the flare and skill known to the French. Anything less and they will lose.

New Zealand will need to be as motivated as they were against Australia. They will need to draw on that game plan and do better. They will need to be monsters of forwards, tackle the life out of the French and attack with precision and grunt and score tries. Anything less and they will lose.

Last Five Encounters
24.09.2011 New Zealand 37-17 in Auckland (World Cup, Pool A)
28.11.2009 New Zealand 39-12 in Marseilles
20.06.2009 New Zealand 14-10 in Wellington
13.06.2009 France 27-22 in Dunedin
06.10.2007 France 20-18 in Cardiff (World Cup, Quarter Final)

France last won in Auckland against New Zealand in 1994, winning 23-20. That has been the only game in Auckland up to this year’s test match.

France This World Cup (Pool A)
10.09.2011 v Japan W 47-21 in Albany
18.09.2011 v Canada W 46-19 in Napier
24.09.2011 v New Zealand L 17-37 in Auckland
01.10.2011 v Tonga L 14-19 in Wellington
08.10.2011 v England W 19-12 in Auckland (QF)
15.10.2011 v Wales W 9-8 in Auckland (SF)

New Zealand This World Cup (Pool A)
09.09.2011 v Tonga W 41-10 in Auckland
16.09.2011 v Japan W 83-7 in Hamilton
24.09.2011 v France W 37-17 in Auckland
02.10.2011 v Canada W 79-15 in Wellington
09.10.2011 v Argentina W 33-10 in Auckland (QF)
16.10.2011 v Australia W 20-6 in Auckland (SF)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-New Zealand 1st, France 4th

IRB Ranking Points
New Zealand 91.34, France 84.79

Prediction: Another supreme performance by the All Blacks. New Zealand by 20 points



15 Maxime Médard, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Aurélien Rougerie, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Morgan Parra, 9 Dimitri Yachvili, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Julien Bonnaire, 6 Thierry Dusautoir, Capt. 5 Lionel Nallet, 4 Pascal Papé, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 William Servat, 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux.
16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Fabien Barcella, 18 Julien Pierre, 19 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 20 Jean-Marc Doussain, 21 François Trinh-Duc, 22 Damien Traille.
Head Coach: Marc Lievremont


New Zealand
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Richard Kahui, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw, Capt. 6 Jerome Kaino,
5 Bradley Thorn, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
16 Andrew Hore, 17 Benjamin Franks, 18 Alistair Williams, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Andrew Ellis, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Sonny Bill Williams.
Head Coach: Graham Henry


Sweden 30, Lithuania 30 in Kuanas (ENC 2A)
Israel 28, Austria 26 in Vienna (ENC 2C)
Bulgaria 19, Luxembourg 16 in Pernik (ENC 2D)
Belgium 31, Croatia 12 in Charleroi (Friendly)-Test match status TBD

Sweden and Lithuania fought out a 30-30 draw. Lithuania scored 4 tries to 2 but Sweden kicked 6 penalty goals, all in the first half. Sweden remains on top of the ENC 2A points table.

Rugby match Lithuania - Sweden
Photo thanks to DELFI (R. Achmedovo nuotr.)

SWEDEN 5 4 1 0 166 107 59 2 0 20
LITHUANIA 5 3 1 1 147 77 70 2 1 17
LATVIA 4 1 0 3 77 151 -74 2 1 7
MALTA 4 1 0 3 66 88 -14 1 2 7
CROATIA 4 1 0 3 53 94 -41 0 1 5

The Next Fixtures ENC 2A
Malta v Latvia in Riga
Croatia v Sweden in Enkoping

Israel scored 4 tries in its close 28-26 win over Austria. The win places Israel at the top of the points table.

ISRAEL 5 4 0 1 105 81 24 1 0 17
DENMARK 5 3 1 1 106 81 25 0 1 15
HUNGARY 4 2 0 2 77 65 12 0 2 10
AUSTRIA 5 2 0 3 91 95 -4 0 2 10
NORWAY 5 0 1 4 36 93 -57 0 1 3

The Next Fixtures ENC 2C
Denmark v Hungary in Kecskemet
Norway v Israel in Netanya

Bulgaria just edged past Luxembourg in their ENC 2D test match

CYPRUS 5 5 0 0 256 38 218 5 0 25
BULGARIA 5 4 0 1 82 111 -29 0 0 16
GREECE 4 1 0 3 72 87 -15 1 2 7
FINLAND 4 1 0 3 41 107 -62 0 1 5
LUXEMB. 6 1 0 5 67 175 -98 0 1 5

The Next ENC 2D Fixtures
Bulgaria v Greece in Thesalonika

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Sweden v Lithuania in Kuanas (ENC 2A)

Venue: S. Darius and S. Girėnas Stadium

Referee: Tuma (Czech Republic)


SWEDEN 4 4 0 0 136 77 59 2 0 18
LITHUANIA 4 3 0 1 117 47 70 1 1 14
LATVIA 4 1 0 3 77 151 -74 2 1 7
MALTA 4 1 0 3 66 88 -14 1 2 7
CROATIA 4 1 0 3 53 94 -41 0 1 5

This could well be the showdown test match of this division. Sweden and Lithuania are locked at the top of the points table. Sweden prevailed last time these two Baltic nations met. You can be sure Lithuania will be out to pull this test away from Sweden.

Sweden has won its last six tests in a row and has found a purple patch in its test rugby. These wins include a tough 26-22 win over the Lithuanians back in November.

Lithuania is the team famous for its world record breaking 18 test wins in a row. They passed the previous record of 17 test wins in a row held jointly by New Zealand and South Africa when they defeated Serbia 77-5 in April 2010.

Having the home advantage will benefit Lithuania. Their strength will depend as to whether they can bring their England-based players home for this game. The delay in announcing their squad may well be because of this.

Sweden is a very strong team. The game will be close and I’ll give it to the home side..just

Previous Encounters
06.11.2010 Sweden 26-22 in Trelleborg (ENC 2A)
30.10.2004 Sweden 32-20 in Helsinborg (WCQ Europe R2, Pool C)
03.05.1997 Sweden 84-17 in Plunge (WCQ Europe Pool 3, Rnd A)
29.08.1993 Sweden 68-5 in Olofstrom

Sweden Last Five
14.05.2011 v Latvia W 54-29 in Riga (ENC 2A)
07.05.2011 v Malta W 24-13 in Stockholm (ENC 2A)
09.04.2011 v Denmark W 55-15 in Stockholm (Friendly)
06.11.2010 v Lithuania W 26-22 in Trelloburg (ENC 2A)
23.10.2010 v Croatia W 32-13 in Split (ENC 2A)

Lithuania Last Five
07.05.2011 v Croatia W 29-12 in Split (ENC 2A)
30.04.2011 v Latvia W 57-3 in Kuanas
06.11.2010 v Sweden L 22-26 in Trelleborg (ENC 2A)
30.10.2010 v Malta W 9-6 in Siauliai (ENC 2A)
08.05.2010 v Ukraine L 16-27 in Siauliai (WCQ Europe R4, Final)

GWC Rugby Rankings
Europe Table-Sweden 18th, Lithuania 19th

IRB Ranking Points
Lithuania 51.49, Sweden 50.99

Prediction: Lithuania by 3 points



Sweden Squad
Thomas Arvidsson (Fredriksbergs RC, Denmark)
Ivar Bengtsson (Hammarby IF)
Mattias Björkebäck (Hammarby IF)
Peter Blaha (Attila RG)
Tobias Borg (Enköpings RK)
Robin Fransson (Malvern RFC, England)
Ian Gowland (Stockholm Exiles RFC)
Rickard Johansson (Hammarby IF)
Timothy Johansson (Enköpings RK)
Alan Letele (Spartacus RUFC)
Eirik Lundqvist (Enköpings RK)
Conor Murphy (Corinthians RFC, Ireland)
Robert Nave (Enköpings RK)
Stefan Obradovic (Attila RG)
Rikard Örnberg (Vänersborgs RK)
Viktor Pettersson (Enköpings RK)
Lee Sandberg (Cambridge RUFC, England)
Mark Stephenson (Spartacus RUFC)
Paul Sullivan ((Stockholm Exiles RFC)
Alexander Taylor (Hammarby IF)
Sebastian Taylor (Old Haberdashers RFC, England)
Rikus van Niekerk (Stockholm Exiles RFC)
Peter Wiklund (Vänersborg RK)
Head Coach: Mike Tatu
Adapted from


Lithuania Squad not yet announced


Israel v Austria in Vienna (ENC 2C)

Venue: Sportclubplatz

Referee: Jelavic (Croatia)



DENMARK 5 3 1 1 106 81 25 0 1 15
ISRAEL 4 3 0 1 77 55 22 0 0 12
HUNGARY 4 2 0 2 77 65 12 0 2 10
AUSTRIA 4 2 0 2 65 67 -2 0 1 9
NORWAY 5 0 1 4 36 93 -57 0 1 3

Israel travels to Vienna for this European Nations Cup clash. In this competition Israel is placed second behind Denmark. Israel and Denmark have a loss each and are making the pace to win this second stage and gain promotion to ENC 2B for 2012-14.

Israel defeated Austria in Israel in April. They are new to this level of competition and have acquitted themselves well. Although it is more difficult to win away in this competition I’m expecting Israel to win.

Previous Encounters
09.04.2011 Israel 20-9 in Netanya (ENC 2C)
02.06.2001 Austria 21-6 in Vienna (WCQ Europe R1; FIRA Pool 2)
23.11.1996 Israel 15-3 in Tel Aviv (WCQ Europe Pool 1, Rnd A)

Israel Last Five
14.05.2011 v Norway W 15-13 in Oslo (ENC 2C)
07.05.2011 v Denmark L 19-27 in Odense (ENC 2C)
09.04.2011 v Austria W 20-9 in Netanya (ENC 2C)
30.10.2010 v Hungary W 23-14 in Netanya (ENC 2C)
12.06.2010 v Finland W 13-6 in Helsinki (ENC 3C)

Austria Last Five
14.05.2011 v Denmark W 23-16 in Odense (ENC 2C)
09.04.2011 v Israel L 9-20 in Netanya (ENC 2C)
06.11.2010 v Norway W 15-9 in Vienna (ENC 2C)
16.10.2010 v Hungary L 16-22 in Budapest (ENC 2C)
15.05.2010 v Hungary W 19-17 in Vienna (ENC 3B)

GWC Rugby Rankings
Europe Table-Austria 30th, Israel 32nd

IRB Ranking Points
Israel 41.05, Austria 37.76

Prediction: Israel by 2 points


Israel Squad
Nathan Amos
Oren Alt
Amir Beutler
Mijael Bielak
Oren Brodhurst
Matan Brosh
Michael Eli
Matt Frankfurt
Gilad Goldstein
Stas Gurtovoy
Eitan Humphreys
Dudi Jacobi
Maffi Julian
Amit Kakoun
Nimi Kaplan
Fabian Maguid
Daniel Palma
Mody Radashkovich
Yoni Radashkovich
Adrian Rainstein
Yoni Shaki
Toko Suchushvilli


Austria Squad

Manuel Polak
Omar El-Arebi
Patrick Maurer
Maximilan Muller
Milad Farkhondeh-Fal
Gordon Chiu
Anmdreas Gaul
Constantin Vana
Lukas Kolb
Ferdinand Richter
Sebastian Freydell
Johannes Dachler
Alexander Krauchenberg

Mushegh Aslanyan
Maximilian Navas
Yvan Wever
Rudi Glock
Marius Johannik
Martin Leidl
Julian Zochling
Michael Kerschbaumer
Nicola Bignotti