Wales v Australia: Five things we learned

first_imgWelsh general: fly-half Rhys PriestlandBacks in actionThe biggest positive from the game was the Welsh back-line. It was the first time it has functioned this autumn. Key to this was Rhys Priestland. His line kicking was accurate and his passing was of a high standard – it was Priestland’s spotting of the overly eager Wallaby defence in the Welsh 22 that released an audacious, yet simple break, which allowed Cuthbert to make a 50-yard gain. Priestland’s chips over the top of the Wallaby’s blitz defence also caused significant problems.Sadly, it is becoming unpleasantly fashionable to criticise Priestland and you are more likely to hear about his missed tackle, or his decision to kick in the 78th minute instead of going ‘through the phases’. I’m not sure how Priestland was supposed to go through the phases, there wasn’t a single player standing behind him ready to accept a pass and running with the ball, from your own 22, with a three-point lead, in the last minute isn’t exactly a percentage play – the kick was good, the defensive realignment wasn’t.The Welsh threequarters were also effective; they ran straight lines and created more overlaps than they have in any of the previous three games. Jon Davies’s continually improving passing meant that the ball arrived in front of the wings and allowed them ample opportunities to make yardage – Cuthbert was the game’s second highest ball-carrier and Liam Williams continued his impressive progression in Test rugby. It was good to see the Welsh backs finally resemble a back-line, and not simply a defensive line.Fabulous 15Leigh Halfpenny was tremendous. He has been increasingly shackled by his defensive responsibilities over the past season, which he performs impeccably, but against Australia his running lines were of equal quality – he beat more defenders than anyone in the Welsh team. His goalkicking was once again at 80% and his kicking out of hand worked well too. NOT FOR FEATURED Passion player: Leigh Halfpenny, flanked by Liam Williams and Mike Phillips, finds his voice during the anthemsBy Paul WilliamsThe late, late showWales once again lost to the Wallabies when it seemed that they couldn’t. They have now lost their last three games to Australia in the dying minutes – once in the 72nd minute and twice in the 79th. This last defeat was the most unbearable of them all as it came at the end of a much improved and much needed performance.The Welsh scrum was rock-solid, with Scott Andrews once again coping admirably at Test level and providing genuinely reliable cover for Adam Jones. Wales once again maintained parity with both possession and territory and their tackle completion percentage was in the bracket expected at Test level (88.2%). But of course, none of this will be remembered, and the hunt for a scapegoat is in full flow. Wales now have enough scapegoats from the autumn series to start a small farm.Up and down: the Welsh lineout falteredIn the line of fireThe Welsh lineout struggled against Australia and they lost six. More precisely it struggled in the second half after Luke Charteris left the field – Wales lost one lineout in the first half, yet five in the second. It wasn’t that Charteris was dominating the lineout; Wales didn’t use him once in the first half. Instead, they used him as a decoy and freed up significant space for Lou Reed and Aaron Shingler.Once Charteris left the field, the decoy was removed and made it much easier for the Wallabies to track the Welsh jumpers. It forced Wales to vary their lineout more and take riskier options at the tail – sloppy ball and mistakes ensued. Much will be made of Wales losing the game with the last play of the game – losing Luke Charteris was arguably as important.Hard hitterJamie Roberts’s tackling was immaculate against Australia. He was the top tackler on both teams and by some distance – making 17 tackles and missing none. Roberts completely shut down the central channels and forced Australia into a wasteful kicking game plan. Roberts’s upper-body wrap tackles were particularly impressive and limited the Wallabies centres’ ability to offload the ball – Adam Ashley-Cooper and Ben Tapuai didn’t manage an offload between them. Roberts’s hands are sometimes called into question; his shoulders are second to none. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Halfpenny’s conviction under the high ball was unquestionable, as always, but it was his defence that was so admirable. Halfpenny may look like a big guy when you see him flexing his ‘lats’ in a fitness magazine, but in reality he isn’t. Halfpenny is 5ft 10in and 13st 5lb, yet he tackles like a player who’s half a foot taller and 2st heavier. Apparently, the Lions full-back position is a toss-up between Halfpenny and Rob Kearney. It isn’t. Here’s a mast, a hammer, some nails and my colours – Halfpenny will be the Lions full-back.Follow Paul Williams on Twitter @thepaulwilliamslast_img read more

Odds & Ends: Sneak Peek of Kristin Chenoweth’s Oklahoma! & More

first_imgBrian d’Arcy James’ Film HonorMore good news for the much-buzzed about new movie Spotlight, which features Something Rotten! headliner Brian d’Arcy James. The three-time Tony nominee has been honored with a special Gotham Jury Award alongside co-stars Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Tony nominees Mark Ruffalo and Stanley Tucci, as well as Tony winners Billy Crudup and Liev Schreiber, for their ensemble work in the drama. Spotlight also received Gotham Award nominations for Best Feature and Best Screenplay. Following The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Massachusetts Catholic sex abuse scandal, check out Spotlight’s first trailer here.Spend Halloween With Daphne Rubin-VegaYou wanna play…on Halloween? There will be a free (via online lottery) late night performance by two-time Tony nominee Daphne Rubin-Vega in Empanada Loca on October 31. Penned and directed by Aaron Mark, the solo thriller is inspired by true events and the legend of Sweeney Todd. Labyrinth Theater Company’s world premiere is running off-Broadway at Bank Street Theater through November 8.Blur Frontman Damon Albarn’s New CareerBlur frontman and Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn has recently turned his hand to writing tuners and he’s been opening up about his latest, wonder.land, which will bow at the U.K.’s National Theatre later this month. “I really love writing musicals,” Albarn told The New York Times. “This is my third one; if it doesn’t work, I don’t know whether they’ll give me another chance.” Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, with a book and lyrics by Dying for It playwright Moira Buffini and helmed by the National’s Artistic Director Rufus Norris himself, we’re sure it’ll be magical!A Christmas Carol Returns to New YorkBah humbug! For the third year in a row, John Kevin Jones will portray Charles Dickens, re-enacting the author’s December 1867 trip to New York City, where he performed a month of sold-out shows of his beloved holiday classic, A Christmas Carol. The 60-minute presentation will run December 10 through December 24 in the Greek Revival parlor of the landmark 1832 Merchant’s House Museum, complete with 19th century holiday decorations, flickering candles and period furnishings. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Scrooge! View Comments Star Files Kristin Chenoweth Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Peek of Cheno’s Oklahoma!Movie theaters across the nation will be screening Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! beginning November 1 in celebration of the classic musical’s 60th anniversary. The event is set to include a special bonus featurette starring Kristin Chenoweth—check out a first look at her rendition of “People Will Say We’re In Love” below. (Although we always want to throw bouquets at the Tony winner…could this be a problem?!)last_img read more

City complete swoop for Fernandinho

first_img City have not revealed the fee paid for Fernandinho but reports this week suggested he could cost in the region of £34million. It would therefore appear a compromise may have been agreed with the Ukrainian club as there had been reports suggesting the release clause in the player’s contract was £42.5million. Fernandinho told the club’s website, www.mcfc.co.uk: “This is a change, a challenge and a chance that I have been waiting a long time for. Playing in the Premier League for City is like a dream. My ambition here is to win all the titles, the team here is strong, and so is the greatness of the club and the supporters. “Professionally this is a spectacular thing. Playing for a huge club in a huge league makes me so happy. I hope I will be able to repay City for what they have done for me. “I know I will face challenges but I am prepared for them. Every player at a high level faces pressure and must respond and I am ready for that too. I know a lot about City. Ever since they expressed an interest in me, I have been learning more.” The signing is a decisive early blow for City in the transfer market after the frustrations of last summer. Former manager Roberto Mancini regularly cited the failure to land major targets last year as one of the reasons for the team’s regression this past season. There has been a regime change since then with player recruitment now being driven by new director of football Txiki Begiristain. Pellegrini, whose appointment is expected to be ratified in the coming days, will be expected to work under the philosophy of the club’s hierarchy. Fernandinho was tipped for stardom after scoring the winner for Brazil in the final of the 2003 World Youth Championship. He is a deep-lying playmaker who has been playing for Shakhtar since a £7million move in 2005. He has helped the club to six Ukrainian league titles as well as UEFA Cup success in 2009. The 28-year-old has long been linked with the club and had spoken of his desire to make the move as speculation swirled. Confirmation of the signing has come after Sevilla said earlier this week they had agreed a deal to sell Jesus Navas to City, although the Barclays Premier League club – still without a manager as they wait to confirm the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini – are yet to announce a deal for the Spain winger. Press Associationcenter_img Manchester City have confirmed the signing of Brazil international Fernandinho from Shakhtar Donetsk.last_img read more

Awuzu wins third ticket to Formula One grand prix

first_img***[email protected] on: WhatsApp The Independent MD Andrew Mwenda (M) announcing the winner of the trip to the Formula one grand prix in Abu Dhabi. Right is City Tyres Marketing Manager Herbert Bashaasha and left is Isabella Blick, Africa Motor Cross junior champion.Wilson Awuzu will be joining a lucky few individuals in a once-in-a lifetime-trip to the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi to watch the Formula One grand prix in November.Awuzu becomes the third winner since the City Tyres/Pirelli promotion kicked off months ago. Awuzu was picked by Andrew Mwenda, MD of The Independent in a draw held at City Tyres head offices on Sixth Street, Industrial Area. The other two are Sowedi Kategano and Isaac Lubega, who were selected when draws were conducted in June and July.The three and five yet to be determined others will have front row access to the rivalry of the sport’s biggest stars like Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg and other drivers.City Tyres marketing executive Herbert Bashaasha encouraged Ugandans to enter the draw by buying four Pirelli Tyres from any City Tyres outlet. The next draw takes place on October 2.last_img read more

Perry gets revenge…favored Brashear goes down in upset

first_imgDespite a solid passing game displayed by Langley, Oliver proved to be too much for Langley as four different players crossed the end zone for the Bears.Langley quarterback Shawn Smith hooked up with wide receiver Brian Gray a total of five times for 102 yards. But they couldn’t compensate for the lack of a ground game, only 25 total rushing yards for Langley in this one. Penalties were also a factor as they committed 13 for 85 yards.On the contrary Oliver did it on all sides of the ball scoring on offense, defense, and special teams. Dante Jeter kicked off the scoring with a 90 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Tyree Mathis was a force on the goal line as he pounded in a score form two yards out. Trevon Kendrick scored on a 14 yard pass from Jeter in the second half and soon after the Bears scored on a two-yard run from David Marshall. Finally, Tyrail Morgan capped off Oliver’s scoring by taking an interception into the end zone, 45 yards later.Peabody 16, Carrick 14 Schenley 14, Westinghouse 6 Devin Ghafoor of Perry returns an interception from the end zone to clinch the win over Brashear. This game had a shining star in RB/DB DeAndre Black. He was a force on both sides of the ball as he scored on a seven yard rush up the middle on a direct snap play in the second quarter. He converted on the two-point with the same play. He also snagged two picks on the defensive side of things.Junior running back Shawn Jones had the first score on a 5 yard run up the gut to cap off a 7 play, 57 yard opening drive for the Spartans. Schenley experienced a scare in the opening of the second quarter whenever first-year starting quarterback Darren Jackson went down with a shoulder injury.“I looked at it as a good opportunity for our team to overcome adversity so early in the season. We are going to face many good teams this season and we will be able to benefit from this experience,” said Jason Bell, Schenley’s head coach.Westinghouse scored on an 85 yard return on a fumble recovery by David Pryor. Senior quarterback Darrel Cosby completed 10 of 20 passes for 77 yards and two picks.“We started slow today on defense and I feel like we picked it up in the second half,” said Westinghouse’s head coach Monte Robinson. “We are a team that is learning how to win and we are confident that we are getting better week by week.”Oliver 46, Langley 12 In a week one rematch of last year’s championship, the Perry Commodores avenged that loss in a huge upset of the Brashear Bulls, 7-0, that ended Brashear’s 20-game winning streak in the City League Sept. 4 at Cupples Stadium on the South Side.. “We obviously made some mistakes that we have to address immediately,” said Rick Murphy, Brashear’s head coach. “We had four costly turnovers and our guys understand that it will be hard to win games with those costly errors.” The two teams combined on 12 penalties for 75 yards. Both teams had problems executing and it was clear that the two teams had difficulty executing.The lack of execution on Brashear’s part didn’t backfire until the 9:23 mark in the final quarter when junior running back Richard Lowry put it away with a 27 yard touchdown run capped off with a John Dubensky kick.“We executed that play perfectly,” said Bill Gallagher, Perry’s head coach. All of the blockers made great blocks and Richard hit the three hole and ran North and South all the way to the end zone. That play was huge.”Perry has eight returning seniors as well as a few talented juniors (in McGhee and Lowry) and it showed as they were they made a clear impact in this game. At quarterback, McGhee finished with 14 carries for 146 yards.“I can’t say enough about (McGhee’s) growth. He’s worked hard to improve his skills, ability, and technique. He loves to watch film and is always looking for ways to get better,” Gallagher said.Other Games: Despite losing six players to eligibility before the season, Carrick hung in there for a dog fight with Peabody in this one. They are enjoying their senior quarterback Ryan Roeper’s presence as he returns from a season-hindering shoulder injury. He completed 6 of 10 passes for 145 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions.Sophomore quarterback Dantae Forte, however, came up large for his team in it’s opener with 2 touchdown passes—a 32 yarder to DeVaughn Jemison and a 14 yard hookup to LaMont Blackwell proving to be the difference in this game.(Follow our continuing coverage you can add your comments of District 8 football to our website at newpittsburghcourieronline.com.)(D.W. Howze can be reached at [email protected])last_img read more