Rugby: the southern hemisphere falters, the nations of the North fight back

The summer tours in the southern hemisphere ended on a mixed record, one year before the 2023 World Cup (September 8-October 28): if New Zealand must quickly question itself, Ireland can look to the future with serenity.

. Ireland on top of the world

The Irish celebrate their success (32-22) against New Zealand on July 16, 2022 in Wellington, a second consecutive victory (23-12 on July 9 in Dunedin) which allows them to win the summer tour for the first time ( 2-1) on New Zealand soil (AFP – Marty MELVILLE)

Thanks to its two historic victories in New Zealand over the All Blacks (23-12 on July 9, 32-22 on Saturday), Ireland will regain the top of the world rankings on Monday for the first time since 2019.

A success savored by its captain Johnny Sexton, 37 years old since last Monday: “Coming here and doing what we did is very, very special”.

The opening half, who passed the 1,000 points mark in selection on Saturday, took the opportunity to pay tribute to his coach, the Englishman Andy Farrell, who succeeded against all odds in keeping his “old” (Sexton ” himself”, but also Peter O’Mahony, Tadhg Beirne or Tadgh Furlong) while launching some promising young people: “He did an incredible job and all the credit goes to him”.

. The All Blacks in crisis

A fourth place in the world – unheard of since the establishment of the ranking in 2003 -, a win ratio of less than 70%, executives whose performance leaves something to be desired… The selection at La Fougère is far from its usual standards.

The three-time world champions have lost back-to-back home Test matches to a European side for the first time since France’s victorious tour in 1994.

Their selection Ian Foster is more threatened than ever and, one year before the World Cup in France, of which they will play the opening match against the Blues, the Blacks will have to “roll up their sleeves” to regain their status.

. South Africa strengthened

Crowned world champion for the third time in its history in 2019 in Japan, South Africa was waiting at the turn during the tour of Wales at home.

She was a little scared, during the first test match, narrowly won (32-29), and the second, narrowly lost (13-12), but she was able to bounce back, remobilize her executives and put back the machine in motion during the last of his confrontations with the XV du Leek (30-14).

The South African forwards form a maul against the Welsh, under the eyes of the 2nd line of the Springboks Lood de Jager, during their 3rd test match, on July 16, 2022 in Cape Town (AFP - RODGER BOSCH)
The South African forwards form a maul against the Welsh, under the eyes of the 2nd line of the Springboks Lood de Jager, during their 3rd test match, on July 16, 2022 in Cape Town (AFP – RODGER BOSCH)

In Cape Town on Saturday, the pack of South African forwards got back into steamroller mode around captain Siya Kolisi and “centurion” Eben Etzebeth. The flashes of three-quarters Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am and the accuracy of opener Handré Pollard did the rest.

. England can see it coming

Englishman Marcus Smith flattens despite the return of Australian Marika Koroibete on July 16, 2022 in Sydney (AFP/Archives - Saeed Khan)
Englishman Marcus Smith flattens despite the return of Australian Marika Koroibete on July 16, 2022 in Sydney (AFP/Archives – Saeed Khan)

Criticized for their predictable play based on the millimeter boot of their center or opener Owen Farrell, England have shown during this Australian tour that they are also capable of relying on their young guard – Marcus Smith, Freddie Stewart, Jack van Poortvliet, Tommy Freeman, Sam Underhill – to rock a game.

Eddie Jones, on the grill after suffering four defeats in a row (against Ireland and France during the Tournament, the Barbarians then the Wallabies during the first test), knew how to question himself to guide the XV of the Rose to two wins against the Wallabies and winning the series.

. Welsh and Pumas on the revival

Wales, penultimate of the last Tournament, showed that they were capable of reviving and signing a historic success on Springbok soil.

The Argentinians celebrate their success with their supporters, after overthrowing Scotland (34-31) in the last seconds, during the 3rd test match, on July 16, 2022 in Santiago del Estero (AFP - Pablo Gasparini)
The Argentinians celebrate their success with their supporters, after overthrowing Scotland (34-31) in the last seconds, during the 3rd test match, on July 16, 2022 in Santiago del Estero (AFP – Pablo Gasparini)

Finally, the Argentinian Pumas of Michael Cheika can breathe: their breathtaking final on Saturday (34-31) against the valiant Scots proved that they had the mentality to keep their place at the table of major nations.

Leave a Comment