November Tests: Ireland stun Springboks, Jones wants more from England

by AFP

The November internationals kicked off in earnest on Saturday afternoon, with epic encounters all across the UK and France.

Australia got the better of Wales in Cardiff, but that was just the start of the results that played out.


England didn't do it easy against the Pumas. Photo: Getty ImagesCoach Eddie Jones described England's 21-8 victory over Argentina as a "grindathon" and few in the 82,000 crowd would have disagreed with him as the hosts struggled to find any cohesion in a game desperately short of fluid rugby.

Tries in each half by Nathan Hughes and Semesa Rokoduguni and the boot of George Ford were enough to see off a Pumas side who responded with a late Nicolas Sanchez try. But England were a long way from their best and were grateful for Argentina's errant kicking which led to five misses from their six goal attempts.

"Yep, it was a grindathon", Jones told reporters. "We were off the pace a bit but we did some things well.

"We haven't played together since March (excluding the June tour to Argentina without his British and Irish Lions) and the understanding wasn't there, which is understandable.

"But it was a good win. You can't underestimate (Argentina). They are a good team and they played well, and it's a great contest for us."

Jones usually cuts a relatively serene figure during matches but was shown hammering his desk in frustration after another England penalty offence.

Jonathan Joseph and England toughed it out at Twickenham. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Australian made no apology though.

"We want to play good rugby so there's no reason why I shouldn't be frustrated," he said. "Every time we created something a pass would go astray or something. Henry Slade, did some good things but that understanding at 10-12-13 wasn't really there.

"Attack-wise we need to finish opportunities and we gave away some silly penalties."

England face Australia next week before finishing their series against Samoa, and Jones did not hide the fact that quick improvement is needed.

"We're hoping Australia bring their best game and we'll see where we're at," he said. "We have a very clear vision of how we want to play against Australia."


England 21

Tries: Hughes, Rokoduguni

Cons: Ford

Pens: Ford 3

Argentina 8

Tries: Sanchez

Pens: Boffelli


The All Blacks held off France. Photo: Getty ImagesNew Zealand wracked up their 2,000th international try and threatened to hand France a sound thrashing before a second half rally limited them to a

38-18 win in Paris.

Ryan Crotty chalked up the landmark score as four first half tries -- the others from Dane Coles, Waisake Naholo and Sam Cane -- gave the All Blacks a 31-5 half-time lead.

Teddy Thomas crossed for France on his return to the fold after a two-year absence while a penalty try helped close the gap before Naholo grabbed his second in the final minute.

Beauden Barrett kicked a perfect six from six from a 13-point personal haul for the visitors.


France 18

Tries: Thomas, penalty

Pens: Belleau 2

New Zealand 38

Tries: Naholo 2, Coles, Crotty, Cane

Cons: Barrett 5

Pens: Barrett


Ireland got a huge win in Dublin. Photo: AFPIreland recorded their biggest win over South Africa with a 38-3 hammering at Lansdowne Road.

The Irish ran in four tries -- three in the last 10 minutes -- to extend the woeful Springboks winless run to five matches.

Especially pleasing for Joe Schmidt was the fact that three of his inexperienced players, Andrew Conway, South Africa-born hooker Rob Herring and the impressive Jacob Stockdale scored three of the tries. Rhys Ruddock nabbed the other.

Springboks flanker Francois Louw admitted the loss among South Africa's worst-ever defeats.

"It's pretty much up there with the worst. We have not done what we wanted to achieve today," he told Sky Sports.

"We were chasing the game early on, a bit of ill-discipline put the Irish on the scoreboard and to be fair to them, they took massive advantage of that.

"You don't want to be chasing games like this. They were good tactically, they definitely kept us on the pump and got the result.

"In these conditions, the ball is going to be a bit slippery, and as an alternative it turned into a kick-chase kind of game."


Ireland 38

Tries: Conway, Ruddock, Herring, Stockdale

Cons: Sexton, Carbery s

Pens: Sexton 4

South Africa 3

Pens: Jantjies


Scorland and Samoa played out a tight one. Photo: AFPSamoa couldn't end a troubled week with a memorable victory, but the Pacific Islanders went down fighting in their thrilling 44-38 loss against Scotland.

The country's prime minister this week declared the Samoan Rugby Union bankrupt in a bombshell development ahead of the November Tests.

Given their financial difficulties, Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua's side showed Samoan rugby was still in good shape on the field by delivering a strong performance at Murrayfield.

"We know how great a side the All Blacks are in attack and defence, so this first game is history now," Scotland coach Gregor Townsend said.

"We can move on to things we need to be better at next week to play at our best against the All Blacks."


Scotland 44

Tries: McInally 2, Hogg, Jones Dunbar, Horne

Cons: Russell 3

Pens: Russell 2

Samoa 38

Tries: Fa'asalele, Nanai-Williams, Fonotia, Treviranus

Cons: Nanai-Williams 5

Pens:  Nanai-Weilliams


Italy edged Fiji. Photo: AFPIan McKinley kicked a penalty on his international debut as Italy got their November Test series off to a winning start with a 19-10 victory over Fiji in Sicily.

The former Ireland U20 player -- wearing specially manufactured goggles after he was blinded in his left eye by a teammate's stud eight years ago -- came on as a substitute on 62 minutes to close the match with a penalty kick.

Carlo Canna scored 11 points as Italy ended a series of nine consecutive defeats going back to their stunning victory over South Africa in November 2016 in Florence.


Italy 19

Tries: Ferrari

Cons: Canna

Pens: Canna 3, McKinley

Fiji 10

Tries: Nakawara

Cons: Volavola

Pens: Volavola