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Weekend Round-Up: The Fairytale of Chicago

By Calum Henderson
ireland

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Catch up on the best of the weekend’s games on Rugby Pass as the Autumn International season gets off to a stunning start.

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International: Ireland vs New Zealand
Watch: Full Game | Condensed
As the All Blacks settled into formation to perform their haka before the test at Soldier Field, the Ireland players got into a formation of their own: a figure-8 in tribute to former captain Anthony Foley. While the emotion at the ground was not as palpable as at Thomond Park when Munster played Glasgow, there was no doubt Ireland was playing this match for the man they called ‘Axel’. From the start Ireland played a focused and precise brand of rugby, Johnny Sexton opening the scoring early with a penalty before a lucky bounce – off the face of captain Kieran Read – put All Blacks centre George Moala in for the first try after five minutes. The next 75 minutes bore witness to one of test rugby’s great team performances as Ireland sought to break an 111-year losing streak against the All Blacks and pay tribute to their fallen legend.

International: Wales vs Australia
Watch: Full Game | Condensed
As a red sea of leek and daffodil-toting supporters poured into Cardiff’s Principality Stadium there was a justifiable sense of optimism this would be 12th time lucky for Wales against Australia. Anybody who had watched the Wallabies in the Rugby Championship would have seen a mostly disjointed and unconvincing side well short of their best. But from the early exchanges Wales looked far from the side who showed encouraging signs in their 3-0 defeat to New Zealand in June. It took 11 minutes for Australia to score the first try through Stephen Moore and by halftime they had scored three to Wales’ solitary Leigh Halfpenny penalty goal. For the first time all year, the Wallabies, guided expertly by fly half Bernard Foley, looked like the side who made the World Cup final in 2015.

Pro12: Munster vs Ospreys
Watch: Full Game | Condensed
November is when squad depth suddenly becomes very important in European club rugby. With both Munster and Ospreys seeing bundles of first-choice players depart for international duty in the previous weeks it was a battle of the leftovers in this Pro12 clash at Musgrave Park. Munster were looking to keep momentum rolling with their third win in a row while for Ospreys a bonus point win would put them above Leinster at the top of the table. The home side struck first through big prop David Kilcoyne, and after 14 minutes they had a 14-point lead when Darren Sweetnam dotted down. Welsh giants Ospreys had it all to do if they were to stop the rampaging Munstermen.

Anglo-Welsh Cup: Bath vs Leicester
Watch: Full Game | Condensed
Going into the first week of Anglo-Welsh Cup action Bath sit above Leicester on the Premiership table, a big reversal of form from this time last season. But with both teams missing key players on international duty the form book could be confidently thrown out the window before the teams ran out onto the Rec. The home side drew first blood through an Adam Hastings penalty and followed up with a try to Jack WIlson to establish an early 8-0 lead. But that lead was cut to a single point when Luke Hamilton scored for Tigers just three minutes later. It continued in this fashion throughout as neither team managed to put the game quite out of reach.

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