No disrespect to Pool B teams, but I think England have got the easiest route to the next round out of all the Northern Hemisphere sides. I can't see anybody bothering them too much - maybe Scotland will give them a good game - I hope so.
A NZ, France
B England, Scotland
C Australia, Ireland
D South Africa, Fiji/Samoa/Wales (could go either way!)
== Aus v Fiji/Samoa/Wales SA v Ireland NZ v Scotland
England v France
Game results according to expectation so far, although a few scares for England and SA.
New Zealand 41 - 10 Tonga
France 47 - 21 Japan
Scotland 34 - 24 Romania
Argentina 9 - 13 England (squeaky bum time!)
Australia 32 - 6 Italy
Ireland 22 - 10 USA
Fiji 49 - 25 Namibia
South Africa 17 - 16 Wales (almost! Wales deserved to win)
> Well, I'm not sure that soccer is a girly kind of sport
Well it is. Women play it. Grown men rolling around the floor in mocked agony play it. Toys get thrown out of the pram when a decision goes against them. Managers won't shake hands after the game when they're embarrassed about how their team has played. Face it, it's a woman's game - but that's an insult to women. I apologise ladies. :(
Nice one HG! My heart's still going at 200+. That's the best defence I've ever seen from Wales - they've always been good, but the tackle count would have crippled teams of old.
Did you see Adam Jones tuck up Cian Healy? Almost bent him in half in THAT scrum. Cian must have wished that he'd been ploughed a few feet under so that he wouldn't have to show his face. Anyway RWC2011? I think it would be a good bet to make the final, then NZ on the day. Very possible.
Looking forward to the England France game shortly. It will be the first time that I will support England in anything. Purely for the pleasure of meeting (beating) them in the Semis. :)
Anyway, neither England nor France have played v. well so far, so they've both got a massive point to prove. France, being France will either come out and play their game of the decade or self-implode. I think if England keep their heads and play percentage rugby, they'll come through. C'mon England! (chokes on his coffee...)
16 - 0 at half time and, to be honest, it could easily have been much worse for England. And what was Ashton thinking, dropped two chances in the last couple of minutes and cost us some hope going into the second half.
Not impressed at all. Johnson needs to kick some arse in the changing room, and then some.
Ballocks. Well, I suppose that's the bad karma you get when a Welshman favours England. :(
France played OK - not brilliant, but England were terrible (sorry). Can Johnson survive this run of rubbish performances? When you consider these stats (no. players):
England - 716505
South Africa - 464477
France - 212059
New Zealand - 141726
Japan - 126124
Ireland - 100974
Australia - 66395
USA - 63254
Italy - 45376
Fiji - 45300
Wales - 42000
Scotland - 24905
He should be taken outside and ...
Anyway, Phil Vickery's commentary must have put the players off. Was he doing a Brian Blessed?
Top Man HG :) I'm really looking forward to next week's game. The French will give us a hell of a game, the result of which is difficult to gauge, but the sheer quiet confidence of the Welsh youngsters (Halfpenny, Warburton, Lydiate, Faletau, Priestland, Jon Davies, North, Roberts - all <=24)gives me a lot of hope. Warburton, although just turned 23, is already set to be a great captain.
I reckon NZ to win comfortably against Argentina tomorrow (20-30 points). I expect South Africa to squeeze Australia up front and starve them of the ball. However, Australia will be embarrassed about the loss against Ireland and will come out like rabid dingoes. Still think a close win for SA.
I'm a bit ambivalent wrt Aus vs NZ, however, IF Wales win against France, I'd rather play Australia as I think we've got a better chance of winning, but on the other hand, I'd love to see us play NZ, as I think they are the best at the moment, although nowhere near THEIR best. No offence to the Aussies by this though.
France will be a major hurdle. Not counting my coqs yet. :)
The French played well against England but were far from their best I thought, meanwhile Wales played better than I can can recall seeing them do so for many, many years (I'm thinking back to the days of JPR Williams if I'm being honest - seriously, that's the impression it left on me) so if they can keep that momentum going, who knows?
Momentum is the key word. Both sides know how to hit the self-destruct button unfortunately. France are well known for being temperamental and inconsistent. From what I've heard Lievremont has been pretty much ditched by the players as they've decided to do their own thing. THey may be able to do that as a one-off, but I wonder how they will react to a side that can change their game plan. Unfortunately, England were bereft of ideas, seemingly unable to change tactics. Using those big backs as bludgeons simply played into the French hands. Mixing up the play with high kicks, back row moves, crash ball centre play, expansive 3/4 play - not to mention disruptive tactics of the blitz defence and set piece front row demolition - should pay dividends.
As for the Welsh Golden Era of the 70's - it may be a bit previous for comparisons, but their last eight games have been extremely encouraging (6 wins, 4pt loss to England at Twickers and 1pt loss to SA in RWC). We've had many false dawns, I've learned not to stick my neck out. Squealing with excitement, but I'd never admit to it. :)