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diafol

Thought I'd spark up another rugby thread. Interesting week. Japan beating South Africa must go down as one of the biggest upsets ever, possibly in any sport. Georgia beating Tonga was another unexpected result. Although they didn't win, there were some great performances from Fiji (against Australia), Argentina (against the All Blacks) and Canada (against Italy). And then of course, Wales beating England last night.

Anybody else following this year's RWC? Who are you supporting? Who do you think will win?

Well it won't be England based upon that performance against Wales. I mean, WTF was Lancaster thinking? WTF was Robson thinking? Was anyone left on the England side with 15 minutes to go thinking at all, in fact? I can't get my head around why Lancaster took off all the people who were playing really well, winning England that game, apparently just becuase that was the scheduled time for some other chaps to have a go. I can't get my head around why Robson, with quite a history of making fundamentally wrong decisions at critical times that have cost the match, chose to kick to the corner. I can't get my head around why England cannot play with the passion and determination of Wales.

What I do know is that without that drive, that passion, that will to win at all costs, England ain't winning this world cup (in fact I doubt they will make it out of the pool of death).

Beyond the obvious NZ choice for back-to-back wins, I'd say that both Ireland and (despite that Japanese loss) South Africa are looking good for the final. Wales, sadly, have too many injuries and even though I've said they have the passion and mindset required to win, they made way too many mistakes in that game against England up until the final quarter...

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diafol

I think I agree HG. Wales will be lucky to beat Fiji with their creaking set pieces and 4th choice back line. So England may go through due to Wales being unable to play international rugby at the required level. Robshaw will wonder about what could have been but it was about more than that decision. England lost it anout 15 minutes into the second half. We could sense it. I told my English girlfriend "we got you" around that time. She was shaking her head as if I was insane. But you could see it. Wales woke up and they were always going to be stronger in the last 20 due to their better fitness. Probably the most exciting last 10 to a game I can remember in a while. Well, easily the most important for us anyhow. England v Australia will be close. I'm favouring Aus but they looked a little bit vulnerable against Fiji. So who knows.

All the big Southern hemisphere boys have been shaken so they've shown their vulnerability. Ireland are going well but Wales beat them in the warm up games so they're definitely not invincible. So could it be France's year? They've gone totally under the radar. Although they lost to England in the warm ups they're still a class outfit.

I'm going for NZ.
France Argentina or Ireland in final

I'm going for NZ.
France Argentina or Ireland in final

Almost my same choices but, as said by HG, South Africa has good choices too, I would add it in replace of Argentina. Here support is splitted between Ireland and France, but I'm not sure about France preparation, I didn't liked their games, probably because it's not simple to play against teams like Italy and Romania.

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diafol

Can never right off S.A. I know, but they were shocking against Japan - even though Japan played out of their skins. I'm just not convinced that they're a cohesive unit - their domestic tournament was a disaster too. France - christ knows - the old cliché. Ireland - a tough old bunch of bastards with considerable skill behind as well. But, if Argentina can match their performance against the All Blacks for those 60 minutes in their other games, they'll be really hard to put to the sword. The Pumas have really come on since they've been playing quality opposition on a regular basis. They're not just cat, they're full dog. :) I'd like to see them win more than anybody else (other than Wales of course).

After their performance against a bumbling Australia, I'm surprised that no one is screaming "Uruguay FTW!"

Uruguay. WTF? More like :)

commented: lol +0
commented: ROFL +0
commented: lol +0
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diafol

Ooooh. Getting excited now. Japan did a number on Samoa - amazing performance again. Enjoying the Scotland RSA game. Looks pretty cut and dried RSA scoring aother try at the death. Scotland need to win against Samoa now.
England Australia in 45 mins. Sorry neighbours, I, and the whole of Wales will be cheering on the Wallabies tonight. Be nailbiting.

//EDIT

Eng 3 - 17 Aus with 36 mins gone. What a game!

//EDIT

Eng 13 - 20 Aus at 65. Can't breathe!

//EDIT

Eng 13 - 33 Aus Full Time

Jesus. What a demolition. England out, Wales and Australia through. Not looking forward to meeting the Wallabies next week - they look mean and hungry.

Australia, Ireland, South Africa and Argentina all looking good at the moment. At least NZ have some proper competition.

Not inlcuding Wales in there, Alan, purely as I think the squad is too depleted right now and wasn't playing that well at full strength to start with. We will see if that turns out to be the case when they take on Aus next week as you say.

Nothing to say about that England performance, other than there was no performance in it. <correction> unless you include pantomime </correction>

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diafol

I agree HG, Wales too depleted to go beyond QFs. Can't see them beating Aus, which means they'll probably meet SA in QF. Big call to beat either. If Wales do beat Aus, they'll prob meet Scotland in QF, which may be a different proposal entirely. Not saying Scotland are bad, but we've got a good record against them. Beating Aus, I think is beyond Wales, and that's coming from a one-eyed boyo.

Aus, NZ, SA, Ire, Arg. Agreed. But what about France. Nobody is talking about them. Le sneaky bleus flying under ze radar. He heh.

RE: Eng/Aus - so much nonsense going on in the papers. Think Eng need to take stock and not do anything rash. Got very strong squad. Lancaster not a bad coach either. I think the press are downplaying how good Australia actually were. Pocock and Hooper ripped the lungs out of the game. When you've got two world class back rows opposing you, you have to have two of your own in order to contest the breakdown. Robshaw is not a 7, never has been, more of a 6. Morgans is not dynamic enough at 8. He's a huge unit, but not a ball winner. Same with Easter and Haskell. Size vs mobility. Haskell is exciting though - I think Lancaster or whoever is in charge could do a lot with him - if they can subdue his over-exuberance at times.

Burgess. Soooooooo overrated, in my opinion. At least in Union. At least at the moment. He cannot kick for toffee, yet makes the decision to kick way too often for example. I really don't get the whole Burgess thing myself.

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diafol

Burgess I agree is all wrong. There's too much emphasis on code-changers. I remember back in the 90s Wales had a plethora of switch-backers, but that was out of necessity rather than policy. I don't think England are in that state. With 5x the number of senior male players compared to NZ, Ire and Wal, they have a very strong base. The question remains whether those top flight players are being developed properly. The club scene is littered with foreign players. How the hell can you develop all that talent when they can't get a game? Same problem for England in footy. Seems mad to me.

Sam Burgess needs to come back to the Australia's NRL and hook up with the Rabbitohs. That way my wife will be happy and I'll maintain my sanity - well at least some of it.

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diafol

And the sooner the better for England RU. He has skills in abundance for the 13-man code, but those are not the ones required to RU. To be able to kick out of hand and prepare for the offload in the collision, are not something that he's skilled at at all. Both are vitally important for an international centre in RU. Don't know what Andy Farrell and Stuart Lancaster were thinking.

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diafol

What a weekend!
Unfortunately for me Wales narrowly lost SA 23-19
Ireland got killed 20-43 against Argentina. NZ rubbed out France 62-13. Scotland currently giving Australia a real game at 13-5. C'mon Scotland! Last remaining Celtic nation.

Just showing the difference between SH and NH rugby. We're just not competing at the same level.

//EDIT
Bugger. 1 point won in last 2 mins. Sick.

So, NZ, SA, Aus and Arg. I reckon NZ vs Argentina final? My other tips for Ireland and France were way off.

I think, overall, South Africa deserved the win. That second half was just all SA, and it broke Wales in the end.

Ireland showed themselves up as rather weak (unlike Wales) when missing just a few kingpin players. Argentina absolutely smashed them off the field.

NZ/France was a non-event as France didn't turn up (again).

However, Scotland were well and truly robbed by the match officials. I can't recall a recent match that was officiated so badly, and to such sad effect. The ref running off without shaking hands at the end says it all, he knew he had screwed up. But then so did the assistants and the TMO to all of them miss Hogg being dumped off the pitch in a very late tackle (a certain penalty, no doubt about it) just before the final incident. Talking of which, everyone I have spoken to and all the commentators/experts have said it wasn't a penalty. I heard on Radio 4 this morning that three international refs had all said they would have gone to the TMO over it, courtesy of the importance of the timing, despite it not being within the official remit of when you can send stuff to the TMO.

Full credit to the Scottish players for not making a huge fuss on the pitch, and the management for not making a huge fuss afterwards. At least they, unlike Joubert, did not put the game into disrepute. Running off the pitch like that was so cowardly, such an admission of guilt. The bloke should be dropped from international matches, which is something I've said on many occasions - he truly sucks elephants through a straw.

I sincerely hope that Australia get the holy crap beaten out of them by Argentina in the semi.

I sincerely hope that Australia get the holy crap beaten out of them by Argentina in the semi.

We only have crap, none of which is holy.

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diafol

Joubert has reffed very very badly in a number of recent games. His number must be up by now. Mind you, although SA deserved to win against Wales - no complaints about the result - Wayne Barnes was shocking in that first quarter - I hope he never refs us again. There has to be some semblence of consistency. TMO for insanely important decisions with 2 minutes to go, when the ref is unsure? Not rolling away when the guy moved immediately even on slo-mo?!

Argentina - I would love to see them reach the final, it's no more than they deserve. However, Australia have been brilliant too, and they've passed every test so far. Will SA derail NZ? I don't think so. I'd love to see a SA v Arg final, but I think it will be NZ v Aus.

I suspect it will be NZ v Aus as well, which will most likely be a rather boring (and predictable) game I reckon. NZ v Arg would be better, and less predictable, but for sheer excitement I suspect SA v Arg would be the match to watch.

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diafol

So NZ vs Aus. Bookies are happy. It'll still be a hell of a game and looking forward to it immensely. Best two teams made final, no complaints. WIth Nigel Owens reffing, should be a good, fair spectacle - hope I haven't put the mockers on him :Z

I thought that Aus were poor against Argentina across the whole of the game. If Argentina had woken up and started playing 10 minutes earlier it would have been a very different outcome.

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diafol

Fair comment. I will temper my previous comment about no complaints. I'm sure my Scottish cousins would beg to differ. A Scotland Argentina semi would have been a very different prospect I'm sure. However, Australia to my mind are the only team out of the 3 that could give NZ a run for their money in the final.

I hate to say it (because it makes for a boring final) but I think it's going to be one-way traffic for the All Blacks. Australia just remind me of Shania Twain: don't impress me much :)

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diafol

I think NZ will win too. Of the pool qualifiers Ire, Arg, Sco, Wal, Aus that NZ didn.t play (yes I know they played Arg in pools), Aus are the best team amongst them.

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diafol

Ok. So there we have another NZ win. Slow start from oz but came back really well. Shame about last intercept - they didn.t deserve to lose by that much. Nonu Carter and McCaw. Hope they were kidding :(

Aye. The international game will miss them, more than they probably realise.

Good game in the end, in fact probably more like a great game. For AUS to fight back from 21-3 down in the way they did was brilliant, and NZ showed just how beautiful rugby can be when played with consumate skill and a team that actually believes it is a team rather than a bunch of talented individuals.

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diafol

Agreed - very nicely put HG. Did you see Sonny Bill Williams give that kid his winner's medal? Some pillock of a security guard tackled the little kid (Boris Johnson would have been proud!) to the ground and SBW hugged him and gave him his medal. Do you believe it?? What a hero.