Riddle me this: No French Kisses

13 10 2007

Riddler?  One-eyed All Black fan!The Semi Finals

With the Kiwi’s and Aussies out of the tournament, this world cup has lost a lot of its gloss and the four teams remaining consist of three of the most boring on the planet in England, Argentina and France and one with flair in South Africa. Wont be losing any sleep over the prospect of this lot playing and might turn my focus to the Air NZ semi finals instead which will be a hell of a lot more entertaining.

France versus England
Well it semi-final time and I don’t think many where expecting this match up. Instead of a possible clash between two electric dynamic teams in New Zealand and Australia, we are left with two of the most boring sides in the competition squaring off in France and England.

Mark my words, this game won’t be pretty. These two have met three times this year and it’s been a sleep-a-thon each time. Rather than relying on flair to get them home, this will be nothing short of an ugly forward dominated battle with both teams relying on field position and their kicker to get them through. Both have made it well known that they aren’t interested in pretty rugby and will do what it takes to win, no matter how ugly it is.

Jubilant France It will be interesting to see how France backs up in this game. Traditionally when France pull off a big upset or seem to have a competition wrapped up like the six nations they back up the following week with a terrible performance. In 87 they beat pre tournament favourites Australia in Sydney and backed that up by getting slaughtered. In 99 they did the same again beating New Zealand then getting slaughtered the next week. In 07 they have again knocked off a tournament favourite. How they come out this week will be interesting…

What I feel is the French have played their final. They have knocked off the All Blacks (thanks in part to a very ordinary refereeing performance heavily favouring them) and they are likely to take it a lot easier against the English. For this reason I am going with England to continue their trend against France in the world cup and win this by 3.

South Africa vs Argentina
If there is one team the Argentineans don’t like playing, it appears to be the Springboks. With 11 encounters between these two going the way of the Springboks on all 11 occasions, number 12 looks a likely prospect for the ‘Boks. Both these sides have dominating forward packs and this is Argentina’s strength. ‘Boks to winHowever their strength is likely to be neutralized here and they will have to rely on other avenues to overcome the Springboks and here is where they will fall short.

Argentina has relied on its ability to choke the life out of it’s opponents but with the talent South Africa has in the backs, they will have their work cut out containing them. If the Argentineans to slow the game down and play it at their tempo they are a big chance but I expect the possession to be pretty evenly shared and the ‘Boks to get the edge in the backs here.
South Africa by 12 points

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