A spanner in the works at the RWC – a Jimbo Jones exclusive!

11 09 2007

Jimbo Jones… same guy?So, I have yet another special to With Malice… another guy from a sports forum I frequent – the redoubtable Jimbo Jones! So, without further ado – here’s Jimbo!

The 2007 Rugby World Cup has begun! And there are a few early signs suggesting where Bill [editor’s note: ‘Bill’ is the Webb Ellis Trophy for the winner] might be heading. A few interesting results have unfolded already: particularly so in Pool D, with the Argentians upsetting the French at home at Stade de France – putting the home team’s finals berth in doubt.

We all knew Pool D, or Pool of Death as it is often called, would be the most interesting pool in the comp to watch – with France, Argentina and Ireland all worthy finals contenders. Looking at the statistics, Argentina has fared well against the French over the last 10 years, winning 40% of all matches played against the rugby powerhouse. So they were bound to be competitive. Most just thought that they wouldn’t be quite that competitive. It has turned out to be an embarrassing loss to the competition hosts, losing at home despite having the advantage of l’esprit de clocher – within the sounds of church bells, an advantage the French enjoy and (usually) capitalise on. Read the rest of this entry »


Top Sports Stories in Japan… (Sept 9)

9 09 2007

Hitomi goodness…Ouch. Quite a bit of lager consumed last night.

Today’s top sports stories in Japan…

The Ankle Tap: France defeated!

8 09 2007

GOTCHA!For the French, the unthinkable has happened. Losing the first match in the Rugby World Cup, on home soil – to Argentina. The 12-17 scoreline doesn’t reflect what a huge loss this is.
In any other pool, a team of France’s caliber losing to one of Argentina’s wouldn’t be such a big deal. But this pool has sharks. Ireland lurks, and if they beat France on September 21st, then that’s it for Les Bleus.

The Argentine defense was a veritable wall, not once did France cross the try-line. Still, the game was anyone’s France 07– and fortune favoured the brave Pumas. Both Michalak & Contepomi missed opportunities for penalties in the last 10 minutes, sealing the fate of the French.

So despite having most of the ball (a 60/40 breakdown of time), France head towards September 21 with trepidation, and a lil’ bit of hope.

Note: I got the margin right (by under 10), but the side wrong – in my Ankle Tap Tips!

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Brace yourself: Heavy hits to follow – Rugby World Cup 07

5 09 2007

The Rugby World Cup…

As an Australian fan in Japan lots of emotions run rampant at the moment. Australia’s first game is in Lyon against Japan – it’s the one game the Japanese are absolutely dreading, and one that I’m looking forward to. Still… I head into viewing this RWC with a lil’ trepidation. As some of the commentary’s read here, the Wallabies aren’t quite as strong as we’ve been in years gone by. Then there’s just the pure, unaldulterated excitement at watching some damn good rugby on the new TV I purchased for this (well, truth be told – I needed a new TV. But the timing was purely for the RWC)… Not so long ago, I published an article titled Rugby World Cup – and ye gods am I excited – well, nothing’s changed.

So trepidation, joy, excitement – it’s going to be a good month. Read the rest of this entry »

Riddle me this: Rugby World Cup reviews – pool D

11 08 2007

France 07So last in the series of previews, The Riddler looks at the Group of Death, Group D.

Who will he choose? The gallant Irish? The ferocious Argentinians? The suave French? Read on, and find out…

Rugby World Cup reviews – pool D

Viva le Francais! Despite never winning the event the French have an excellent record at the World Cup make the final twice and semi twice in five attempts. Along with the All Blacks, they also have the honour of never losing a pool game at the world cup. That record will be severely tested here, but with a home crowd cheering them on they should squeak over the line in the pool of death. Aside from the All Blacks – who have ravaged the French in France in recent years, they boast a very smart home record. They also have Ireland’s number. Argentina however might be their biggest challenge as recent clashes between these two have been very tough encounters. Should they top the group they should make it all the way to the final. They will be looking at Scotland/Italy in the quarters and South Africa in the semis: all at home. In the final with the home crowd behind them they can’t be under-estimated and they have what appears the best chance of rolling the All Blacks based on the fact they are at home. However if they end up in second place it’s a quarter final clash on a neutral venue against the All Blacks. Third place and the locals will lynch them. All three are easily plausible outcomes. Read the rest of this entry »

Rugby World Cup – And ye gods, am I excited!

2 08 2007

France 07I love World Cups. The football (soccer for those in Nth America) World Cup was awesome… the Cricket World Cup, a shambles – but I’m an Aussie so I loved it (for those not in the know, Australia pretty much thrashed everyone they played)… but by far my favourite is the Rugby (hell… I managed to talk my wife into buying a brand new wide-screen/flat-screen TV for this – she doesn’t know that’s the reason we bought it now… so shhhh…). And it’s nearly here… first game kicks off 8th of September: France versus Argentina (and that match will be a blinder – first of many).

Thing about most World Cups is that there invariably minnows (and yes, the USA is a ‘minnow’, so’s Canada!), who will receive absolute stompings from the traditional powerhouses. Still… part of the fun, huh?

Here’s a look at the pools, with some predictions (2 from each pool get through to the knock-out stage): Read the rest of this entry »