The great divide widens – huge gap between NH & SH in Rugby World Cup

16 09 2007

Rugby World CupLast night there were 3 games:

  • New Zealand 108 defeated Portugal 13
  • Australia 32 defeated Wales 20
  • Ireland 14 defeated Georgia 10

The All Black dismantling of Portugal is no surprise. Verily, the only surprise in that match was that the Portuguese managed to get a try.
The Welsh losing to Australia doesn’t surprise either – was expected, and although a spirited second half saw the Dragons narrow the gap, on current form no amount of local-crowd advantage was going to help.

The Irish need more ballsBut that the Irish only just managing to beat a huge-hearted effort by Georgia is astounding. Ireland came into this World Cup with aspirations of making the semi-finals, perhaps even the final. The performance thus far of Ireland has left a lot to be desired. Eking a win out against Namibia (winning 32-17), and last night’s performance against Georgia could not have them feeling good about upcoming matches against France and Argentina. Read the rest of this entry »


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 »

Awful North – Rugby World Cup updates…

10 09 2007

France 07I don’t think anything’s happened that will make the Southern Hemisphere powers of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia quake. Verily, we could possibly see an all-Southern Hemisphere semi-finals for the first time ever with Argentina throwing down the gauntlet in Pool D.
Reigning World Cup holder England? Laughable thus far…
France? Already down 1-0 in a tight pool…
Ireland? Barely managed to beat Rugby minnow Namibia…
Wales? Not bad, but certainly their performance inspired no fear in the top nations…

So, September 9th’s games brought us the following:

Wales 42 def Canada 17 – A solid victory by the Welsh, but unless they pick up their game considerably I don’t believe they’ll be a match for the Wallabies in their clash this weekend. The Canadians took it right to them – the halftime scoreline was unbelievable: 12-9 to Canada. The Welsh looked underdone for all but 20 minutes of this game, but that was enough. 5 tries in that time span had Canada gone. Still, it will be interesting to see what Fiji can run against Wales… Read the rest of this entry »

The Ankle Tap: First weekend of Rugby World Cup matches!

7 09 2007

GOTCHA!So the Rugby World Cup is merely 11 odd hours away from beginning… excited as all hell here. And despite the IRB’s bone-headedness over media (latest update on that can be found over at Epic Carnival here!), it is shaping up to be one helluvan event…

First round of matches – let’s have a look at the first weekend’s matches: generally speaking this weekend promises to be a fairly one-sided affair. Every match other than the opener looks cut & dried.

  1. September 7th – First game, the hosts France take on Argentina, in Saint-Denis. The Argies have been in fine fettle recently, but France-on-French-soil won’t be dissuaded. I’ll tip the Les Bleus to take it, but in relatively tight contest: less than 10 points in the margin.
  2. September 8th – Italy face the might of the All Blacks in Marseille. The Italians will be glad to get this one behind them, so they can focus on the possibility of qualifying for the quarters. I look for the ABs to put their stamp on this tournament & beat a much-improved Azzurri side by 24+. 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 »

Póg mo thóin: Ireland’s Excess

10 08 2007

Jus’ a wee touch o’ the blarney about thi’ lad!Wilder than Malachy McCourt… crazier than a mad leprechaun… more Irish than the Blarney Stone… smoother than a glass of Guiness…
So today we welcome yet another Rugby writer to the fold: Caomhan.

Fáilte ó chroí, Caomhan.

by Caomhan

Coach Eddie O’ Sullivan has cut the ireland rugby squad down from 48 to 37 with the final seven to be let go after the upcoming scotland test. Of those of note the first to fall were the young and talented Leinster duo of Robert Kearney (fullback/wing) and Luke Fitzgerald (fullback/wing/centre). Brian Carney It seems thats the world cup has come just a few months too early for these two rising stars of Irish rugby and they will be sorely missed by many a Leinster and Ireland fan. However I would be more than confident that both can look forward to a prominent role in next years six nations competition for Ireland.

There was speculation and hope from certain quarters of the Irish rugby fraternity that O’ Sullivan would perhaps take a chance and opt for one of these future backline stars of ireland for there impact ability, but steady Eddie is not one for risks nor spontaneity – some say to the Ireland’s detriment – others disagree. Read the rest of this entry »