Scotland the Brave to take on… the All… ummm… Silvers?

19 09 2007

Ummm… huh?  The uniform the All Blacks will most likely wear against ScotlandThus far, only Scotland and to a lesser extent France, have been examples of decent rugby from the Northern Hemisphere.

Scotland continued on their winning way last night with a 42-0 win over Romania. Excellent stuff, given that the Romanians did score a try against the All Blacks… however, the Scots did lack the ABs’ massive scoreline too.
Allister Hogg had a hat-trick of tries, and Rory Lamont put in an impressive performance too.

Now Scotland look forward to playing New Zealand in Edinburgh. Scotland will wear their very, very dark blue home strips, which will require a change of jersey. The traditional The All-Pinks?black of the All Blacks will be too similar with the Scottish home colours, so for only the second time that they haven’t worn the Black – the All Blacks will be wearing… silver (in 1987’s Quarters against Scotland they wore white).

Tony Woodcock summed it up best with:
“It’s still got the silver fern on, that’s the main part…”

Could be worse… they could choose to wear the pink they wore for a charity event last year…

In other RWC news:
– Samoan Gavin Williams is hoping to be ready for the clash with England on Saturday…
– Johnny Wilkinson believes his English squad can come back from the brink… HA!
– Larkham ready to roll, but will rest against Fiji…
– Tongan Hale T Pole will miss one match due to suspension…

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The Big Three still look… big (Rugby World Cup updates)

17 09 2007

New Zealand, South Africa & Australia are performing as expected, and nothing seen has changed any predictions of the All Blacks, Springboks & Wallabies making the semis of the Rugby World Cup in France.

France defeated Namibia 87-10

Viva le Francais!But finally a Northern Hemisphere team has looked like a team that’s come here to play. France’s defeat of Namibia at a hefty total of 87-10 puts the Irish performance in dire perspective. Ireland managed eke out a win against Namibia 32-17.
But they haven’t been alone.
Thus far we’ve had England only just managing to put away the US 28-10 then getting a thrashing to the tune of 36-0 from South Africa.
Wales struggled against Canada, then was soundly beaten by Australia – despite a home ground advantage & quite a few dubious decisions in their favour.
Ireland had to be licking their lips post France’s opening day loss to Argentina, but their performance against the two ‘minnow’ teams in Namibia & Georgia has been anything but encouraging. Verily, they were damn lucky to walk away with a win against a courageous Georgia.

France looked well under-done against Argentina, but this win against Namibia exhibits just a little of what was expected from the Northern powers, but up to this point, has not been forthcoming.

A good win, but only what was expected. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Riddle me this: Early grades in!

9 09 2007

Riddler?  One-eyed All Black fan!The Riddler, everyone’s favourite one-eyed All Black supporter has his assessments done for the some of the powerhouses who have played already in the Rugby World Cup…

Day 2 – Team Reviews

The Mighty All BlacksAll Blacks
Look very sharp and crisp for a team that hasn’t played together since July. They hit their strides very early and put the result beyond doubt. They had a lull in the middle of the match and gave the Italian supporters something to cheer about but towards the end they kicked back into top gear and won by 62 points against a side that won two games in the six nations and pushed Australia to 7 points the last time they met. Read the rest of this entry »

No Eagle-pie for England (Rugby World Cup – Match Reports)

9 09 2007

France 07So the first day of matches is over. Some expectations fulfilled, but some damn good performances too. Still another day of matches today before the weekend’s rugby is done – but let’s look at what’s gone:

England 28 – USA 10
Funny that the first thing I’m going to do on this is congratulate the US Eagles. Losing, but only going down by 18 to the reigning World Champions is pretty damn good. It remains to be seen what repercussions will be felt from this. Are the US that good? Are England that bad? Can the US of A get wins against either Tonga or Samoa?
I think that Samoa will be salivating at the prospect of playing what appears to be an underdone English team. There’s a pretty good chance that England don’t get out of pool play, should they continue to play the way they did against the US.
The US should look forward to the Tonga match, but I still favour the islanders to get the job done.
Still… I don’t think that anyone will be taking the US Eagles lightly in pool-play. 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 »

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 »