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 »


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 C

8 08 2007

France 07The tips we’ve all been waiting for The Riddler to get to… I told you he was a one-eyed All Black fan… but I have a foreboding feeling that this is their year…

Rugby World Cup reviews – pool C

New Zealand

The Mighty All Blacks An absolute lock to take Pool C. This is not because I am a one-eyed Kiwi supporter. You could shove France, Ireland, Argentina, South Africa or Australia in this group and they would be still be a lock too. Outside of the All Blacks this group is a pretty sad bunch. Scotland and Italy might get within 50 of them, Romania 100 of them and the sort of score-line to expect in New Zealand/Portugal is scary. Could be 200 points here.

Pool play aside, what I like about this All Black squad is that it is by far the most thoroughly primed squad the All Blacks have ever prepared. In the past they have just rocked up to World Cups knowing they can field highly competitive sides but this time around, instead of using that attitude they have formulated a three year plan similar to England’s in 2003 that have developed astonishing depth. No side can boast the amount of depth and talent they have. They have easily the best scrum in world rugby, outstanding loosies, quality and depth in the halves and a brilliant interchangeable back three combo.

However they have one weakness and that is in the centres. Australia exposed it to great advantage earlier this season but aside from that they have been almost flawless. They have not lost a game in the northern hemisphere since 2002, have been unbeaten against northern hemisphere opponents since the last world cup and have won 32 of their last 35 games averaging 20 more points a game than their opposition. Read the rest of this entry »