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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Island Nations hold court in France (Rugby World Cup updates)

13 09 2007

So another group of games have gone by, and 3 tightly contested games they were! After watching some absolute canings, it was good to have a day where the results were all decided by 10 points or less…

Tongan Taufaka

Tonga 25 def USA 15 – the media wrap-up on this had the US going in as favourites, the Tongans cast in the role of ‘underdogs’. Sorry, despite a spirited performance against England, I had stated earlier that I didn’t think the US would win a game here this World Cup… and nothing I saw in the first match changed that. And again… despite yet another spirited performance by the Eagles, the Islanders always looked more creative, more threatening. Statistically, the US had the better of Tonga, but rugby’s not a game of mere stats alone. Samoa looked more threatening when they had the ball… the US content to simply try and bull-rush the ball through the Tongan defense, a tactic that ultimately led to their defeat. 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 »