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 »

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Top Sports Stories in Japan… (Sept 17)

17 09 2007

Jarah Mariano & friend…Day off today – National Holiday!

Yay.

Anyway, in today’s sports headlines in Japan:





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 B

6 08 2007

France 07More looks at the Rugby World Cup… who’ll take the honors in Pool B? Will the Wallabies progress far? Read on, and find out… from the pen of The Riddler!

World Cup Pool B rundown


Australia
Seeded number two for the world cup based on their runner up effort from 2003. They have the best record of any nation in term of world cup wins having hoisted the trophy in 1991 & 1999. However the current Wallaby side is but a mere shadow of those squads. There is no doubt they have the talent to potentially go all the way but far too many ifs and buts.

There are questions about their tight five. While performing better this year, they are still a few rungs below the top sides. They rely heavily on certain players like Gregan, the injury prone Larkham, Mortlock, Giteau and Latham yet if one or two of them go down it leaves a gaping hole. They are a force not to be under-estimated when at complete strength but over a seven week tournament and after a long super 14 and tri-nations season, keeping everyone intact might be a bit of a stretch. Another concerning aspect for the Wallabies is their horrendous away record. At home they are one of the most fearsome sides in the world but away from home they are very ordinary. Only win of note away from home since 2003 was in 2005 over the Irish but they have lost to NZ, SA, France, England, Wales & Ireland away. This is in complete contrast to the 1991 & 1999 squads who boasted excellent away records. If the world cup was being played in Australia they would be a red hot chance but with their poor travelling mentality I cannot see them progressing past the semis. They should take out this group and set up a clash with
England in the quarters. Read the rest of this entry »