Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rugby World Cup - sob story for France, SOB story for Ireland

Sen O'Brien (picture )

Australia made some small amends for their recent fall from grace by pummeling the USA, who at least had the solace of scoring a try against the No.2 side in the world.  England look like they are back in the groove, playing free flowing rugby and chalking up a good total against the brave but limited Rumanians.

The match of the day, maybe even of the tournament, was supposed be the one between the All Blacks and the French, but it didn’t live up to the hype. New Zealand, while they’re no Ireland,  are a formidable team. They went through about 30% of their gears, and still smashed the French. The French started with blistering pace,  then it looked like they had a meeting with their shop steward and played to rule after that.  The All Black back line absolutely ripped the French to shreds, running in try’s just about at will. French coach Lievremont must have known that playing a scrum half at fly half was going to disrupt the team, but who knows what his plans are. This is a World Cup, there’s only one winner, and neither team has won or lost anything yet.  The French are safely in the ‘easy’ side of the draw, but what’s frustrating is that you feel they have the talent to beat anyone, anywhere, and should have been going for a win. For the All Blacks, Carter, Dagg, Jane and Kaino were all outstanding. The only soupcon of comfort for the French was that they put immense pressure on the All Black scrum – if the French hadn’t scored a try in a ‘huh?’ moment while the clock was supposedly stopped after a series of scrum penalties, they were odds on for a penalty try.

Samoa kept themselves in contention with a good win over Fiji, then it was Irelands turn to put Russia to the sword. It was pretty much an Ireland B team, and Russia are really weak, but they scored 9 tries, a couple of the fringe players like Trimble and McFadden put their hands up, and Sean O’Brien is in the stratosphere at this stage with another stellar performance. 6 o’clock on a Sunday though! Feel my ‘real fan’ credentials growing by the minute.

The last match on Sunday was Scotland/Argentina, one place apart in the world rankings, and evenly matched in strength and style. It was an appalling day in Wellington, so ball handling was diabolical, it was scrum reset after scrum reset, in a fascinatingly close contest none the less. A try by Argentinean super sub  Amorosino made the difference and clinched the win for the Argentines. Absolutely  gutting for the Scots.

Moment of the weekend – Francois Pienaar in post match commentary – ‘The loose trios are so fast these days – in my day, the difference between me jogging and sprinting was a change in my facial expression!’

Australia  67 - 5  USA 
England 67 - 3 Romania 
New Zealand 37 - 17 France
Fiji 7 - 27 Samoa 
Ireland 62 - 12 Russia 
Argentina 13 - 12 Scotland

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