Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wales carry the burden of their reponsibility for beating Ireland into their France match, and the Wobblies get to grips with teetering All Blacks

Aaron Crudden - no pressure mate (Picture )

Saturday , October 15 Wales vs France
Sunday , October 16 Australia vs New Zealand

First up is Wales and France. Now Wales, occupying as they do the spot rightly belonging to Ireland, have a massive responsibility to beat France, since they denied us that opportunity. You broke the heart of a small nation that’s been through a lot lately, and when light appeared at the end of the tunnel in the shape of a best ever world cup result, you built more tunnel for us. All of that lovey dovey post match celtic bonhomie might disappear in a flash if Wales make like England and go all pathetic in front of the French.

Meanwhile  it’s Gallic smirks all round in France at the thought of kicking Les Rosbifs out of the World Cup, but they need to now nail down another performance now, two in a row, oooo tricky. Wales are bursting with self confidence, but how do  they stop that from going over into cocky? For France, there is disheartening harmony between Lievremont and his players at the moment, they seem to work best off the friction of mutual loathing. The French coach has persisted with Parra at fly half, which worked abysmally against the All Blacks and Tonga, but seemed to reasonably do the trick against England.  Because Parra at fly half makes no sense to me, it’s probably absolutely the best thing for the French to do.

Performance vs performance, I think Ireland were better than England, so on that basis Wales put in a better swowing than France, and they sustained that form for the whole match.  It’s going to be a fairy tale for Wales if they win this – but I kind of think French experience should kick in to see them clinch a win. I wouldn’t be too disheartened  though Wales fans ,with my record, my tip for success for France is the probably the death knell for them.

Then on Sunday we have the match that could easily have been the final, if magnificent Ireland hadn’t saved the Northern Hemisphere by bumping the Wobblies into the path of the All Blacks. 8 weeks ago, at home, this would have been good night nurse for the Aussies. But a lot has changed in the last two months, the AB’s are now done to third choice fly half, with Aaron Crudden now in the hot seat attempting to fill the size 15 boot sized gap left by Dan Carter. He’s got 5 caps for New Zealand, but has never played a whole match for them. It would the stuff of legends if this cancer survivor could guide the All Blacks home. The other pillar of the team, Captain Fantastic McCaw has a crocked foot and is below par on his admittedly stellar standards.

How about those Australians, not too consistent, but they are a cunning bunch, living off scraps last weekend to pick the pockets of the Springboks. It’s every New Zealanders worst nightmare, a bunch of jeering Aussies leaving the land of the long white cloud waving the World Cup in the tear stained faces of the Kiwis. Australia have a fairly sorry excuse for a scrum at the moment, but enough firepower behind them to trouble most defenses. The All Blacks have a far superior scrum, and even Carterless are a match for the Australian backline. That equals an All Black win. But the New Zealanders are all over the place at the moment, they look like nervous wrecks, and I’m afraid that this could be the end of the road for the Blacks again.

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