Le crunch game

Spare a thought for Mick this morning, he should be in Paris by now, drinking preparing for tonight’s crunch game against France. At the BBC’s World Cup blog Bryn Palmer gives five reasons why Ireland can win.. although he’s not completely convinced they will. Perhaps the thought of Wales being the only home nation to go through to the next round might act as an additional spur… and RTÉ’s match preview ends on this note

With Ireland’s form and morale under such a cloud, and so much on the line for the French, the prediction game is even more fraught than usual. Given the talent in both sides, it is only possible to go as far as to say only that if Ireland can perform at or near their best, they should win. Obviously, if they can only manage an effort similar to those we have become familiar with in the past five or six games, a tournament-ending hiding awaits.

Adds At the Guardian Paul Rees quotes Ireland defence coach Graham Steadman, “Stop Chabal and we shut up the crowd.” And John O’Sullivan on the French.


  • reds under the beds

    Can someone tell me why Ireland are referred to as a ‘home’ nation. Think I know the answer but would like some clarity please.

  • nmc

    The Ireland squad thrive on adversity. They don’t perform well as favourites, and thankfully they’re sitting at a massive 4 – 1 for this game. When the Irish team played England at Croker they had to win, and they were impressive that day. I wouldn’t say that allegations around O’Gara’s personal life amount to the same thing, but I would be aware that they will have even more material to push them on towards victory.

    The Ireland squad has been written off before they’ve lost a game, which is a dangerous game. Having said that I’m more of a realist than a pessimist or an optimist so I reckon we’re fairly likely to get beat. But I would say that shite in the media is likely to help us as opposed to hinder us.

  • RG Cuan

    Heard an Irish journalist in Paris yesterday saying on Blas – Radio Ulster’s Irish language show – that the French public, and possibily players, are very anxious about tonight’s match. They know what Ireland are capable of and a lot are feeling the pressure.

    Don’t mean to side track but what exactly are these allegations about O’Gara?

  • George

    Ireland +14 was at evens was pointed out by a contributor here as a good bet. I thought so too but when the moment came to put the cash down I baulked.

    I have a bad feeling about this game. It could be a mauling. I hope I am wrong.

    reds under the bed,
    The term Home Nation, referring to Ireland in a sporting context, dates back to pre-independence days and is rarely used outside the UK these days but it does sometimes slip in.

    Even RTÉ have been known to use it the odd time.

    It is never used to describe the Republic’s football team, inside or outside the UK.

  • Chabal is not a problem. Tackle him early and he doesn’t fancy it. The most overrated player on the pitch.

  • RG Cuan

    Chabal just seems like a big halion but i think he’s getting his hair cut so he won’t be as scary as normal tonight.

    Are the allegations about Rónán O’Gara just that he’s unhappy etc.?

  • al

    The pressure is definately on Ireland but more so on France. France can not afford a duff performance at all. Even if Ireland scrap a bonus point loss they can still go through…no such luxury for Frenchie. They also have a home crowd on their backs.

    Either they’ll win by 30 points or will completely collapse and allow O’Driscoll to get a last gasp winner…I just get the feeling it’s written that way as I genuinely think, despite the duff start, that Ireland are the best team in the northern hemisphere.

    Would be good craic seeing the french go out in the pool stages in a home world cup. Imagine the rampant burning of Renault Clio’s in the streets and suburbs of Paris…

  • Dessertspoon

    The allegations about O’Gara centre around his realisation that he’s just not that good!

  • snakebrain

    I’m looking forward to this match with a mixture of dread and exhilaration. There is the possibility of humiliation and glory wrapped up in the same package, and Ireland have to expose themselves to the risk of one to gain the other. We’re well capable, on the right day, of giving the French side, impressive though they are, a real run for their money. This match won’t be a cakewalk for anybody. It may well be one of the matches of the tournament.

  • páid

    So Ireland is regarded as a home nation.

    I’m going to put that on my list of cribs.

    In between “60W bulbs are a bit dim sometimes” and “100W can be too bright sometimes”

  • Tochais Síoraí

    The wooden radio ads that O Gara does are a lot worse than the allegations.

  • snakebrain

    So’s the rugby he plays.

  • nmc

    Be fair, he’s either good, or very very bad. He’s been responsible for a few wins which otherwise may not have happened, thinking specifically of that drop goal against either the English or French that won the game in the dying seconds, and numerous games where his is the only name on the score-sheet for Ireland. I do take the point that he is dreadful, sometimes.

  • Dewi

    Best of luck tonight.

  • Lafcadio

    the term home nation to refer to the.. well.. home nations is widely used in rugby, including in ireland. it has no political or other connotations – it just differentiates the 4… well (again).. home nations from the other european and SH teams

  • Pete Baker


    I should have just said “the only archipelagic team”..

  • Lafcadio

    i’ve seen the article in l’equipe where the rumours were published – they were unsubstantiated and vague, so i’m not going to spread them here. i have no idea if there’s any truth to them – and it’s bugger-all of my business. all i care about is that he plays well tonight, marking a change from his 2 dire outings so far – note to ROG the play only stops if you KICK THE SHAGGING BALL OVER THE TOUCHLINE, NOT WITHIN 5 YARDS OF IT!!

  • nmc

    The allegations were of a personal nature. Not being specific on purpouse, but usually “personal allegations” refer to certain energetic activities, as is the case here from what I can gather.

  • Roger and out

    I had thought ROG was his nickname based on his initials, but apparently its short for something else.

    Gambling debts within the squad were also mentioned.

    unhappy partners on and off the field

  • Hill16FantasticView

    Ok time to end these rumors here is the latest from France, these one’s are definitely true!!!!! ;p

    Drico found Shaggy in bed with Darcy, he’s not talking to either of them now, says he won’t pass to Darcy, hence all the skip passes going astray In the A v B match Murphy scored 15 try’s and a drop goal from the dead ball line at the opposite end of the pitch Rows over the food, munster lads prefer their meat raw , Leinster lads want it medium rare served on a bed of sun dried spinnach with a drizzle of basil and a hint of rosemary .

    Drico picks the team and then makes all the lads guess who is playing through a game of charades,ROG wasn’t happy that Drico made w@ank*r gestures when asked who was outhalf, big row followed.

    John Hayes has leprosy and his head came off in training the other day Northern contingent won’t play unless God Save the Queen is played before matched Quinlan and Hickie not talking, Hickie’s wife is Quinlan’s mothers, aunts neighbours dogs cousin twice removed, causing tension.

    Darcy playing bad because his head is wrecked from Su Doku, EOS has banned it from dressing room Stringer was dropped because EOS found out he was a Hobbit

  • RG Cuan

    Diolch DEWI!

    Actually met some Cymraeg speakers here in Belfast last night. They were from outside Llanelli, doing a job here and popped into a pub to watch the rugby last night.

  • Ato Chiffre

    The 1.36 Ireland + 25 points on Betfair looks good to me.