Rugby World Cup: Wales could be in with a shout, but Ireland must dream…

Mick has sent me to New Zealand for the RWC (in my sweet and wonderful dreams…). Anyway a wonderful opinion piece in the New Zealand Herald (required reading for the next month or so):

“While we are on the topic of RWC lunacy, how did Quade Cooper escape with no punishment after the obviously deliberate kneeing of McCaw last week?

At the risk of sounding an All Black paranoid, if it had been McCaw’s knee on Cooper, the world would have echoed with the cries of pain and blood-lust from the All Black-haters. McCaw would have been sent to the electric chair and then sentenced to work in the salt mines.”

The romantic in me sees Brian O’Driscoll holding the cup before becoming Taoiseach…as, I’m sure does Liam Toland:

For all the sad words of tongue and pen the saddest are these, ‘it might have been.
JOHN GREENLEAF Whittier stumbled across these words in the 1800s and for Brian O’Driscoll and his squad I truly hope that’s where they’ll stay. I admire every aspect of O’Driscoll’s persona, none more so than his rebirth when all and sundry had written him off. For that and much more he deserves to bow out on his fourth Rugby World Cup with a win rather than a whimper. We too, the ever-growing support base, deserve a performing World Cup, realistic in the knowledge that even when performing at our best we may struggle.”

As usual we’ve gone a bit bonkers here in Wales.. I personally think Gatland should leave the mind games alone:

“Insisting the world champions had limitations to their game, Gatland said: “They don’t play any rugby, they don’t do anything.”

Yeah right..

Favourites? That Australia victory last weekend was a wake up call for the Blacks and France in their usual despairing mood can do anything ….but for me Wales to beat the all Blacks in the final!

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  • keano10

    As long as Ireland play with passion and pride, that’s as much as we can ask. In the last World Cup, the weight of expectation was simply too much to bear.

    This time around, one senses a reversal in anticipation. Little is expected by many, but perhaps that will afford Ireland the chance to really shine this time around.

    We have several world class performers and many high quality personnel throughout the squad.

    Maybe, just maybe… 🙂

  • Stewart Finn

    Our only saving grace is that any Irish team no matter if it is football (either flavour), rugby, cricket…whatever performs better when we are underdogs and noone expects. Italia 90, Spain 82.

    When expectation is added – we fail miserably – we are much better as valiantly defeated underdogs 🙂

  • keano10

    Agreed Stewart. Underdog status will suit us just fine. Gonna be a few early alarm calls judging by some of the kick off times!

  • Greenflag

    Talk about leaping from a height 😉

    At least some are in high as in very high spirits . The nearest sport to kamikaze I can think of or is it a sport ?
    Wallace looks far out .

    http://www.balls.ie/2011/09/05/irish-team-go-bungie-jumping/

  • Stewart Finn

    Keano10

    Yes but at least our games are at weekends – hard to muster an atmosphere around a competition with morning kick off times (GMT) tho. Everyone ends up watching games on their own, bleary eyed, coffee in hand – instead of in good company, bleary eyed with Guinness in hand 🙂

    Think probably offering fry-ups and coffee might gather a small crowd.

  • Wales “in with a shout” eh?

    I think it is time to squash the hwyl with a bit of Cymruphobia .

    Remember Fiji?

    Never mind the World cup 4 years ago, they came back to Cardiff last November to provide a reminder of Wales’s woeful record is against the South Pacificers

    If Dewi is not 100% “tongue in cheek” (you never know) then in order for Wales to meet the All Blacks in the final (assuming AB win all their games up to that point), Wales have to be runners up in their group. So this prediction assumes they will lose to South Africa?

    I think most Welsh have written off their chances against the Boks. What they really fear is that they will lose key players to injury during the Bocks match and then get ambushed by Samoa in next one.

    As to Ireland’s chances, I think too many commenters above are rushing for the Kleenex box too quickly. Remember also that as far as most of their group matches are concerned, they will be “overdogs.”

    The final match of the 6n campaign proved that Ireland can raise their game for the big matches. I think they may yet surprise a few. If they are runners up in the group matches, all is not lost. If they play another game like the England match in the 6n, they could knock out South Africa in the quarter final.

  • Dewi man

    Are you running a rugby World Cup compo?

  • Dewi

    It’s a bit complex articles – I’ve done one for work with forecasting group winners, second place and last. Point each. QF winners 2 points, Semi final winners 4 points. Cup winners 8 points………..However that needs some hmmm quality control…How about:
    “Name the finalists and the score in the final?”

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Ireland 106 Wales 3.

  • Dewi

    Wales 28 New Zealand 20

  • Hi Dewi

    How about identifying

    The winners
    The runners up
    The remaining two semi finalists
    The highest points scorers
    The lowest points scorers
    Team with most Red cards
    Stage at which England go out/ winner
    Stage at which Ireland go out /winner
    Player of the tournament

    Ten points for each correct answer . Highest points total wins.

  • OK, I am not a Slugger Blogger but I thought there might be a few of yous out there that fancy a discussion about something which is not to do with the Irish Presidential Election. Lets talk rugger!

    Over the Weekend and on Monday, we have the following fixtures:

    Saturday, 24 September 2011

    England v Romania, PlB, 07:00
    New Zealand v France, PlA, 09:30

    Sunday, 25 September 2011

    Argentina v Scotland, PlB, 08:30
    Fiji v Samoa, PlD, 03:30
    Ireland v Russia, PlC, 06:00

    Monday, 26 September 2011
    Wales v Namibia, PlD, 07:30

    England v Romania

    After two matches, England sit on top of Group B with 9 points from two games. England, unlike Scotland, collected a 4-try bonus point as a result of beating Georgia. It is now possible for England to win the group and lose the last match to Scotland. So are they happy after putting six tries past Georgia?

    Not a bit. They are beating themselves up over their errors and penalty counts. Expect a more focused and improved performance from England on Saturday. Nick Easter misses the match because of injury.

    New Zealand v France

    Supposedly the “cracker” of the weekend with the loser having the easier draw to reach the final. France have been New Zealand’s bogey team for many years and in two previous competitions, (1999 and 2007), they knocked the All Blacks out of the World Cup. Surely, this is New Zealand’s “remember Pearl Harbour” match. France, on the other hand wont mind losing as long as …er.. they are not thrashed. France have a poor record on mental preparation for test matches. I would not expect this to be different. My heart says that France will step up to the plate and come near to, if not actually causing, the shock of the World cup. My head says that New Zealand will win comfortably.

    Argentina v Scotland

    After the New Zealand v France match, this has to be the most interesting. The loser of this match is almost certainly on the plane home after their 4th pool match. There is little to choose between the teams except that Argentina has the heavier pack and a few more options in attack. I would expect Argentina to sneak it.

    Ireland v Russia

    Ireland is sitting pretty after last week’s victory against Australia. From hereon, anything is possible. Ireland do not produce performances of that intensity in every game. Their coach may want it to continue but the players have to pace themselves for the next crucial match. Perhaps this is a good opportunity to let the players to calm it down a bit. If all goes well, the Irish team can move up a gear against Italy without being at full throttle and save their next mighty outing for the quarter final against Wales. Expect Ireland to score a 40 plus score – not as stark as Australia against the USA thrashing this morning but a good run around for the backs – just right for Ireland.

    Wales v Namibia

    Wales will need to consider the possibility of Samoa beating South Africa next Friday. Unlikely, perhaps, but perfectly possible. Wales will therefore need a bucketful of tries to deal with that eventuality as they wont find it so easy against Fiji in the final game. not giving Namibia a belting on Monday. Shane Williams to score a ‘hat-trick’.

  • Hi Seymour Major

    With my sub optimal eyesight i misread your opening sentence, (opening phrase actually ,apologies one and all), but closer inspection revealed your insight throughout your piece.

    Just one little piece of grit, a fully professional team, using professional footballers as the benchmark (win at all costs), would surely lose the match between Les Bleus and the All Blacks. This could be an interesting game..