RWC – now it get’s a little bit exciting….

First on Carter:

Eddie Butler in the Guardian:

For all the encouraging noises that the wounded player and the team that he leaves behind were obliged to make, there was no hiding a sense of foreboding at his farewell session. All those present knew what three sets of World Cup opponents know, that the All Blacks without Carter are not the same. When he went down, New Zealand went down and not many on this bleak day felt like bouncing back to their feet.

On the appalling treatment of tier two nations:

The New Zealand Herald;

The IRB continues to stack the draw against the smaller teams, giving them less rest leading up to big matches. This simply has to change because the World Cup should be a level playing field.

(Herald fantastic on rugby – read it every morning…)
Plenty more stuff to read – add your links in the comments.
Ireland v Wales:
Giddy Ireland from the Irish Times.

The Western Mail reviews what everyone else is saying about Wales….

It’s going to be a long week…



  • It is impossible to disagree with the consensus that the Wales – Ireland clash is set to be the biggest and most exciting since God knows when.

    Wales have become a very exciting force to be reckoned with and will get better. Some, particularly Irish supporters that I have spoken to, are in a state of shock that they become so good. I actually started thinking that there was a bit more to Wales during the warm up matches. If anybody epitomises the rise of Wales during the summer, it is Sam Warbuton. He impressed me considerably in the warm up match against England. Now, at the tender age of 22 he is their Captain and looks set to lead Wales for many years to come and possibly the Lions.

    Ireland, unlike Wales, did not have a particulary good warm up season but they have found their form at just the right time. There are a few more experienced heads in the Ireland camp. In the end, I think that will just about count.

  • Mark

    I just wonder about Gatland ….. and Edwards . Edwards made a sarcastic comment about ” even the great Brian O Driscoll ” hasn’t played in a WC semi final . It might be nothing .

    Gatland on the other hand has never forgotton how it ended with the Irish team . The team with the best gameplan usually wins but revenge is a hard game plan to implement .

  • Jimmy Sands

    I didn’t get the impression that Edwards was having a dig, more a reflection on how long BOD’s been around. One additional motivating factor is that for Ireland this is their last chance, whereas the Welsh team will probably be peaking next time round.

    btw I’m pleased to report we seem to have resolved the flag issue:

  • Count Eric Bisto von Granules

    Jimmy re the flag. The only thing I can make out is the corporate sponsor – that may be a sign of the times, but I’ll pass thanks

  • Count Eric,

    I think that the corporate sponsor is an interesting observation.

    Not content with sound waves, O2 gets into flag waves perhaps emphasising the need for Oxygen to sound Ireland’s call.

    Now it is one thing a sponsor getting onto the team shirt, but the flag? What a cheek!

  • Jimmy Sands

    You can’t blame them for hoping at least one of their sponsored teams might bring them some good publicity.

  • Two very interesting pieces of team news have just come out.

    One is that Best will be fit enough to play for Ireland. This is a very big plus for the Irish. I thought that Ireland had the edge in any event but this news shifts the odds even more firmly in their favour.

    In the England – France encounter, Toby Flood has been selected, not instead of Wilkinson, but to play alongside Wilkinson as the No. 12 instead of Mike Tindall. Is this Johnson’s best option or is it a massive gamble?

    The ideal inside centre is usually the beefy bulky type who is the mainstay of the team’s defence but who also has quick distribution skills. Flood has the distribution skills that Tindall lacked but what about defence?

    Johnson must now rue the fact that Ricky Fluty was not included in the squad.