In just over a month the Rugby World Cup kicks off on September the 8th in Paris with the hosts France playing the All Blacks.
Luckily for me I have two teams to cheer on because once England are knocked out I will unashamedly put on the Emerald shirt of Ireland one of the hot favourites and surely the team every neutral wants to win .
We toyed with the idea of going over for some games but the cost of accommodation and actually getting tickets just looked too much of a lottery. The last time the World Cup was in France we went over for the final flying to Koln and then driving to Paris only to be put off by the 3,000 euro those horrible touts wanted for a pair of tickets.
In the end it was lucky as Percy Montgomery kicked the over the hill World Champions to death as England lost 15-6. We watched the game on a big screen next to the Eiffel Tower and then drowned our sorrows with bottles of beer the price of Champagne and where jeered all the way back to our hotel by the jubilant French who we’d brilliantly beaten in the semi final.
No such heroics for England this time I fear but next to England wouldn’t it be fantastic to see Ireland win? The bookies have them third favourites behind New Zealand and France but I believe they are more than capable of causing an upset and beating the French in the final in Paris would be sweet.
Don’t rule out SA from the mix. While the ABs have looked very good in their recent matches, which seemingly makes them nailed-on for the final, they have a history of slipping up, and the SA’s often find a way to win.
I suspect England and Australia are only along for the ride here – sad to say.
Heading over for a weekend in Marseille and have tickets to watch England play Argentina, followed by Scotland taking on SA the following day. Accommodation is very pricey, and direct flights to Marseille extortionate. So we are flying to Montpellier instead. I have to say, after spending all that money on the trip, i hope French fans don’t start giving us a hard time too. Not holding out much hope for the home nations, although I would love to see France win the RWC for the first time. Not sure Ireland have enough “big game experience”.
Excellent France Scotland game yesterday.
I am loving the way that England are playing in a way that manages expectations. Very shrewd….
I don’t think England have gone into many previous tournaments with lower expectations. You are right it could be a cunning plan. Somehow I think probably not!
I am just eager to see it starting. And hope I will find a channel on tv which will bring the live coverage. As I am not a regular follower of Rugby, I don’t know the actual strong teams. But as always by heart will be with the all blacks.
I think Ireland have a very good chance and hopefully will pick up much of the neutral support
As an Englishman my heart will of course be with England but coming from an Irish family if England go outI would really love to see the Irish win.
I have watched the two Scot V France and the two Eng V Wales warm up games
The latter were desperately mediocre. England undisciplined, uncoordinated and dull. Chucking Smith into a side that is otherwise utterly one dimensional is not going to make them effective.
The ‘A team’ in the second match just looked slow and without inspiration. There are a slew of old-timers in that squad who should have moved on now. Losing Farrell and van Portlvliet could be seen as a blessing in disguise except Borthwick appears to have committed to them so goodness knows how they will adapt without.
I think England will tank at RWC and may be so bad Borthwick will lose his job. A huge refresh needed.
Scotland are threatening to stop being plucky losers all the time and make some waves, but they have a tough group. Good to watch though. France are hugely talented but just might feel the pressure of being the hosts nation.
Well, OF’s red card has been overturned, something I truly cannot comprehend (by some Aussies too).
As to England, the basic skills levels on display were awful in both games, which doesn’t bode well. It seems putting a white shirt with a red rose on some players denudes them of handling skills and other rugby talents, plus it removes their knowledge of the laws.
That is astonishing, and frankly brings the whole process into disrepute. I wouldn’t blame the other nations for shouting ‘fix’. I couldn’t see any mitigation. It looked like his illegal tackle ‘habit’ from prior incidents and I thought they’d give him a long ban.
It was interesting that in both games England appeared to have moved on from ‘two phases going nowhere so box kick’ to ‘two phases going nowhere and drop the ball in contact’. Clearly a change of tactical coaching.
England just dire. Can’t quite understand Farrell ‘let -off’ - except as a cunning Aussie plan to have his start instead of GF…
Very much a minority view, but watching it live plus replays I thought he hit shoulder first so should only have been yellow. That said, it might have forced SB to pick a more attacking half back combo. Ford looked assured I thought…
Which is why the on-field determination for a red has been moved off-field under the bunker review process. I must be honest and say that any hit to the head with force through negligent technique deserves serious sanction. There are many grey areas and unintended outcomes from impacts in rugby. The foremost consideration must be the health & welfare of the players. I’ve just read a post elsewhere that suggests the laws should be different for the pro’s on this – quite bizarre IMHO.
As I see things, with lawyers (KC’s) now involved in all this, and thereby influencing and generating the need for yet more & more words in the laws (more to be picked apart!), one would think it’s only a small step for player v player civil actions to arise. This has already been seen at lower levels, with some refs been cited too for allowing foul & dangerous play.
Sadly the once great Aussie side will just be nuisance value, Aus is slowly but surely losing its love for the game.
The ‘bunker’ system seemed very sensible to me. The game can move on and the multiple video angles analysed cooly (and privately) for up to ten minutes to make the decision. Where is it now when such a decision is rescinded? If they aren’t going to completely undermine the process the decision should always stand (unless a huge error such as misidentification of a player) and the review panel should only decide the length of sanction. That is my two penneth anyway.
Saves talking about how dull and dire England are.
I see Hooper is out of the squad. Injured or EJ decision?
Im not sure tbh, sadly I haven’t watched or followed rugby this season at all.