13 2 mins 10 yrs

Because Friday night is Music Night: no idea mate, haven’t got a scooby.

We’re at the business end at last of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand with the quarter finals this weekend, and what a line up. Sunday’s Southern Hemisphere affair can wait because tomorrow the Celts, Saxons and Franks do battle. It’s England vs France in the second game at 0830. Despite France stinking up the place, losing two group games, committing mutiny in camp and, well, behaving very French I’m very very nervous. France are always nervous of England, we’ve beaten them three times in World Cups but I’m still hoping they just want to go home. If they do the sensible thing, ignore coach Marc Lievremont and play for their own pride then any result is possible.

Before then it’s Ireland vs Wales and my prediction is … dunno, I just dunno, not a clue. Sigh … who cares as long as they give us a good punch up? Both teams have been great value so far. Wales should have beaten the Saffers and their girls are running great lines. Ireland broke the habit of recent years and followed up a great win against the Wallabies with a solid one against Italy. It’s genuine 50/50 stuff with the winner, I suspect, simply being the boys who want it more. Watch out for Sean O’Brien vs Sam Warburton, the two best loose forwards in the Northern Hemisphere. Set the alarm for 0600, this could be a great one.

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  1. 6am start and like yourself Pete I couldn’t call the big one. What I do know is that confidence in Ireland is high and as a natural sporting pessimist that worries me.

  2. 1am start here in Brooklyn and I would have to watch the game on the web, not sure if I’ll make it. If they make the semis the game is at 4am and it is on TV so that will be a little more appealing.

  3. Great to see the red shirts in the ascendancy. Is this the birth of a new generation of Welsh players? I hope so. We’ve been in the doldrums too long.

  4. England have been demolished by France in the 1st half. That’s the French for you, when they’re playing abysmally they can just flip a switch and turn on the style.

  5. Congratulations to Wales.

    Their defence was awesome, smothering Ireland all over. Differences were marginal but Wales came away with points each time they went into the 22 while Ireland didn’t.

    Congratulations to France.

    They did it for themselves and they deserved it, but they’ll have to play better than that to beat Wales.

    Congratulations to England.

    That’s if they can get on the plane without giving away a penalty. If you’re going to have such contempt for the laws of the game that the ref almost blows the pea from his whistle you deserve nothing, and this England team has played all through the tournament as if the laws don’t apply to them.

  6. Marlloy –

    Yep, there’s alot of good young talent coming through for Wales. Sam Warburton is captain at 23, a real leader and already a first class loose forward. I think Rhys Priestland at fly half has just retired Stephen Jones. George North out wide is only 19 but he has the physique of a flanker, great speed and the mentality of someone much older. It’s looking good.

  7. Yep, there’s alot of good young talent coming through for Wales.

    Partly because Wales lets the talent come through. If Warren Gatland were in charge of England then the likes of Owen Farrell, & Charlie Sharples may have made the squad instead of Hape. And if Johnson ran Wales then I wonder whether North &

  8. Sentece should have said “And if Johnson ran Wales then I wonder whether North & Warburton would have been given a chance”.

  9. Ross –

    I agree. England’s selection has been deeply flawed.

    If Johnson ran Wales North, Warburton, Priestland and Lydiate might still be waiting for a call up.

    These moments are opportunities and England now begin the four year cycle with a reason to let Farrell, Sharples, Brad Barritt etc come through. The midfield is in desperate need of sorting and now the Tindle/Hape/Banahan crash bang merchants can go, if Johnson is brave enough.

  10. Congrats to Wales. Ireland looked tired to me. There were too many turnovers and chances not taken.

    Congrats to France. England were outclassed and disappointing.

  11. Wales and France play the most attractive rugby in the NH so they deserve it. I’d love to see Wales in the final.

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