Originally Posted by katman
What a good idea to revive this thread. Time is running out for some teams to get it together before the WC kicks off. MFB - 2 losses to France can't sit too well with you?
I have a feeling this is going to be one of the most exciting and cosely-contested World Cups to date. And while I admit that NZ must still be firm favourites, there are at least 3 - perhaps 4 - other teams in with a real shout. The Ozzies seemed to have got things together in time and could be a real threat. The French are looking dangerous and must be a favourite at home. And my boys, the Springboks, are very pumped-up and well-drilled. England and Ireland might have fallen off the pace a bit in these warm-up games, but a couple of weeks from now will be a different matter.
The pool game between SA and England is going to be massively important because the loser will most likely face Australia in the semis and both teams would want to avoid that at all cost.
As far as the new laws are concerned - I'm all for collapsing the maul. If there are two current rules that just seem ridiculous to me it's the non-collapsing of mauls (how are you supposed to legally defend this?) and the 10m rule if a player decides to take a quick tap and go on a free kick or penalty. In my opinion, if you want to take it quickly, you sacrifice the luxury of having the opponent fall back 10m. Either that, or they should outlaw the quick penalty. But watching players run through opponents who have their hands thrust in the air in innocence until they think 10m has lapsed and then launch into a tackle, only to be re-penalised by the ref for not falling back 10m is daft, to say the least.
Just my 2c.
An even nastier sounding fact about the English is that of their last 16 home games, they've lost 15. Ouch. Also that el capitan Phil Vickery was carried off the field in the last game vs France.
It's funny you mention that RSA is worried about it's performance in the English game as it may result in playing the Aussies. Our papers are saying the same thing about our game against Wales as being the decider for if we play the South Africans or the English in the first elimination round. Haha, gotta love that; not so different after all!
Again, I really like the way the new game is being played. Also that they broadcast a two games a weekend on free-to-air TV, as opposed to the FOXTEL exclusivity of Super-14. You can also watch it live on the internet and the highlights later on http://www.abc.net.au/sport/rugby_un...eo_archive.htm
Go the Rebels!