Originally Posted by katman
Ozzy, your permutations sound just about right. Except I'm not 100% convinced the Aussies will take the AB's in the semis. It will be a huge game though. I'm kind of hoping for/expecting a NZ - SA final. But a lot can happen before then.
Our game against England on Friday is BIG. I don't think the Boks are underestimating this English side at all. They might have stuttered a bit against the USA but they're quality and they have depth. Olly Barkly looked the part too. And well done to him for getting up after that disgusting spear tackle.
Speaking of terrible tackles - did anyone see Brian Lima's late shoulder charge on Andre Pretorius? He's been getting away with it for almost 2 decades now and everyone just seems to accept it as his "chiropractor" trademark. He should have been yellow or red carded. And he probably would have if he hadn't concussed himself in the process and gone off.
Predictions for top-try scorer of the tournament? I'd say it will be between Howlett and Habana. Three of Habanas four tries were completely self-crafted with unreal stepping and speed. I guess he will be a marked man in the big games.
Brian Lima's tackles are somewhat illegal, and they should really be clamped down on pending an investigation. They are a spectacle (and to be honest, I like watching those sort of tackles just for the fun) but they are dangerous and having been on the receiving end of many, many illegal tackles I can vouch for how painful they can be.
As for that tackle on Barkley. Wow. That was a serious serious tackle. The player should have been instantly sent off for that one as far as I'm concerned, it was highly dangerous. Watching the replay, it actually resembled a wrestling souplex and I'm surprised that Olly Barkley got up from that one as quickly as he did. Absolutely disgusting and (although fun to watch) there should be much harsher treatment of any such offenders in the future. At grass roots level over here, illegal tackles are generally dealt with very well. I was sent off on at least two occasions for illegal tackles and once for charging down a maul (I ran in from about thirty yards). This sort of enforcement is to be encouraged at ALL levels of Rugby. International right down to the lowest grass roots level.
England are a good team all told. It really is a case of actually just getting rid of the handling errors and inducing some self-belief. There's nothing inherently 'wrong' with our game and our players are really very good. It's just knock-forwards and occasional lapses of concentration that are all mental aspects of the game. Perhaps some creativity would be appreciated in the backs as well; that made the difference last time around. England had already peaked well before the last World Cup and were actually in their poorest form for months when we won it, and there was no sense of creative play in the backs. They brought in Mike Catt (who can't kick at all really) and he set up some great runs and some very clever ideas against serious opposition. We need more players like that and players like Martin Johnson who can actually impose some self-belief. When we have that sorted out, there is actually a realistic chance of us doing very well this time around.