Re: Official Rugby World CUp (and the lead up tests) Thread
Did anyone watch the France vs New Zealand game? Wow. That's my world cup highlight so far. We now have three of the four teams I thought (before the cup started) were in the running to win removed from the comp (these being Ireland, Australia, and NZ). Wales' early elimination was also a suprise.
France 20 - New Zealand 18
I can't remember ever seeing defense that good. NZ had 72% possession and something like 70% time in their attacking half. They played brilliantly, stringing together up to 30 phase pick and drive sections of play. And the french held on. The coach should be congratulated for his choice of starting and bench players, because it worked a treat. Bringing on Chabal and Michalak with about 20 minutes to go really helped put the French on top.
A credit to the All Blacks, they did practically everything right and tried many different styles of play. Corner kicks to wingers ala Rugby League style, multiple-phase pick and drives, amazing line-outs and scrummaging (100% of their set-pieces they won), but the French held on and managed to capatalise on most of the opportunities given to them.
I honestly cannot see the English being able to stop the French if they play like they did last night/this morning. Right about now I'd say Jack White and the boys from the Boks camp might be doing a hell of a lot of analysis of that game trying to find something in the French game they can exploit.
My southern hemisphere semi final prediction turned out to be way out, but this was a feeling not only held by myself but a lot of the media; both Australian and international. We should now be left with England/France vs RSA/Argentina for the final. Although I'm not making any certain claims about who will win in todays/tomorrows games, I highly doubt that Fiji or Scotland can progress. England were a long shot to win, but they stepped up and we slumped to standards I have't seen since the dark days of 2005. Obviously the better team on the day. However I just can't see Fiji or the Scots progressing.
I'm now supporting the French. I was blown away by their performance, and you can't not like Ellissalde, Chabal, and Michalak. Go Les Bleaus!
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!