Rugby World Cup 2011 in NZ – an amateur pundit goes on record

Not a blog for all I fancy, so if not your cup of tea, do feel free to ignore! Although, to attract some of our members, here is a free look at the greatest Number 10 currently playing, young Daniel Carter. A lovely chap, I have met him, he’s very polite and shy:

There have been a few references to the great game on this site recently and I have gone on record before as being a passionate follower so I thought it only apt for me to commit to an opinion or two. I know we have a few SA fans, an Aussie cricket fan who shows good loyalty to other Aussies sports and I suspect a Scottish fan or two, so hopefully we’ll have some differences of opinion, especially with the blind eternally optimistic English fans. We are also covered by the USA and perhaps even Canada, all of who have qualified. So perhaps I can generate some interest here!

Now, I have been rightly accused before of lacking in imagination of my assessment of the English rugby team (sticking the ball up their jumpers) and of the French (who knows which team will turn up) so I have taken the time to ensure I write this before any newspaper articles or magazines are published about the forthcoming World Cup and have tried hard to only use my own original thoughts! Feel free to shoot me down in flames!

I shall firstly nail my colours to the mast and declare that the All Blacks WILL win their second world crown and finally lay the chokers tag to rest.

I shall then dismiss all other teams except the big 5 – NZ, SA, France, England and Australia are the only potential winners – and France won’t anyway so it is really only 4. I have discounted Argentina against recent popular opinion as they have lost the majority of the team that came a wonderful third four years ago and haven’t shown anywhere near the form required, nor do they have the depth of talent or experience. (I relish them joining the Tri-Nations soon)

Sorry Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Pacific Islands, Japan and the others, no point in pretending you have any chance. Scotland and Argentina will fight it out for the second qualification spot from Group B, Ireland will qualify from Group C as runner-up and Wales should scrape though as runner-up in Group D unless they lose to Samoa – again. But then they will meet the big four in the quarter finals and get knocked out.

So really, it is down to what the draw will produce for the semi-finals, and hence I shall concentrate on that.

The quarters, if I’m right so far will result in NZ v Argentina (a big victory for NZ); SA v Ireland (a big victory for SA); England v France (yawn) and Australia v Wales (A big victory for Aus but some wonderful tries on both sides).

Therefore the Semis will be Australia V France and NZ v SA (delicious!)

So a Australia versus NZ final, won by NZ by at least 15 points. If not more.

SA and Aus’s recent minor victories over NZ were flashes in the pan and do not reflect the strength in depth and skill levels of the All Blacks, even before we take into account the home advantage. England really are devoid of any creative flair (name me one – and Tuilagi doesn’t count – he’s not English and he hasn’t flair, just brute strength) and will try to play 10 man rugby as per usual and get nowhere and complain that the referees were biased against them like they always do as they’re very bad losers. France will turn up to play against England then get thrashed by Australia because they will be overly arrogant, they have no sustained form over the last 3 years and have used more players than most of the other top 5 teams combined hence no consistency.

The Australians are good, but not that good, again, no strength in-depth and are weak in the front row where most games are won and lost. The flair player, Quade Cooper will play one or two blinders I’m sure, but then make a schoolboy error a la Campese just when it counts. That leaves SA. Awesome team ethic, great players, but just over the hill and no winning habit of late. So, a walk in the park for the All Blacks!


16 thoughts on “Rugby World Cup 2011 in NZ – an amateur pundit goes on record”

  1. Thank you – I followed all the instructions, got it on, saw it was fuzzy and then had a customer arrive! Most inconsiderate! 😀

  2. Looks like a fine boy but WTF, to coin a valuable phrase. He’s got my number and when I Google him he’s a fly half , I was deep in the scrum when I played, what happened?

  3. Hi Cuprum.

    A Jock fan in heart and soul. A Bokke fan in my head and in terms of possible winners. In truth, I don’t disagree with you. NZ should win.

    Not convinced about your analysis of our group. If England stumble against Argentina in their first game, they could be bricking it big style when they play us in the last game. Maybe, just maybe, England might have to face the Haka in the quarter final.

  4. LW – a Number 10 has always been a fly half (or as the antipodeans say, 1st 5/8th) in Rugby Union as far as I know, whereas Number 10 in Rugby League is I believe deep in the scrum.

    To be fair to Dan Carter, he could play in any position!

    JM – yes, I take your point, England are nothing special, but also, neither are the Scots at the moment, especially as they are coached by an Englishman! But, Argentina have no form currently, and traditionally England will keep the ball in the tight and the Argentinians don’t have much of a record against them. The irony is that I think England are the only team that could push NZ close, simply because of the game being kept in the front 10 players only.

  5. Was given my 1st RWC 2011 fixture poster yesterday 🙂

    Can’t disagree with much that you say but knockout matches (in any sport) can be unpredictable, One yellow/red card, an early injury, one forward pass not spotted (thank goodness that we’re not stuck in the last century and use TMOs)

    Pity about the kick off times, to be fair to the organisers most of our matches are the late kick offs, even so we’re talking 7:00 – 10:30 in the morning.

    We unfortunately have the heavy hitting Fiji and Samoa in our group, injuries to key players is now my only concern.

  6. I wont argue too much with your predictions but I do wonder why it is you are so caustic in all mention of anything English.

    “Eternally optimistic”. Is that a bad thing? You make is sound as such. In any event, England has played in 3 finals and won one. A record only beaten by SA and Australia. In 2007, they were not given a chance but made it to the final where they made a very credible showing. They have reason to be optimistic.

    “England v France (yawn)”. Of the quarter final line up you predict, this appears to be the only one that will not be a walk over. A closely played match is much more interesting than a thrashing. So why the yawn? It will be a huge match, if just because of the rivalry of France v England, the number of fans and because it will decide which Northern Hemisphere team will make it through to the Semis. Not only that, while France has never won the final, they have played New Zealand on three occasions and beaten them twice; against predictions.

    “will try to play 10 man rugby as per usual and get nowhere and complain that the referees were biased against them like they always do as they’re very bad losers.” Where does that come from? I am not suggesting that England has the best team or even a particularly good team. But to suggest that they always play 10 man rugby is stupid. The 2003 team had a very strong back line and they used it well. You play to your team’s strengths. In 1991, they would have probably won the final had they stuck to10 man rugby instead of opening up the game.

    Why do you say they are arrogant, bad losers who always complain about the ref? Even if that were true, and it is no more true than it is of any other team, it is irrelevant to the question of whether they will do well or not. It is just a gratuitous bit of anti-English unpleasantness.

  7. Soutie – I agree, knock out matches can easily cause upsets, and I will be happy to see them! And you’re so right, the use of TMO has brought the game on a long way over the last few years (except when the English moaned in the last Cup Final as they didn’t agree that Cueto was in touch), Soccer could learn so much from Rugby. The referees are highly trained and professional, expertly trained and led by Paddy O’Brian. Except for Steve Walsh, obviously.

    Yes, Fiji and Samoa will give you some bruises, but you should be able to field near B-teams to get through the group.

  8. Janus, I am no patriot in the world of rugby and comfortable with it. Except, if England win, I shall mercilessly tease Bearsy and be happy to be labelled a hypocrite! But they won’t, so I’ll be ok.

    I’m a fan of rugby, and I have watched the game first hand all round the world. My preferred attitude and style of play, nay entire culture of the sport, is totally immersed in the NZ way. I make no apologies for it, that is why I cheer so loudly for them, closely followed by the Aussies. I feel qualified to comment about the English game too having played the game as an amateur to a high standard in the late 80’s and early 90’s in the UK. The professional era hasn’t changed the scared of losing attitude so engrained in the sport here. I hate it. Don’t be cared of losing, try to win! Take risks! Throw the ball around, that’s what it is for!

    Sipu – England have no cause to be optimistic. They are an average team. They have no flair, no talent, and have no plan B. The average English professional is not encouraged to try to do something special – they have to follow the coach’s orders. England were very good in 2003, but still didn’t produce talented exciting open running rugby with flair. Catt and Greenwood were no Horan and Little, Sella or O’Driscoll. And Catt and Greenwood are the first to admit their lack of talent, which Will has to me personally. They played safety first, make no mistakes rugby. Which is crap, dull and lousy to watch. England may well have won the 91 final if they tried their usual approach, thank an imaginary friend they didn’t, it would have stopped the professional era ever happening. How often are replays shown of an English game? Never, except for Jonnie’s drop kick in ’03. But, the trys by NZ in ’87 keep getting shown. So I’m not alone in my Pommie bashing.

    England have reached three finals without much flair or excitement. I’d cheer for any team that tries to win first over a team that doesn’t try to do anything positive.

    Which explains my yawn at Eng v France. If only we could watch France V France – now that would be wonderful. The French only lose to England because it is so important to them to beat the Rosbif that they get too emotional and so England just bore them into submission.

    However, that all said, I have to concede that the chokers T-shirt is very funny!

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