Friday, October 18, 2019

Rugby World Cup - Quarter Finals

Four matches with a lot of interest. Some of the teams haven't been named yet and as I am away all day tomorrow and most of Saturday I have decided to go ahead with a brief preview anyway.

England v Australia
England are deserved favourites for this and have named a predictable side with the exception of the inside backs where the dependable George Ford is relegated to the bench and they have a new midfield. They will play conservative, field position rugby, kick their goals and do everything they can to deny Australia the ball. A big call by Cheika to play Petaia at center especially as James O'Connor has probably been their most consistent back. If the Aussies can do what they did to the AB's in Perth they will have a chance but I think England will be too big and too strong.

England by 9
Referee: Jerome Garces (France)

All Blacks v Ireland
The starting 23 named by Hansen is what I would have gone with in the same position and I think we will have too much depth for an Ireland side which has won two of the last three matches these two teams have played. If I have one concern it is with the possibility of cards dominating the game. If you watch Ireland closely in the last couple of games and especially the Samoa game they go into contact with their heads low into the impact area and more than any other team they may have worked out they way they games are being controlled. Ireland will be competitive and will not give up but if the All Blacks can shut Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton down they should win.

All Blacks by 12
Referee: Nigel Owen (Wales)

Wales v France
For mine the hardest game to pick but I am going with France who have history in progressing unexpectedly in World Cups. France were lucky to beat Argentina in their first game but they have one of the best goal kickers in the competition in N'tmack and no team makes better use of the ball in tight spaces when they are at there best. I read somewhere yesterday an article by a UK rugby scribe who said that Wales had the best loose forward trio at the cup. I am not sure I agree with that and they will have to be at their best in this match. I have not seen either side named.

France by 7
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)

South Africa v Japan
This is the match the Japanese people will be waiting for and they thoroughly deserve their place in the play offs because they have played some outstanding rugby both on attack and defence. Having said that I think South Africa will be too big and too strong and it is interesting that that they have named a 6 forwards and 2 backs bench, This would indicate that they are going to play it tight and attempt to wear down the smaller Japanese. The Japanese team has not been named at time of this post.

South Africa by 19
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

I said in my Pool Play post that I would comment further on the referees so here goes. I am not going to critique them individually except to say I think the All Blacks will be pleased to have avoided a French referee for their match. They, the referees, have an unenviable job and one made much tougher by the emphasis the governing body is placing on contact with the head and also contact when contesting the high ball. No one wants to see serious injuries and particularly concussed players on the field but I cannot help feeling that some minor accidental contact in both areas is being harshly treated. As I commented above I cannot help but feel some teams are trying to milk cards by leading with their heads down into contact and I will be watching for this in all games over the weekend.


Lord Egbut Nobacon said...

Wales will take France apart. This is the the most subdued Rugby WC I have ever seen here.

The rugby people are not happy with the team and the big club money have told the their players to ignore the usual not happy bunnies.

There is a reason but it goes back a few hundred years...although anything can happen on the day.

Bottom line is that NZ fans would rather see NZ win the the cup than see their team win the Mitre 10.......the opposite can be said of France.

pdm said...

Egbut said - `The rugby people are not happy with the team and the big club money have told the their players to ignore the usual not happy bunnies.'

France at their most dangerous and I don't think Wales are that good. If Hadleigh Parkes starts at 12 it says a lot as he was very much a tradesman provincial player only in NPC and Super Rugby.

Johno said...

And France were in an even worse situation in 2011 - look what happened there.