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Now or never for Ireland as Aussies beckon

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Alastair Eykyn | 11:00 UK time, Thursday, 15 September 2011

Ireland are a side who seem to relish the sensational one-off victory. Often it is England who feel the heat. Think of the foot-and-mouth game from October 2001 or the final match of this year's Six Nations in Dublin. Can they pull off the big one against Australia here in Auckland on Saturday?

A few months ago Ireland were looking like the danger team of the northern hemisphere. They seemed more than capable of turning over the Wallabies and opening up an enticing World Cup path where they would likely avoid New Zealand, while Australia would be left to face South Africa in the quarter-finals. Four consecutive warm-up defeats to Scotland, England and France twice drained that confidence and belief, while the opening win over the United States will have done little to alleviate the concern among their passionate supporters. Albeit in appalling conditions, the Irish handling was poor and the cutting edge missing.

Australia were arguably the most impressive of all the main contenders in the opening round of fixtures. They weathered a physical start from Italy and, despite the 6-6 half-time score, pulled clear with a classy second-half display. They are Tri-Nations champions, have a host of fabulously talented players to call upon and a very shrewd coach in Robbie Deans.

Ireland lock Paul O'Connell accepts they are firm underdogs. He said: "On form Australia are a long way ahead of us at the moment. They have threats all over the field and we have to starve them of quality ball.

"For us to win, we need a massive performance. In Irish teams, when our emotion and passion is high, we're a better side. Hopefully that will be there in abundance on Saturday. When we put it together for 80 minutes, we are an excellent side that can compete with anyone."

Paul O'Connell wins a line-out for Ireland against USA

Paul O'Connell, seen here winning a line-out for Ireland, says his team need "a massive performance" against Australia. Photo: Getty

There is a feeling in the Irish camp they can muster a huge game. Their performances would suggest otherwise but to hear the players speak is to witness the belief. This is a squad full of quality and experience, with Irish Lions and Heineken Cup champions past and present.

One of those is full-back Rob Kearney, who won the Heineken Cup with Leinster in 2009 and has three Lions caps. He said: "It might just take one small thing to click for everything to go right for us. The game is pivotal in the pool. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't an extra energy, buzz and passion around this match. They are all the things you need to win the big games."

A glance through the history books reveals three World Cup encounters between the two nations. Australia have won the lot but two of them were settled by a single point. Few who were at Lansdowne Road in 1991 will forget the famous try scored by flying flanker Gordon Hamilton, which gave the Irish a three-point lead with a handful of minutes left. Neither will they have been able to erase the last-gasp try from Michael Lynagh that gave the Wallabies a 19-18 win.

In 2003, it finished 17-16, as the Aussies repeated the dose in Melbourne. David Humphries had a drop-goal to win the match but it drifted wide. Earlier Brian O'Driscoll scored a superb try. In fact O'Driscoll has saved many of his most special moments for those dressed in green and gold. Already a star in the northern hemisphere, he announced himself to the wider world at the Gabba in 2001 with one of the most stunning individual tries ever scored by a Lion, leaving Daniel Herbert and Nathan Grey clutching at thin air. "Waltzing O'Driscoll" sang the delirious fans. The headlines screamed similarly of his magic.

Now the old warhorse, 32, is back for another crack at those in green and gold. He summoned a moment of genius against them two years ago at Croke Park, with a last-minute try under the posts as Ireland scrambled a 20-20 draw. This is his final opportunity to light up the world stage and you can tell he intends to make the most of it. He said: "I'm so excited, this is a huge game. For me, knowing this is my last World Cup, this opportunity might not present itself again. These are the games we play for. It's a little bit of now or never - hopefully it's now."

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Ireland have very little momentum coming into this one and the Aussies seem to be able to pick up the tempo of a game at will - my prediction is that the Wallabies will win by at least two scores - we have seen just a few months ago Ireland play an inspired destructive go-forward match but where they are going find that game this time is beyond me.

  • Comment number 2.

    Good luck to Ireland, its actually a good thing for all the six nation teams if each of them have close games with the tri-nation teams during the pool stages. It ratchets up the pressure on the southern hemisphere boys for the knock-out phase.
    I was at the match last month in the Aviva and Ireland were poor. We all know that they are not poor players. If i had to give a reason I would say that too much of the team looked like they were either carrying an injury or just back from Injury.
    In this category you would currently include, (Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe, Brian O'Driscoll, Gordon D'Arcy, Paul O'Connell, Stephen Ferris). That's basically all their best players. God help them if Ross or Healy join that list. To be honest, if they have one big game left in them, they will probably need to use it to get past Italy but I hope they proove me wrong.

  • Comment number 3.

    I hope that Ireland can beat Australia, not only because it would bring the Aussies down a peg or two, which is always fun, but because it would open up the contest a bit more. We might even get to the situation where Australia, having been beaten by Ireland, go on to win the the Cup, thus allowing Ireland to claim to be unofficial world champions (they wouldn't do that would they????)

    My observation from recent years would be that unless Ireland can work up an almost unseemly amount of anger then they will fall a long way short. Getting fighting-mad at the Aviva is one thing, but beating good teams away from home is starting to elude the Irish team. Paul O'Connell must be desperately scouring the history books as we speak to find something that can be morphed into a massive irrational grudge against 15 otherwise perfectly pleasant Australians.

    Still, with the great Brian O'Driscoll and Tommy Bowe playing I would always back Ireland to pull off a surprise. Somehow though, barring an act of genius by these guys, trying to pull peoples heads off whilst shouting "it's a maul ref!" won't be enough!

  • Comment number 4.

    Ireland's pack will have to have a huge game. There's plenty of talent with O'Brien, Heaslip, and Ferris in the back row and hopefully O'Connel and O'Callaghan will do well at lineouts, but I'd be a bit concerned about the front row.

    If Kearney, Bowe, Earls and O'Driscoll have big games then there's also talent and pace in the backs.

    However, I can't see them just being able to turn on their form when it's been so wretched over a period of time. Australia to win by about 10 points.

  • Comment number 5.

    Do not rate Ireland's chances at all. Can honestly see them shipping in excess of 30 points for not an awful lot in return. Would not even surprise me if Italy were to come second in the group.

  • Comment number 6.

    i haven't seen much of the Irish of late so i think if they play like they have in past world cup games against the wallabies, it should be a close game.If they contain Samo (which is a big ask) and play that kick and chase game like italy did and pressure the wallabies backline before they get a rattle on,they could stop them from getting a valuable bonus point.Of course, it would all amount to nothing,but at least they would be the only poole group team to do so.

  • Comment number 7.

    A lot will depend on how good the referee is. Ireland at the breakdown has been a contentious issue for a while. Have a read of Shaun Edwards comments if you do not agree:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2011/mar/18/six-nations-2011-ireland-england

    QUOTE:

    'In the tackle, the ball carrier is kept off the ground, often by an Irish arm around his neck, while one man goes low and another rips at the ball – all three screaming: "It's a maul, it's a maul," at the referee, just in case the ball carrier has got a knee down, making it a ruck. Some buy it, some don't.'

    If the referee is wise to Ireland I expect the wallabies to win by a big margin.

  • Comment number 8.

    Good luck to Ireland but it will take a stellar performance to overcome the Wallabies

  • Comment number 9.

    I would love to believe we can do it, but I don't think we will. The Irish side is missing something since the last 6 nations tournament, They went from Champs to third and have continued to slide. You talk of Green of Gold, maybe because it's the Irish colours we pull a game out against the Aussies.. but ... to many old guys... to many in the management team too close to the players to be able to see the wood for the trees.. Australia to run riot in the first half and Ireland to lose gloriously by a try score.

  • Comment number 10.

    Should be a cracker of a game. No need to reiterate the Wallabies obvious upper hand as both the better and form team, but this Ireland squad genuinely believes that on their day, they can beat anyone. We've seen it in the past, as recently as the last 6 nations against England, and I think that if everything clicks, you can never really right them off. It's a big if though....

  • Comment number 11.

    Ireland have a chance to cause a major upset in this World Cup and they will relish the prospect of doing so.

    Having said that if Ireland were to play Oz 10 times in a row they would do well to win 2/10. So this match needs to be that special performance.

    Nothing this year apart from the trashing they gave England in the grand slam decider has indicated that Ireland have a big game in them.
    I cant see it happening but I will be cheering them along and hoping for a miricle.

  • Comment number 12.

    jackcowper pretty much sums it up and O'Brien is instrumental to them being able to do that and if he plays and gets away with it (to note not a critisism getting away with things is what sets great flankers apart) then they become an extremely difficult team to play against.

    If they get pinged for it suddenly that massive backrow will have some real issues dealing with the pace Pocock, Elsom and Howell clear rucks and also how quickly they get over the ball in defense (Wallace is a big loss). If the aussies get quick ball they will score tries so interuptation is vital. That said England showed how to beat them last year and Ireland definately have the power runners and tacklers to disrupt australia and target Cooper as I know they fronted up well against NZ a few weeks ago but I couldnt get away from thinking had Kaino been on the field smashing Pocock or first man off the rucks they wouldnt have had half as good a game? It also refelcts on quite how reliant NZ are on Kaino who to me isnt far behnd Mccaw and carter in influence for them?

    To be honest though I really hope they get the rub of the green and win the game this Ireland side have ben fnatastic for so many years and it will be sad if POC, DOC, Ogara, BOD etc leave there last world cup never having made a statement there.

  • Comment number 13.

    Sensational one-off victories? Check your facts. Ireland's win over England in this year's 6 Nations was their 7th in the last 8 seasons in the 6 Nations against England - what was one-off about that? 2008 is the answer. In fact, since England were last Grand Slam or Triple Crown champions (2003), Ireland have won 4 triple crowns and a grand slam.

    It is this kind of lazy, arrogant journalism that adds extra fuel to the Irish passion when taking on the English.

    As for this weekend, Ireland certainly are the underdogs, and are in need of a spark to kick-start their season. Perhaps Kearney & O'Brien's return on Saturday can provide it.. Come on lads!!

  • Comment number 14.

    1 ......we have seen just a few months ago Ireland play an inspired destructive go-forward match but where they are going find that game this time is beyond me.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, nobody saw it coming a few months ago, including me, and nobody seems to be able to see it coming this weekend.

    I'm suddenly feeling more optimistic ..... in an Irish sort of way, fearing the worst. :)

  • Comment number 15.

    @13 hear hear Corletto, but I am afraid that this time the one off probably does apply, because we have dropped so much form. I think we were dire against the USA and have been dire all warm up. I am not expecting anything to improve on Saturday.

  • Comment number 16.

    The forecast is for rain on Saturday which has to be a massive boost for the Irish. If they are hungry and can keep it tight they are a chance.

    New Zealand have shown the perfect game plan against Australia numerous times ans there is no reason Ireland can't replicate it. Get stuck in upfront, pick and go all day and use the short kicks in benind the back line.

  • Comment number 17.

    Doris to be honest, the coaches and their grandmother harped on about the conditions against the USA. I think the professionals have become to pampered, the rain will only make it difficult for them to hold the ball, result in unforced errors,and aide the Australians who would play in the snow and still be good.

  • Comment number 18.

    Corletto

    Pretty poor response there it was very obvious what was meant by one offs and it was upsetting a form side the 2 victorys against england listed being good examples.

    The point was Ireland have had little to no consistency performance wise in the last 12 months (losses to England, Scotland, France, Wales, SA, NZ and lucky excapes against Italy and Scotland being more normal than the great great performance they put in against England) to sugest thy will beat Australia but on there day when fired up (POC is pretty egendary for winding thm up to play england aparently) they have players to compete with anyone, so they are capable of a one off.

    Honestly though as above hope the team rise to the occasion and absolutely mash them from pillar to post much as they did to England earlier this year I can at least enjoy rather than endure what was a wonderful performance really.

  • Comment number 19.

    Fair point Collie - Ireland were not good in the rain against USA but no-one plays well in the wet, whcih should keep the score close and give Ireland some hope.

    While Australia won the tri-nations and seem to be improving, i still believe they have many weaknesses and could come unstuck against a less-fancied side, so why not this weekend?

  • Comment number 20.

    I am wondering have the lads been 'doing just enough' and trying to save themselves in the first match , for this one. If they win this one, it's safe to say they are out of the group but the Italians are capable of springing a surprise against what is to date this year a mediocre team. It could be very tight at the top of the group if Ireland win and then trip up against one of the others.

  • Comment number 21.

    Doris

    Absolutely agree still think if you get stuck into them and disrupt there set piece (I'm not convinced ther scrum is really much better thna 12 months ago), smash them in the early exchanges and get Ferris to target Cooper from the start you can disrupt and hurt them big time and from there who knows?

  • Comment number 22.

    @13 I actually agree with you. Quoting the foot and mouth match against England was fine because that was an "upset" when it wasn't expected but including this years match isn't applicable because most knowledgable people expected an experienced Ireland to beat a stuttering England in Dublin because they have beaten them so many times over the past 7 years.
    I do think Ireland will have to match the Australian intensity though, because the tri-nations matches were far more intense than the recent friendlies.

  • Comment number 23.

    Aus 2 win by 5 tries 2 1

  • Comment number 24.

    Can't see Ireland coming out on top in this one sadly. I'll be happy with a bonus point. But equally I can't see us going down to Italy in the last group match. It'll be do or die by then.

  • Comment number 25.

    Beating England this year at home was hardly a sensational one off victory considering up to that point England have only beaten Ireland once since 2003.

    Also jackcowper questioned how legal Ireland's tackling is, how many penalty's and warnings went against England in the warm up game against Ireland without sin binning's??

    Form is very worrying though, it would be a major shock at this stage if Ireland put it up to Australia at all. Bad England teams have always had a nack of drawing opposition into dogfights, but when Ireland go bad we tend to capitulate.

  • Comment number 26.

    Hi Eoin

    England penalty count was for rubbish discipline, i.e coming in at the side, being offside etc.

    The point of my post was that ireland struggle when a ref is wise to what they are doing. As somone else said earlier - pulling people's heads off. Completely different thing.

    Cheers

  • Comment number 27.

    Ireland have the experience in their squad to know that their recent form is not reflective of their ability. Whether they have the belief to beat the Aussies or not is another matter, but I personally feel that the Irish have the game for it: Get the big, physical backrow in the face of Cooper, put him under pressure and the creative catalyst that put the sheen on the Italian game is gone, and you're left with the beatable pack who took an hour to gain ascendency against European rugby's whippin' boys.

    Also, I'm finding it weird that as an England fan I spent last Sunday cheering on the USA but come Saturday morning I will be shouting myself hoarse for the Irish. A similar thing happened in the Wales/SA game when I found myself hysterically cheering-on the usually hated boys in red. I can't really explain it: either the Lions spirit lies dormant in me throughout the 6 Nations, or I just love an underdog...

  • Comment number 28.

    Looking back I find that the connecting factor between Ireland v England in the 6N and England v Argentina in the RWC is that they were both refereed by Mr. Bryce "Consistency" Lawrence!

    I think we should be told!!!!!!

    As much as I deeply resent Paul O'Connell for stooping to using a xenophobic wind-up team talk (in an era when we are supposed to be putting things behind us!), I hope that Ireland can win on Saturday. My son is a huge Brian O'Driscoll fan and likes to model himself on BOD when he plays!!! Even St Jonny of Wilkinson can't get a look in!

  • Comment number 29.

    @Adam

    Not sure it is fair to describe Italy as 6 Nations as whipping boys based on their results in this years tourney. Yes they only won one game but whipping boys? They beat Franc eand lost to Ireland by two points, their only bad loss being to England who won the thing. Also your point is a bit strange as Italy's strength is def their pack as well as the fact that the weather was terrible, considering how the rest of the Europeans played saying Oz were not that great is a tad like the pot calling the kettle black.

  • Comment number 30.

    The big game? Surely all it will decide is who goes through as 1st or 2nd, hardly earth shattering.

    And all the simpletons complaining about the one-off comment. It doesn't mean they will only beat England once, it means that Ireland are good at getting themselves up for single big games (as opposed to a series of games). It was meant as mostly a compliment. Stop feeling sorry for yourselves.

  • Comment number 31.

    On paper Ireland have many world class players. They are certainly capable of beating Australia, although I think they will lose by 5-7 points.

    Ireland's problem has always been that they can get up for games that arouse passion, like v. England at Croke Park in 2007 or the Grand Slam deniers v. England in 2001 and 2011. However, when the game is just a normal game, they sometimes struggle. Judging an Irish player on his performace v. England in a Six Nations games is always dicey. The Lions made that mistake in 1983 when they picked Ciaran Fitzgerald as hooker and captain, and left the best hooker, Peter Wheeler, at home...or when they picked Mick Galway for the 1993 Lions tour to New Zealand.

    As for Australia, if you have watched the tri naitons, their ball handling and passing are out of this world. But...they have lost Digby Ionae to injury and their tackling in the backs can be suspect. If Ferris and Obrien can get over the gainline...it could be interesting.

  • Comment number 32.

    On paper Ireland HAD world glass players... but not now. Only chance they have hear is attacking the Australian front five, but that's about it. BoD and D'Arcy are finished and their scrum half is not test level.

  • Comment number 33.

    Davico: Pot calling the kettle black?! What are you on about?! This is an article about Ireland's chances vs Australia. I didn't pass any judgement on the way that Australia played (and I certainly didn't compare their performance to the 'rest of the Europeans'), what I said was that I think Ireland - potentially - have the game and the personnel to nulify Cooper, and consequently the much vaunted and highly dangerous Aussie backline. And that if they can do this, the battle up front should hold no fears for them.

    And as for Italy: 'whippin' boys' might be a tad harsh, and their pack is - indeed - their best asset. But they are what they are: a team that has historically lost almost all of it's encounters with tier 1 opposition.....this needs to be borne in mind when people hold the Aussies up as invincible and tip them to storm the tournament.

  • Comment number 34.

    #12 RugbyRugbyRugby
    "had Kaino been on the field smashing Pocock or first man off the rucks they wouldnt have had half as good a game?"

    Who's to say Kaino would even get a mark on Pocock? I really doubt he would have affected the game enough to change the score.

    16. Doris

    If Ireland could replicate NZ's style of play why wouldn't they do that more often and move up the rankings?
    There won't be so much of this "Get stuck in upfront, pick and go all day and use the short kicks in behind the back line." - sounds great though!

    Australia have lost Digby Ioane until the QF but they have replaced him with James O'Connor and Drew Mitchell on the bench so I doubt we will see any 'holes' in their line.

    I see the only weakness of Australia's game is their complacency against lesser opposition (with respect).

    Games play out better in people's minds than on the field.

  • Comment number 35.

    digby ioane is a massive loss for australia. If ireland can pressure quade cooper up the middle and test his defence they have a great chance.
    Cooper can go to pieces and it could be an interception try from one of his mercurial back of the hand passes that is the difference in the game. Irelands defence is strong and i agree with o'connell, ireland play exceptionally well in one off games if emotionally charged. In the past they got about teams for the first 20 but tired dramatically that shouldn't happen as much in the modern game.
    Aussies will obviously have a spell and breach the line but heads need to stay up. Look at wales after 5 mins 7-0 down! who'd have thought they would fight back like they did.
    Sean O'Brien to drive a hole through coopers midriff and ireland to win 18-15

  • Comment number 36.

    alastier,

    any reson you did not post my comments from earlier today??? too contentous? I posted at around midday, when only telstra had a comment posted. Was I too critical of the holy trinity;the BBC, England rugby and the establishment. Too critical of the arrogance of media who believe that only England have an opportunity to succeed in the WC, too challenging of your assertion that Ireland only rise to the challenge once in a while... we are undefeated at Twickenham since your lot won the world cup, 3 Irish european cups in 4 years, grand slam against none of yours and several triple crowns. Good old Ireland they can only muster the occassional 'good' win. Not bad for a country with less professional players than the home counties. But never mind, you just keep challenging us and we'll just keep knocking your lot down. We may not win the world cup but we'll shake up those who will.

  • Comment number 37.

    Re.7 - what exactly is wrong with a team trying to rip the ball in a maul? (Arm round the neck apart,of course). mauls and rucks are both just contests to win possession of the ball -I don't really understand what this commentator thinks is so wrong with a team trying to win possession within the current laws

  • Comment number 38.

    Other comments - BoD at 32 past it? 32 is hardly old, and just as you think he might be losing something, back comes the old magic.A truly fantastic player and i hope he has a great World Cup. Not so sure about d'Arcy tho'. Wondering what's gone wrong with Tommy Bowe - at his best absolutely electric, but seems to be out of form - is he properly fit? lot could rest on Jonny Sexton - young lad but still terribly inconsistent. but if he has one of his inspired games, he could make all the difference. In forwards, Paul O'Connell still great at lock, but other lock not so convincing. Looking forward to a great game - and hoping Ireland shade it

  • Comment number 39.

    This one will go one of two ways, as inevitably transpires when Ireland play big games like this. 1) We’ll get totally outclassed by a far superior team (most likely scenario given present form). 2) We’ll find some way to agonisingly lose the game - but still lose nonetheless – after which the performance will be deemed a 'good' loss with the accompanying "aggh sure, we did grand… we did our best… & sure we’re only a small country & what do we expect" attitude/explanation. Happens every time… mark my words.

  • Comment number 40.

    PorridgeTimes

    You must be such a sad person all over the Internet are your various posts all full of bile and vitriol towards, but not limited too, anything English. What is your problem. If it is not the English you are lambasting as rubbish it is giving it to the Irish with no hope against the Aussies. At the start of play the Irish will have the same chance as as the Australians. Three weeks ago in the TriN the Aussies had no chance against the ABs and guess what the Aussies won.

    I believe you are from Scotland, excuse me if that is incorrect, but now live in NZ, again if that is incorrect my apologies, I am in NZ for the WRC and English but trust me if a BRITISH team is playing I am supporting them to win as are do the Kiwis (for the most part) support Australia if they are playing the British. Your hatred is blinding your judgement. I have read your comments about the Scots team and if you think their game the other night gives you some sort of "higher Ground" I truly feel sorry for you you must be burning up in side.

  • Comment number 41.

    Churguys... sounds like you got your poopypants in a real mess there. Just because someone does not support or rate another team that highly it does not mean they are full of hatred.
    See the difference here is we guys know that Scotland are poopy de poop, but so are England and Ireland, the difference here is you guys think you are not.
    All this when England are not playing I'll support any English team is utter botox... if Scotland were to progress in the QF and England not then Scotland would cease to be Scotland... they would become Britain.

  • Comment number 42.

    Oh dear meant to say support any British team. I keep getting England and Britain mixed... maybe it's because their on in the same.

  • Comment number 43.

    Still taking yourself too seriously porridge times? chill out brother lifes too short.

    The only way Ireland will beat Austraila is if the Aussies all put white shirts on and everyone flys to Dublin to play but as that isnt going to happen it will be Austraila by 7.

  • Comment number 44.

    It probably will be Australia by 7 - and I'd be happy with the bonus point to be honest, could be useful in the final analysis - but you never know, Jez fancies us.
    But this is not a must win game for Ireland. Coming 1st or 2nd in this group is not really an issue. The must win game will be Italy and then it's SA or Wales in the quarters which should be a fantastic contest.

  • Comment number 45.

    34.At 19:34 15th Sep 2011, No_so_great_britain wrote:
    #12 RugbyRugbyRugby
    "had Kaino been on the field smashing Pocock or first man off the rucks they wouldnt have had half as good a game?"

    Who's to say Kaino would even get a mark on Pocock? I really doubt he would have affected the game enough to change the score.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well mainly because he did pretty effectively when they beat them in the other game comfortably and to be honest the way he restricted Pocock compared to how much freedom he had when they won seemed pretty important in those 2 games outcomes. As I said before though I just really rate Kaino as a 6 his conrtibution isn't as obvious I suppose as others but the guy was probably the best forward in last years tri antions and AI's alongside McCaw and Pocock but gets little of teh recognition.

    He is as important to NZ as anyone at this world cup as the work he does speeds up the ball and allows McCaw more freedom to disrupt.

    Just because the press don't write a guy up as the second coming doesn't mean he isn't brilliant does it? And while he took him longer to reach that level than McCaw/Pocock did it doesn't detract from his ability the otehr 2 are freaks really they are/were both so brilliant so young especially for a forward.

  • Comment number 46.

    I see New Zealand are doing well against Japan...its all too familar...they beat all the bad teams by huge amounts and then when they hit a half decent team they crumble.

    I would love NZ to finally hold it together and not c**p their pants as usual and win but I cant see it happening...Winners are born...and not thought....and I dont think on a global stage NZ are winners...I think they are born the other way.

  • Comment number 47.

    Scotland is britain so whats the problem?
    I think Ireland, England and Wales are on a different level to Scotland (stats prove this) but whats wrong with that, New Zealand, Oz and SA are on a different level again. Its just how sports work. Scotland are a good team but they would do much better playing against Romania and Russia as they would be on the same level.

    Its just how sport is.

  • Comment number 48.

    James Ireland struggled to beat the USA. Only a complete implosion by Australia will keep this to within ten points. Ireland will start with a fizz and roar, but eventually that will dissipate in to missed tackles and handling erros.
    James the gap between the tri nations team is substantial although it does look like SA are dropping of, but that's more a coaching issue and political selection policy than anything else. Then there is France an other gap where Eng, Wal, Sco, Ita, Arg and Ire are all clumped together, possibly Wales at the top end of this group with Italy at the bottom.

  • Comment number 49.

    PorridgeTimes

    poopypants??? I guess that has at least shown what a dope you really are. I guess you got that from your High Class Prep school.




    i

  • Comment number 50.

    45. At 10:32 16th Sep 2011, RugbyRugbyRugby

    Totally agree, the kid has the skills even though he is overshadowed by the other two, in fact, I thought he was the MOTM against Tonga in NZ's opening WC game.
    I do however feel he is overshadowed because he is still learning his trade in that position.
    I still think it would have been a tall order to change the game against the Wallabies in that Brisbane match.

    As for Ireland v Australia. History stacks up against Ireland, but anything can happen in the WC. I find it hard to look passed an incredible Wallabies team, if Ireland win I will eat my cat... or is it hat?

  • Comment number 51.

    Navski @ 37

    I think you answered your own question. "(Arm round the neck apart,of course)" last time I looked at the rules that was illegal.

    Where did I say it's wrong to try and win the ball, please re-read my #7. Your post is mystifying me to say the least.

  • Comment number 52.

    All post et al

    poopypants So there !!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    That's the spirit Churguys. Hope your enjoying your time in NZ and you should make and effort to try and get across to the Hawkes Bay.

  • Comment number 54.

    With Bryce Lawrence as the ref and rain forecast Ireland have a very good chance. Lawrence is very whistle happy and rarely lets a game flow which, along with the slippery ball, will inhibit Australia's phase play. If this keeps the try count down it could well be decided by the odd kick here or there. In that situation I know I would rather have Sexton and O'Gara than Beale and O'Connor. Expect Rocky to have a good game.

  • Comment number 55.

    Bad weather + Bryce Lawrence + Pocock out injured and I'm seeing this about 18 - 6 Ireland now! All points from the boot.

  • Comment number 56.

    Poopie ( Porridge)

    I will give us an address I will be there. We will be the ones with the banner that says Eng 20 Scot 3......

  • Comment number 57.

    Why is that whenever England go away there is always scandel.
    The recent video footage of the england captain and royality holding hands with a woman and arms around her then he leaves with her....WHAT THE .... does he not realise that he is representing his country...as captain...and he is out obv under the influence and feeling up other women...Why is it only England who seem to do this over and over again?

  • Comment number 58.

    You more than welcome Churguys... being a bit generous to the sweaties there with the three points. As you drive in to Havelock North were are the third mud hut on the left. It will be the one with the English flag flying half mast.

  • Comment number 59.

    # 56 - tremendous banter. Unless I'm mistaken, you are in the truest tradition of trolling, offering another anonymous poster on an MB out for a fight that will never happen? Calm down there Mildred, just cos mummy's not about doesn't mean you can act up.

    England 37 point favourites against Georgia. What's your prediction?

  • Comment number 60.

    Vonstoobing...
    My winners and losers for the weekend remainder of the weekend will be.

    Romania, first reall big upset of the 2011 World Cup.

    Fiji, second major upset of the 2011 World Cup.

    Australia, everything back to normality with a comfortable win to the top seeded side.

    Samoa, yet again pip Wales best match of the weekend.

    England, another forwards borefest from Group B, but no bonus point victory from the men black.

  • Comment number 61.

    "England, another forwards borefest from Group B, but no bonus point victory from the men black."

    Thats true its almost like we are coached by Andy Robinson......

  • Comment number 62.

    # 61 - amusing, and true. The thing is, Scotland have Dan Parks, Graeme Morrison and the fumbling Lamont brothers in our backs. Therein lies the excuse for not scoring tries. You have attacking southern hemisphere talent like Hape and Tuilagi, not to mention Foden and Ashton - what's the excuse for them not scoring?

  • Comment number 63.

    porridge times

    "australia back to normality with a comfortable win"
    This mantra that aus are world beaters is boring. They recently lost to samoa, england have beaten them twice on the bounce and a poor performance from ireland against them last time out got a draw.
    Yes they play attractive flowing rugby but they hardly set the last world cup on fire. Is normality a quarter final defeat?
    They also won the tri nations on the back of some good performances against under strength kiwis and boks. (ok last game kiwis were strong in OZ)
    If it rains ireland are in with a great shout - revisit scotland 9-8 not long back.

  • Comment number 64.

    tallshort

    Bet you wish your forward were still being coached by Andy Robinson.

  • Comment number 65.

    marcom31...

    My comment of Australia bringing the weekends results back to normality is in the context of all the other results were upsets.
    Actually I don't think Australia are as good as some Aussie fans might think they are... but they are a considerable way in front of Ireland. If Enlgand do progress and meet Australia in the semi final... it would not surprise me if England were to squeeze the life out of them as they have done in the past.
    But I don't think England will be meeting Australia... because that would mean having to get past France or the All Blacks.

  • Comment number 66.

    porridge
    i think we both know england will face france in the quarters. however, to say france hold fears for england is well wide of the mark. France have had more stutters against england in quarters than colin firth.
    if ireland can spring a surprise tomorrow (and in my heart of hearts i do think it is unlikely) then aus face the boks. I just see the boks being too physical if they do meet and with the weather around at present that bodes badly for aus as well

  • Comment number 67.

    Re. 51 - don't think it's so mystifying. Of course arm around neck is illegal and that is what I was acknowledging. But the implication of your post (which I've re-read), and the other post you attached, was that the Irish were doing something wrong over-and-above the arm-round-the-neck. Unlike others on this post I'm not into the mud-slinging, but do you think I've missed something? Still mystified?

  • Comment number 68.

    Alastair,

    I think to describe the Irish rugby team over the past few years as simply relishing the sensational one off victory is extremely unfair. They are hardly 'one off' victories if they happen consistently, year in year out, both in Ireland and away from home, no?
    You picked out the Ireland vs England grand slam game this year, and yet this was just one of 7 victories from the previous 8 encounters with England. Even going back to your other example (2001 Ire Eng), the record stands at 8 from 11.

    Consistency of performance has been far greater than your article seems to give credit to - bar the admittedly disastrous international season 2007-2008, Ireland have consistently been THE form home nations side in the 6 nations championship over the past 8 years or so.

    You rightly point to the successes of the provinces and the individuals within those teams over the past few years, and many other journalists seem willing to heap praise on these successes. Yet why is it that the high level of Ireland's performance over the past few years (which admittedly deserves more than 1 grand slam) is still treated as something of an anomaly, out of character, unexpected and unworthy of much recognition?

    As an avid Irish rugby fan, this failure to give full attention to our successes and consistency has forced me to abandon all English printed rugby press - the English successes (scant at best since 2003) are overhyped to an even greater degree than ours are underplayed. I would now much rather read Australian, New Zealand, Irish and Welsh press which gives a much more balanced assessment of the world's rugby news, rather than the press in the U.K. which goes bananas over the slightest victory, or player emergence (such as the obsession with courtney lawes, who, whilst looking like a great athlete in height and general physique, offers nothing like the rugby understanding of a James Horwill, Ali Williams, Paul O'Connell or Alun Wyn Jones. Not that the times/telegraph would have you think so).

    I do enjoy reading yours, and other bbc online articles, but wish that a more balanced approach to Irish (more specifically the Irish national team) rugby was seen.

    Hopefully a win against the Aussies could help all this!

  • Comment number 69.

    Porridge

    I admire your blind support for the Scots but why is it that you alone believe you are allowed to run all other sides down and when others here make serious points about your rugby judgement you get nasty. Scotland at best are an average side coached by an average English coach. Now I grant that England Ireland and Wales may not win the RWC but they would all beat scotland. And what is this false deprecation about living in a mud hut. We have been here for 2 weeks and think the place is great and most of the people we have met and spoken to very welcoming and pleasant. Guess there is always some that have nothing better to do than moan. Grow up mate.

  • Comment number 70.

    Navski@67

    Follow the link in 7, see what a professional rugby defence coach thinks, for me the Irish have been on the edge of the law for a long time (fair play to them they have gotten away with it too). Then have a read of post 3, do you think he/she is mud slinging too? So why just pick on me and why quote me for things I have never said - mystifying to say the least. Understand now?

  • Comment number 71.

    VonStoobing

    Not trolling we were invited to the Hawks Bay so asked for the address as for fighting at 70 do not think I would be much cop.

    Can't wait for 1 October when England will thrash the boys from North of the boarder

  • Comment number 72.

    Porridge

    I watched the Wales SA game in a packed pub in Queenstown is was full of English Fans. Ourselves we are a group of 10, 2 welsh,1 Scot and a pretend Irishman (he is from Spain) he likes Guinness and the rest English along with us every man jack in the place was screaming for Wales. Not Botox but fact. Maybe if you got out more you would see this on your travels. Not everyone is so full of hate and disappointment as you appear to be.

  • Comment number 73.

    68

    Good post Go Ireland it would be great to see BO'D go out on a high. What he has done for Irish Rugby ( he has had some great support too). He has been a great player in my view. I agree with you about most of the British press (gee am I allowed to use that collective?)
    but I guess you get what you pay for. I think the Times and Observer are more balanced than most.

  • Comment number 74.

    @ 68

    Speaking as an avid England supporter let me say I hate the English press too for the pretty much the same reasons, so I just ignore it.

  • Comment number 75.

  • Comment number 76.

    @75.

    After the twenty seconds it took to read that.... real average. Mate would not be advertising to be honest unless you are trying to put out there that you cannot write.

  • Comment number 77.

    Very hard to see Ireland getting anything out of this game, though they can't continue to play badly for ever so I expect them to find some form at last even though they won't win. England's record as the only team to beat Australia in the World Cup since the first match of the 1995 tournament to continue for a little while yet.

    As for England, I'm losing what little patience I had with Johnson. He should not be allowing his team to go bungee jumping and certainly not to go out and get boozed up in "celebration" of a performance like THAT. Would it kill these professional athletes to go for a few days without drinking alcohol? This is a rare chance to compete for the biggest prize in the game and there they are, going out and getting wasted after the first match of the tournament. Pathetic. If Tindall was the best player in the world I might cut him some slack but he shouldn't even be in the team at all. Get him dropped.

    Anyway good luck Ireland and Australia, this has the potential to be one of the better matches of the tournament.

  • Comment number 78.

    Hey, Corletto at #13 - get off your high horse man. Alastair specified *sensational" one-off victories - we all know how proud you are of Ireland's record against England in recent years but a victory isn't "sensational" just because it's against us. Some of those victories were not particularly remarkable. Others - i.e. the ones Alastair singled out - were. I don't think any England supporter would claim that our recent win against you was sensational so you don't have to do it on behalf of your team either.

    Scots and Irish increasingly throw the word "arrogant" around like confetti. It's a knee-jerk reaction for some of you to deploy it every single time an English person says or writes something you don't altogether like. It poisons what could otherwise be civilised discussions. Give it a rest for once.

  • Comment number 79.

    Ghurguys

    Think you should look back through the posts, because I bare no hatred or bitterness towards nobody. Yes I'm a Scot who does not feel remotely British... so what there are plenty of us out there.
    Currently I do not rate the Irish team and believe them to be in decline, but would rate them a better side than Scotland. Wales I believe are on the up and would also rate them a better side than Scotland. England are stagnant, but I would also rate them a better side than Scotland.
    Do I want Scotland to progress further than any of the home union? Yes I do. There is a slim chance that Scotland can beat both Argentina and England, which would not only be great for Scottish rugby, but also for the game in general.
    Enjoy the remainer of your tour and that your team does not have the success that I hope my team has.

  • Comment number 80.

    Seriously the Maul law is a bit rubbish. There has been at least three times when Australia has been gone in, held up fair enough, but then driven forward ten to fifteen metres and the maul has collapsed through no fault of their own. Why does the team going backwards get the advantage here?

  • Comment number 81.

    Humble Pie time...

    Congratulations Irealand you were everything I thought you were not. Excellent forward display.

  • Comment number 82.

    81 yup, humble pie for me too. We knew Ireland could be good, but they haven't played like that since their golden year of 2009.

    Scotland and England are not quite hitting top form yet, but Ireland and Wales are the ones to watch.

    Ireland beat Australia convincingly, and Wales, were on top of everything in the South Africa game except the scoreline. Good times...

  • Comment number 83.

    14. At 13:48 15th Sep 2011, I wrote:

    1 ......we have seen just a few months ago Ireland play an inspired destructive go-forward match but where they are going find that game this time is beyond me.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, nobody saw it coming a few months ago, including me, and nobody seems to be able to see it coming this weekend.

    I'm suddenly feeling more optimistic ..... in an Irish sort of way, fearing the worst. :)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Seventy Nine minutes of fearing the worst, ..... now deep breath and time for a beer!

    Not a great game of rugby, but a GREAT result

  • Comment number 84.

    NEVER COUNT YOUR CHIC. . . . etc etc.

    Well done Ireland. Where have the smart asses gone, eh??

  • Comment number 85.

    Oh Porridge made a comment :)

  • Comment number 86.

    There you go folks, proof positive that no matter how much Paddy O'Brien plays around with the rulebook you can't stop a team with a completely dominant pack winning rugby matches. Watching this morning has reminded me why I love this game- it is not all about free-flowing, try-scoring, off-loading running rugby. It is about heart, passion, cameraderie and spirit. Congratulations Ireland, here's to an England-Ireland semi-final!

  • Comment number 87.

    Oh, and if Bryce Lawrence is an international class referee then I'm a nuclear particle physicist.

    PS, I'm not a nuclear particle physicist.

  • Comment number 88.

    England-Ireland semi-final!

    Not if Scotland beat Argentina and England;-)

    Again congratulations Ireland it's amazing what can happen when a team is written off.

  • Comment number 89.

    hey porridge_times..... eat your words. haha. all your waffling and you were so wrong. delighted. pathetic

  • Comment number 90.

    "Awesome Ireland Shock Australia"! And more especially the obnoxious porridge_times!

    Superb result for Ireland and gratifying to say the least. Self-belief is everything in rugby, sport, infact life.

    Individuals like porridge_times could do with a very large dose of humility. Can't imagine you have many friends if you voice such strong and offenive opinions to discover moments later that you have been categorically wrong!

    In response to a request as to how you saw this w/e's games going you opted for Romania to beat Argentina (close but at 43:8 to Argentina, your profound rugby knowledge AGAIN came up somewhat short, 36 points short in fact).

    In addition you wisely predicted "I do not rate Ireland's chances at all" before adding that the Wallabies would beat Ireland by "in excess of 30 points". Again your insitefullness and arrogance came up just 40 points short of the mark.

    After eating your deserved dose of humble pie (and I have to admit I would love to have been present to see that event), I would suggest you drop the loudmouth attitude and learn a little humility in life aswell as on your contributions to this blog!

    The way things are shaping up, there is now almost certainly going to be a Northern hemisphere side in the final! Gauling for you porridge_times, I know, but the truth and yes it HURTS, I am sure!

    Ireland played well but the post match interviews by POC and BOD and Kidney were hugely heartening. We have just won two matches and there are 5 more to be played. Unlike porridge_times, we are taking nothing for granted. I suggest that porridge_times you take a leaf out of Paul O'Connell's book and think a little before opening your mouth, next time around!

  • Comment number 91.

    Sorry Porridge_times I neglected to mention that you also predicted that Figi would beat S.Africa. At 3:49 to the Boks you only got this one wrong by 46 points. So with the first 3 of the 6 w/e's results now in, your insightful rugby brain and your loud mouth have obtained 0 results from 3 and you are just 122 points down on the spread with 3 games still to come.

    Humility! or did I labour to make that point already!

  • Comment number 92.

    hate to sound like a know all but i really believed ireland would do this (see post 35!)
    If you pressure cooper he moves back in the pocket too far and leaves the wallabies backline too square. Aussies attacked from side to side for much of the game apart from beale who is class. Get at cooper you win. This was all because of the nous of the irish tactics - massive raps for kidney who has been under a lot of pressure recently and that is a shame as he has gone well over the last few years.
    Sean O'Brien scared the life out of cooper and it was a very similar scene to when england saw off the aussies at twickenham
    I am chuffed with this win but now we need no scares against the italians.

  • Comment number 93.

    MunsterBoy... aye it's great when you win so enjoy yourself while it lasts.

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 95.

    Just read this article from sydney morning herald ( a supposedly good rag). Not one mention of irish dominance but a stream of excuses e.g. nz ref, players missing, etc
    http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/all-green-no-gold-as-locals-give-irish-a-taste-of-home-20110917-1kffj.html
    makes it even sweeter

  • Comment number 96.

    "Enjoy the victory!", Indeed I will porridge_times. I am enjoying it thoroughly already and based on several of the posts on this blog, many more are also enjoying you inbue a dose of humble pie!

    Ireland/Munster have always been gallant in victory and gracious in defeat. That is the hallmark of true professionals.

    These matches are always decided by self belief and whichever side wants the victory most. Ignore the critics and believe in yourself!

    I was greatly heartened when I noted that BOD and Paullie didn't over celebrate this victory. They have a much bigger goal in mind and they are only just beginning the journey. Whether they achieve this objective or not, they will no doubt go down, having given every last ounce of energy to achieve that end. They like the remainder of the squad are winners and thankfully both have the humility to never under-estimate their opponents be it the USA, Australia, Russia or whoever else. You in suggesting that Ireland would be lucky to escape with a 30+ point mauling are guilty in this regard.

    You seem to have a habit of shooting your mouth off and causing considerable offense in the process. I hope for your sake, hindsight will teach you to censor any future such spiteful barbs and lead you to take careful consideration before offloading such vitriol again be it on this blog or elsewhere.

  • Comment number 97.

    Delighted to watch an absolutely outstanding performance from Ireland as great to see NH sides beating the SH boys and might have put them all in one half the draw. O'Brien was an absolute beast again as were pretty much all of the 8. They executed the game plan many were suggesting they had to dominating the tight exchanges and denying Cooper and Genia any time.

    As a result AAC, McCabe and Faingaa just never provided any quick ball which if you saw the trinations is very unusual and while Beale looked dangerous he was always pushing it a little bit too much as things went on.

    Best of luck going forward to the Irish boys well until hopefully we meet you in the semi-final

  • Comment number 98.

    54 & 55 called this game pretty much right. Good predictions.

    Well done Ireland - that was a great passionate and fired up performance. Lets hope it's not another 1 off.

  • Comment number 99.

    Porridge

    The trouble with arrogant loudmouths is they can never shut up. You have spent the last couple of weeks pontificating rubbishing every other team in Britian and Ireland. You got it wrong and should shut up now. I am amazed you live here in NZ the kiwis I have met would have run you out of town years ago you must have a very lonely existence. we know you are sad.

    Well done Ireland that was just great and having a touch of Irish blood I got on it last night with a group from Cork we had a great time English Irish welsh and scots alike.....I hope we can meet again maybe in the semis :)

  • Comment number 100.

    Poridge

    I have to ask you a question.

    If you are so anti-British (read England I guess) why are you even on this site. Does the BBC not stand for British Broadcasting Company.?

    As a NZlander I am very offended by your "mud hut" remark as funny as you may think this is this is exactly the sort of bile from people like you that we have fought against for 150 years. You are a guest in NZ never forget that...We have a lot of visitors in NZ right now and your sort of nastiness does not reflect well to them. If you can not be civil go back to Scotland although I doubt if they would take you with your attitude

 

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