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Bryn Palmer

Can England dare to dream again? (216)

Paris - And so it came to pass. Next Saturday, as expected, we’ll be settling down to watch England against Australia do battle for a fifth time at a Rugby World Cup.

Two wins apiece (Australia in 1987 and 1991, England in 1995 and 2003) so far, a chance for one country to edge ahead, and into this year’s semi-finals.

Four years on from that night of nights in Sydney though, the roles will be reversed.

Considerations of form and class ensure the Wallabies will start warm favourites, while England will no doubt revel in their underdog status this week.

The question therefore appears to be this: How much have England improved in the past fortnight since their 36-0 rout by the Springboks? And will it be anywhere near enough to knock the confident Aussies out of their stride?

The answer to the first part is undeniably plenty, but then they were starting from a pretty low level. Likewise the quality of the opposition has to be factored in.

Samoa and Tonga both caused England problems, but neither are on a par with South Africa, who inhabit a similar plain to Australia.

“We are still not playing to our full potential,” said England coach Brian Ashton after the victory over Tonga. “We are slowly moving along the road to getting near it, but we are going to have to move up a gear, at least, next week.”

Captain Martin Corry said England are still a “developing side”, but believes there were signs against Tonga “of a team which is growing in confidence”. “When we see an opportunity, we take it,” he added.

That was certainly the case for Paul Sackey, who scored with both the chances he had.

It could also be said of Jonny Wilkinson, who created Sackey’s first with a superb bit of quick-thinking and execution, whose first drop-goal eased England into a lead they never lost, and his second late on removed any doubt about the outcome.

Incidentally, Wilkinson has extended his record tally of drop-goals in World Cups to 12, in 12 matches, and his ability to take the three points on offer remains a potent weapon, even if he is still struggling slightly, by his own standards, with his goal-kicking.

Mathew Tait and Andy Farrell also finished their opportunities well. The worry for Ashton would be that for a side enjoying set-piece dominance, England didn’t actually create that much with the 54% possession they had.

Still, from the depths of despair two weeks ago, two four-try victories against tough Pacific Island opposition are not to be sniffed at.

Ashton must now decide whether to shuffle his resources against the greater threat posed by Australia. He hinted, albeit indirectly, that at least one change is likely.

Asked how he thought his midfield combination fared, the head coach chose not to talk about individuals, as is his wont.

But his response betrayed a certain unease at the prospect of facing the supremely talented Matt Giteau and the hugely powerful Stirling Mortlock, assuming he is fit, with the centre combination he fielded against Tonga.

“Like in any international you have got to be able to defend, because it is an area a lot of sides target, you have got to have game management, and thirdly, you have got to have players who are very direct,” Ashton said.

Unfortunately for Olly Barkley, he didn’t pass muster in any of those criteria on Friday, whereas Farrell gave the impression of wanting to impose himself on the game from the moment he arrived, and largely achieved his aim.

Barkley impressed at fly-half in Wilkinson’s absence against the USA, but the two haven’t gelled in the way Ashton would have hoped in the last two games.

So should he look to tweak his combinations elsewhere?

If Jason Robinson has recovered from his damaged hamstring, he will likely return at full-back to provide an extra attacking spark, with Josh Lewsey probably reverting to the wing in place of Mark Cueto, who faces a scan on a hamstring strain.

There may still be lingering concerns over Sackey’s defensive prowess, but his pace and opportunism in the past two games have proved his worth.

In the pack, the front row are all in good form and should be left alone, with Phil Vickery remaining on the bench.

Does Ashton bring back Simon Shaw after his ‘rest’ against Tonga, or retain Steve Borthwick alongside Ben Kay, a combination which showed up well around the field as well as at the line-out against Tonga.

The back row remains a conundrum, and is still lacking balance, but Corry, Lewis Moody and Nick Easter all did well enough individually against Tonga.

Personnel issues are likely to be secondary. The real decisions this week, Wilkinson implied, are in the players’ heads.

Jonny spoke of the need for courage in the ability to take risks, to aim beyond simply “trying to sneak through, or to not to lose, but to try to win”.

It was an interesting insight into the team’s mindset, and illustrated the difference between now and four years ago.

In 2003 England went into the final expecting to win, and with the conviction to do so when the Wallabies refused their will right up until the final minute of extra-time.

This England team patently do not have that confidence that comes from having won a string of big matches together, but they will approach next week’s quarter-final with hope nonetheless.

“We don’t know how good we can be, and that is a boundary we are always looking to push,” said Corry.

Next Saturday afternoon, in Marseille’s Stade Velodrome, we will find out how far.

Bryn Palmer is the BBC Sport website’s rugby union editor.


Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 07:08 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Peter Singleton wrote:

When you have 30 guys highly trained, skilled and with all the motivation in the world, the margins between winning and losing can be small. The confidence factor then plays a large role, and Englands confidence is now growing. No doubt that they will compete in the front five dept. Moody did enough to justify his place in the back row. Ashton will probably go with Corry and Easter backed up by Dalaglio and Worsley. Thje midfield may be pretty critical, I think it will be Farrell and maybe Hipkiss. Robinson is a weapon in attack and if fit will no doubt return at full back. The game will revolve around quality possession, tactical control at half back and defence and the ability to penetrate in midfield and wide. I think Farrell is going to have a big game next week, and I saw glimpses of some great interplay between backs and forwards against Tonga. As Wilko says England need to get it right in their heads. They need the courage to go out and try to win it. They should run it at the Aussies hard and fast.

  • 2.
  • At 07:36 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • rob wrote:

Nope, sorry, England will not win. Australia now have a proper pack, and England can't bully them by dropping garryowens on Latham's head. Wales have been the only solid 6N side so far, and we were outclassed by what is a very impressive Australian side. My tip for the whole shebang

  • 3.
  • At 07:38 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • chris wrote:

Australia are superb at
i) number 7 - Smith
ii) number 12 - Mortlock

Speed of thought, speed and power (probably in that order) are vital in these positions and this is where England are slow and stodgy.

I thought Lewis Moody was excellent yesterday. If Rees is fit and Moody can play on the openside, there is a chance the England backrow can challenge.

But Mortlock is going to murder our midfield...

  • 4.
  • At 07:43 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • chris wrote:

Australia are superb at
i) number 7 - Smith
ii) number 12 - Mortlock

Speed of thought, speed and power (probably in that order) are vital in these positions and this is where England are slow and stodgy.

I thought Lewis Moody was excellent yesterday. If Rees is fit and Moody can play on the openside, there is a chance the England backrow can challenge.

But Mortlock is going to murder our midfield...

  • 5.
  • At 08:06 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Mike Towl wrote:

I'm rather warming to you (No I'm not.) Were you really up at 2.13 writing this piece? Crikey! This small, but not insignificant, resurgence of England must be causing your insomnia. Try a few pints of 'Brains.' Anyway, being one not possessed of the least jingoistic disposition, hope your lot do well tonight also. As for the 'sweaties'. Well what do you think?
Mike Towl
Lagos
Portugal

  • 6.
  • At 08:50 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • harry wrote:

the problem with responses to questions like this are that these blogs are always biased towards the nationality of the author. i do especially enjoy welsh contributions to any blog: "the most solid of the 6N' (rob) Anybody who has actually watched the RWC, and wales should be able to see that this is patriotic fervour at its most delusional. Wales undoutably struggled against canada, and (if they beat fiji) will only progress due to the fact that they had a fairly cushy group. As a team lacking physicality more than any other bar ireland, i expect to see SA put alot more than the 36 points they did against england past their defense. Meanwhile, england has had two very encouraging games against genuinely tough opposition to bolster their confidence going into the knock out, and with the 'big game' experience of almost all the players (most have won a heineken/world cup), we should be in for an interesting game against the wallabies.
England are far from the form of the last RWC, but i'm afraid that of all the home nations they are the only ones capable of an upset. Only France have the realistic capability of keeping the cup in the NH though.
You possibily may have noticed by this point i am english....

  • 7.
  • At 08:50 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • louise wrote:

amazing- england beat "huge" teams like samoa and tonga and all of a sudden the wc is their's for the taking again. it's so funny.whjen they lose they are crap but when they win they're world beaters! sorry bbut australia will bring them back down to earth with a bang! actaully i fancy australia to win the whole things!

  • 8.
  • At 08:51 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Helm wrote:

Nope, sorry, England will not win. Australia now have a proper pack, and England can't bully them by dropping garryowens on Latham's head. Wales have been the only solid 6N side so far, and we were outclassed by what is a very impressive Australian side. My tip for the whole shebang

*falls about laughing*

Yes it must have been hell playing at home and against the might of Japan. I mean really, What is it with Wales and the "must beat England and if we can't lets hope ANYBODY else can" deal ? I support any of the Home Nations against any other team apart from England. Sad really, as for the question in hand,it's a long shot but we are looking better as a team,but against Australia I can't see it unless there is a large slice of luck. That said I'll be yelling my head off for a win on Sat all the same.

  • 9.
  • At 09:25 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Jon wrote:

I think England can beat Australia but whether they will or not is a completely different story.

Personally I do not rate the Aussie front 5 at all at international level and I think we definitely have the beating of them there. Good as Barnes looked against the Welsh he was under virtually no pressure for most of the game and I think England need to target him with the heavy ball runners when we get the chance. Obviously the Australian back row and set of backs are proven class operators with Mortlock their key man.

I would like to see Shaw, Farrell and Robinson (if fit) come back into the starting lineup at the expense of Borthwick, Barkley and Cueto. I felt Farrell looked direct and purposeful with the ball last night and Olly Barkley hasn't convinced me at 12. I also don't think Cueto has looked on top form throughout the tournament.

Australia are obviously favourites, but (putting optimistic hat on) you never know in rugby...

  • 10.
  • At 09:34 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Jeff wrote:

You must be having a laugh!
Two lucky tries by Sackey otherwise England would have bottled it (again). Their ponderous pack will hbe run all over the park by Australia who will put at least 20 points on them.

  • 11.
  • At 09:35 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • louise wrote:

anyone who says australia arent easily beatable are taking the piss. england certainly wont beat them. 2 wins against mediocre opposition isnt a sign things are going in the right direction. sa hammered england and australia are on their level so expect a drubbing.

  • 12.
  • At 09:42 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Seal wrote:

Just dropped in to see what's what...wot. That's right about Australia not being the team everyone thinks they are. However on their day they can beat the Allblacks and South Africa and give them a run for their money on their own home grounds. As for the Barnes kid, nobody knows how much he has yet but I think we'll know more after the World Cup and the "weak link" shot will become infamous.

  • 13.
  • At 09:53 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Tony Bowker wrote:

Yes, England are performing better as the Competition progresses. The Aussies and their supporters may think that it is all over - but wait - the Men in White and their FABULOUS supporters have a different outcome in mind !

  • 14.
  • At 09:56 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • L =) wrote:

In answer to your frankly ridiculous question "Can England Dare to Dream Again"............. No they cant. Australia will play them off the pitch.

  • 15.
  • At 10:03 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Jason wrote:

I think that Englands game yesterday against Tonga was dreadful. England obviously had 16 players ( 16th was the ref). Every mistake that Tonga made was picked up on whilst England were more than welcome to make error after error and not get picked up on any. The supposed try that Sacki scored was obviously not 1. First of the ball was never grounded and second his elbow was over the dead ball line when the supposed try was given.
In my opinion I think that match has given the refs alot more to think about and if refs are only pickin up on 1 teams mistakes and never on the opposite team that that ref should be fined or whatever.
I am greatly appauled by this match and will be glad when England are booted out of the World Cup in there next match.

Jason
North Wales

Many said Tonga would beat England last night , especially after Tonga scared the pants of SA.
Jonny was a good general, Crazy Horse was enthusiastic and pinned the Tongans back. Sacky finished well, Farrell was on form, the pack were strong and England deserved their win.
England are underdogs v. Australia to many - but not to me.
Both teams will respect each other and I am looking forward to a good match against the Aussies.
Who knows who will win?

  • 17.
  • At 10:11 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • strongo wrote:

i agree with Jeff #11- England didn't win vs Samoa thru a rediscovered class and quality. it was a combination of gaps of luck and the fact it was SAMOA!!! lets be realstic, any 6N side should have beaten them, so don't get carried away. This weekend is the first real test for Scotland and Wales- so (i'm scottish) lets both pipe down till then. and poor poor ireland- can they pull off the miricle?
Aussies by a long way- lets be realistic folks.

  • 18.
  • At 10:12 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • jason wrote:

England will not beat Australia, although I don't think the points difference will be as large as some are predicting.

  • 19.
  • At 10:18 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • chris wrote:

England won yesterday because they made Tonga play from their 22 and Tonga couldn't do anything about that because their kicking and line-outs weren't good enough. It was intelligent by England and they managed to punish Tonga well when they made a mistake. However, once again England looked unable to break down a decent defence and only managed to create something when Tonga had a player down and then again when Tonga started to tire.

I can't see them being so fortunate against Australia.

  • 20.
  • At 10:28 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • paul turner wrote:

What is interesting for me is that the resurgence and improvement in Englands form has coincided with the combinationof Gomersall and Wilkinson. Both of whom are vastly experienced in their respective positions and who were part of the winning squad from 2003. As a Harlequins Season Ticket Holder it was obvious from his first match with us last year that he oozed class, and experience. He was a major factor in our strong performances last season. I am not sure what happened to him at Worcester or why it took so long for his ability to be noticed again by England. He started this world Cup as the clear number 3 Scrum Half in the eyes of the England Management and now it is interesting to see that in the debates and discussions about who should play next week there is no mention of him, because of course there is no question that he will start alongside Wilkinson. It is also noteworthy that he works very well with Nick Easter at the scrum, based on their experience of each other at Quins. I am not looking just to praise Quins players but I think that it shows two important factors. 1, You should really stick to experience and specialists in key positions and also that combinations that work well at club level should not be ignored.Congratulations to Andy G.He has gone from out of work to maybe our most important and influential player in 12 months.

  • 21.
  • At 10:32 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Helm wrote:

"I think that Englands game yesterday against Tonga was dreadful. England obviously had 16 players ( 16th was the ref). Every mistake that Tonga made was picked up on whilst England were more than welcome to make error after error and not get picked up on any. The supposed try that Sacki scored was obviously not 1. First of the ball was never grounded and second his elbow was over the dead ball line when the supposed try was given"


Especially in light of the score

England (19) 36
Tries: Sackey 2, Tait, Farrell
Cons: Wilkinson 2
Pens: Wilkinson 2
Drop-goals: Wilkinson 2

Tonga (10) 20
Tries: Hufanga, Pole
Cons: Hola 2
Pens: Hola 2
Imagine that both sides got the same amount of points from penalties

England 8 Penalties conceded 6 Tonga Yes Damn that biased ref

Thanks, Jason from North Wales, you made me laugh: trying to judge that Sackey's arm was in touch at the moment that according to you, didn't exist, i.e. grounding the ball, must be tough for the video ref. It was close, but it's over now !

This Englishman will be willing Wales on against SA. Perhaps you could join the 21st century and reciprocate (that means wish England well ...):)

Moving on, yes in reality, Australia should beat England, but the great thing about rugby (and almost all sport) is that you just don't know - it's 15 against 15 and hopefully great to watch.

  • 23.
  • At 10:43 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • rick wrote:

England have a big pack plus Wliko so there's alaways a chance but In all honesty I can't see them getting past Australia.

You cannot beat Australia if you can't score tries and England do not have that spark to unlock a high quality defence. Yes I know they scored a couple yesterday. Brilliant vision from Wilkinson and pace from Sackey but neither would have happened Tonga not switched off. Excellent finishing but you won't get those chances against Oz.

If England go up a gear and Oz have an off day, then England could spring a shock. I wouldn't be betting my mortgage on it tho.

  • 24.
  • At 10:45 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Nicola wrote:

I think Australia are the more talented side but they are beatable.
Australia won't be at 100 percent with Larkham probably out and Mortlock coming back from injury. England's forwards should be able to match Australia's forwards.
What England have to do is keep a very tight defence and win with Wilkinson's boot. They have to put pressure on Barnes and put their toughest centre up against Mortlock. Basically they have to shut down Australia's backline.
I think the odds are still 60/40 in favour of Australia

  • 25.
  • At 10:52 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Nathaniel wrote:

Jeff at #11, bearing in mind that the points difference was 16, even without Sackey's tries England still would have won. Further, how can you call them lucky! The first try was a brilliantly opportunist bit of rugby (and definitely a try - downward pressure is no longer required and not one part of his body was touching the dead ball line or the turf behind it) and the second try we punished poor Tongan handling. It's not lucky, it's just clinical.

But then again, if the BBC praise England everyone jumps on the biased bandwagon. We've had two bad games and two better games. It's not beyond the realms of possibility that we might beat Australia but yes, they are heavy heavy favourites. But then again I am English - so through misplaced confidence and arrogance I'm going to go for England to defend their crown and put 100 points on whoever is lucky enough to face us in the final.

  • 26.
  • At 11:02 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • disraeli51 wrote:

To reiterate my 606 comments: it speaks volumes about the English (and I guess the British game) when the countries which develop and progress the game have so many fewer resources and players than England. For instance, New Zealand has far fewer players ...there are more junior soccer players (around 120,000) than rugby players. The English game has revenue the New Zealand union can only dream of. And then two small Pacific Island nations (Samoan and Tonga) can give England a hurry up. I wonder how many English rugby folks have a clue how to find Samoa and Tonga on a map? The passion, determination and execution of their game is a tribute to those Pacific peoples. But my guess is that those who administer the English game and the UK media will pretend that resources, playing numbers, access to competition and history aren't significant!!!

There is an argument that says the Pacific nations players are drawn from the same competitions that all the other players are drawn from: and that's true. But a national team for a World Cup in the modern game requires resources and time together that the Pacific nations just don't have. So why does England find it so hard. My sense is there is something wrong with the system. I don't blame the players, they do what they can.

  • 27.
  • At 11:09 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • harry Duncan wrote:

Jason, North Wales,
Get a life, England outclasses tonga, i'm not saying they will beat he Aussie's but you watched that game with a typical wlesh view

  • 28.
  • At 11:10 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Mervyn wrote:

Every team is beatable. On current form England are more beatable than the Aussies. I reckon Aussies will win this, maybe even the World Cup. Either Australia or the All Blacks to win the tournament. England... na

  • 29.
  • At 11:15 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • woofio wrote:

Well this is one Frenchman who WILL be cheering for England over Australia. Barkley was too light in both attack and defense to worry Australia but add Robinson and find some inspiration for No 12 and the game could be tight as tight.

I just hope things go well for us this weekend and we don't have your sort of problem with the All-blacks in front of us. Come on Ireland !

  • 30.
  • At 11:22 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Honiset2002 wrote:

It's fairly easy to say that Australia has more on form world class (and I don't mean good enough to go to the world cup when I say world class, I mean WORLD CLASS) players than the English outfit.

On paper it should be a little painful at the final whistle when the 2nd ranked team take on the 7th.

The Australians have consistently put in the best performances by any team so far in this campaign, England have struggled their way through into 2nd position and were given a very rude awakening by the South Africans. They are as many people are saying a developing side, still with quite a few positions up for grabs.

I know this is a debate about the wallabies and 15 roses but I just want my quick say on the others. New Zealand haven't really played as well as they are capable of, their opening match when they destroyed the Italians was their most clinical and since then their opposition has not showed up (Literally in the case of Scotland who are saving their players for the vital clash with the azzurri). The only other team really being consistent is Argentina, but they still have a rather large hurdle ahead of them in the shape of a wounded Ireland hunting for some pride.

However this world cup has brought around some pretty interesting results, with teams like Tonga biting at the heels of the South Africans, Georgia giving a great display against the Irish and also picking up their first ever world cup win against Namibia. So you never know with the wind blowing in the right direction and the Australian backs have an off day, maybe, just maybe England might be able to get a result.

My Head screams Australia but my Heart shouts England, I'm off down the bookies now to put a £10 on France.

  • 31.
  • At 11:25 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Woody wrote:

Good intro Peter Singleton (No 1) ....
...''As Wilko says, England need to get it right in their heads. They need the courage to go out and try to win it. They should run it at the Aussies hard and fast''... spot on.

... and up front Rob (No2) we'll see just how good the Australian front 5 is won't we???

So, having been on the way home and villified over the last x3 weeks, next Saturday is a new challenge for a side that is coming on stream well.
Some excellent personal 'building' performances last night and a far better team platform on which to build over the next week.

The fitness / stamina looks good; the commitment and 'team' element is much in evidence; the collective control & performance of the front 5 was excellent and will undoubtedly shape the result of our next game.(Retain same starting 5)

Any complacency ends right here....

Australia provides a different challenge to virtually any other side in the RWC, in terms of sheer mental hardness. They have an ability to absorb pressure and conjure something from nothing (remember the fateful 2nd Lions Test in Melbourne in 2001 when the Lions snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory c/o Joe Roff?!).

England's focus, concentration and sense of purpose, incl primacy on the pitch, can be nothing short of a 'before; during & after the final whistle job on Saturday. Anything less... the smallest quarter given, will be brutally punished and more.

What's happened to date is history. Saturday has to be the whole team, united and upping that BA gear to produce something more than special.
By way of options I still promote JL&JR at 12&13 and Faz at 15 as a potent attack force.

Best of luck lads, it's ''mind over matter'' - no day dreaming....get out on the park, do the business and send the non-believers packing!


  • 32.
  • At 11:28 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Andrian Harsono wrote:

I'm really sorry guys, but England will not win next saturday. I only pray that

1) England will at least show us all that they can be competitive against a side like Australia.

2) Jonny Wilkinson will get his 5 points to be the highest-scoring player in the RWC history.

3) Brian Ashton gets to keep his job after next saturday and rebuild England for the next Six Nations.

  • 33.
  • At 11:40 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • JimW wrote:

For God sake get a grip. Two average enough victories and suddenly England are world beaters again. Its this sort of attitude that really gets people's backs up against England.

Yes England played well in the two games but realistically they were handed so many opportunities by Samoa and Tonga because of the style of play of these two teams. Also neither of those sides had a decent scrum or lineout which is where the modern game works from.

Against Australia who will have a working scrum and lineout (like South Africa - do we remember that game at this stage??), England will stuggle to get decent ball and if they are on the back foot their backs will be exposed by the Australian backs' running lines.

England's only real hope is that Australia have a bad day and conceed penalties that Wilkinson can score in order to keep the scoreboard close. If Australia get ahead early then its most like going to be a repeat of the South Africa game and probably a similar result.

  • 34.
  • At 11:41 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • DEL BOY wrote:

Can England beat Australia? Yes they can, just like Tonga and Samoa could have beaten England.
No doubt all the people reminding England they have only beaten Samoa and Tonga were the ones saying England had no chance of reaching the quarter finals. Both England supporters and those who despise England need to get back to reality. New Zealand, South Africa and Australia are the best teams in the tournament by far. Then come Argentina, France and England. This is reflected in world rankings, with the exception of Ireland who have wasted the opportunity of a generation. Then come Italy, Scotland and Wales. Jason, #16, I think you should be worrying more about Fiji than whether England should have won by 16 or 11 points, get a grip on reality.

  • 35.
  • At 11:53 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Nick P wrote:

I am English and love our team passionately but unfortunately they are like headless chickens when put under pressure. This was clear to see yesterday and against Samoa. At the last RWC we had a " TEAM " of players that could think on their feet, could break lines, provided fast ball and were plainly intimidating to their opposition as was visible against France that year, in short they were clinical. This team lack cohesion, doesn't support quick enough, doesn't think on its feet, is short of pace in nearly every department and with a few exceptions the only clinic its fit for is a butchers yard. We are too many world class players short of hoping to upset Australia, our only hope is if they have players yellow carded or sent off. On that positive note I still hope a minor miracle occurs and we do beat them as their is nothing sweeter than turning the Aussies over :-)

  • 36.
  • At 11:59 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Mark Danter wrote:

is everyone having a laugh??!!
I am from Ireland who have been hugely disappointing but i find it incredible that even the most bised of England supporters(and there are plenty!!)actually believe that England have a chance of beating Australia-20+ points at least-take the handicap bet on Australia-England are World Chumps not World Champs-wake up!!!!!

  • 37.
  • At 12:09 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Wow, a Welshman claiming the refs were biased toward England, there's a surprise.

You must be blind if you think Sackeys try was "obviously not". The ball was clearly grounded and his elbow was elevated and wasn't touching the dead ball line at the time of the grounding, how do I know this because I actually watched the slow motion replays that the TMO saw, apparently you shut your eyes and steamed over bloody 16 player England getting an unfair try.

  • 38.
  • At 12:31 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Gibbothepatriot wrote:

It strikes me that the main doubters are our Welsh contributers to this debate. Is that the same 60 pts + Welsh doubting Englands ability? Now there's a surprise.
England can beat Australia and of course Australia can beat England. My main worry is still we don't seem to know our best side. The players seemed really pleased for for Farrell when he scored and I believe he has talent and strength. He must match Mortlock for England to win.

  • 39.
  • At 12:51 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

Aussies by 20-30 points and I wouldn't be surprised if we're nilled.

The SH players are simply better. It has nothing to do with "training, coaching, a side that's just coming together, schedules..." and everything to do with not having the world class players you need. We have Wilkinson and ??????????.

What have we done in this WC? Beaten Tonga in a vital must win game. The fact that we could well have lost with a full strength side out there and a helpful ref justs shows you how far we've fallen.

Granted we never had the technical ability of some sides relying an a pack men fatter than their opposite numbers with Wilkinson but how can we suddenly be this bad.

I say this as an Englishman living in France who hasn't been infected with the likes of Bryn Palmer and co. To even suggest that England have a chance is ridiculous.

  • 40.
  • At 12:52 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Tony S wrote:

Mark Danter, the fact remains that England ARE the World Champions - and will be until the final whistle of the final match. I'm not suggesting that England will be there again, almost certainly they will not be, but that doesn't stop me cheering them on and hoping that they will hit their form and potential at just the right time. A touch of Emerald Green mist and jealousy from you I reckon.

  • 41.
  • At 01:03 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Taff wrote:

A better England performance, thought Easter and Gomarsall were the pick of the bunch. Sackey still looks undecisive and defensively unsound. Wilko was alright and Moody played well (as did most of the pack). Will England have enough to beat the Aussies? I don't think so. Tonga (and Samoa before them) never had the kicking game or structure to really go for England (if the Tongans/Samoans had been that little bit more street-smart then England would be going home this weekend). This is where you'll come undone in the QF, you won't be able to bomb balls up against the Oz like you have been doing, Mortlock et al will simply run the ball back. That game is gonna be won/lost in midfield and simply can't see England being strong enough in that area. Sorry if this doesn't make much sense...i've already started drinking!

As for the other games, Wales to nick it against Fiji (we should be just a bit too smart for them), Italy to beat the Jocks. As for Ireland, they could possibly beat the Argies but even if they do it wont be enough. They're going home.

That said, best of luck to everyone. :-)

  • 42.
  • At 01:04 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • munstergirl wrote:

sorry but why do england all of a sudden think they are going to beat the aussies? 2 victories over tonga and samoa do not mean a thing. australai are looking good this year and will hammer them. the pack wont be able to cope to be honest. it's so fickle- england are noe apparently on track to retain the wc after too average victories and sorry but i watched the match too and the ref was very good to england. i'm not welsh or wscottish, i'm irish and im not anti england at all, i actually went for them in the 2003 final but be realistic!

  • 43.
  • At 01:25 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Jimmy Jones wrote:

Thinking England can beat Australia is blind optimism if you ask me. We were hardly rampant against two rather average (if physical) teams, and against USA and SA we were simply embarrassing. Beating Tonga and Samoa with four tries in each match should be par for the course for any team with serious ambitions to go anywhere, not something to write home about. I'm more worried about the possibility of another whitewash like in the SA game.

By the way, of all the Home Nations, Scotland probably have the best chance of getting to the semis. They have to beat Italy and then probably play Argentina, who are no slouches but are still the weakest of the Southern Hemisphere teams.

  • 44.
  • At 01:41 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • EngliandWillSmashThemOffThePark wrote:

Sorry Aussies and Welsh wannabies; England are gonna win this one. I have no doubt.


: P

  • 45.
  • At 01:42 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • EngliandWillSmashThemOffThePark wrote:

Sorry Aussies and Welsh wannabies; England are gonna win this one. I have no doubt.


: P

  • 46.
  • At 02:19 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • G K wrote:

Australia by 40 points.

  • 47.
  • At 02:26 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Joey wrote:

#16 wt the hell game wer u watching! sackeys 1st try was deffo a try and was a gr8 piece of using initative by wilko and a good finish from sackey. as for not been grounded there was more downward pressure than the samoan "try" in englands last game! Jason to me it seems u a bit jealous that wales never won a w. cup? try taking off those red and green tinted specs m8 and get a life. im not saying england will beat aussies but like every other englishman ill be shouting for them come saturday, and for today hell ill be shouting for fiji!!!!

  • 48.
  • At 02:54 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • alec in France wrote:

Well the aussies have only had Wales as first class opposition and they made a meal out of that one.
I'm watching them labour horribly against Canada at the moment and I can't frankly see them winning the cup on this showing.
England's going to beat the aussies but the cup's going to be won by the Boks

  • 49.
  • At 03:03 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • alec in France wrote:

I hope Tom-go-wallabies is watching his beloved team playing like rank amateurs - error ridden rubbish!
perhaps Aus will beat England, perhaps not.

  • 50.
  • At 03:03 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Shoubhik wrote:

England haters really are a sad bunch aren't they? We don't look like defending champions at all, we manage two decent performances against average sides and show vague signs of getting into form and you all claim we're being arrogant! Amazing, really amazing. If we didn't back ourselves, you'd all call us defeatist and spineless (especially the Aussies..)
We aren't kidding ourselves at all that we're favourites. Our backs lack the cutting edge of Australia's and the Aussie pack are quite capable of winning enough ball for them to do something with it. However, compared to two weeks ago, we do seem to have some semblance of attacking threat and our pack are superior to Aussies in the front 5. If we can expose their weaknesses we COULD win, there's definitely a chance of it, so why not accept that and stop slagging us off for daring to back our own team.

  • 51.
  • At 03:05 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • JC wrote:

I think that many of you are missing the point. In the QF of the RWC its no longer about who has the most talented group of players or plays the most exciting rugby. Its all about being able to grind out a victory under pressure.
After hearing some of the post match comments by the england camp I genuinely think that england have the team to put one over the aussies again.

  • 52.
  • At 03:06 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

Lost my comment ????????????

  • 53.
  • At 03:17 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • steve wrote:

I am also English, but I don't think we have a hope in hell of beating OZ. We are nowhere near the team that won it in 2003. All Blacks to win it all by a distance!

  • 54.
  • At 03:26 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Jonathan Woore wrote:

A much better day at the office yesterday but plenty to work on before we can consider a victory over a Wallaby team that, as usual, is peaking just at the right time. If 100% fit I would reinstate Robinson at Fullback (Lewsey had a good defensive game but seems to have lost his 'thrust' in attack). I would also like to see a back row of - 6 Worsley 7 Moody 8 Easter with Corry providing cover on the bench.This would leave us in a pickle as to who we should pick as skipper as I'd like to see Stevens get the nod over Vickery again but I'm sure Brian would work it out! I would also be tempted to bring Shawsy back against the Aussies in place of Borthwick just to hammer home our advantage in the scrum. Anyway, well done boys for last night - 6 out of 10 and let's hope for an 8 out of 10 next Saturday and who knows we might just make the Semi's.....Eh Marco?

  • 55.
  • At 03:43 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • DJ wrote:

Dare to dream? of course, but I don't reckon we'll do it. We had a good 25 mins in total vs Samoa (first 15, last 10) and had a couple of lucky breaks and decisions go our way vs Tonga... nice to see us moving in the right direction, but it's not as is we bossed either game vs, with great respect, 2nd order opposition. We just don't seem to have the leaders out there to turn it around when we're letting a team back in, much less if we're 10-15pts down as i expect to be at some point vs Oz - Jonny can't do it all on his own and he seems to be pretty much running the show solo, which never used to be the case. Would love us to nick it any old how, but would settle for a couple of well constructed tries from open play and to keep within 20. Given the shabby preparation and the god awful start to the tournament that would represent good progress and something to build on for the future.

  • 56.
  • At 03:45 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • face reality wrote:

As usual, England get a result and then it is 'we are going to win the cup' time again. England quite literally has two very lucky bounces last night which gave them two tries. Slightly different score line without those. What you should be asking yourselves is why was there even a question mark over you beating Tonga in the first place?? You are supposed to be a premier rugby nation I thought? The Australians will thump you. Sorry, but for once why don't you face the reality and stop thinking that JW is going save you.......again.

  • 57.
  • At 04:14 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • keith wrote:


Plenty of Ockers mouthing off as usual...not all of them seem so confident though..http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22469353-32102,00.html

  • 58.
  • At 04:17 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • DJ wrote:

Does anyone else think that if the English didn't exist the celts and aussies would have to invent us? ;P As ever I don't know where the non-English read the stuff that sets them off on one haha. I haven't read much serious comment suggesting ENGERLAND RULE WOOOOOOOOOOOO!! off the back of our last couple of wins, rather some cautious optimism that maybe we don't suck as much as it looked like we might, that if we get a bit of luck, Jonny's pimples aren't mucking him about, the Aussie backs have an off day (and it rains like b*ggery) we might, just might, nick a result. That's about as rampantly squinty eyed and jingoistic as most England fans are being just now. Apologies if i'm being spineless/arrogant (delete as appropriate), i'm sure it's one or the other, possibly both haha. Spot on #53

  • 59.
  • At 04:56 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • keith wrote:

DJ...what a cheek!
You are daring to suggest that England might have a small chance against Australia?
Typical arrogant Englishman.
Thats why we (Irish ,Welsh, Scottish Australian etc etc...delete or sustitute another name as required)all hate England so much..

  • 60.
  • At 04:59 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Will wrote:

England have got absolutely no chance of beating Australia - anybody who suggests otherwise is living in dreamland.

They bear no resemblance whatever to the World Champion side, in players, talent and confidence, they've struggled against three third tier teams and been thrashed by a team on a par with the Aussies.

Sometimes our desires get in the way of our objective opinions, but suggesting that England have anything in the bag which will allow then to compete with, let alone beat, Australia is, frankly, verging on idiocy.

  • 61.
  • At 05:01 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • munstergirl wrote:

it's completely fine4 to support your team whaever team it is. personally i hate all the anti english nonsense that floats around after a rugby match! sorry but a welsh fan on this was claiming wales are the best out of the home nations in this wc. arrogance maybe? no becuae he's welsh it's ok. if he was english he'd be murdered!deluded definitwly- remember canada? as an irish fan, i'm depressed but i'm still supporting my team although it's an uphill task but i remain realistic. anyway welsh fans hope as for english fans here, no one is saying ye can't support your team but some ppl here are getting very carried away. australia havent played spectacularly well in this wc but who has and they've won all their games without going out of gear much like england in 2003. so watch out.

  • 62.
  • At 05:06 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • englishsportsfan wrote:

OK, i would love to see us beat the aussies, believe me. but you have to be incredibly naive to think we stand much more than a 2 or 3 percent chance against them. sorry if that upsets you, but i'm being realistic.

  • 64.
  • At 05:35 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Alan wrote:

Can England dream again?

Yes.

Will they beat Australia nextt Saturday?

No.

  • 65.
  • At 05:44 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

I think there's every chance of England rolling Oz. But I don't think that means we'll win the cup though.

What I can say for sure though, it ain't gonna be Wales !!!!!! Well done Fiji, I guess Jason in North Wales (#16) is in for a very quiet night. I think they needed 17 men to win that one....

  • 66.
  • At 05:46 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Pete wrote:

Jason from North Wales,

he who laughs last......

  • 67.
  • At 05:52 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Joey wrote:

Who wales got in the QF's then?

  • 68.
  • At 05:54 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Tony S wrote:

Bad luck to Wales; I don't think they deserved to go out. However, some of the earlier posters to this site might wish they'd kept their thoughts to themselves after seeing their team go out of the WC to one of the 'minnows'. As has been said before, every team has its day, today it was Fiji, next week maybe, just maybe, it will be England and from that they will gain the confidence to take it further. Am I going to bet my salary on it? No, but I'm hoping that I'll regret that decision in a few weeks' time. Bad luck again Wales; good game though!

  • 69.
  • At 06:06 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Mark Danter wrote:

Tony-you are so far removed from reality-Ireland are in the Group of death,France and Argentina-it isnt a great accomplishment to reach the quarter finals from your group-and "hit their form and potential at the right time"??!!-if you believe that a very flattering36-20 victory over Tonga is hitting form then god help you against the Aussies-the wheels are off your Chariots!!

  • 70.
  • At 06:12 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Graham, Northolt Middlesex wrote:

Jason from North Wales,

We don't have to dream... we've done it unlike the Welsh, we lose next week "Cest La Vie". I hope you will be able to meet your "heroes" at Cardiff airport on Sunday/Monday.

Everyone in the British Isles outside England seems to support who we are playing against, so should we feel sorry for Wales? Great game and well played Fiji.

  • 72.
  • At 06:36 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Spoton wrote:

If the irb does decide to split the world cup into two divisions I think we all know which one Wales will be in!

  • 73.
  • At 06:43 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • spooner wrote:

"arrogant" - a word used far too much on these blogs.
I checked the dictionary, it says "claiming too much; overbearing; conceited; self-important".
It doesn't mean "we're playing a bit better, maybe we have a chance against Oz".
It doesn't mean "Hurrah, we won".
Before you use the word again, please read the above definition and point out the offending comments.
If you find any, then I will agree with you that said blogger is arrogant but until you find several, please, please, never ever prefix it with the word "typical"!

  • 74.
  • At 06:54 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • munstergirl wrote:

graham what exactly have england done? gotten through an easy enough group (sa exempted) which is what the world champions should be doing.

  • 75.
  • At 06:55 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • William Varley wrote:

Having seen the Aus-Canada game today (admittedly in played in rain), I am closer than I ever have been of believing that England have a good chance against the Aussies. They were very ordinary today against a dogged Canada side.

  • 76.
  • At 07:15 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Tony S wrote:

Mark Danter, I was not suggesting that England would go all the way, but I will still be cheering them on to do so. No, I was merely reacting to the 'World Chumps' comment. As for being 'far removed from reality' do you think your wins against Georgia and Namibia were great achievements? Group of death? You're the first person I've heard call it that; in fact, there were quite a few who stated that it would be an easy ride for Ireland. Hope you do well against Italy tomorrow but I fear that your team have 'under-performed' just as much - if not more - than England.

  • 77.
  • At 07:24 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • John wrote:

Seeing Australia today in not convinced that England do not stand a chance. Yes they can do it. Get our kicking game right on the day. No stupid penalties and England stand a good chance against the Aussies at least.

  • 78.
  • At 07:33 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • timo wrote:

England beating the aussies?
no chance!
Lucky enough to qualify through their group with their poor displays!

  • 79.
  • At 07:38 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Chris The Copper wrote:

Jason from North Wales
How do you feel now?!
Get the english language text book back open, page 11 and repeat after me " I am greatly appauled (sic) by this match and will be glad that Wales are booted out of this world cup"
Keep on watching the RWC, The world champions are playing next week!

  • 80.
  • At 07:42 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • David wrote:

No chance England have played only one really big team - South Afica and lost by 30 points. Also i can't see Ireland getting through, even being an irish fan. The IRFU are complete fools, O'Sullivan shouldn't have been givena new contract until after the world cup

  • 81.
  • At 07:52 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • bob smith wrote:

Wales best of the 6N sides? This was obviously written BEFORE the Fiji game... and even then it's a touch misguided. England will beat Australia. I have no doubt at all about that. England are finding form and they will be more than able to compete although I agree about the midfield being a taj stronger.

  • 82.
  • At 08:02 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Alan Melville wrote:

Credit England with a return to the ruthlessness that marked their RWC win. Wilkinson makes you guys play, it's as simple as that.

Oh, Bryn, surely it's 'another plane', not 'plain', when we're talking about levels; it derives from mathematics not geography, or at least that's how I understand it. And yes, Australia are a step up from Tonga. They're not, however, as good as SA. They can be beaten up front, and England could in fact win it - unless they kick endless high balls, when Mortlock and co will run them back at you and take you apart. England don't have the backs to live with the wallabies, but stick it up the jumper and your tight five could grind 'em down.

As a Scot, I rarely want to see ingerlund win, but on this occasion, I'll back you, mainly because the wallabies are IMHO a cynical bunch who take the (il)legalities to the finest edge they can get away with.

The Fiji-SA game will be cracker though.

  • 83.
  • At 08:09 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • John wrote:

Note: It should be only one win for England (2003), South Africa won in (1995) on home ground :)

  • 84.
  • At 08:28 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Bree wrote:

Australia will win, because the english team is slow and stodgy, just like your "cuisine".

  • 85.
  • At 08:46 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Mark Danter wrote:

Tony-if you truly do follow the RWC then you would know that Irelands group was named the group of death-Argentina were ranked#8 in the World(and if you remember held the last touring British Lions to a draw at the Millenium)-where are Tonga and Samoa ranked??!!i acknowledged in my previous post that we have underachieved-but you have progressed from arguably the weakest group and some English supporters think that England still can defend the World Cup??!!lets be realistic-Ireland will not progress to the quarters and England will do well to improve on the humiliation suffered against the Springboks-are you related to Brian Moore by any chance??!!0-)

  • 86.
  • At 08:51 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

Mike Towl, message no.5 wrote
"As for the 'sweaties'. Well what do you think?"

Andy, message no.23 wrote
"Perhaps you could join the 21st century and reciprocate (that means wish England well ...):)"

Words fail me.

  • 87.
  • At 08:54 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Mark Danter wrote:

forget to say that its actually Argentina not Italy that Ireland play tommorrow-but of course as such an avid rugby fan you already knew that!!!

  • 88.
  • At 08:57 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Mark Jagger wrote:

I think that it is time people stopped arguing and started getting behind their respective teams. sure england arent playing well at the moment but they have got through and sadly others havent but nevertheless i would support any northern hemisphere side especially wales scotland and ireland over the southern hemisphere so lets get behind the boys stop whinging about them unless you can do any better. They are there because they are thought to be the best in the country and i for one am behind them. if any of you lot think you can do better than maybe you should be out there instead.

  • 89.
  • At 09:06 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

Comment number 5, you call the writer of this blog sad for writing it early in the morning.. are you forgetting that you are the person so lacking in a social life you have to abuse somebody for writing a blog. Australia will probably win, but you don't have to ram it down everyones throat. I'm a Irish by the way, so i'm not biased.

  • 90.
  • At 09:17 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Tony S wrote:

Mark, you're right - in my haste to get a good seat for the Scotland game I mistakenly typed Italy. Apologies. The sentiment remains the same though; good luck against Argentina tomorrow.

  • 91.
  • At 09:23 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Donnyballgame wrote:

Should England dare to dream? Well, dreams are nice. We all need dreams. Without dreams, nothing good would ever happen. Nothing great would ever be built. Unfortunately, England need a good dream, a real good dream. A heavy, coma-like dream.

So, go ahead and dream. But absolutely do not go out on the pitch, once again, and play like you are still dreaming.

  • 92.
  • At 09:39 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • James Sweet Chariot wrote:

After Skim reading the blogs it's interesting that some Welshies have jumped on the beat up England bandwagon. I have one answer to this, hope you enjoyed your short break in France.
I'm sure the chariot can keep rolling Mortlock, Smith, Latham and Giteau are good but we've got Johnny. Bring on the wannabies.

  • 93.
  • At 09:54 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Alex, Tunbridge Wells wrote:

I was starting to feel sorry for the Welsh until I read some of the comments here (like No 15).

  • 94.
  • At 10:09 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

Why is it that a bit of patriotic optimism in the after-glow of a rare English Rugby victory is considered arrogant and myopic? Let's enjoy the week with a little belief and see if we can't just cause an upset against the Aussies. We can't be as big an underdog as Fiji were today against Wales...

  • 95.
  • At 10:10 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Connal wrote:

Oh dear, it's starting up again. The carcass has been stirring. Of course, England will beat Australia after beating the mighty Tonga and Samoa! And 15 pigs have just sailed over my house.
This is very embarrassing, when people do this, and as someone has already said, it is so pathetic. As English fans, to delude yourselves after beating two tiny nations - albeit with flair and character - that your fortunes have changed is extraordinary. I suppose I derive some enjoyment out of seeing such misplaced arrogance, but it also irritates me that such idiotic people are so plentiful in their presence and smiling lunacy.

  • 96.
  • At 10:11 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • adam owen wrote:

I am half Fijian half welsh born in New Zealand, well done the fijians.
However in typical English spirit I believe England can win the world cup. English always seem to be going totally the wrong way about things, but some times manage to pull things off!!

I reckon they will.

  • 97.
  • At 10:19 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • michael wrote:

sorry england you guys have been off form australia will beat you

  • 98.
  • At 10:19 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • ian francis wrote:

It's not a case of do we dare to dream. If your english you should support your team. we haven't had the best of starts but we seem to be improving with each game.

How sackeys trys were 'lucky' is beyond me.
But then he was lucky to collect the ball and run 54METRES with it!

whats the point in scots/irish/welsh/insert nationality commenting on englands chances because they are blatantly going to say we don't stand a chance?

good luck england

  • 99.
  • At 10:22 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • ian francis wrote:

It's not a case of do we dare to dream. If your english you should support your team. we haven't had the best of starts but we seem to be improving with each game.

How sackeys trys were 'lucky' is beyond me.
But then he was lucky to collect the ball and run 54METRES with it!

whats the point in scots/irish/welsh/insert nationality commenting on englands chances because they are blatantly going to say we don't stand a chance?

good luck england

  • 100.
  • At 10:30 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Dominic wrote:

England can win. I wouldnt put money on it but id probably gives us a 1 in 4 chance of doing it. The performance of australia against canada was not convincing as canadian rugby is to be honest not great quality there u18 squad was almost beaten by my club side when the came over. England are getting better but they are still a shadow of the 2003 side. I can't rule us out if we get good field position jonny will punish the aussies but i feel even if we do win that we will by unceremoniously dumped out by the ABs. However we can dream and you never know as it is the Aussies we will want to beat them more than anyone else in the competition so although its unlikely we should still suppport them they have a chance its not a forgone conclusion

I'm just hoping for a close game. Even if we don't win at least we've got to the quarters!

What are the odds on an England v France Final!!!

  • 102.
  • At 10:57 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Dave James wrote:

If the Aussies put out the same team as they did against Canada then England have every chance, alas, however it is painfully obvious that the Aussies were resting the "A" team since they had already qualified.

Will we win? I sorely hope so, but my head tells me that we will fall some way short, I am dreaming though that the slight improvement in form will result in a score that isn't a complete whitewash.

  • 103.
  • At 11:47 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

As an Australian, I am nervous about the Wallabies at this stage of the competition. They have scrambled defensively and protected their line well. Many of their tries have come from either dogged forward play or infrequent moments of backline brilliance. They seem to play only as well as they have to without putting the other teams to the sword. This could make them vulnerable in the finals.

  • 104.
  • At 12:12 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Timalbi wrote:

Can Eng dare to dream?

Who are you kidding?! Yourselves methinks. This is the worst Eng team for 15-20 years and (unlike Wales) you've done well to reach the QF - thx to a front five capable of playing up-the-jumper rugby and Wilkinson!

Aussies to win by 15-20 pts next week - and time for some Shadenfraude for the rest of us!

  • 105.
  • At 12:56 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • James Swet Chariot wrote:

Connal (96) do you live on the France/Wales flight path? Maybe those fifteen flying over your house were the Welsh rugby team.

Whatever happened to optimism any team can win on the day. Look at the Aussies in the last world cup, New Zealand got absolutely rolled. I have half Aussie blood so I’m no a complete pom but the England bashing throughout the world is ridiculous. Let the lunacy begin and if that means winning the world cup as underdogs then England might be mad enough.

  • 106.
  • At 01:04 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Sword of Honour wrote:

You will see from the time on this that I definitely don't have a life. And this thread is probably dead by now and so I don't expect anybody to read this posting.

I am an Englishman living in Wales with a Welsh wife. Coming to understand the Welsh view of themselves (and I mean this as a compliment) I have come to view my Englishness in a new way. I could not have experienced the English win in 2003 the way I did had it been ten years earlier; and before I moved into Wales. And talking to both English and Welsh friends it was obvious that the Welsh understood my feelings better than the majority of my English friends. Every time I see a clip of Jonno holding up that trophy I still get a lump in my throat.

I want England to win, not just with my heart, but in my very bones. And it is right and proper that everybody feels this way about his or her country. And if they do not then I feel very sorry for them.

But there are some things which do NOT follow on from this. The first is that, although I want to beat the opposition (particularly the Australians), I do not hate them; I do not feel the need to insult or rubbish them, or their country, or their achievements.

The second is that I can sometimes accept the fact that England have been fairly beaten and it's not the fault of the referee, or the officials, or the weather, or the Feng Shui in the dressing room.

And thirdly, which is the whole point of this thread, is that I am not blinkered. Can England beat Australia? Of course they can. There have been too many upsets in rugby and other sports to deny the possibiliy. Is it likely? Therein lies a completely different question and a completely different answer. But whatever my head says I will continue to support MY team for as long as I have breath in my body.

  • 107.
  • At 01:32 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Seamus wrote:

N Z will win the World Cup and South Africa second

I am Australian and I can see that they are playing so good, as for Australia/England match it could go either way Australia need to inprove and England may get lucky again like four years ago with Johhny so it all comes down to the game on the day.

  • 108.
  • At 01:45 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

Amen to comment 107. At last someone with some decency. The rest of you should be ashamed.

As for Australia and England - well I love England but in all likelihood we won't win. We may even get thrashed. But the Wallabies are over inflating their potency because their pack is STILL atrocious. I reckon they will get hammered by the All Blacks in the semis. Have you noticed how quiet the ABs have been? Not talking up their chances at all. Just focused and getting on with it ... be scared, be very scared.

  • 109.
  • At 01:57 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Nope wrote:

They can, but unlikely.

I believe for England everything will come down to Johnny Wilkinson's influence on the day ..he must be dominant.

Australia have to play poorly and England have to find the level they've played before ..they've got to go up to many gears for this one.


  • 110.
  • At 02:30 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Kev wrote:

The england fans are currently being unrealistic. England may have the ability to score tries against USA, Tonga & Samoa but the fact that they scored none against SA & didnt even threaten shows that they have not got the backline creativity to worry the top sides. All there scores will come from the boot so they cannot reasonably expect more than 15 points given the amount of possesion they will get. It may sound bleak but they have not enough line breakers to win these games. What makes Australia fav's is that they can methodical like England with 'up the jumpers' rugby, but they can also be scintillating on the counter & in open play. Thats what England dont have at the moment and thats why they wont take a major scalp at this world cup.

  • 111.
  • At 02:33 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • darran mather wrote:

this wilkinson obsession is so, very, very sad. grow up and stop this fantasy.blue light media images and fancy words from influential broadsheet hacks won't make a furious difference against the AB's.

poor jw, my hero? hanley! his words not mine

poor cleary, little boy jones and fragile guscott (i wont play against wigan there too tough)!!!!!!!!!!!!

the pacific nations - the irb does them a disservice

  • 112.
  • At 04:52 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Alex Scott wrote:

This is a quarter-final of the world cup and neither of these two teams are going to go down easily. So far the only team to have come under any pressure in the tournament is England and the have come through that pressure hugley. Australia are faverouites but now they have to face real pressure from a half decent team for the first time in the tournament. Can they keep their heads or will they bottle it? Wales did. This is the world cup of the underdogs which is a bonus for England.

  • 113.
  • At 05:30 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • P Francis wrote:


Pray for rain against the Ozzies then we have chance.england v oz in any sport is worth watching.
Chelsea spent millions trying to build a team but eng v oz ,you cant buy passion that these teams will give.I dont know who will win but it will make good watching.

  • 114.
  • At 07:25 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • andrew wrote:

Is it just me, or do we only hear from your Lolly after an England win or when he's using the media to state his case for selection.

He's been very quiet the last couple of weeks. Always happy to put it about after a win (plenty of interviews at the moment), but where was he putting his hand up after SA?

  • 115.
  • At 07:42 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • SimonK wrote:

If Australia come out to play rugby England don't stand a chance. The void between the hemispheres is bigger than ever, and the European players need to follow their southern counterparts when it comes to passion, comittment to constantly improve, and competition for places. The standard of the Super 14 competition is generally higher than that of the 6 Nations, the Tri-Nations eclipses it completely! As Fiji showed Wales it is all about passion for the game and playing as a team, not individuals. Ever since the last World Cup it seems the UK players and coaches have been happy to maintain that level and style of play, while the rest of the world have innovated and improved. If things keep going this way, by the World Cup of 2011 it will be the likes of England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland who are the 'minnows' and will be routinely beaten by the likes of Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Argentina. Let's bring in some new thinking and really make the players earn their huge salaries, because personally if I were coaching a team in the English Premiership this season I'd be looking to sign as many southern hemisphere players as possible, and obviously that isn't good for the game at home.

  • 116.
  • At 08:14 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Donald Young wrote:

No.

However, congrats you are the first media type I've seen in print espousing dreams of England bringing the trophy back...GET A GRIP....add 20 points to the Boks score and you might be close.....

  • 117.
  • At 08:35 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Amen wrote:


Larkham - knee operation
Mortlock - dislocated shoulder
Lyons - broken leg

Time to reassess. There is hope.

  • 118.
  • At 08:51 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • James wrote:

Hardly need a crystal ball to know that Ashton will play Farrell at 12. He might be able to cope with Mortlock, but his inexperience in the 15 a side game occasionally shows itself. However, he has big game temperament in spades. The England front 5 should win the tight battle, and secure comfortably more than 50% of the ball. So it comes down to how well both sides use their possession, and how many turnovers they can make. The Australian back row, and settled nature of the Australian back line point to an Aus win. But this is sport. Anything is possible, even an England surprise win. Bring it on!

  • 119.
  • At 09:37 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Woody wrote:

... yes, 'a week is a long time in politics'.

Interesting also what x3 weeks can do for a rugby squad that is now clicking into the groove having discovered itself 'upstairs' with more needed and much more to come.

This is what the issue has been for my money - having seen England fail (curiously) to even take to the park against the Boks and effectively gift a soft bye.

Saturday is going to be an epic encounter. Looking into the eyes of the England players and at body language as they emerge from the tunnel in Marseilles will indicate whether or not the icing has been added over the next few days and they really WANT this one and beyond.

Time to stand up, man to man, England. Get 1-5 & 9 under the cosh from the KO....get and keep that ball in hand, take the game to them on attacking terms and focus, focus, focus. The points will come.

FORTUNA VIRTUTIS COMES


  • 120.
  • At 09:58 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • spooner wrote:

"Get a grip"?
Yes, I think some people may be displaying a little too much optimism.
Surely though, the Wales debacle showed that upsets do happen, especially in a knock-out scenario, when the favourites get complacent.
Some Oz fans are certainly showing signs of that (plus ca change) but I doubt the team will, so I suspect they will win comfortably.
But once again, any English fan displaying even an ounce of optimism is labelled as arrogant.
I say again, read the dictionary and please allow a nation's fans to cheer on their team.
Yes, even England's!

  • 121.
  • At 10:08 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Craig wrote:

Im shocked at some of the posts on here,England will play the usual crash bang wallop slow ball game,Australia on the other hand have passion,vision,speed and the skill to make viewing essential. The difference between the hemisphres is massive and if there is any justice in rugby Australia will win with room to spare.

  • 122.
  • At 10:10 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • JJ wrote:

England any chance? You're havin' a laugh!

  • 123.
  • At 10:37 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Adrian wrote:

Bugger I am already a dinosaur - should have said 106 not 107!

  • 124.
  • At 11:03 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • The Suit wrote:

I read this blog thread with growing disquiet and boredom with the more jingoistic posts, until I encountered 107.

To you sir, I am very glad you posted; as a Scot living in England and married to an Englishwoman I understand your view entirely and wholeheartedly agree.

To a number of the rest of the posters, read 107: and, please, LEARN.

  • 125.
  • At 11:03 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • honest jon wrote:

Is there any true Englishman who , in their dreams, does not see us winning against the Aussies and going on to win the world cup.

If you have lost the ability to dream of winning whether the odds are stacked against you or not then you have lost the fundamental reason for competing for or supporting your team in any sport.

Forget reason, statistics and past performance - think about the forthcoming battle, the pride and the passion, the joy of winning.

6 nights to dream the dream........

  • 126.
  • At 11:26 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Mark Kidger wrote:

Given that, barring massive shocks, England would have to beat Australia in the Quarter Final, New Zealand in the Semi-Final and South Africa in the Final, it seems a bit premature to speculate about winning! :-)

My guess is that it will be a New Zealand v South Africa final.

  • 127.
  • At 11:30 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Spencer wrote:

Why is it that these blogs are consistently hijacked by individuals wishing to enforce their stereotypical racist opinions. And more importantly why does the moderator allow it.

Of course Eng have been playing appallingly of late, that’s why us English are showing a little more optimism following slightly improved form in recent matches, and yes I accept that it has been against smaller nations, however it is worth noting that the September IRB rankings show Samoa above Fiji and just below Scotland.

The argument that England have come through an easy group is ludicrous. Firstly, under a seeding system you would expect the reigning champions to have an easier draw, Secondly if you apply a simple seeding (1 point for lowest ranking team in the IRB standings to 20 for the highest) then England and Ireland are in groups of equal highest difficulty, followed by the Wales group and finally the NZ / Scotland group (no surprise there, NZ always seem to get a favourable draw).

One thing that this WC has evidenced is that the gulf between the higher tier nations, and the smaller nations is shrinking. Look at the performances of Georgia and Tonga.

Finally, I do not understand the argument about English arrogance, if ever a group of supporters were myopic about the ability of their own nation, and dismissive about that of other nations it is the Welsh.

  • 128.
  • At 11:42 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Robert Hanley wrote:

If it's wet, I think England can dare to dream, If it is dry, I don't think they have a hope. This Australian side is at least the equal to the one that lost in extra time in 2003. Anybody think today's English side is as good as the side that lifted the trophy in 2003?

  • 129.
  • At 11:49 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • George wrote:

two minor wins and it's talk of winning the cup! It's this mentality that makes the celtic countries hope England lose... just to stop the hysterical rantings of the tv/radio presenters/pundits.

Wilkinson is playing and he won them a world cup by himself last time...so there is that, although considering the fact that most teams would have forfieted a game for fielding 16 players, perhaps the goalposts can be moved again to help England 'obtain' another cup... ?

  • 130.
  • At 11:53 AM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Buzz wrote:

What a joke.

Two unconvincing wins over two teams of South Sea Islanders, who were playing with a lot of heart, and now we're gonna win the world cup?

England are nothing compared to 2003. They are bereft of any ideas in attack (except for the good old crosskick) and won't be able to withstand an Australian team who can string some decent play together.

We should have started building four years ago rather than cobble together has-beens with never-will-bes.

As an England fan I want us to win but as a rugby fan I won't be unhappy to see the better team win (Australia).

  • 131.
  • At 12:14 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

1995 all over again?

Eng to just pip the Aussies, get tonked by the ABs in the semis (hopefully we beat France or whoever) and then a replay of the NZ v SA final?

Just as well we brought all our own food and a chef this time...........

  • 132.
  • At 12:29 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Eric Fransella wrote:

The Wallabies should win their quarter final match against England. They have a player base that is far superior to England. England as usual are strong in the set piece, however that is it. Australia, like the two southern hemisphere powerhouses, have very strong and skillful forwards. Australia will challenge for the 2007 Rugby World Cup, however anything can happen in a World Cup. England do have a chance.. a small chance.

  • 133.
  • At 12:33 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Baz wrote:

Bree (post 84), if only it were a battle of cuisines. English food may be stodgy (albeit appropriate for our cold, wet climate), but it still beats the nation that gave the world the pie floater...

  • 134.
  • At 12:47 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

England won, we're through, a new game coming up next week. And a tough one it will be.

I tell you one thing, Yer Man Ashton won't be worried about a few of the BBC bloggers chasing him down for his job if it goes pear shaped next week. Really! What is it with the England only won because of Tongan mistakes and Wilkinson kicking down the throat of the Tongans weak links? ... because we won't beat the Aussies that way."

What on earth were England supposed to do? I can hear the bloggers' half time talk now...

>>>Blogger Brian: "Remember Paul, if Tonga turn it over and mistakenly give you a chance to run the length of the pitch, remember to kick it out of play instead and score the "proper" way - just how the fans would prefer eh? Ta mate."

>>>Blogger Brian again: "Johny me old china, a few superb kicks in the first half but please cut those out in the second half because we're not going to be playing like that against the Australians."

And at full time

>>>Blogger Brian" "Well done lads, all of you, it just goes to show that this game has a high confidence factor, right? Well forget today's result, just focus on the fact that us bloggers think you don't stand a chance of getting your nice new Nike shirts with the red ribbons on back into the changing room without torn armpits come Saturday. Ooops, one last thing. Don't even think about running onto the pitch next week with a winning mindset."

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Maybe they will be tough enough. Why turn on our own when we should be sledging the convicts?

  • 135.
  • At 12:49 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • hortense vaughan wrote:

The Aussies have had their difficulties in their last two matches and although they beat Fiji and Canada easily
their kicking for goal was not that good and with the wet weather(not the favourite enviroment for an attacking side) for the Canada game their handling errors were numerous nevertheless with the return of Mortlock for the kicking duties and if the weather is fine then I think the Wallabies will beat England

  • 136.
  • At 12:59 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Baz wrote:

George (comment 129) it's just this kind of one-eyed anti-Englishness that leaves us rolling around laughing our backsides off at the Welsh, ahem, mishap yesterday!

Given that 2/3 of the "celtic countries" aren't going to make it to the next round, you might be better off worrying about what's going on in your own backyard rather than forever peeking over the fence at what your hated neighbours are doing.

When the Welsh, Irish and Scots support their teams (however abysmal they might be) it's patriotism, but when the English do it, it's arrogance. You are so, so tedious.

  • 137.
  • At 01:12 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Robin wrote:

I still think England are too slow to the breakdown, which leads to us getting turned over a lot and/or slow ball. I noticed some improvement against Tonga with Moody on the pitch but fantastic though he is to watch, he's a fractured skull waiting to happen!

This has been our problem since 2003 with the retirement of Back and Hill. Slow ball at the breakdown doesn't really give our backs line breaking opportunities against a well organised defence.

I think Australia are going to win because to be frank their development is about 12 months ahead of ours. I just hope the guys don't surrender as they did against SA and make a game of it.


  • 138.
  • At 01:16 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • matt wrote:

as an aussie i just have to stop people quoting our performance against canada!

for gods sake, it was our B team (with some A and C class players!! we did enough to win and avoid exerting our best players.

haha we were playing our reserve no. 15 as flyhalf!!

yet we thumped them by a long way.

good luck england, but i really feel we are too good at least this year. our forwards are much more mobile and actually have ball skills, and lets face it, there is no more potent back line on earth. giteau and mortlock will tear you apart.

you dream about beating us, we dream about winning the world cup.

  • 139.
  • At 01:30 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Marto wrote:

I'm an Aussie but we can be fallable.
I agree Mortlock and Smith are very good but don't forget Matt Gitaue - he is potent and you may find him culling England world cup fantasies not only from the mid field but from flyhalf or even half with 15 to go.

On top of that Latham is becoming the player of the tournament, our loose 3 of Elsom, Smith and Palu are hitting exceptional form and the 2nd row don't take backward steps for anyone. If our front row can hold their own - and from the tri nations this year they should - we could go all the way.

Yes England are looking better with a free play kicker (what the hell was Catt doing v SA) and could upset but Australia should do it. If they put it on and get an early lead don't expect to see fireworks. The aussies are tournament players and will holster the big moves for the All Backs next week. Only the Aussies can beat the ABs whose only weakness can be a psychological one when truely put to the sword.

Will be a great Saturday in Marseille either way - the rugby fans from both the UK and Aus are great sports.

Can't be all nice - someone please smash the arrogant South Africans if we don't make it!

  • 140.
  • At 01:30 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

Sorry but you are, yet again kidding yourselves. England scraped out of the group playing poor rugby. How conceited do you have to be to think you can beat the Aussies?

You really do beggar belief.

  • 141.
  • At 01:32 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Alex Schuster wrote:

I'm sure the people who purchased the television rights for the Rugby World Cup are delighted that England and Australia will be meeting each other in the quarter-final. A game between Tonga and Australia would not have attracted the same viewing audiences in the U.K. and Ireland.

Australia get the chance to wreak vengeance for their defeat in the final in Sydney four years ago. And England can dare to dream again. And, in my opinion, that is their entitlement. If people didn't have dreams in life, they might as well give up altogether. Turning the dream into a reality is the real challenge for England.

So, as things stand at the moment, the quarter finals could conceivably pan out as follows:

New Zealand v. Argentina (premised on the basis that Argentina will narrowly lose to Ireland in today's qualifier and go through as second in the Group)

France v. Scotland

England v. Australia

South Africa v. Fiji

Ending up, most likely, with France and the three major players from the Southern Hemisphere in the semi-finals. With a final between France and New Zealand in the Stade de France.

  • 142.
  • At 01:45 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • George wrote:

Baz (136)
calm down calm down.... hit a nerve there !?
our patriotism doesn't extend to claiming we will win the title after every minor win... and I simply suggested that because England supporters have a tendancy to do that, that other nations quite like seeing them fail...pride before a fall etc... I didn't reduce myself to slagging them off, as you seem happy to do to others, perhaps that's another reason... and I didn't use the word arrogance... you did... but if the cap fits...

what about the 16 players by the way?

  • 143.
  • At 01:47 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • paul wrote:

I'm a Scot, so it kinda pains me to say it, but I think England can mug Australia. If Wilko kicks the pens, takes his drop goals and uses the cross field kick to good effect they have every chance. And the boy Sackey has pace to spare. I think the Aussies are the better team, and easier on the eye but if England are up for it then they have every chance of poaching it.

Pragmatic northern hemisphere rugby from the Scots and English has shown itself to be effective (see Wales, Ireland) if not all that exciting thus far. The Scots might well discover the limits of that gameplan in the quarters, but the English may survive to play another day.

  • 144.
  • At 02:03 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Marto wrote:

I'm an Aussie but we can be fallable.
I agree Mortlock and Smith are very good but don't forget Matt Gitaue - he is potent and you may find him culling England world cup fantasies not only from the mid field but from flyhalf or even half with 15 to go.

On top of that Latham is becoming the player of the tournament, our loose 3 of Elsom, Smith and Palu are hitting exceptional form and the 2nd row don't take backward steps for anyone. If our front row can hold their own - and from the tri nations this year they should - we could go all the way.

Yes England are looking better with a free play kicker (what the hell was Catt doing v SA) and could upset but Australia should do it. If they put it on and get an early lead don't expect to see fireworks. The aussies are tournament players and will holster the big moves for the All Backs next week. Only the Aussies can beat the ABs whose only weakness can be a psychological one when truely put to the sword.

Will be a great Saturday in Marseille either way - the rugby fans from both the UK and Aus are great sports.

Can't be all nice - someone please smash the arrogant South Africans if we don't make it!

  • 145.
  • At 02:23 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • damage wrote:

As a sydney-sider i'd just like to distance myself from that trumpet-blowing comment above.

If theres one thing i hate its being called an arrogant aussie.

Look, england CAN win next week as long as they have a bit of luck and stick rigidly to a game-plan of trundling it up the middle and getting JW into range.

With some solid defense they can put pressure on the wallabies and force some mistakes...... from their anything can happen.

I am hoping for a wallaby win but they have only looked OK so far for mine. Still have an inabilty to rip in to option defenses and get good offensive flow. Too often too static.

So i think england have a chance. As others have said > it is sport after all.

ps: sat up to all hours last night to watch the wales match > surely one of the best RWC matches of all time!?(save for nz vs france 99)

I honestly didn't think wales were that bad. they played some pretty good rugby but were just not the better team on the day.

  • 146.
  • At 03:05 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Baz wrote:

George (142) I challenge you to find a single post on this blog where anyone claims that England will win the thing. It's all in your mind, you are being deluded by your one-eyed hatred of all things English.

You didn't use the word arrogance, but it was your clear implication.

So what about the 16 players? Do you seriously believe that England won the 2003 RWC because of accidentally fielding 16 players for a few seconds, in a match that was already won, in an incident which, IIRC, resulted in the 4th official being disciplined? If that's what you really think, then you are a sad, sad man who needs to get a life instead of sitting at home night after night nursing your prejudices.

  • 147.
  • At 03:07 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

England dont have a chance in hell. They will lose by at least 15 pts.

  • 148.
  • At 03:33 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Marto wrote:

Sydney-sider

what of the trumpet blowing did you not agree with.

There is some great potential in our team at the moment. But yes we could lose to England and we are fallable. Our lack of depth was on display against the canucks but there are some good signs and some good talent. Sure Gregan may play down to his worst and barnes and the front 3 could fold under pressure but if not we could fire. The mighty all blacks have not entirely smashed us this year.

  • 149.
  • At 03:37 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Marto wrote:

Sydney-sider - what 'trumpet blowing' don't you agree with? Aussies could go down and are not favourites v the All Backs but there is some not unjustified potential that could see them go the whole way.

  • 150.
  • At 04:57 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Marto wrote:

Sydney-sider - hope you are a manly supporter as well

  • 151.
  • At 05:53 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • grammo wrote:

Dear Bryn

Sorry but South Africa just do not "inhabit a similar plain to Australia" - they're not even on the same continent. Would "plane" be the word you had in mind?

  • 152.
  • At 05:59 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • bodhazaffa wrote:

as much as I would love to say we will win, we wont, but hey at least we (and Scotland) are there unlike the arrogant Irish who were going to win the 6 nations (and didn't) and were then going to be the northern hemisphere shining light in the RWC...and oops off they go again, back home without getting out of the group! Felt sorry for Wales, they just came across a team on fire.

  • 153.
  • At 06:36 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

I am treating this post as the joke it uindoubtedly was. Only the most short sighted Colonel Blimp would even have such a thought as he was being fitted for his nice new padded jacket. If ever their was an example of Anglo-Saxon, denial of the truth this suggestion would be the best yet. But, we all know you are jesting don't we..../

  • 154.
  • At 06:46 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • munstergirl wrote:

no 152 why are you calling the irish arrogant? the english get very understandably annopyed at being called arrogant so why should you then do the same thing! pure hypocricy. actually even tho we went out today and there's no shame in being beaten by a better tem, i still think we're the best team in europe! at the risk of sounding arrogant!

  • 155.
  • At 06:48 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Paul Waiting wrote:

Post 140 Dave wrote:
Sorry but you are, yet again kidding yourselves. England scraped out of the group playing poor rugby. How conceited do you have to be to think you can beat the Aussies?

You really do beggar belief.

----

Conceited? Clearly you don't understand professional sport. England should think they can beat Australia because they are highly trained, well paid professionals whose one purpose at work right now is to beat Australia. I for one would feel ashamed of an England side that didn't think they could beat anyone. Of course they should think they'll beat Australia - if they aren't then... WHAT ON EARTH IS THE POINT OF GOING TO A WORLD CUP? Whether they do or not we'll find out. But thinking they will is not conceit - its professionalism.

  • 156.
  • At 06:50 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • walks wrote:

What a fantcstic weekend of rugby!!!!!! England going through and the Welsh and Irish failing once again to live up to their own hype. I was once a fan of supporting our home nations when England weren't involved but after the WC of 2003 when i saw Scots, Welsh & Irish all supporting Australia in Sydney, i say stuff 'em all now. No we aren't great at the moment but better to have once had a day than never in a million years. Perhaps the Irish will now realise that actually they aren't very good and never have been. So bring on the Aussies, rank outsiders we may be but you have got to be in it to win it!!

  • 157.
  • At 07:26 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Anon wrote:

George (142), this isn't just directed at you, but you're the one who's finally taken things over the line.

Would all these stuck-up 'Celtic' huffer-puffers, with their tedious, predictable, mechanical swipes at everything and anything an Englishman says or does, stop their dreary rants and actually PAY ATTENTION to the question?

The question, may I draw your tiny narrow minds to, is, "Can England dare to dream again?" The typical, hysterical, Nationalistic response from most of the Scots, Welsh and Irish posters (what the hell are you lot intruding on this thread for anyway? Shouldn't you be elsewhere discussing your own teams' chances... oh sorry, I forgot, most of you got knocked out didn't you...?) would lead a reader to believe that the question was "How many are England going to win by after they've effortlessly cantered past the vastly-inferior plodders of the Antipodean countries into the final?"

No one, or hardly anyone, is suggesting that England are going to win the whole thing. The question is merely ASKING if it's POSSIBLE, whether their chances are better than they looked three weeks ago, and if they can at least put one over on the Aussies, if nothing else. That would mean England can at least take something from a World Cup in which they've looked a grainy silhouette of their predecessors. It's shamefully dishonest to pretend the question means anything else.

If you really need to put false words into the mouths of your "enemies", that might tell you that your views on the English have no place in the real world, and that they're based on generalisation and prejudice.

It's also a very sad reflection on yourselves that you feel such a cloying desperation to cling to these prejudices and to nurture them. What use are they? Are your lives really so empty that you have nothing positive to motivate yourselves with at all?

I also note with interest the two-faced spin that many 'Celts' - especially Ireland fans - put on the views of their English counterparts. If England could beat Australia next weekend then as far as I'm concerned, it's turned out to be a respectable World Cup showing after a dreadful start, and anything further would be a huge bonus. Taking that attitude will no doubt lead me to accusations of being "easily-pleased". But if I took the attitude that victory over the Aussies is not enough, I'd be accused of "English arrogance". Or, if I were to suggest we've got no hope of winning next week at all, I'd be accused of being "defeatist", and "never getting behind my team when they most need support".

So we're "cowards" if we say we can't win, we're "soft" if we say we might win, and we're "arrogant" if we say we will win. In short, we REALLY can't win.

(None of this even mentions the fact that the Celts are utter hypocrites as generally speaking their own fans say and do much the same sorts of things, but of course it's not arrogance when they do it, it's just "part of the fun".)

No doubt people like George will tell me to lighten up, and that I'm taking things too seriously. But the truth is there is no "fun" in wildly generalised and vicious insults, even unconscious ones. And it's a very good question; why DO the moderators on these forums always allow what is effectively racist abuse to be aimed at the English, but won't stand for it when it's aimed at anyone else?

  • 158.
  • At 08:22 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • George wrote:

Baz (136)
calm down calm down.... hit a nerve there !?
our patriotism doesn't extend to claiming we will win the title after every minor win... and I simply suggested that because England supporters have a tendancy to do that, that other nations quite like seeing them fail...pride before a fall etc... I didn't reduce myself to slagging them off, as you seem happy to do to others, perhaps that's another reason... and I didn't use the word arrogance... you did... but if the cap fits...

what about the 16 players by the way?

  • 159.
  • At 08:48 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Ali wrote:

Well said 157 but you really should "stand up and be counted" instead of hiding behind your anonymity.

  • 160.
  • At 08:50 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • George wrote:

Baz & Anon

I made no insults, just suggested a reason why the England team is unpopular with the other nations...
I used the example of 'celtic' nations, but it includes more... but apparently even the implication of critisism, of any national side, is racist...!

I believe that expressing a critisim of another nations team is hardly racist, however, the language used here, in reply to such critisism surely is:

"stuck-up 'Celtic' huffer-puffers"
"you are a sad, sad man who needs to get a life"
"the Celts are utter hypocrites"

nice... (can you see anything like that in my posts?)

So in order not to upset you further, I'll let you all pat each others backs and feel persecuted whilst slagging off the rest of the us for not joining in...

good night and good luck to us all.

  • 161.
  • At 09:09 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Jon Miller wrote:

ooo err, I have had fun reading these posts. Handbags at dawn. You ladies need to get out more. Viva Argentina! Fiji Fiji! I'm supporting the World Champions, but come on let's be realistic, the Aussies will win by 15-20 points. The only open top bus Jonnys's going on this year is the one in Whitley Bay man.

  • 162.
  • At 09:12 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • munstergirl wrote:

the last few blogs have been a disgrace! most irish rugby fans are generally not anti england- look at the reception the team received at croke park during the 6n. also to whoever said ireland arent very good, clearly not true- ok this wc was dismal but england were lucky to get through and so were scotland and both will be defeated in the next round. ! i think it is unfair to call the english arrogant but they do tend to brin g up every victory (1966) all the time and oroclaim every time they win a match that they are world beaters once again. that's not really arrogance, it's more stupidity. i hate the petty comments on here stating that all celtic nations fans are anti english because i wouldnt consider myself that and i wouldnt consider the vast majority of irish fans to be anti english. i also hate whenever we dare to critiscise the english set up, we're accused of being anti english. as an irish fan my team were shocking! i can also criticise other teams as it's called freedom of speech. as for saying to non englsih ppl here to leave the blog, get real! anyone with an iopinion can write on it.

  • 163.
  • At 09:19 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Lizzie wrote:

I think that England are slowly improving but to beat the Aussies we will need some Dynamisn. So Ashton should start with Moody at 6 again as he played out of his skin against Tonga. Also lets get rid of Tait and bring in Hipkiss he is the only centre with a bit of bulk and killer pace. We need to play simply and be aggressive in our defence.

  • 164.
  • At 09:29 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • disappointed wrote:

talk about racially abusive- celtic nations this, celtic nations that! i have drank and ewatched rugby with english fans, and ive had great times, win or lose. Ive also hadequally good times with welsh and scottish and i dont know why there has to be this need to put down fans because of where they are from. england fans get fair amounts f stick, but judging by alot of these blogs, the english are well able to dish it out as well. some of these comments are racially offensive and while being called arrogant isnt very appealing, at least it's not a racial slur. grouping ireland, wales and scotland into one entity is kind of pathetic. do englsih fans ever wonder why wales, scotland and ireland support each other? look at some fo these blogs and you'll have your answer!

Ian # 86: I'm not quite sure how me suggesting we all wish each other's teams well can leave you lost for words.

Bad luck to Wales, I hope they can get a good setup in place.

BTW there seems to be more than one Andy, so I have changed to AndyW.

  • 166.
  • At 10:01 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Heber wrote:

PS. There's probably been enough said in this debate already, but anyway i support those who say that English fans have no reason to be embarassed about being patriotic (no not jingoistic) in dreaming of beating Australia. Yes, its a slim chance but its a chance nonetheless and England have the right as they have got to the quarter finals. They have every right to give everything to win, whether anyyone else likes it or not (and frankly their views are irrelevant).

I suspect the big question after this world cup will be why the southern hemisphere nations are superior. If there is complacency - or should i say limited horizons - it is in the northern hemisphere as a whole, bar the England of 2000-3. The real question is can the Home Nations raise the bar against the south and use their rivaly as a spur to beat the best rather than as a blunt tool with which to beat each other.

  • 167.
  • At 10:04 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • James Sweet Chariot wrote:

Swing low, sweet chariot

Coming for to carry me home

Swing low, sweet chariot

Coming for to carry me home

I looked over Jordan and what did I see

Coming for to carry me home

A band of angels coming after me

Coming for to carry me home.

Come on England lets do these wannabies.

We can chat on, but at the end of the day any team can win. The All Blacks know this all to well.

  • 168.
  • At 11:09 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Rick Meister wrote:

Why is that so many (not all) celtic fans mis-represent what the English fans and team say? Before the last world cup, they were spouting on about how arrogant the English were when in every interview I saw and heard (and there were many!) the English team said they were there to win the world cup, but they gave full respect to every team they played against and acknowledged they would have to be at the top of their game to do it.
The English never thought they had a divine right to win it. If they had then there is no way that they would have ended up as world champions.
99% of England fans are always realistic about their team and I know of very very few who over estimate the chances of the team.
Can England dare to dream? If it is dreaming of beating Australia then of course we can! The Aussies are worthy favourites and would beat us 4 times out of 5, but shocks happen so maybe this is the one that England win.
Maybe those celtic fans who continually take a pop at the English should concentrate on the glaring deficiencies in their own teams and get the chips off their shoulders! The bottom line is that none of the home countries should be rated in the world's top 5 so we all have a lot of work to do!

  • 169.
  • At 11:36 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Bill Banham wrote:

I am as patriotic as any Englishman you will find but in my heart of hearts I know the chips are very much stacked against us... it will take a minor miracle to overcome the aussies but never say never though boys!

However I find it amusing that any other the home nations felt that they had hope in hell at this world cup...

Ireland are bottlers who never stood a chance, "golden generation", "wasted opportunity" quite frankly what did you expect, it's absurd... when you actually win something boys then maybe you can start talking about golden generation. Ireland are the biggest nearly men since Tim Henman first laced up his tennis shoes. Ireland are incapable of winning when it really matters and for that reason they will always be a mediocre side.

And then we come to Wales. I love nothing more than giving the Welsh a bloody good hiding...you didnt even make the QFs ladies, you have a team of has-beens still living off 6nations glory you never should of had. The sooner you wake up and realise you are and always will be a mediocre team the better.

Scotland, you try hard but will never make it. Of the other home nations I would like you to be the most successful.

Come on you England!!

  • 170.
  • At 11:42 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • soaked of vancouver wrote:

Suggestions that victories over Samoa and Tonga mean little are unfair to those teams, both of which have flair and physical power. The same applies to Fiji ,as any follower of sevens rugby will know. Samoa gave England one of their toughest matches in the 2003 tournament - in fact England beat them more easily in this RWC than in 2003. England deserve credit for having matched the physical threat of Samoa and Tonga and for playing 'smart' rugby to beat them. England's performance against South Africa was one of their worst for years. Since then, England have gained in confidence and effectiveness. Their back line looks much more threatening with Wilkinson playing than without him. Sackey and Jason Robinson are capable of breaking defensive lines and the front row is likely to put pressure on the Aussie front three. The Aussies have the edge in the back row and at centre and, having fronted up to the ABs in the Tri-Nations, will start as favourites. Heavy rain could help England.It should be an interesting match.

  • 171.
  • At 12:30 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Graham (Cov) wrote:

Well what a great weekend of Rugby its a shame for the Welsh that was a fantastic game and whoever lost would not have deserved to,why the showboating from shane williams he could have got closer couldnt he? good game though great for the neutral fans, Scotland through by the skin of their teeth but may cause the upset of the tournament, Ireland well their 2 games against the minnows cost them so dearly big regrets there i bet good game against Argentina but outclassed up front, what was O Driscoll on about they did not want to play rugby? i think they taught the Irish a lesson, France to beat the ABs first strong opponents for the ABs and in france back yard close but france to win,England have improved slowly and may be worrying the Aussies if the English back row is the correct one hopefully Rees,moody and easter then there is hope,I think this will be Englands big game and a close win yes we can dare dream, and agree with some of the comments above why cant all of the home nations get behind one another no one here wants to see the cup go back down under do they apart from the skippies on the blog. good luck England come on !!!!!

  • 172.
  • At 12:31 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Connal wrote:

A guy on here was saying 'who has said we will win the World Cup? We English aren't arrogant at all'. Well, if you can read the title of the blog, it's under the heading 'Can England dare to dream again?' It is because of your entirely fatuous belief that you can win the World Cup - or indeed beat Australia - that is the reason why we have unfortunately heard from you so much.
A few points: England's group was certainly the easiest pool of any Home Nations side. England would not have beaten Fiji, Argentina or France. They are lucky to be through. And when that great fear materialized, that the chunky heads would start spinning once they got through, the gates opened. Which is where we find us now. I'm afraid smugness and arrogance is not in the Celtic psyche; the Southern Hemisphere sides have every right to display that confidence because they can demonstrably WIN a World Cup this year. You never quite get it do you, England fans? This header summs up why you are passionately loathed the world over. One defeat and you cry into your white wine glasses. A few victories and it's 'We can win the World Cup'.
Our best wishes to Australia. It's time to eliminate the final Dodo.

  • 173.
  • At 01:02 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Greg wrote:

Ladies and Gentlemen, Jonny Wilkinson and his 14 bodyguards got lucky in the dying seconds of the 2003 RWC. Since then, it's been a constant downhill slide in form for your boys. That's a fact which not even the most biased Englishman could deny. Australia are in form, improving, and most importantly, have the confidence and momentum leading into this match. Dare I suggest Australia by at least 20 in the 1/4 final? Look, it's not (really) personal, some of my best mates are Poms, however it's called the RUNNING game for a reason. Think about that next time you see Jonny get the ball any time you're less than 30 metres from the tryline. So maybe it's within the rules, but there is no way in hell a drop goal should be worth more than a single point. Penalties, yep, no problem with them being worth 3, however if referees understood that regardless of which team we support, we pay our money for tickets, we get up at ridiculous o'clock to watch games on the other side of the world, and we want to see RUGBY rather than some idiot ref on a power trip stop a game before it gets to at least 3rd or 4th phase, we'd all be better off. Just a few thoughts...

  • 174.
  • At 01:17 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • David wrote:

Hello hello all you rugby nutters,,,tiz all the way from NZ,,,ok well i reckon england will fail at the aussie hurdle,,but but dont worry i really believe the ABS will fail too,,,cause if the frenchies dont get the ABS the aussies will,,,sooo my advice to all you balmy army peoples is to forget,,move on,,,and start saving ya pounds,,cause in 4 years time you will be on our back door here in NZ playing ya little hearts out once again,,,you did us proud when you were here with the lions,,,yup i live in place called NewPlymouth and some of you mad ones were at place called Peggy Gordons,,,,ya all not too bad at drinking,,but but i will be looking for some of the Carling Black Label when i arrive on your shores in may next year for my holiday,,then we will see who can drink,,,sooo enjoy your last match with Aussie and prepare for the future,,,when you are here in 4 years,,please bring Johnny boy with ya,,sadly dont think the rest will get leave from the retirement homes,,,byeeeee

  • 175.
  • At 01:34 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Darrell wrote:

Hmmmmm, comment 173. You've still got sour grapes from 4 years ago.

  • 176.
  • At 02:07 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Marcus wrote:

Hi Dave 174,
I stopped at new plymouth during the lions tour. Wasn't you the one I had to escort home on the train cause you were well gone? Best wishes to all in NZ, lovely place lovely people.

  • 177.
  • At 02:50 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Jon wrote:

OK ladies and gentlemen, we've had our fun with the persecution complexes. However, as it seems all our Northern Hemisphere teams will be knocked out before the last 4 barring minor miracles for France or Scotland, I suggest us afflicted 6 Nations fans learn two simple words:

VAMOS PUMAS!

I know they're not likely to win the whole thing, but a little light fun hoping that the tri-nations don't win it doesn't hurt!

  • 178.
  • At 03:01 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Mat wrote:

England are back!! Bring on the aussies cos Jonny's gonna kick them of the park. Ten man rugga, a sound kicking game, and plenty of composure. I see a scoreline of 24-20 with Jonny kicking 5 dropped goals and 3 pen to take down the aussies again. England have a little bit of momentum and they can play with confidence now. Swing Low!!!

  • 179.
  • At 04:46 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • David wrote:

hey 176 tiz no train here for drunk peoples,,only paddy wagons,,,anyway i didnt get into that bar that night,,was no room for normal people,,oooops sober i meant,,,,anyway i was security guard at yarrows stadium bout 3 years ago,,i preticted the english would smash the maoris,,,hmmmm sadly all i could do was stand,watch clap my hands,,no baddies to chase that nite,,nooo balmy army present,,,anywayeven had the honour of giving my opinion to one of your famous reporters,,,he didnt believe me when i said tane randall would be nooo more,,,thats me time to cook dinner,,or not

  • 180.
  • At 04:49 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • CJ wrote:

I definitely think England have a chance, this is a high pressure match for newcomer Barnes especially considering his opposition. The Australian forwards seem to be playing with an intensity they have previously lacked,their back three are playing with great form even Gregan is delivering quick ball, he won't be so easily bullied by the English scrum-half as the Tongans were. I honestly think the weak link in the whole equation are the English backs. They will have to do a lot better than against the Tongans, the 2 sackey tries were far from brilliant, 1st one a cheap shot and the second just lucky.

  • 181.
  • At 05:33 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Heber wrote:

Connal 172,

Its you who doesnt get it. Any of the teams in the quarter finals can win the World Cup however slim their chances - you know, its the way it works - if they dont try they might as well go home. Ireland and Wales have spent too long not aiming high enough, contenting themselves with winning the odd 6 Nations, and beating a poor England side in recent years. Thats why theyve wasted all that talent and failed to achieve anything of note at any World Cup. If youd only set the bar above beating England youd do everyone a big favour and you might feel better for it too. I continue in hope rather than expectation.

  • 182.
  • At 06:12 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • John wrote:

Finals are a funny creature. When the pressure's on it takes real guts and discipline to really grind out that win to get you to the next level. And then you repeat. 2003 was where England took that proverbial lemon, and repeatedly squeezed it until only pith and the World Cup was left. But that's the funny thing -- you can never find out until that lemon is on the table for the squeezing,

Yes England may dare to dream again...but let's keep that as a distant pipe dream for now. My head, like many, say Australia but my heart says England.

HEAD: Australia by 25.
HEART: England by 8.
STOMACH: Time for Pocky.

  • 183.
  • At 06:53 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • dunc wrote:

I would say Australia have 80% chance of winning and England 20%. Playing in the tri nations is just too much good practice against the likes of SA and NZ. 20% = worth a hope. I tell you the ones with the complex are NZ and it would be good to see them do it because I think otherwise there will be four years of doom and gloom from our neighbours at the bottom of the world... I'm english but i have a heart. It would be different if it was football!

  • 184.
  • At 07:51 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • disappointed wrote:

all ill say is to comment 169- that doesnt sound arrogant at all! my problem is hearing about 1966 time and time again! not to mention brzil have won it at least twioce in the last 15 years! and that's why there is a perception about english fans! mas for the"celtic" nations who "bottled" it, well if england were in with france and argentina you'd have "bottled" it too and ya ireland have been terrible but i still reckon we'd beat england! ya ya we know england are the rwc champions but not for much longer and i dont begrudge them that success but stop throwing it in everyone's faces and using it as leverage ie now that engl;and arent so good, it's a case of oh we have the wc! get over it.

  • 185.
  • At 08:40 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

It makes interesting reading, all of the below. The fact is most other nations will always wish a loss upon the english, whereas most english will take a reasonable approach. I certainly thought as a side against SA they were appalling. However there has been a distinct improvement.
The next step up will be to have Rees at 7 and Moody at 6, and probably Worsley at 8. I agree that Barkley has not adapted to inside centre, and Farrell should be given a go, with either Hipkiss or Tait at 13.
Why do other nations apparently dislike the english ? Nothing but jealousy, and misunderstanding of our great nation !!!

  • 186.
  • At 08:43 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • alfie noakes the 2nd. wrote:

brilliant weekend, forget loyalties, rugby was the winner. Brilliant w/cup and the french should be applauded for being the perfect hosts.... sorry to see them having to play away, but hey ho they made their own bed.

hats off to the IRB for pumping money into the 'developing nations', which has made this cup what it is, a theatre of dreams and a fantastic open contest. sort the stupid biased draw out next time and it will be perfect.

as for the english dreaming, yes i think we do have a shout: stranger things have happened.

allez le blanc.

  • 187.
  • At 09:29 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • dilltanner@hotmail.com wrote:

It will be interesting to see how the OZ front 5 cope with the English 5 if they play well (which is a big if!!) Unfortunately if this doesnt happen Eng will be steam rollered and if their backs have enough possession they will run ring around us. As a good solid English lad however I will be in my nearest walkabout screaming my lungs out for 80 minutes surrounded by Ozzies and demanding an English victory.

  • 188.
  • At 10:16 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • adam wrote:

Yea that would be funny if the IRB sepperated the world cup into two divisions and Wales were in with the minnows.

Im English and find it funny that other nations seem to hate us. It is getting so annoying now being called arrogant at every oppertunity.

If im honest in my heart I think Australia will win but I would never admit that....

I would say of course England can win because I love England.. Is that arogance???

  • 189.
  • At 10:20 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Jeremy wrote:

When Wilkinson is playing England is always a chance. I am an Australian supporter who has been waiting 4 very long years for this game but am certainly not predicting a Wallaby walkover. Make no mistake - England IS Australia’s world cup bogey team. Of the last 4 world cups when we haven’t won it – it’s been the same team to knock us out on each occasion - and yet again we find ourselves up against that very team at the knock-out stage of a world cup. But rather than heap pressure on Australia as “favourites” I would use the same argument Clive Woodward used in the lead up to the 2003 final where he transferred the pressure onto the then world champions (Australia). England are the current world champions and are therefore the team to beat and the team with everything to lose – namely silver wear and title. Australia on the other hand has nothing to lose other than pride, which while significant, does not match losing the title of world champion and the Web Ellis trophy.

Make no mistake, England is the team to beat - they are the current world champions after all. They have everything to lose against the Wallabies and every England supporter who is playing up the underdog card knows it.

  • 190.
  • At 10:27 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • kipperchris wrote:

doesn't matter what we english write or think, there are still too many idiots out there calling us arrogant for thinking we might just have a chance. I personally would love to see us win but quite a lot of me would be happy to see a performance that comes close to being as entertaining as that of the welsh on saturday. I was in p des p on friday night and it was brilliant with paris full of all nations getting on and wishing each other well - just as it should be. I even hasd a scottish fan shaking my hand - surely a first?

  • 191.
  • At 10:33 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Indignant of Tunbridge Wells wrote:

Connal 172,

I think you'll find that the header of the thread was written by a BBC journalist, who is a Welsh, and who's looking to stimulate debate about England's chances. It's a question, not a statement, and I'm imagining there would - rightly - have been a similar thread if Ireland had made it through. But they didn't.

Similarly if you read the posts above then I'd say the balance represent the balance of feeling in England - yes, England might, just might beat Australia if lots of things go our way - but more likely Australia will win as they appear to be the better side to this point. Not really sure what's arrogant about that - and doesn't seem to fit with the perception that England fans are either doom and gloom merchants or wildly over-optmistic. Most England rugby fans I meet seem to be very realistic (unlike football fans, I hasten to add).

Still, let's not let facts get in the way of prejudice and stereotypes.

  • 192.
  • At 10:39 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • damage wrote:

Hey its me > the sydney sider.

Marto > sorry for the confusion mate but was refering to Matt at 138 and not you at 139.

Must be the time delay!

ps: thought your comment was a prudent one.

  • 193.
  • At 10:43 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

There's a lot of jingoistic tripe posted on this board ...

I believe the game will be a close run thing.

England have been under the cosh in this group, and have started to build momentum and maybe a little belief that they can beat Australia .. you may point out that it was only Samoa / Tonga .. but those teams were fired up to win, big hitters, great runners .. they were must win, knockout games, and England won them.

The big worry for England is that Aus have some big guns, and if England allow them into the game their confidence could be shattered.

Australia haven't been tested yet, and that could be their down fall.

If nothing else, recent games have shown that reputation (Ireland) and over confidence (Wales) won't do you any favours.

England will be professional in their approach, they lack fireworks, but they can soak up pressure and keep the score board ticking over... who knows if it will be enough, but don't assume Aus will win, I dont believe it will be the forgone conclusion that some on here are hoping for.

Here's to an exciting game, but most of all I'm hoping for an England win !

  • 194.
  • At 10:57 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Paula wrote:

Why is it that everyone but the English are allowed to support their team through thick and thin without getting abused? Somehow saying that you hope your team will win a big match (against the odds or not) is perceived as arrogance by the rest of the world.

I don't begrudge anyone a little National Pride and I resent the fact that everyone is allowed to be patriotic except the English.

  • 195.
  • At 11:23 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

'ya ireland have been terrible but i still reckon we'd beat england! ya ya we know england are the rwc champions but not for much longer and i dont begrudge them that success but stop throwing it in everyone's faces and using it as leverage ie now that engl;and arent so good, it's a case of oh we have the wc! get over it.'

No the, England side that turned up against Samoa and Tonga would have seen off the atrocious Irish side. You nearly lost to Georgia for gods sake! If Ireland had won the World Cup in 2003 you would still be chirping on about it to and would also be throwing it in everyones faces - I know the Irish too well!

  • 196.
  • At 11:36 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

I think Farrell will definitely come in for Barkley to try to contain Mortlock, but I think they will leave Tait in there to mark Giteau, because Tait is quick. Barkley will be cover for Wilkinson, Hipkiss on for Tait if he's having one of his dithering games, and maybe Catt will come back onto the bench to give us an option if we're chasing the game. Robinson back, and personally I'd drop Lewsey and keep Cueto there because he's more dangerous in attack.

In the pack, we'll see Shaw come back I think, and the rest staying the same. Worsley will come on if we have a lead and we're trying to defend, and Rees if we're chasing it.

We're up against it but it may be to our advantage that Australia are expected to win, because the longer we can compete, and hang in, the more they may doubt themselves. I just hope it's close.

  • 197.
  • At 11:41 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Rory wrote:

As a passionate England fan it has been wonderful to see us improving since the Boks debacle. I feel that this Aussie side however will be a bridge too far for a developing side with a distinct lack of strike runners and talismen in the pack. It will be tighter than people think but the Aussies will need to have an average game while the English have a perfect game with Wilko kicking every opportunity. Thus far his kicking has been a bit off so there's no guarantees there. There's always a chance and you never know but this Aussies side is very compact. At least we now have some psychological impetus against the Aussies after the last WC but can you really see the Aussies folding psychologically? When has that every happened before? Swing low all the same though...

  • 198.
  • At 12:01 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • emeraldstar wrote:

englsih fans go ahead and support your team- it's not arrogant to do that! as an irish fan, i feel that wnglsih fans do get a raw deal when it comes to supporting their team! however some comments here by some english fans are below the belt as are some comments by non english fans! i wouldnt call the english arrogant but i do feel that bringing their world cup victories from 1966 and 2003 up at every opportune moment is annoying! i think did really well to win the wc in 2003 but i feel that it is also brought up at every moment to take away from their current status which is not too bad at all lol! i am not jealous of english success, i just dont like being reminded of it constantly and there is a mentality that when england win a match they are world beaters again! i personally have no problem with england or english fans, I have a great regard for them especially in dublin during the 6n this year but i just would like a little more realism from sone people here! although the team do have a good shot v australia judging by the aussies performace at the weekend. also i know ireland have been appalling this year- not writing this out of sour grapes and i hope england beat the aussies.

  • 199.
  • At 12:03 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Lee wrote:

Firstly to all Ireland and Wales' English detractors, England can dream becasue they have made the quarters. All you can dream of is a new coach (Wales) and a sudden influx of talent to help out O'Driscoll, Murphy and Neil Best (Ireland's only decent players, two of whom spent most of the tournament benching).
If a nation couldn't dream, only NZ would have turned up this year because they are head and shoulders above everyone on form. But form means nothing as we saw on Saturday (Wales v Fiji) and every weekend that Ireland played a "minnow".
We can dream, we can be passionate and we can expect a gutsy performance the likes of which the Irish fans could only dream of this world cup.
I dream every week that I win the lottery, often it doesn't happen (never in fact) but the word dream means to me "picturing the best possible outcome".
England winning the world cup is as unlikely as any of our celtic neighbours supporting us, now that they are out of the competition, but I can dream that both might happen. That's the beauty of sport.

  • 200.
  • At 12:10 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Andy wrote:


Well said Paula!!

Why is it so wrong for us English to want our team to win?

We had a tough group with some very hard hitting teams (Somao/Tonga) and we have made it the 1/4 final!

Bring it on!

  • 201.
  • At 12:22 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Boffy-Bach wrote:

In a knock out stage of any competition you can always get shock results, so yes England can win as a Welshman I will cheer for the underdog which on this occasion is England. There is a misconception that all Welsh, Scottish and the Irish think that all the English supporters are arrogant I have lived in England and drank in their rugby clubs and they are as passionate as we are about their rugby and not arrogant at all. This arrogance that is banded about is down to the media and their ability to P**s off the Celtic nations with their reporting. There is a total bias to the English on the BBC site and the ITV site and why can't we have commentators that are from the country that is playing why have 2 Englishmen commentating on a Welsh match if you want partiality one Welsh and one English and not Will Greenwood as he is a Muppet of the highest order.

  • 202.
  • At 01:07 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Guidou wrote:

I'm a Mauritian (Citizen of Mauritius, small island in the Indian Ocean) in case you wondering. I personally support France. I spent six years in England and i really appreciate the rugby supporters there who are really knowledgeable and full of respect for the opposition. I went to Twickenham many times and I would say that the English supporters are very friendly even if you support the opposite team. It's not a sin to be passionate about your national team and I believe that they have a realistic chance against the Aussies. As for France well repeat 1999 (I was at Twickenham by the way) and have a chance otherwise it's over!!! Good luck to you all.

  • 203.
  • At 01:11 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Alex Schuster wrote:

Australia have won the RWC twice, South Africa once, All Blacks once and England once. Yet, of these four tribes, the Australians are by far the most modest when it comes to success in rugby.

They quietly go about the business of winning world cups without bleating about their great successes. There's just a quite confidence there (in counterpoint to the 'in yer face' combativeness of their cricket supporters) which realises that, three times out of every five, Australia succeeds effortlessly in rugby.

England are a developing side, but they are the World Cup Holders playing against the team they beat in the 2003 final. I think of all teams, Australia have a unique ability to make the most of what they have got, which makes them hard to beat. But I think England can do it - it may be too early for them, but in a knockout match anything can happen and they have to play as if they truly believe they can win. It is sad to see that, yet again, Australia is resorting to its usual tedious 'England baiting' - and while a bit of healthy rivalry on the blogs or in the bar is all part of the fun, if you want an example of arrogant and unsporting, look no further than the comments of the CEO of Australian Rugby Union, made in the middle of a celebration of world rugby.

  • 205.
  • At 01:32 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Rick Meister wrote:

So Greg no 173, England got lucky in 2003??? Hilarious! England were ranked No 1 in the world and had only just recorded back to back wins in New Zealand and Australia before the tournament! Then they beat Australia in Australia to win the final! Everybody who knew about rugby (even the Aussies!) acknowledged that England were worthy winners. It was only a few Scots, Welsh and Irish with huge chips on their shoulders who couldn't congratulate the English.
Connal no 172 has not just got one chip on his shoulder...he has got a whole packet!! Where does it say "Can England dare to dream about winning the world cup?"
I don't think there is a single English fan looking beyond Australia and we all acknowledge they are strong favourites, but it is not a foregone conclusion, even if maybe we only have a 1 in 5 chance!
The group containing Scotland, Italy, Romania and Portugal was by far the weakest group, not England's!
Yes, Ireland were in the toughest group, but there were several letters and comment in various media before the tournament going on about how Ireland would win the world cup this time as this was the golden generation. 2 teams got out of your group. You didn't, and you only narrowly beat the others. I would say it is those arrogant Irish fans who are left with egg on their faces, but why let the truth come into it when you can indulge in ignorant English bashing?

  • 206.
  • At 02:42 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • emeraldstar wrote:

cabbagestew josh lewsey also made some arroagant comments in reply to o neill's appalling comments. he said something about england having the largest empire in the world and quite honestly i was appalled by that! if that kind of imperialist mentality is still in rugby then no wonder some ppl get frustrated! the empire was powerful because other nations were subjugated and forced to accept english rule. for josh lewsey to make that comment, it was ridiculous. you'd swear england fans were innocent victims of anti english brigade but quite honestly the english are quite good at putting toher teams fans down too! ireland and wales havent performed this year but as an irish fan we have more than 2 decent players! it's infuriating to see those kind of comments too!

  • 207.
  • At 02:53 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • irish and upset wrote:

at the end of the day I would like to see england beat australia. when my team, ireland beat england in the 6n, the english were gracious, friendly and everyone, irish and english alike had a great night in dublin. contrast that to our win over the aussies, when they claimed that ireland had only beaten them because the weather was terrible! the fans werent the nicest. I would look to england as the nh side that has the best chance of keeping the nh reputation intact for the moment. i'm not one of those anyone but england people as that is pathetic! however some of these blogs are downright disrespctful to those "celtic" fans who wouldnt ever be inclined to abuse and mock english fans and so i would say to english fans not to assume everyone is anti english and especially not in ireland anyway. there have also been some hostile remarks made about the celtic countries and so i would also say, if you cant take it, dont dish it out!

  • 208.
  • At 03:49 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

We need to get a bit real here.

Australia have been the better side for the last couple of years and if they all turn up and play their best I can see Australia winning by fifteen to twenty points.

However there are a number of key questions that still need to be answered.

1) If Larkham isn't fit will Barnes be able to take the pressure mentally and psychologically of playng in such a high pressure game?

2) Will Mortlock be fit and 100%? If not I think Australia defensively and attackingly are greatly weakened.

3) If Mortlock isn't fit who will kick for Australia? Re Giteau he has been far from confident with the boot and for Barnes read number 1 above.

4) Will England play Barkley or Farrell at 12? Barkley has struggled and I fear for his ability to stop and Australian midfield attack. Farrell learnt to defend one on one at the top level in Rugby League.

5) Is Jason Robinson fit? If so will he play?

England need to play five points better than they did against Tonga and if they can keep Australia to within seven points then anything could happen.

If however Australia come out to play like they can and we see a score of 20 point to 9 for Australia at half time with Englands 9 coming from Wilkinson then I can see no other result tah an Australia win.

  • 209.
  • At 04:04 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Paula wrote:

All you miserable moaners need to go to Twickenham for a match - then you will see that the English fans don't change their attitude to either the team or the opposition according to the result - we applaud good rugby regardless of who it comes from.

We might like to talk about the fact that we have won the World Cup before - because we are proud of our achievements - if any of you lot ever manage to achieve something so great are you really trying to tell us that you'll never talk about it ever again??!! Believe that and you'll believe anything...

  • 210.
  • At 05:05 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • ian wrote:

Ive been to two matches, SA oh dear and Tonga. Against Tonga I felt that if all the Tongan players had remained confident they could turn us over, but in the end a couple of defencive errors cost them. And so onto our Australian freinds. I have no problem with their winning mentality as we are often a bit week. No I know jonno and his team were different. If we play well we may keep the score respectable but if not then I fear we could get hammered. I hope farrell and hipkiss play as Tait will be little more than a door mat I feel and Barkley doesnt look so good at 12.

  • 211.
  • At 05:12 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • tony d wrote:

No 207 - Well said, the reception given to England by the Irish fan at Croke Park was very classy (doubly so to anyone has any awareness of the history of that place).

I have to say however that when I recieved my 30th email about the 36-0 drubbing by SA earlier in the tournament from my Irish/welsh/scottish chums (for those of you who havent had it it showed the 02 sponsers sysmbol on the England shirt as 0 36!) my reaction was to laugh and await my opportunity for a response - which i have just sent.

Long may be be able to take the mickey out of each other in the uk (and not really mean it.........)

  • 212.
  • At 06:23 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Alex Schuster wrote:

Re comment 209, I went to Twickenham for the England-Argentina friendly match. Perhaps I'm a bit deaf, but I didn't detect any great applause for Argentina when they scored an intercept try. Nor was there even a perceptible ripple of applause for any of their other scores.

There were about fifty Argentine supporters in a crowd of about 80,000 and all of the crowd's energy and ire was directed at poor old Andy Robinson. But there was certainly no inclination to applaud the superior passages of play put together by Argentina. But perhaps the fact that the two countries have had an acrimonious history could explain all of this.

  • 213.
  • At 10:00 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • bob smith wrote:

I'm English but not a jingoist. I like S.Hemisphere rugby and Australia on form are an excellent side to watch. I know they can gloat and go on a bit but in a sporting sense at least they have an excellent mental attitude and it steers them through tough times. They shouldn't have beaten NZ in 2003 but they did. That said, England were not 'lucky' to beat the Ozzies, they were unlucky to not beat them by more points and sooner. It will be a game that could swing either way. Neither team are World Championship contenders alongside S.A and NZ but at this stage only a real, narrow-minded, biased fool would call it one way or the other. If any one is that sure of the result put your life savings on it. I don't think anyone - not even an Ozzy - would do that.

  • 214.
  • At 02:39 AM on 02 Oct 2007,
  • tim weightman wrote:

In respose to 172 -
I think your position is that No - the English should not dare to dream. Is your thesis that dreaming of victory, if victory is unlikely outcome, is an arrogant trait and one that should not be tolerated? Or is it that dreaming should not be performed by England supporters? If it is the latter, is your position based a purely geographical dreaming constraint, or is it based on some theory of probabilty that should limit any persons ability to dream irrespective of his/her geographical location or national origin?
In the event that your position can be supported by rational argument: Given that dreaming is not a conscious act how would you propose that the English eliminate the offending action (or inaction) in the future?

  • 215.
  • At 07:17 AM on 02 Oct 2007,
  • David wrote:

Hey paula how goes it,,me is sitiing in new zealand at moment dreaming of prospect of being overthere in france watching these final games,,but tiz only a dream,,,anyway iam born and bred kiwi,,english blood in me though,,,but how come iam kiwi,,but want to see the english do well,,but but,,i cant allow it,,nooo way i have wagered on Argentina,,i dont even rate the ABS,,sad but true,,mainly because they have played the easy beats,,while them teama in pool D had the hard yards to cover,,,so when it comes to weekend sadly i think the english would of played there hearts out but to no avail,,,,fiji might stick it up the boks,,hopefully anyway,,scots will be feeling sick,,,france might get someone to poisin the ABS like well might of happend in the past,,ie boks tricks,,think they used lady by the name of Suzie ha ha,,,soooo them also my dreams,,or thoughts,,,,,,,

  • 216.
  • At 10:51 AM on 02 Oct 2007,
  • steve newport wrote:

I really must congratulate the Welsh team on making my saturday night out so enjoyable on the weekend. Practically all my friends are welsh and it was pleasing to be able to annoy them all night. During Eng /Wales games we are all the worst of enemies and they all support any team who plays England. So this sat they will all be cheering on the aussies as if they were their own team. Its fine that everyone hates the English because I hate everyone anyway. As for Sat Australia will almost certainly win, but you never know in sport do you....

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