bbc.co.uk Navigation

Bryn Palmer

Relieved hosts leave Irish in a stew (75)

Paris - From the “scenario catastrophe” of their opening-night faux pas, the cathartic effects of a comfortable and critical victory enveloped France on Friday night.

Given the enormity of what was at stake, the relief of a nation - and perhaps many neutrals who feared for this World Cup’s health without its hosts - was palpable.

Bernard Lapasset, the president of the French Rugby Federation, had described the 'double or quits' clash with Ireland as “the most important in France’s professional rugby history”.

Defeat, as France captain Raphael Ibanez put it, was “unthinkable”, the consequences – for the team, its supporters, sponsors, federation officials, club rugby, the country’s self-esteem, economy even – too unpleasant to contemplate.

In five previous World Cups, the hosts have twice won the tournament (New Zealand in 1987, South Africa in 1995) and twice reached the final (England in 1991, Australia in 2003). Only Wales, in 1991, failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals.

The front page of L’Equipe, France’s national daily sports paper, had declared that the “L’Heure de Verite’ (The Moment of Truth) was at hand.

Le Parisien’, with an obligatory picture of Sebastien Chabal staring out from its front page, had only one word of advice for the Tricolores: Vaincre! (Conquer!)

And conquer they did a demoralised Ireland side for whom World Cup salvation seems a long way off.

They subsided by the same 22-point margin by which France beat them (43-21) at the quarter-final stage four years ago.

And despite the three Triple Crowns in the interim, this comprehensive defeat makes it difficult to argue they have made any great strides on the world stage since, and that their most talented team in living memory will forever remain at least one step removed from greatness.

All is not lost just yet, but scoring one try, let alone four, against Argentina, who have yet to concede one in the tournament, looks a tall order on the evidence of Ireland's opening three matches.

Their supporters did them proud as always, converging on the Stade de France in their thousands and out-cheering and out-singing the locals as the teams were announced and the anthems played.

But once the initial Irish aerial bombardment yielded few gains and the booming boot of Damien Traille kept them at arm’s length, France were clinical in punishing Irish errors and indiscipline.

The hosts concentrated on getting their set-pieces working well, taking few risks – one ill-advised Frederic Michalak sortie from his own 22 aside – and building a lead.

When Ronan O’Gara finally got Ireland on the scoreboad three minutes before half-time, it appeared we might have a game on our hands.

But Jean-Baptiste Elissalde’s fourth penalty before the interval soothed any hint of nerves to make it 12-3, and once France had survived a brief flurry of Irish pressure – and brief rendition of “Fields of Athenry” - on the resumption, the end was swift.

Another Irish indiscretion allowed Elissalde to stretch the advantage before Michalak opened his box of tricks, a delightful chip with the outside of his right boot bouncing kindly for Vincent Clerc to put the outcome beyond doubt.

Bernard Laporte’s face on the stadium’s big screen was a picture, letting out a lengthy “Oooouuuuiiiiiiii” as he punched both fists in delight.

He was at it again 10 minutes later as Clerc’s second try emphasised French superiority, but by that stage any sense of a lingering contest had already elapsed.

The Stade de France relaxed, indulged in a chorus of “La Marseillaise” and chants of “Allez les Bleus” in between huge sighs of relief.

At the final whistle, the French players all gathered in a celebratory huddle, while the crowd sang along contentedly to a popular ditty “On Ira Tous au Paradis” (We’re all going to Paradise) as it bellowed out from the public address system.

‘Paradise’ may yet be a quarter-final against New Zealand in Cardiff, and the prospect of going out of their own World Cup in another country.

The potential price, you might say, for the political and financial machinations that ensured the tournament came to France in the first place.

But when the alternative was shame and national ridicule on the home front, our hosts will settle for that.


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


Comments  Post your comment

On balance France deserved to win --because they played the better defensive game----but I feel their final score was achieved through some pedantic referring by White. I'm still trying to work out how he could have yellow carded O'Connell--a penalty maybe, but would still be have doubts

  • 2.
  • At 03:15 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Kev wrote:

Can someone ask these Irish players, why so many people left these shores over the years, to make a life?????....somebody ask them, because they are not gallant Irish men....as they should be when they travel far and wide.....

  • 3.
  • At 04:31 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Jay Walsh wrote:

Predictably Ireland never played near their potential once again. Another coaching disaster of a performance. Only in broken play can Ireland show the natural talent in this team. The backline moves are as uninspired, predictable and conservative as the coach. Ireland kicked away like ever, hoping to prey on mistakes...You know what Eddie, better teams don't make so many, you've got to show some initiative of your own. He opted for no impact players on the bench to try turn the game, but for pure cover for injuries. The player's conditioning is obviously off as they tired again in the 2nd half, esp in the scrums. Ireland's golden era of players has been fully squandered by this coach.. Onwards now for an exit against Argentina, and then Brian and Paul, let's get yourselves excited and motivated for another four years under Eddie.

  • 4.
  • At 04:55 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Godels_sprog wrote:

This French team has no chance against any of the Southern Hemisphere teams.

This is an Ireland team that have been by most people accounts been misfiring and all France managed was two unconverted trys and penalties caused by indisipline.

Southern Hemisphere teams win ruck ball clean. No penalties.

South Africa will win pretty much any ruck ball on offer and so France will have no posession.

The Kiwis will easily turn whatever posession they have into points. Ireland broke the game line too many times for France to be able to claim they can stand up against the ABs.

The Wallabies just don't lose no matter what happens.

Perhaps a Kiwi, Bok, Wallaby, Puma (All Southern Hemisphere) semi-finals is in the offing.

  • 5.
  • At 04:58 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Fint wrote:

Over rated, over hyped and over the hill. Eddie O Sullivan and the team have fallen short when it counted yet again. There can be no excuses. This Irish team are on the way home, and no can argue that they deserve any better.

  • 6.
  • At 05:22 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Fiontan wrote:

Stringer out, Murphy out- What planet is Eddie o Sullivan on? He has to take some of the blame. This Irish team is playing as if they are at a wake. No focus, no team spirit and no coaching.

  • 7.
  • At 05:51 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • dave mc wrote:

If Ireland had not conceeded the penalty just before half time it would have been 9-3 at the interval and the French would have been under some pressure.

Until the French got the try they were better, but not be a whole lot. If there had not been a couple of needless momentum sapping penaltys (stamping) it might have been closer. Dont tell me the irish game plan was not to keep it close until the last 10 minutes and see if the French would implode under the pressure / expectations.

Bottom line if you take away a couple of stupid mistakes then it would have been a different game, and maybe very very different.

It was a good performance and could provide the platform and belief necessary to beat Argentina by 4 tries.

  • 8.
  • At 07:43 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Jim from Croydon wrote:

Watching Ireland I thought what a great player BOD is. His brain functionned evenly throughout the game cleaning stuff, up appearing here and there - laying the ball back cleanly when tackled - doing all the basics well - querying the ref to make sure people knew what he was blowing for (eg O'Gara almost getting yellow carded for swearing) -when asked at the end about the result his first reply was that "the score line never lies" - and basically that Ireland weren't that good.

Enter EOS to blame it on the referee - or the line-out - otherwise maybe Ireland would have won? Hehe


  • 9.
  • At 07:57 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Jim from Croydon wrote:

Watching Ireland I thought what a great player BOD is. His brain functionned evenly throughout the game cleaning stuff, up appearing here and there - laying the ball back cleanly when tackled - doing all the basics well - querying the ref to make sure people knew what he was blowing for (eg O'Gara almost getting yellow carded for swearing) -when asked at the end about the result his first reply was that "the score line never lies" - and basically that Ireland weren't that good.

Enter EOS to blame it on the referee - or the line-out - otherwise maybe Ireland would have won? Hehe


  • 10.
  • At 08:07 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Don W wrote:

I hope EOS is going to ring the changes for the final group match. The team has now disappointed in three games so what's to lose? Get Best, Quinlan, Murphy and P Wallace in , perhaps Ferris. The world cup venture is all but gone , lets give the others a chance to show some passion

  • 11.
  • At 08:16 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Don W wrote:

I hope EOS is going to ring the changes for the final group match. The team has now disappointed in three games so what's to lose? Get Best, Quinlan, Murphy and P Wallace in , perhaps Ferris. The world cup venture is all but gone , lets give the others a chance to show some passion

  • 12.
  • At 09:01 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Irish Aussie wrote:

First off congrats to France for a well controlled game. They preyed off Irish mistakes with penalties and unfortunatly Tries.
. I think france are very beatable. If Ireland had any disipline and cut out the silly mistakes we could have been level at half time. Some silly refereeing desisions (i.e The "Stamp") Ireland were on a roll and Chebal tried to bring it down. Any rugby player knows your going to get a shoeing if you try that, and players regularly do in matches without a glace from the ref. Having said all that, it was stupid adn the ref was within his rights to give yet another hometown decision. The rucks were also refereed diferantly. As soon as an Irish player looked like they were going to get the ball from the ruck, Chris White pops up and says the ruck is formed "Hands Off"
Finally What in the world was Trimble doing???? Fine if it was a 5M scrum getting Easterby to cover the wing so we'd have more defence outside, but just inside the 22 with V.Clerc on the wing. Plain stupid.
Unfortunatly thats irelands chances of advanceing blown really. So here's hoping for a Wallaby World Cup.

  • 13.
  • At 09:34 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Rob Young wrote:

Let's get real. Ireland have not looked like the team they were in the 6 nations this autumn. Outplayed by scotland in a warmup game says more about Irish short comings than Scottish brilliance or lack of it. Struggling to beat Georgia doesn't give much confidence for the key game against Argentina.

France deserved their win last night despite some poor decisions by the Ref.

Unless Ireland can have a complete rethink about their team and tactics I am afraid its going to be goodbye.

  • 14.
  • At 11:04 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • VRG wrote:

Some of this mornings comments show a degree of naievety regarding our
great game: Yes, BOD is a wonderful
tackler, rucker, mauler: distributor ? Apparently he is a nightmare to play with, hanging on when he should pass and vice versa : he would make a wonderful 6: would have to discount him in the lineouts ! Those comments re the lack of shooing these days, ignore the refereeing directive that boots will not be placed on prone players: its up to the referees to 'ping' the men laying around the ball: in the old days it was huge encouragement to move when you had a size 12 with 17stone above it sliding down your back ! EOS's comment re GM show a huge degree of arrogance: what did we have RWC warm up games for, GM was the only Irishman to shine against Scotland: yes he missed Ibanez against France, but who missed the winning try scorer later !
Did anyone watch GM on that shocking wet day against Australia at LRd in the Autumn, he didn't put a foot wrong and scored yet another try. He must come in against the Argies, otherwise we have no chance whatever ! And what did our new scrum half look like? Exactly what he was: a plucky guy playing his first game at this level: ask ROG who he would have preferred !!!!

  • 15.
  • At 11:09 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • frenchman from paris wrote:

I wish now Ireland to win against Argentina
Allez les Verts !

  • 16.
  • At 11:09 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Kevin Brennan wrote:

Another poor performance and one where Irelands big players didn't front up, with the exception of BOD. O'gara and D'arcy were poor and O'Connell brainless at times - the ref was right to sinbin him, I'm afraid.I'm not sure about the Murphy-mania, however - he's exciting, sure enough but is defensively frail at this level as the France game at Croke Park showed. Perhaps the conditioning needs looking at - certainly we were not hitting the contact area with any real momentum after the first 20 minutes. The Scots look to have spent a lot of time getting that right at least, we looked slow and tired at times. Sadly I'm back in my familiar pessimistic viewpoint, to which as an Irishman I've been long accustomed, at least until the recent EOS era. A thorough and honest postmortem of this campaign is required when the boys get home - at this rate, probably next weekend.

  • 17.
  • At 11:58 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • NilDesparendum wrote:

Congrats to the French they deserved the win. The Irish played better than recently but were simply not good enough on the night. Good - Reddan/BOD, Poor - O Gara/Darcy/Trimble. Mr Whites refereeing was very poor - on balance to the disadvantage of the Irish (Stands in way of Trimble try! Reddan pass against offside Frenchman - Reddan is critised! Wallace walking over Frenchman who should have rolled away!? O Connell yellow carded for being in at the side of a forming rolling maul from a lineout!!). White was clearly swayed by the occasion and crowd and shoudl not be allowed to referee any of the SFs or F. I am not saying he was partisan just incompetent!

  • 18.
  • At 11:59 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Patdartagnan wrote:

I hope that Ireland is going to re-seize against the Argentina, I would be at the stade of France and I want to believe in the miracle. Ireland has to wake up, she finally has to play her real level. But why murphy is not holder? Anyway, Argentina is a disaster for the rugby, it is not a country of Rugby. If ever, the traditional teams of the NH are crushed, and one take the road, then the stadiums of Rugby are going to empty. The elite of the rugby maybe is sawing the branch on which he sits. Scotland, Wales, Ireland, England and France are in the same boat and it is possible that this boat is called Titanic :(

  • 19.
  • At 12:07 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • ender wrote:

Ireland are starting to remind me of England, a sterile team, a very very poor show last night. My only hope now is that they lose narrowly to Agentina. The all blacks will destroy them if they ever reached the 1/4 finals.

  • 20.
  • At 12:20 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Brendan Lowry wrote:

I havn't seen the Irish team play since last winter. I watched the game against France today and was shocked to see the side look so lame and demoralized from the outset. They obviously decided from the beginning that they couldn't run through or around the French and so resorted to kicking over them. If that wasn't bad enough, straight into the arms of the French. I havn't seen that sort of mind numbing kicking since the mid seventies. The French might have resorted to similar tactics at times but at least some of it was with inspiration and thought, which lead to two trys. What happened to one of the best back lines in the game? This team used to walk onto the pitch with an attitude that they could beat anyone. Today they looked as though they were hoping to not lose too badly. Someone has got to get the guys moral up. O'Driscoll still leads by example but more is needed than that. The team needs to be inspired and get some self belief back. If the Captain and coach can't do it, then maybe the team should be locked in their rooms with the book 'Endeavour' and told to read it ten times. Maybe Shackleton can help.

Then again, maybe it would be just as well to lose against Argentina, on this form I dread to think what score a quarter final against the All Blacks would be.

Come on Ireland, you know you have it in you, play to win, not hope to win.

B.Lowry - New Zealand

  • 21.
  • At 12:25 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Jim from Croydon wrote:

Hmm I must admit I ne comprends pas... as said above Ireland were fantastic last autumn. Everything seemed to be going in the right direction - new guys getting blooded - for the world cup we thought ,,,,,,,,,,

then we went back to the oldies - what was Carney all about ? why was GM marginalised - - Neil Best was MoM in the warm-up against Italy by a street

LaPorte is another analytical coach but he does seem to realise that by playing different players you inherently change the tactics and you pick them to play their own game. Ireland have one set of tactics so we always get the same players. The guys on the bench seem to have no role and the oppo knows exactly what to do - thus the Ireland mid-field is now rushed to extinction.

I must admit I don't understand why?
The progress since last autumn seems to have been a programme of destroying the confidence of players like Trimble, Murphy etc which other countries would only be too pleased to have..........

And I am not a Stringer fan but blaming the scrum-half after 240 minutes or maybe more of rubbish ball is not very fair.

I thought it was intersting that the one player making a lot of gain was the No 6 - who actually had a bit of competition sitting on the bench - although his indiscipline rate was way too high and too high for a Magners League team captain. Although maybe that was why he ignored Trimble's instructions on the first French try.....

all pretty mystifying........

  • 22.
  • At 12:27 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Fedup Irishman wrote:

I can't remember the last time Ireland played to their potential - their ability at underachieving is second to none. I've got used to it now because I support newcastle united and northern ireland at football - in the Irish rugby team I thought I had a team which could win something for the supporters. Apparently I'll have to add them to the list of no hopers.....

  • 23.
  • At 12:31 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • KMS wrote:

"Argentina is a disaster for the rugby, it is not a country of Rugby"

I very much doubt anyone with any understanding of the sport would agree, despite the IRB/3N's best efforts to keep them out of any meaningful annual competition.

  • 24.
  • At 12:50 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Richard Calhoun wrote:

My belief before the World Cup, that Ireland had peaked 2 years ago without achieving their potential, seems to have been borne out after their pathetic performance against France.

They will now crash out and should concentrate on re-building their side for 2011.

The winner - Eddie O'Sullivan for signing a new 4 year contract just prior to the World Cup.

The Losers - Irish Rugby Union and their supporters

To Patdartagnan:

The fact that freedom of speech is a cornerstone of democracies, doesn't mean ignorant people should always exercise that freedom. Argentina is a disaster for rugby? Argentina is not rugby country? What are you on man? Rugby is one of the most traditional sports in Argentina at club levels. The fact that is and will probably stay amateur doesn't make it any less appealing. In fact, I think it makes a lot more exciting in terms of the spirit and for the following. The Argentine Rugby Union has been around for more than a 100 years, and the game was originally brought by the English and Irish. The leagues are well organized, are very competitive, and the youth programmes are becoming ever stronger. Argentina have been present in all RWC and in the last 4-5 years the sport is the third most popular after football and basketball. I could go on but I probably don't wanna spoil a sore french who is talkin out of his/her ignorance. Get your facts straight before opening your bright mind to the world. And try to get a decent English teacher in the meantime.

As for the so-called crucial Ireland-Argentina match, I don't think the Pumas will be very worried.Sure, they know Ireland always pose a threat and have always troubled the Pumas often resulting very close matches. But that is precisely why I am not worried either. The Pumas have not been scored against (tries) and their defense is strong and have the ability to slow down the other team with their tackling, mauling, rucking and physicality. Not even in my worst nightmare, I see Ireland scoring four tries against the Pumas. Unless some miracle happen, it will be a very close match where the scoring will mainly come from the kickers. In case of an Irish victory, there will be a likely three-way tie at the top and it will be very tight. Even in that case, I still think that Ireland will regret not having gotten the bonus point against Georgia.

  • 26.
  • At 01:17 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Bill wrote:

Stop blaming the officiating, Ireland were just plain and simply awful. And they've been that way since the tournament began.

  • 27.
  • At 01:28 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Rob Young wrote:

Let's get real. Ireland have not looked like the team they were in the 6 nations this autumn. Outplayed by scotland in a warmup game says more about Irish short comings than Scottish brilliance or lack of it. Struggling to beat Georgia doesn't give much confidence for the key game against Argentina.

France deserved their win last night despite some poor decisions by the Ref.

Unless Ireland can have a complete rethink about their team and tactics I am afraid its going to be goodbye.

  • 28.
  • At 01:45 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • JimW wrote:

The fact that Ireland still have a mathematical chance of qualifying creates a selection problem.

If they were out of the tournament EOS might have been persuaded to ring the changes for the final game and blood some new players. However because they have a change we will probably get a very conservative selection with few alterations.

Obviously I'd like to see Ireland qualify although it makes me very nervous thinking about them playing at this level against New Zealand in the Q-F. Its a huge ask to look for four tries against an Argentina side that haven't conceeded a try so far but its not beyond the bounds the team play to their potential.

But ultimately win, lose or draw I want to see a passionate Irish performance. I want to see players take pride in playing for the national team. If they go down I want them to go down fighting not meekly limp out of the tournament.

One last hurrah lads please!

  • 29.
  • At 02:01 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Dave Pedant wrote:

'Only Wales, in 1991, failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals.'

You mean 1999 surely?

  • 30.
  • At 03:21 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • lizzie wrote:

Eddie O'S inherited a good team from Warren Gatland and I think he has been living on the impetus created by Gatland.

Gatland should never have been sacked - just look at what he had done with the teams he has worked with since then - WASPS won 3 premiership titles and the Heineken cup, and in NZ a title for Waikato.

  • 31.
  • At 03:40 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • William.Cassidy wrote:

Something seriously wrong in that Irish camp.
Apart from that,we were always going to struggle against the French and I dare say most people would have expected that.Likewise,most people would expect a tough encounter from the Argentinians.The big disappointment,however,was the lack lustre displays against Namibia and Georgia.No one expected these exceptionally poor performances
At the end of the day,I predict not one of the Six Nations team will come anywhere near beating any of the Tri-Nations.

  • 32.
  • At 03:52 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Olivier wrote:

Come on Ireland! You will have two countries pushing behind you next Sunday against Argentina.

  • 33.
  • At 04:36 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Gary wrote:

What Does Neil Best have to do to get into the starting XV? Wallace and Leamy have shown nothing the entire campaign yet EOS is Blinkered by their reputations. Yet again O'Gara had a Stinker...His line and Touch kicking were shocking. If the number 10 is not performing the backiline can't perform...but we have no better alternative at 10 in the Squad.

Someone said last night said Ireland had no Plan B.....If I'm honest I would be happy if we had a Plan A!

  • 34.
  • At 05:36 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Glynn Hughes wrote:

Stuart Barnes is Not a commentator he is an opinionator if the scores were reversed he would have used the word "drubbing" send him back to Murdock ITV .

  • 35.
  • At 05:55 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Rhodri wrote:

Unfortunately, when put under pressure, the Irish reverted to type and became intent on cynically slowing the opposition ball down, resulting in a strings of penalties; I can't believe EOS was critical of the referee afterwards. The same tactics were used in the Grand Slam decider against Wales in 2005 and is symptomatic of Munster in the Magners League. Its lucky Chris White was refereeing otherwise more than just O'Connell would have gone to the bin.

If France end up topping the group then I think they're going all the way to the final. Otherwise, they have no chance against the All Blacks.

  • 36.
  • At 06:17 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • niall bennett wrote:

So Ireland lost to the French. No big surprise there, did anyone really believe that they could win the game after seeing their recent performances. Apparently some fans did, presumably the sort of fans who prefer to believe personal (or national) pride can replace good training, good selection and good execution on the field. The Ireland squad needs a shake-up and so do the wise men who awarded the coach a four year contract. Eddie was supposedly appointed because he knows what the irish squad do well. Like always coming second? Not good enough and frankly indefensible when you look at what the team have achieved under O´Sullivan. Being "close" to winning is not a good enough measure, and neither is "putting pride" into the shirt. I´d prefer good coaching, proper strategy (that would make a change), good techniques and solid consistent performances. Some home of that under the current management. Personally I´m now rooting for Argentina, if they top the group they could get to the semis, France against the all-blacks - no contest (NZ win). What is there left for ireland to save? The managers job perhaps, not much else.

  • 37.
  • At 06:55 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • KMS wrote:

I don't understand the incessant bleating for the halcyon days of Warren Gatland. Am I the only one who remembers what a shambles we were under him, and that the decision to blood a host of young players (whom he'd been ignoring up to that point) was the last act of a desperate man?

Admittedly these players went on to inspire against Scotland and France and to form the core of what was, until the past year or so, a pretty good team, but it was hardly the methodical, inspired decision-making of someone who was coaching the national side through a golden era.

  • 38.
  • At 06:58 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • jason wrote:

White was a good choice by the IRB, hosts out at group stage not what the big wigs wanted.Ireland poor game,pack not putting up again, backs missing passes, O'gara not able to kick more than 20m all game D'arcy not mentioned or seen lacking belief. I am now believing the papere reports of strife in the camp, not once have a seen team mate congratulate or try to encourage each other. Team for the Argies should be
15- Murphy
14- Horgan
13- O'Driscoll
12- Trimble
11- Hickie
10- Wallace
9- Reddin
8- Quinlin
6- Best
5- O'Connell
4- O'Callaghan
3- Hayes
2- Sheahan
1- Horan
Sorry it is not a great change of personnel but there is not much to choose from, hers hoping might even go to church and pray for something. To be honest we don't deserve to go further

  • 39.
  • At 07:01 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Dermot McInerney wrote:

While Ireland undoubtedly improved on their lamentable performances against Namibia and Georgia it patently was not good enough to beat France. All that we can hope for now is for us to beat Argentina on Sunday week.

Having said that, it seems clear that EOS has lost the plot. His failure to bring on Alan Quinlan and the mystifying omission of Geordan Murphy from the team calls his judgment into question. Had Geordan been playing last night then it is possible that we might have won.

O'Sllivan needs to follow Bernard Laporte's example and make some radical changes for the game against Argentina, but I fear that he won't.

  • 40.
  • At 07:25 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Pascal wrote:

Go on Ireland! Lick your wounds and get on with it! Last night game could have gone either ways but unfortunately wasn't meant to be a victory for you. Instead of wasting your time and nerves on what happened against France, use your pride and anger to focus on the Argies! You are better than that. Argentina scored their only try against the French on a lucky interception, if if wasn't for that one they wouldn't have beaten France who were too nervous to handle the event of a WC opener in Paris....You can be French or Irish...it seems none of us can handle high expectations and high mediatic pressure, or else you have to be ET or a Kiwi..Remember Croker? I do.
Argentina are not NZ, they ARE beatable (even by 4 tries) only if you STOP moaning about yourself and show what the Irish fighting spirit and pride are all about, it ain't over till it's over. Then your players will have all the time in the world to parade in silly TV adds making tons of money...maybe that is the problem after all. Best of Luck from a proud French Dubliner. GO ON IRELAND!!!!!

  • 41.
  • At 08:06 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • niall wrote:

Is it me or are there alot of french fans wishing Ireland all the best against Argentina. Why could that be? If the result went the "wrong way" (i.e. ireland lose) for france what would that mean (hmm?)? Were the same fans were disappointed ireland didn´t win against the french?? Fair play to the argentinians, they´ve put themselves in a position to win the group and I wouldn´t begrudge them the win. Let´s face it there is not much chance that ireland are going to win it (was there ever??)...

  • 42.
  • At 08:19 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • alan wilkinson wrote:

i think that was a poor performance by ireland, we had a good start but faded away after giving away so much ball, wether it be by indisciplin or just turnovers, france didn't play that good, they only scored 2 trys which we should of stopped easily and the rest was by penaltys, they won't go past the qf's, we need alan quinlan and neil best on the flank or stephen ferris, murphy must go on the bench, but if we do reach the quarters we could still beat the blacks, because lets be honest we'll have to play well to beat the pumas by 4 trys so that would mean that we'd regain our form. heres my prefered team

1 horan
2 flannery
3 hayes
4 quinlan
5 o'connell
6 easterby/ferris
7 best
8 leamy
9 stringer/redden
10 wallace
11 hickie
12 d'arcy
13 trimble
14 horgan/ carney
15 dempsey
16 young
17 R Best
18 o'callaghan
19 wallace
20 boss
21 o'gara
22 murphy

  • 43.
  • At 08:20 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • invasionoftheBODysnatchers wrote:

Nice try Pascal but unless someone finds where the real Ireland team have been kidnapped before next week you're playing the Kiwi's in the Quarters. You won't be needing any tickers after that.

  • 44.
  • At 08:36 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • alan wilkinson wrote:

i meant to put trimble at horgan at 12 and bo'd at 13 with carney on the wing for 42, incase some people are wondering

  • 45.
  • At 08:49 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • MTD wrote:

As an Irish sports fan ( and therefore one that supports several codes) I have to say I am getting a sense of déja vu watching this tournament. It is like USA 1990 all over again. Everybody is criticizing coaches and players (with some justification it has to be said). But what about the IRFU. What a total screw up from them. They vote for France, we get awarded 3 group games. They mess up the plans for those and the long suffering Irish supporters have to traipse over to Bordeaux and Paris to watch these depressing performances.
The reference to the world cup is about the FAI Peeing off FIFA and us ending up going to NY and 110 degree Orlando instead of to Boston where we might have had some chance of getting to the quarter finals and winning the blooming thing.
So yes. Lets criticise highly paid players and coaches. But lets not forget the amateurish administrators who are letting them (and us) down badly.

  • 46.
  • At 11:11 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Depressed Irishfan wrote:

Post #38

to be fair to the team they have not had a lot to celebrate, congratulate or encourage each other about.

Their tails are definitely between their legs, which is a sad sight to see from a team that used to pride itself on passion and never giving up.

On another note, this is the first time in a long time that I have heard of there being discontent in te Irish squad...and it is also the first time in a long time that I have heard the Ulster players criticised for being the root of that discontent.

For me a more likely source of discontent would be among the players who were brought along to make up numbers and were rarely, if ever, given the chance to play. Coincidentally some of those same players are from Ulster.

Finally, if there is a rift between the players from North and South...why is it emerging now? Has EOS done something to poison the waters?

  • 47.
  • At 11:38 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Hi Chums,

What a week to go!!

I´m sorry, but The Pumas deserve to lead and top pool D.

A W.O. would be just fine to:

1)Get the French nervous and having to show how great they are against the All Blacks.
2)Let The Pumas demonstrate they are the 4th ranked according to IRB (leading with the rest of the Tri Nation Teams)
3)Avoid being embarassed by loosing against a Third World non Rugby focused country.

Just bring the boys back before Sunday.

Best Regards

Cheeky Andrew from Buenos Aires

VAMOS PUMAS CARAJO!!

  • 48.
  • At 12:18 AM on 23 Sep 2007,
  • Argie wrote:

It is funny to see how the Frenchies are keen on supporting the Irish for the final match... Didn't they root for Georgia when they played Ireland??
To be honest I had hoped for an Irish win last night (having been to Ireland, etc, etc), but unfortunately it didn't materialize.
When was the last time that Ireland beat Argentina by 4 tries, and with a difference of at least 7 points? In order to get that result, Ireland will have to play a very expansive game from the start and the result will only be achievable if either a. the Argentinean defence completely fails to turn up, or b. O'Driscoll et al play the best game in the history of Irish rugby.
Regardless of the result, I have no doubt that Sunday we'll see a thrilling match.
And let's hope that the magnificent Georgians can beat the hosts... or at least deny them the bonus point.
cheers,
S.O.

  • 49.
  • At 10:27 AM on 23 Sep 2007,
  • Mike Sullivan wrote:

Come on Seb....complaing about poor Patdartagnan's language skills and then..."physicality". However, right on regarding Argentina.

  • 50.
  • At 02:38 PM on 23 Sep 2007,
  • Jack wrote:

As an Ulsterman who has played rugby and if I was anyway good enough to play for Ireland.I would have been so proud to pull on the green of Ireland and yes even stand for the National anthem, why does this old chestnut always appear when Ireland do bad " Ulster players are to blame for discontent" during the Georgia game I saw O'Driscoll (Leinster) give a mouthful to Stringer (Munster)no Ulster influence there. George Hook has always berated Ulster players playing for Ireland, I ask why?. hockey and rugby are as a I am aware the only all Ireland International teams barring the GAA/Aussie rule series,giving that rugby is the 4th most popular sport in Ireland, we do well and for god sake give the team support and leave all nonsense at home

  • 51.
  • At 02:52 PM on 23 Sep 2007,
  • Jack wrote:

As an Ulsterman who has played rugby and if I was anyway good enough to play for Ireland.I would have been so proud to pull on the green of Ireland and yes even stand for the National anthem, why does this old chestnut always appear when Ireland do bad " Ulster players are to blame for discontent" during the Georgia game I saw O'Driscoll (Leinster) give a mouthful to Stringer (Munster)no Ulster influence there. George Hook has always berated Ulster players playing for Ireland, I ask why?. hockey and rugby are as a I am aware the only all Ireland International teams barring the GAA/Aussie rule series,giving that rugby is the 4th most popular sport in Ireland, we do well and for god sake give the team support and leave all nonsense at home

  • 52.
  • At 05:22 PM on 23 Sep 2007,
  • collie wrote:

Utter rubbish.

  • 53.
  • At 06:09 PM on 23 Sep 2007,
  • Big Stew wrote:

As a staunch Kiwi supporter, I seek opinions from Scottish fans on the squad selected for today's match with the All Blacks.

While I concede today's All Blacks performance lacked the killer instinct required to win the cup, I'm totally gutted at Hadden's team selection.

Us Kiwi's have a huge respect for Scottish rugby, but today's selection by Hadden wreaks of a man realising his number 1 squad would never be able to do 'the business' and therefore selecting a revised squad to provide him with an escape clause.

If i was a Scottish fan today, I'd be gutted and ashamed...certainly not with any of the lads on the pitch, but with the clown at the helm without a compass!!

Another aside...who decided that the Kiwi 'away' strip offered the officials and players better assistance with decision making?? Awful...AWFUL decision!!

  • 54.
  • At 06:59 PM on 23 Sep 2007,
  • Tez wrote:

As a Welsh man, Bryn, not sure its fair that you get to do all the "rub it in" wrap ups on the Irish performances.
Think we need a little more balance from the Beeb.
Expectation is a cruel thing, and maybe this Irish team is a little ahead of itself.
Hope is a kinder companion. Can we beat Arg by 4 tries and 7 points?
I hope so! An anyway will follow the team no matter what.


  • 55.
  • At 07:11 PM on 23 Sep 2007,
  • bodhazaffa wrote:

Ireland are as bad as England. They look entirely void of ideas. What happened to the Ireland of 12 months or so ago? They're coming home after all the hype with nothing, no world cup challenge and no 6 nations.

  • 56.
  • At 07:25 PM on 23 Sep 2007,
  • bodhazaffa wrote:

Ireland are as bad as England. They look entirely void of ideas. What happened to the Ireland of 12 months or so ago? They're coming home after all the hype with nothing, no world cup challenge and no 6 nations.

  • 57.
  • At 10:44 PM on 23 Sep 2007,
  • Patrick S wrote:

OK, Unlike most of the people here I was wrong and thought we would win on Friday. What now ? Murphy as Full Back ( I think he can be erratic etc and i would normally go for dempsey) but we have to go for it, I would put in kerney over trimble (who had a shocker). I would keep the rest the same. We have the talent. I am distraught but hope to get tickets and be there, i can see us doing it, i will continue to suffer if am I am wrong again. Eire abu.

  • 58.
  • At 10:53 PM on 23 Sep 2007,
  • Patrick S wrote:

OK, Unlike most of the people here I was wrong and thought we would win on Friday. What now ? Murphy as Full Back ( I think he can be erratic etc and i would normally go for dempsey) but we have to go for it, I would put in kerney over trimble (who had a shocker). I would keep the rest the same. We have the talent. I am distraught but hope to get tickets and be there, i can see us doing it, i will continue to suffer if am I am wrong again. Eire abu.

  • 59.
  • At 10:59 PM on 23 Sep 2007,
  • Patrick S wrote:

OK, Unlike most of the people here I was wrong and thought we would win on Friday. What now ? Murphy as Full Back ( I think he can be erratic etc and i would normally go for dempsey) but we have to go for it, I would put in kerney over trimble (who had a shocker). I would keep the rest the same. We have the talent. I am distraught but hope to get tickets and be there, i can see us doing it, i will continue to suffer if am I am wrong again. Eire abu.

  • 60.
  • At 07:06 AM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Who will go through in pool D? Assuming France get maximum points next week they go trough as either 1st or 2nd in the group.. What happens between Argentina & Ireland? Of course if Argentina beat Ireland they go through with France with Argentina going top. Ireland needs to get maximum points (5) & make sure they win by more than 7 stopping Argentina from getting the bonus point. But does that mean they go trough with France, as they will be on the same points as Argentina? 14 a piece – right? Also who goes top between France & Argentina if Ireland wins but Argentina gets a bonus point? Thanks

  • 61.
  • At 07:38 AM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • BG wrote:

Who will go through in pool D? Assuming France get maximum points next week they go trough as either 1st or 2nd in the group.. What happens between Argentina & Ireland? Of course if Argentina beat Ireland they go through with France with Argentina going top. Ireland needs to get maximum points (5) & make sure they win by more than 7 stopping Argentina from getting the bonus point. But does that mean they go trough with France, as they will be on the same points as Argentina? 14 a piece – right? Also who goes top between France & Argentina if Ireland wins but Argentina gets a bonus point? Thanks

  • 62.
  • At 09:20 AM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Oz the England Fan wrote:

Predictions for the 4 crunch games

Ireland 10 - 15 Argentina
Scotland 22 - 23 Italy
England 20 - 25 Tonga
Wales 32 - 37 Fiji

Goodbye to the four home nations. We are all rubbish this time round. some brave attempts, but frankly, just not good enough.

Huge welcome to the most successful RWC (from the perspective of the "newer" rugby playing nations closing the gap on the more established teams).

If I were a southern hemisphere supporter I wouldn't bother trying to get Lions tickets next time round to watch these third XV players. Deep surgery is required on all four fronts the moment this RWC is over. Start with the coaching staff and work the way through the players. Some staff and players will survive, but surely only a few. Time to be ruthless.

We all want a tough, ultra competitive 6 nations, with fresh, new exciting talent that is out there (much of which is playing Magners and Guiness Premiership right now: Flood, Abendanon, Vesty, Varndell, Ryan Davis etc etc).

The four home nations are dead - long live the four home nations !

  • 63.
  • At 09:36 AM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • fairenough wrote:

I was worried watching the match on Friday night that it was my bias that made me think that Chris White had a stinker. I fully thought that he reffed that match like a man who has ambitions of a final. I hope he doesn't get it out of pure inconsistancy. His reffing of the ruck for example could not have been more inconsistant. The French were continually coming off their feet and getting away with it and every time an Irish man had hands on it, despite being on his feet he was penalised. Another example was when Easterby tried to step through the middle of a ruck early on and was told by White to get back despite the fact he was coming "through the gate" and was not attempting to pull the scrum-half into the ruck.
I feel he had an agenda all night and when he criticised Reddan when he hit the strolling French Forward I knew something wasnt right. I feel he was leniant with the time Trimble made his break as it was a French player who deliberately pushed the ref into the way of the run!!!

On whole though,I feel the Irish performed better than the last two matches. I feel EOS is coming in for a lot of undeserved criticism. The players just have not performed. Darce has not been at the RWC and its a shame as I felt this was his turn to step out of BOD's shadow and prove to the world how good he is.

Believe: We can do the task against the Arggies!!!!

  • 64.
  • At 11:49 AM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Liam wrote:

Great post fairenough. I think the refereeing was not bias but pedantic - the trimble incident was going to be a try and I was right by the posts. Ireland's performance wasn't that bad. We had better possession and more time was spent in their 22 but the key was losing three absolutely crucial lineouts.

I think Ireland will win on Sunday and a four try victory is not impossible. Munster faced a similar mathematical problem once before and overcame it - Ireland put a show on in Rome after a pathetic performance against scotland. Ireland wouldn't deserve it but that is not my problem.

If the ball is thrown around against the argies we need Murphy in the team despite his defensive frailities. People say that arg concede few tries and have a great defence. True, but who ever dares to throw the ball around against them. A bit of fortune backed up bravery and we can do it. Our lineout must must work though as it will be the only decent possession we will have given the power of their scrum.

COME ON IRELAND!!!!

  • 65.
  • At 04:52 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mike Hogan wrote:

Need an attacking team and an early try to have any chance. Think some pride will be recovered with an Ireland win but not a bonus point. Argentina deserve to qualify. What a stinker of a RWC. Management and players should share the flack.

15 Murphy
14 Carney
13 O'Driscoll
12 D'Arcy
11 Hickie
10 O'Gara
9 Reddan
8 Leamy
7 Wallace
6 Best
5 O'Connell
4 O'Kelly
3 Hayes
2 Flannery
1 Horan

Best, Best, O'Callaghan, Quinlan, Stringer, P Wallace, Horgan

  • 66.
  • At 10:44 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • pumasfan wrote:

It is a little hard to me to understand how do you think about rugby at the NH.
It is a simple game..., you go to the field with another 14 close friends to play against another team formed by 15 close friends. You try to do your very best for a loyal and fair victory an no matter the result you go home with every single muscle in sweet pain and with your dignity intact.
It is fantastic your knowledge about history, tactics and techniques but if we forget the above, we are no longer talking about rugby.

I´m reading the comments from some guys from France: are they beging for the Irish to do what they couldn't? To much fear to face NZ? Sunner or later they will have to reach that stage (or even worst, to face a team that was able to beat the AB's). If they don't trust their team to beat NZ, or they are unable to accept a defeat, what for are they playing the RWC?
Madames..., what a shame!!!

Ireland/Argentina wil be a very hard and close match.
No matter how much do you complain about Ireland performance I will not buy the idea that irish players suddenly lost their ability and will to win.

But I'm very sorry my french friends, the outcome must be decided by 15 irish players and 15 argentine players and a fair ref. Your only job is to beat Georgia.

Let's go play rugby...

  • 67.
  • At 01:58 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • pumasfan wrote:

Reading my last post I can clearly see that my english is almost as bad as my spanish. I can't wait to the olimpics in China to destroy the chineese.

Let me be the first to say that how I’m surpise with Ireland performance.

Nevertheless though my beloved Pumas are on fire at the moment, I still fear the worst could happen in the last game.

I’ll writing a preview on that match in my blog soon, so please do check and leave your comments as well.

  • 69.
  • At 12:08 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Stephen J wrote:

I have just seen the team picked for the Argentina match. I cant believe the lack of changes he has made. Murphy for Dempsey (only because Dempsey is Injured) and Hickie for Trimble. What have Carney, Quinlan, Young , Ferris done wrong? I will be cheering on Argentina on sunday and hoping the IRFU do the descent thing and fire O'Sullivan. My 4 year old newphew would do a better job than O'Sullivan.

  • 70.
  • At 12:32 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • fairenough wrote:

I'm a fan of EOS but I do feel that more changes need to be made. I would be absoloutely raging if I was Neil Best. The physical nature of Sundays game is right up his street and I feel he may well be the man who could disrupt the pumas upfront.

I feel this calling for EOS's sacking is a bit harsh. He has brought Irish Rugby so far in his four year reign and yes although they have not performed over the last two months, I feel after the RWC he will be the man who will have the ability to turn things around!!!!

  • 71.
  • At 01:40 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Peter Fisher wrote:

I have just seen the team for the Argentina game--same forwards exactly!!!!!!. EOS is a total tube. I think he must have money riding on Ireland to go out before quarters. No Neil Best and he has kept faith with O'Gara who had, against the French, without question, the worst game I have ever seen from an Ireland player. If reports about O'Gara's gambling are true, his punting in every facet of life is abominably poor. EOS, you have the intellectual capacity of a squashed apricot-- this set of forwards will be destroyed by the Argentinians at the breakdown. Go home to Youghal and take up embroidery.

  • 72.
  • At 03:44 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

What on earth is EOS thinking when he drops Murphy and Hickie from the match day squad against France, then parachutes them straight back into the starting 15 a week later, over those that spent 80 minutes sitting on the bench against France. What was the thinking behind having Duffy ahead of Murphy one week, then Murphy back ahead of him the next, with neither of them having played!! (not that I disagree with GM's inclusion - it is about time!). I think EOS has lost his way here.
And dont get me started on the changes (or lack thereof) in the forwards!!

  • 73.
  • At 04:01 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Alex wrote:

* 18.
* At 11:59 AM on 22 Sep 2007,
* Patdartagnan wrote:

I hope that Ireland is going to re-seize against the Argentina, I would be at the stade of France and I want to believe in the miracle. Ireland has to wake up, she finally has to play her real level. But why murphy is not holder? Anyway, Argentina is a disaster for the rugby, it is not a country of Rugby. If ever, the traditional teams of the NH are crushed, and one take the road, then the stadiums of Rugby are going to empty. The elite of the rugby maybe is sawing the branch on which he sits. Scotland, Wales, Ireland, England and France are in the same boat and it is possible that this boat is called Titanic :(


A French begging an Irish to do their work bring me some hard laughs, Thank you.

And calling Argentina a disaster for Rugby? Argentina won 5 of last 6 test matches against France. At this point I think Les Bleus are a disaster for Rugby.

  • 74.
  • At 04:26 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Johannes Claassen wrote:

Hi BBC Sport.

According to your report on the alleged biting by Springbok Rugby player Frans Steyn, and that he will almost face a ban of up to three years, is inaccurate.

The BBC should get its facts straight before running such elaborate story. There was never any clear evidence that he bit the Tongan player.

Frans Steyn's case has been dismissed. His clear to play.

  • 75.
  • At 04:44 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Alex Schuster wrote:

In the company of 30,000 of my countrymen and women, I was in Stade de France last Friday. Though the Irish performance was less than impressive, the fans supported Ireland strongly for at least seventy of the eighty minutes, until all hope had been lost. And the final Irish onslaught on the French line in the final two minutes was greeted with sustained cheering from the Irish section of the crowd.

Perhaps it reflects on the depths to which Irish rugby have sunk that the highlights of the night, for many Irish supporters, were the four young French women, clad in skimpy bras and briefs, who boogied their way through one of the closing renditions of the Marseillaise. When the stewards attempted to remove them from the lower tiers of the North Stand,the Irish supporters closed in to allow the women in question to continues their sensual tangoes.

To my mind, the important adage is "once an Irish supporter, always an Irish supporter". I have no time for your Irish correspondents who announce that they will be supporting Argentina next Sunday. I'm keeping an open mind on Sunday in the hope that we still have one magic performance left in us.

If Ireland beat Australia by four tries and a clear margin on Sunday, then France will encounter Scotland or Italy in the quarter final, followed by South Africa or Australia in the semi-final. It is not impossible for France to beat either of these two sides on a good day. The only place where France might conceivably beat New Zealand is in the final in an emotional Stade de France where the Marseillaise is sung non-stop for eighty minutes. If Ireland lose to Argentina, then France will lose to New Zealand in Cardiff. No doubt.

So, even though Ireland's goose is nearly cooked, the result of our game against Argentina could well decide the ultimate destination of the William Webb Ellis Trophy.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites