Tom Fordyce

England in dreamland (349)

Paris, early hours of Sunday morning - Words - you fail me. Legs - you can’t hold me. Liver - stand by me.

I’m dreaming. I must be. Except in dreams I’ve never thrown myself into the arms of a bug-eyed, bawling Benjamin Dirs while bellowing myself bandy and thumping myself on the legs like a banjaxed Keith Moon.

I can’t go on too long – I’ve got to get out and throw myself into the night’s madness like a cartwheeling lemming.

I can’t go on too long – but at the same time I could spout forth forever, like Sue Pollard on speed, on the staggering, gob-smacking events I’ve just witnessed.

How did England win that? How has an England team that lay smashed in pieces four weeks ago made the World Cup final?

If this England team were a man out on the pull, they’d be Dean Gaffney bagging Cameron Diaz.

Never on the field of rugby conflict has so much been achieved by a team with so little.

I don’t mean that as an insult – quite the opposite. Who cares who the best team in the world is?

Not the thousands of England fans currently dancing their way into the centre of Paris, walloped off their happy minds on a mix of disbelief, delight and delirium.


Repeat after me: England are in the World Cup final.

Was it pretty? Nah. Was it effective? Was it ever.

You can keep your flowing rugby, your silky back-line moves, your 10-try thrillers.

To twist the famous words of Marshall Bosquet after the Charge of the Light Brigade, “Ce n’est pas magnifique, mais c’est la guerre.”

At kick-off, the noise was so great that it distorted in your ears like a Pete Townshend guitar solo.

Optimism and pessimism had done battle all day, with the underlying feeling that at least England had nothing to lose.

That went out of the window as soon as a primeval roar ripped the roof off the Stade de France.

The atmosphere was so fierce, so head-melting, that all I could think was this: I don’t want this to end.

For a long time, it seemed that it would. Wilkinson’s left boot seemed to have been replaced by a bag of spanners.

The tops of each goal-post had been painted with the French Tricolore, and it was as if some horrible Gallic hoodoo was hanging over them.

When Wilkinson hit the post with that skidding drop-goal attempt with 20 minutes to go, I turned to the white-faced, struck-silence Dirs and grimaced.

When Toby Flood’s attempt buried its nose in the turf like a homesick mole a few nail-bites later, Dirs looked back at me and shook his head.

And when that penalty sang through with just five minutes left on the clock? I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest.


As the stadium emptied itself of flabbergasted Frenchmen at the final whistle, some wag in the stadium control room stuck “Je Ne Regrette Rien” over the PA system.

Piaf warbled, England fans cavorted.

England are in the final.

I’m dreaming – I must be. Don’t wake me up just yet, will you?

Tom Fordyce is a BBC Sport journalist travelling around France in a camper van with Ben Dirs. Click here to search for all of Tom and Ben's blog videos.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 12:33 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • James Brittain wrote:

Hands Shaking... Ears Ringing... for all its errors, it was a fantastic game, one of the best in the World Cup!

  • 2.
  • At 12:40 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Stig wrote:

sod the dreaming. epic..

(oh yes, and clean out the van eh? there are standards..)

  • 3.
  • At 12:44 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • John from Southport wrote:

Tremendous! What dedication to duty, updating the blog at this stage of the night's celebrations.
Well done England, what a display of 'dog'.
P.S. Tom Please look after Ben this weekend, we don't want to read about more pepper-spray shenanigans.
P.P.S Anyone got two spare World Cup Final tickets for two teachers on half-term?

  • 4.
  • At 12:48 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Steve Byrom wrote:


But what's this rubbish about a team with so little? Have you been listening to the ITV commentary team (whose first positive comment about an Englishman was timed at the 66th minute here in Kuwait - we're well browned off at the tabloid remarks from those inept cretins).

This is a talented team. Before last wek's match I puzzled at how poorly a team bristling with such good players could deliver such poor performances. Not that I expected that to change. And even tonight, the performance was flawed.

But successful. And that is what counts.

  • 5.
  • At 12:49 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • tim c wrote:

ME to no it was not pretty but it was glorious.A comment on can not win without the sean fitzpatrick would say you need mongrel .one eyed and too partisan to be objective.
dramatically lived up to last week with a passion
Roll on next weekend.
TO sleep to dream and yet.

  • 6.
  • At 12:55 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • John from Southport wrote:

Tremendous! What dedication to duty, updating the blog at this stage of the night's celebrations.
Well done England, what a display of 'dog'.
P.S. Tom Please look after Ben this weekend, we don't want to read about more pepper-spray shenanigans.
P.P.S Anyone got two spare World Cup Final tickets for two teachers on half-term?

  • 7.
  • At 12:55 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Tim in HK wrote:

here in Hong Kong the game kicked off at 3am, so the options were to try and get some kip and wake up for it, or just drink through the night... there are a lot of tired (but happy) England fans, and a lot of miserable French fans sleeping it off, or trying to give their children breakfast (it's now nearly 8am).

The atmosphere in the bars in HK was "heady" considering how long we had been drinking, but to have been at the game! you lucky (man)...

  • 8.
  • At 12:56 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Pip wrote:

Wow, we did it. I live in Ecuador and work in an office with two Aussies and a Frenchman. I cant wait for Monday. Its hard to be here and miss the atmosphere so I love the blogs as it has make me feel at home. Cant wait for the final, and celebrating online with my brothers and friends. I believe.

  • 9.
  • At 12:57 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Rich wrote:

Congrats to England and France. That game was certainly worthy of what had come before. Both teams put up a performance worthy of the courage required for a WC semi.

Can England become the first to retain the title? Can't wait to find out!

PS I'll be so proud to tell my grandchildren that I actually saw Jonny play!!

  • 10.
  • At 01:01 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • steve wrote:

As a pom in Aus...watching it was wonderful. I have to say though the French coach threw it away with poor substitutions. He went to his much feared bench and didn't need to. The game was going the French way and they lost it all after Michalak came on and the caveman went in at second row. Worse to come for the poor french supporters was Betsen coming off. England are now winners, they know how to win games. Brian Ashton knows what he is doing. Jonny now needs a statue in every major city in the UK! C'mon Ingerland!!

  • 11.
  • At 01:02 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Ray Scott wrote:

What a day for NH rugby, I am very proud of the english side doing the job and getting into the final, I see no real reason why you cannot do the unthinkable next week, as a welshman I am proud to be an English fan over the next week or so, it feels good to me that a team not only from the NH can be so close but a British team too!!!

Good luck and if you do finish the job off, it will go down historically in many ways and will really silence so many and deservadly so!

  • 12.
  • At 01:03 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Graham Smith wrote:

Someone wrote on the blogs "Dare England Dream Again?"...

30 English players not only can dream now but after the last two weeks perhaps BELIEVE they will retain the World Cup for the first time in rugby history.

The head in me would like Argentina to win tomorrow but the heart would prefer South Africa to win and reach the final hopefully for England to amend for the earlier very disappointing result against them...

The best part is we can relax for a day, enjoy our victory while others worry about a forthcoming semi-final before the hard work starts again on Monday...

  • 13.
  • At 01:04 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Sticky from Manchester wrote:

I can't spell half of the words that I am currently feeling right now. Not because my lexicon or intelligence let me down but because I don't think such words exist just yet. I was at the South Africa mauling 4 weeks ago where my head hang however it is swining low. Very low, sweet Chariot.

4 years ago we won the world cup with what was regarded as 'ugly' and 'boring' rugby. I genuinely couldn't care less at the time and that feeling hasn't changed to this day. If we win the world cup next week with 'boring' and 'ugly' rugby with a score of 3-0 I can't see my feelings changing much then either.

Anyone in Paris got room for a little one?

  • 14.
  • At 01:05 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Crox wrote:

Look out for all the "it's a bad advert for rugby" doom sayers. but they just don't get it - the tension, confrontation and will to win is as good an advert for sport as you'll ever get.

Well done England - but lets hope next week is not a 'what might have been' moment.

To beat France in France is a great achievement - in a world cup semi it is even sweeter......

  • 15.
  • At 01:06 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Jon wrote:

Party in Jersey (with - wives - 100% French / - husbands - 100% English - what a tense, nail-biting game!!

Thoroughly enjoyed - wishing we were in Paris, so the wives could shop to take their minds off the defeat and the husbands could drink to celebrate!!!


  • 16.
  • At 01:07 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • nick wrote:

just got back from the 02 dome...amazing....when wilko kicked the last drop goal, beer went everywhere, grown men jumping around hugging...the same for the final whistle. bring on trafalguar square next weekend

  • 17.
  • At 01:08 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Roger Linsley wrote:

Brilliant. Haven't got a ticket (yet) but I'm on my way to Paris from Montpellier next Saturday.I am so proud of the England team.

  • 18.
  • At 01:08 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • anibal wrote:

worst game in the WC so far.
Just keep drinking beer.
Lucky you, pirates.
See you next saturday.
Go Pumas !

  • 19.
  • At 01:10 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Dave Parsons (Boston - USA) wrote:

neither team seemed to want to win and it really bacame a game of who wanted to lose the least....

I will be back in England for a wedding next weekend, and finally I have an excuse not to do wedding dancing....

  • 20.
  • At 01:11 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Heraldo wrote:

Well,what a competition! We ance could have have had France - Argentina in the final in a repeat of the opening game - instead we look like SA v England in a repeat of the meanigless (I hope) pool game. Oh, how the worm has turned on NZ and Australia! Ha ha!

  • 21.
  • At 01:12 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Tom Nicolson wrote:

Excellent writer Tom. That sums up everything. Btw celebrations are roaming here in Quito too, well into the night!

  • 22.
  • At 01:15 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

Thank you, no really , thank you. Weve only gone and done it :)
any one else gutted about not puttint on the 66/1 :(

  • 23.
  • At 01:16 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Rich Hill wrote:

As a proud englishmen living in Qld, Australia the last seven days have been truly memorable, rubbing the aussies noses in it is one thing but can the unthinkable happen?? Back to back world cups!! May the dream continue for one more week.

  • 24.
  • At 01:16 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Heraldo wrote:

Well,what a competition! We ance could have have had France - Argentina in the final in a repeat of the opening game - instead we look like SA v England in a repeat of the meanigless (I hope) pool game. Oh, how the worm has turned on NZ and Australia! Ha ha!

  • 25.
  • At 01:16 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Si wrote:

Tom, what duty you have shown to send out another blog. If I was there I doubt i'd be able to see, let alone write an article! That is a team of real men, to have come back in such emphatic fashion after the SA defeat and dumbfound all the critics is truely incredible. One thing I would like to know is what percentage English fans had compared to French fans, from the sound of the tv it was close to the 65% advantage we had in the 2003 final.

Tom and Ben, the only time you're ever glad work carries on so long?!

  • 26.
  • At 01:19 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Heraldo wrote:

Englan vs SA in the final? Almost as unreal as France vs Agrentina, which before tonight was possisble. Oh the wonders of this world cup!

  • 27.
  • At 01:20 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Graham wrote:

tears of joy stain my cheeks what a team what a performance against all and i mean all the odds we are there again either mr Ashton has been playin some very high cards close to his chest or fortune favours the brave, well done England my England our England arnt we proud tonight chests burstin with pride your there now again boys lets have it back get out the Brasso. that will really really teach them all to write of the world champions.
On the game it was a tough encounter and was never going to be an epic but who needs an epic with such a nailbiter, what calmness for jonny to throw the ball back to the physio or ball boy whatever and say thats not a matchball get me a matchball now that is a proffesional at the top of his game especially when he slots it.Forwards were magnificent again perhaps they should be renamed the magnificent 8 because thats what they were, well done jonny well done ENGLAND

  • 28.
  • At 01:20 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Chris Robertson wrote:

What a Game. I have not been this happy for i guess 4 years.
At one stage i was worried (Toby Flood say no more). Not the most free flowing game i have ever watched but the way England kept on digging in you could see the French realising that this was not going to be their day.
Well enough from me i think another drink to celebrate and bed to dream of next week and i hope the Puma's.

  • 29.
  • At 01:21 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Marcus wrote:

Let's be honest Bernard Laporte, possibly the worst manager ever. Why were Fraance going for drop goals from their own half or from first phase in our half.

Without doubt the least french performance i've ever witnessed.Why were they trying to out bore us at our own game!!!

Why did he bring Michalak on after 51 mins!!!!!! Nothing about the game so far suggested that you needed a flash of brilliance. All you needed was a solid 10, which Beaxis had been till that point, to control the game. Luckily we had Wilko and not some idiot trying to banana kick his way to glory.

As a firm England supporter i'm sad to see Laporte go, it's unbelievable how one man can make 15 of the best rugby players in the world look so average. Picture being back at school and having the 30 men who started the game lined up in front of you, how many englishman would you pick based on skill alone?

  • 30.
  • At 01:22 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • wench wrote:

after the win i turned to my dad and in one of those rare moments of emotion tht remain manly we both started to blub as a team ranked 7th in the world and expected to struggle in the group stages (as we did) had wandered unwittingly into the final to keep a nation alive. thts rite im hammered and still disbelieving long live this blog and england rugby

  • 31.
  • At 01:22 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Tom Nicolson wrote:

Excellent writing Tom. That sums up everything. Btw celebrations are roaming here in Quito too, well into the night!

  • 32.
  • At 01:28 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • wench wrote:

after the win i turned to my dad and in one of those rare moments of emotion tht remain manly we both started to blub as a team ranked 7th in the world and expected to struggle in the group stages (as we did) had wandered unwittingly into the final to keep a nation alive. thts rite im hammered and still disbelieving long live this blog and england rugby

  • 33.
  • At 01:37 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Neil Blinston wrote:

I went to an English pub in San Antonio , Texas and was amazed to find that nearly half the people watching the game were rooting for France. OK, a lot of them were exiled Franco's but the rest were wearing Ireland shirts !!!! Things will never change but we are in with a shout of doing something no other nation has done before ...... I'm sure that Scotland, the republic of ireland + the Welsh will be cheering on our opponents .... so be it .... COME ON ENGLAND.

  • 34.
  • At 01:40 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

Come on England! we can do it!!

They desirved this win!

Come on home nations lets be united!

This is great news for NH Rugby!

Both teams played out the match with desire and conviction!

  • 35.
  • At 01:45 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Heraldo wrote:

After the first game of the competition who would have thought of thought a France v Argentina game final was possible? Equally at 36-0 to SA who would have have thought a England v SA final would happen? Come on you Pumas! Lets make it a worthwhile final!

  • 36.
  • At 01:46 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Guy wrote:

Just chuffed that we made it.

  • 37.
  • At 01:47 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Graham wrote:

tears of joy stain my cheeks what a team what a performance against all and i mean all the odds we are there again either mr Ashton has been playin some very high cards close to his chest or fortune favours the brave, well done England my England our England arnt we proud tonight chests burstin with pride your there now again boys lets have it back get out the Brasso. that will really really teach them all to write of the world champions.
On the game it was a tough encounter and was never going to be an epic but who needs an epic with such a nailbiter, what calmness for jonny to throw the ball back to the physio or ball boy whatever and say thats not a matchball get me a matchball now that is a proffesional at the top of his game especially when he slots it.Forwards were magnificent again perhaps they should be renamed the magnificent 8 because thats what they were, well done jonny well done ENGLAND

  • 38.
  • At 01:48 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Watched the game here in Canada on Setanta. What a fantastic result! Not pretty - but bloody effective. Especially enjoyable listening to the commentators saying afterwards that the result was bad for the tournament and bad for rugby - 3 Pads and an Assie - 4 losers in my book!

  • 39.
  • At 01:48 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Gus wrote:

as a scotsman, despite havin a lot of banter about last weeks match with the argies from all the english i'm so privileged to know, this semi final was just like the final four years ago, england to the end. with the typical dislike of the english during the six nations by none other than all the celtic nations, when it comes to the world stage i'm sure all this is forgotten in situations like this (as well as 2003), and i hope i speak for the majority. let the battle of the hemispheres commence yet again "SWING LOW....."

  • 40.
  • At 01:49 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • David Andrew Lane wrote:

The only Englishman in New Caledonia. Working with a French company. We had a few last night, French pals & me, in anticipation of the morning, then congregated around my small TV at 06:00, how do I feel,am walking on air. Great big thank you to The Red Rose team & Guts of My England.

  • 41.
  • At 01:54 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Mingasson wrote:

Where is the proud of England ?
I'm french and londonner.
I have been watching the match with some friends in Paddington.
There is no point about the score: well done England and could God be with you for the final.
whatever the result could you explain to me why 2 minutes after the final vessel the pub was more or less empty and nobody was saying/singing after your victory.
It was very dispointing for me. I would have like participate at your victory (just because of the sport) but nothing happends. That a big regret for me.

  • 42.
  • At 01:57 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • paul farrow wrote:

fantastic cant sleep keep thinking i should have gone to paris and spent the night drinking too those champions yes our current world champions they might just do what our cricket football and any other major british sporting team have never done before (with the exeption of the english rowing team of course) win for the second time

wow might need to get a camper van myself for the next world cup

  • 43.
  • At 02:01 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Richard Tape wrote:

I can't spell half of the words that I am currently feeling right now. Not because my lexicon or intelligence let me down but because I don't think such words exist just yet. I was at the South Africa mauling 4 weeks ago where my head hang however it is swining low. Very low, sweet Chariot.

4 years ago we won the world cup with what was regarded as 'ugly' and 'boring' rugby. I genuinely couldn't care less at the time and that feeling hasn't changed to this day. If we win the world cup next week with 'boring' and 'ugly' rugby with a score of 3-0 I can't see my feelings changing much then either.

Anyone in Paris got room for a little one?

  • 44.
  • At 02:02 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

In Mumbai... 10 sports channels, and NOT ONE to show the rugby! ESPN showing stock-car racing, while the local sports channels are going cricket mad... but who's to the rescue? french TV5!! all credit to a great TV channel who (unlike our own beeb!!!) decided to broadcast the rugby on their international TV channel.. perhaps there is something to be learnt from the french! just NOT rugby ;op

  • 45.
  • At 02:03 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • davidhawkes wrote:

as a limey texan i am o so proud of our english bulldogs not only of beating the french enemy but i had to watch the game on setanta sports here in texas hosted by three paddys and one aussie who did nothing but trash us heres to you my potatoe eating freinds and the sheep*****ausie**later south bristol dave ps i have a date next saturday in paris do you ?

  • 46.
  • At 02:04 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Mingasson wrote:

I have forgot the more essential thing... I'd,like thus blog and the wy you have to descrive your journey into France

  • 47.
  • At 02:04 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Donnyballgame wrote:

Great stuff.
I am in America and we had A lot of people over and web cams back to England. Terrific time, and the evening here is still young.

Only complaint is we had to watch the Setanta Sports broadcast, which was horrible. Actual match coverage was OK, but the studio hosts were the most one-sided England bashers in the last 67 years. After the match was over there was not a hint of congratulations for the winning side, only base insults for a full 10 minutes. Also, insinuated the referee was pulling for England by allowing England to be offside 'at every breakdown'. Was the most unprofessional broadcasting I have ever seen in sports. These guys should be punished or fired, and they knew better because they went to a quick commercial then moderated their tune. Hard to describe, but we were all laughing since they sounded so stupid. Its the kind of thing which ends up on You Tube with people laughing at them not for the purpose originally intended.

But forget 'em. Forget the Kiwis and Aussies. Let's celebrate tonight, which is what we have been doing, and let next weekend take care of itself.

  • 48.
  • At 02:11 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Hugo wrote:

Unbelievable. Made the trip to Europe from Singapore last w/e, had the privilege of watching france subdue NZ in Cardiff, ended out in the south of france this w/e watching england take on les bleus in the semis. Brilliant game, all the better for the camraderie between the ten english supporters and fifty french supporters sharing the bar we were in. Glad that the post match scrums that followed in the bar didn't count towards the final score....

  • 49.
  • At 02:12 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Donnyballgame wrote:

Great stuff.
I am in America and we had A lot of people over and web cams back to England. Terrific time, and the evening here is still young.

Only complaint is we had to watch the Setanta Sports broadcast, which was horrible. Actual match coverage was OK, but the studio hosts were the most one-sided England bashers in the last 67 years. After the match was over there was not a hint of congratulations for the winning side, only base insults for a full 10 minutes. Also, insinuated the referee was pulling for England by allowing England to be offside 'at every breakdown'. Was the most unprofessional broadcasting I have ever seen in sports. These guys should be punished or fired, and they knew better because they went to a quick commercial then moderated their tune. Hard to describe, but we were all laughing since they sounded so stupid. Its the kind of thing which ends up on You Tube with people laughing at them not for the purpose originally intended.

But forget 'em. Forget the Kiwis and Aussies. Let's celebrate tonight, which is what we have been doing, and let next weekend take care of itself.

  • 50.
  • At 02:14 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

more or less a day after i have been dumped by my girlfriend, england have won through to the final of the RWC!!!!! i know which one i prefer.

now, someone help me, what excuse do i give to my brother: i offered to babysit for him next saturday!!!!!

  • 51.
  • At 02:22 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Hugo wrote:

Unbelievable. Made the trip to Europe from Singapore last w/e, had the privilege of watching france subdue NZ in Cardiff, ended out in the south of france this w/e watching england take on les bleus in the semis. Brilliant game, all the better for the camraderie between the ten english supporters and fifty french supporters sharing the bar we were in. Glad that the post match scrums that followed in the bar didn't count towards the final score....

  • 52.
  • At 02:24 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • dan wrote:

just got back from the pub rather drunk. england surprised me. i am still drunk.

  • 53.
  • At 02:26 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Fozzy wrote:

Setanta Sports should Drop Kick the two Muppets of the Show.

  • 54.
  • At 02:27 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Absolutely incredible... Are we one of the two most 'fanciable' nations in the Rugby world? No. Do we play flowing football to create try chances left, right and centre? No. But do we get to a the final? By God do we, and we will do anything to get there - such is the English spirit. Try your hardest, give 100% for 80 minutes and there's no limit to what you can achieve. So proud of the boys.

  • 55.
  • At 02:30 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Jeremy wrote:

Here in Seoul, S.Korea, it kicked off at 4 a.m. We tried for the early shut-eye option,but our Aussie and Kiwi mates had other ideas....clearly they had nothing better to do last night ha ha! We are also hugely irritated by the inept commentators (who are those blokes?) but astonished by England's progress....where did they get that from...I can't see us turning around a 36-0 defecit from the South Africans...but if the Argies do for them, we may, just may, be in with a shout...

  • 56.
  • At 02:38 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Susanna wrote:

My Dad's 90 next year... I thought he'd go to heaven knowing our team had the World Cup 4 years ago... but no, he's sticking around to see them retain it. Go ENGLAND!

  • 57.
  • At 02:39 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • michael webster wrote:

Quite simply - I am very, very proud to be English!
Unlike football there is no room for cheats, you turn up for your team-mates and country, they did just that!
1066 was a mistake on our part - never again.
Proud, I am very proud - thank you.

  • 58.
  • At 02:42 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Rodmic wrote:

Well done england, all the criticism can be shoved down all there throats.

Never underestimate the determination, passion and fight of England!

Pure British Bull Dog Guts and Balls.

  • 59.
  • At 02:53 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • michael wrote:

Awful game. Shapeless & dull the more it wore on.

Are these results reflecting which team is better? Not in a million years - and that is the point of sport - to reveal the superior side.

Even in this game the more inventive team with the best post-match stats lost. Even Wilkinson looked a bit sheepish.

England flukily scored from a kick that looked like an attempt for field position... otherwise they never looked likely to find a way to score other than the tedium of droppies & penalties.

Sure - they can tackle & defend but the fact is this RWC has plumbed new depths in terms of creating a style of rugby that is utterly abysmal - both as a result of the format and long overdue lack of tweaks to the rules.

What if Eng won the RWC? That would be 2 World Cups - and they've only ever played the consistently No 1 ranked side in the world - NZ - in the knockout stages once in 20 years.

It's ridiculous. Champions? Not in my book and not in the heart of any true rugby aficianado.

Re the rules the immediate change should be making missed drop kick attempts a scrum back - which would bring them into line with attacking punts AND disincentivise this blight on the game.

Anyway, South Africa will win it from here - they'll tear England apart in the final. But regardless - this has been a washout of a sporting spectacle - Rugby World Cup? Rubbish World Cup more like...

  • 60.
  • At 02:58 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Guy Richards wrote:

In exile in the rugby wilderness that is the USA I will be driving 60 miles to an Irish bar to see the final. Well done England and especially the Tigers players that contributed to the hard won victory.

  • 61.
  • At 03:00 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • michael wrote:

Awful game. Shapeless & dull the more it wore on.

Are these results reflecting which team is better? Not in a million years - and that is the point of sport - to reveal the superior side.

Even in this game the more inventive team with the best post-match stats lost. Even Wilkinson looked a bit sheepish.

England flukily scored from a kick that looked like an attempt for field position... otherwise they never looked likely to find a way to score other than the tedium of droppies & penalties.

Sure - they can tackle & defend but the fact is this RWC has plumbed new depths in terms of creating a style of rugby that is utterly abysmal - both as a result of the format and long overdue lack of tweaks to the rules.

What if Eng won the RWC? That would be 2 World Cups - and they've only ever played the consistently No 1 ranked side in the world - NZ - in the knockout stages once in 20 years.

It's ridiculous. Champions? Not in my book and not in the heart of any true rugby aficianado.

Re the rules the immediate change should be making missed drop kick attempts a scrum back - which would bring them into line with attacking punts AND disincentivise this blight on the game.

Anyway, South Africa will win it from here - they'll tear England apart in the final. But regardless - this has been a washout of a sporting spectacle - Rugby World Cup? Rubbish World Cup more like...

  • 62.
  • At 03:00 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Kath Adams wrote:

Presently living in Colombia where rugby doesn't exist so watched the match at home on ESPN out of Argentina. Screamed and yelled and worried the kids! Who'd have thought we'd be experiencing such joy at this stage of the competition. More to come? The Argentinians were pro-England in their commentary, desperate for one of Jonny's drop goals. The support of the Pumas is very impressive on ESPN; the Argentinians are all psychologically well prepared, thus their success in many sporting fields. Would love to see them come through tomorrow, though revenge for the earlier defeat to the Boks would be sweet too. Immediately after the match, I called my sister in the Uk and laughed hysterically down the phone with her for 10 minutes, then gloated with my mum. No doubt will repeat the hysterics on the phone to my bro tomorrow. Fantastic!

  • 63.
  • At 03:09 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • no4 wrote:

Hello from NZ!!
I couldn't sleep last night, but now I can spend Sunday on the beers!
The Kiwis are still trying to pretend they are the best in the world.
24 years! That's almost a lifetime.


  • 64.
  • At 03:11 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

Watch it...the Bok's are going to smell blood. Let's congratulate our team, but move on quickly and sensibly to plotting 'the relief of Mafeking'...likely facing a team that just drubbed us 36-0 is mighty worrying. I feel we're out-flanked already...can't think of a tactic that will unsettle the Bok's. Imagine the bodies of the English team are about as beaten as can be. Pray for some wisdom from the management/coaches!
Anyway, the players deserve to be proud even if they don't land the cup. They are an inspiration.

  • 65.
  • At 03:11 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • adrian wrote:

Bloody, bloody fantastic. I am surprised the neighbours didn't call the police with the amount of screaming going on in my house.

Go on ENGLAND, we can do it

  • 66.
  • At 03:13 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • BUSHY wrote:

total disaster for lovers of rugby. shocking match France a hugely better team just found the home pressure too much. More missed kicks than a 2nd XV match. Wilko a disaster; 3 out of 7 better than his last week's 4 out of 10 though.

Sa or Arg will thrash them

  • 67.
  • At 03:17 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Darren wrote:

To comment 39 - im a welshman and glad that there is a fellow celt who is supporting our fellow brits the english. Cannot understand any brit who doesnt do so.
To comment 33 - not all of us are against the english. I feel proud when any british team team wins.

  • 68.
  • At 03:17 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Victoria -student in Paris wrote:

I can't believe it - I can't believe it!. That's pretty much all I've been saying for tghe last 7 hours!!!!

At the Champs de Mer was insane!!! (Until some french non-rugby fans starting kicking off and the gendarmes ahd to step in!).

But at 4am the next day I'm loving it - still can't quite believe it.... how?! how?! nevermind, we're through. It's insane, can't believe my first weekend back of the year is next weekend - nevermind, I'll be in loughborough - quite sporting, to say the least, should be good atmostphere!

At least I've seen England beat France, IN PARIS!!!!!!!!

  • 69.
  • At 03:22 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Scott wrote:

Such a perfect day!!

1. Went to watch England vs Estonia at Wembley

2. Were in the World Cup Final!! How?? This wasnt meant to happen, we werent even meant to make the quaters, how?? Acctually who cares how, just remember we are :D

  • 70.
  • At 03:49 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Tony wrote:

Watched it in the US. Setanta pundits were crap and I think were pulled early because of their vitriolic anti-English comments. Roll out Micky Skinner and ask him what he thought of the performance. The French only threatened our line once and then they turned it over. English forward tackling and mauling was superb - they beat the French up (legally) and really deserved their win. This is how you play competitive Rugby and it may not beautiful but my god it was great to watch.

  • 71.
  • At 03:52 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Simon Stanford wrote:

It must be an inter-dimensional vortex!

I mean come on... Scotland through to the quaters... Argentina!? where did they come from? England beat Australia... France beat New Zealand... and now England is in the final!

If the vortex closes, does that mean time will reverse and our timeline will correct itself? After that, I suppose, we'll all sit down next week to watch the New Zealand/South Africa final we were all expecting!

Come On England!!!

  • 72.
  • At 03:54 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Glen wrote:

My God.....magnificent lads..... well as a POM in england Im so proud of you.... and the All Blacks are out... heres a clip of how they are coping (not)

  • 73.
  • At 04:05 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Jonny wrote:

I agree with Donnyballgame, I watched the game on Setanta Broadband. The Irish 'pundits' were the most unprofessional, biased sore losers I've ever seen. They were an embarrassment for Ireland - talking about an English referee "conspiracy" and that England don't deserve to be in the final, blah blah blah. Why can't these people, especially professional sports pundits, just admit - shock - England might have done good! Those guys should be fired.

  • 74.
  • At 04:09 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • David Robertson wrote:

What has happened to rugby? I watched the game today and I was once again let down by the game being played as a percentage kicking waste of time!! Where is the rolling flowing 3/4 play culimintaing in, dare I say.....a try! All is well and England have proceeded to anthother world cup final, however if it is played like the utter rubbish that was displayed today we are all as well as giving up out of total bordom!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 75.
  • At 04:18 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • John Grahamslaw wrote:

I Totally agree with DonnyBallGame (Post 48) I watched the game on International Drive, Orlando with about 300 + Englishmen and Women and a smattering of French. The Univeral agreement was that the Setanta sports coverage was Crap !! It was so anti English it was embarassing !! The Channel better get their act together or they are going to alienate a whole nation. FIND PUNDITS WHO CAN REMAIN IMPARTIAL !! - The Game ?? what can I say ?? "Swing Low sweet ...."

  • 76.
  • At 04:27 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Matthew Hayden wrote:

As a former tight-head prop that was my kind of game!

I can't wait to hear all the doom and gloom (Setanta's horribly bias "pundits" started as soon as the final whistle sounded!); when will they realize it's a competition not entertainment! Oh, and by the way, we won! We bloody won!

Jason Robinson should be allowed to play for England when he's 90 - like Mike Catt did today!

  • 77.
  • At 04:40 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Davy wrote:

As a Scot living in Oz you got two big thumbs-up from me for beating the arrogant Aussies. Now you're in the final and all I can say is good luck, you've been through a tough period lately and deserve to be there. Well done England and good luck for the final!

  • 78.
  • At 04:43 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Julian Holdsworth wrote:

As an expat Englishman in Australia, got up at some unearthly hour this morning to watch it then went to work where I felt about as welcome as a mosquito in a nudist colony. Oh how everybody around me (New Zealander, Aussies, South Africans and a token Frenchman) wanted England to lose! Gloating is a terrible thing, but sometimes it's good to be an Englishman in Melbourne!

  • 79.
  • At 04:49 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • narks wrote:

Brilliant student hall are fun most of the time but today was brilliant absolutely brilliant.
Shut up you moaning muppets. We wong because we stop team playing that means we're better, whats the point of flair if the team ur playing doesn't let you use it.

  • 80.
  • At 04:58 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Gaz Knock wrote:

From here in Tasmania I was as stunned as the rest. This team cannot be taken lightly by whoever faces us next week. Yes we need to tweek things since there's always improvements. Yet from where we were a month ago I'm happy as Larry to be in the final again. Great stuff boys. What drama will next week bring!

  • 81.
  • At 05:10 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Paul Dewhurst wrote:

I awoke this morning in Angeles City, Philippines, my beautiful Fillipina Girlfriend beside me, but i had to say "not this morning Josaphine" there are more important matters at hand, namely, get on the internet and see how those brave warriers faired against the mighty French, and to my joy and ellation celebrate a famous win over Le coq. As i cheer and dance around the bedroom she looks at me puzzled, what is rugby she asks, (what is Rugby, cuh), we look at the reports, and still none the wiser she says " he is pretty (Jonny Wilkinson that is), typical.
Anyway, yes i am proud of our lads achievements, last week my Aussie mates were dumbstruck, today they will be as sick as parrots, and i love it.
Bring on SA or Argentina, the best is yet to come from the English, SA will not do to us what they did a few weeks ago and they know it, the heart and belief in our lads will see us through, as has been said here already, it may not be pretty but our strength and character will defeat all foes and we will come through victorious, why, because we are English, we do not know the meaning of lay down and die.
I have said my piece, it is now time to rejoin my girlfriend and enjoy the rest of the day here, thankyou boys, see you next week.

  • 82.
  • At 05:19 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

The Setanta pundits should be ashamed to call themselves ex-sportsmen. On their website it is not possible to make a complaint but I would like to complain to any regulator out there who will listen. That was some of the most unprofessional broadcasting I have ever witnessed. How can we stop these embarrassing curmudgeons covering the final? The tall lugubrious man was verging on hate crime in my book and the smaller chubby one kept agreeing like a ventriloquist's dummy. Even the Aussie one who seems to know his rugby quite well started having a go. It was so ridiculous to suggest that a) England were systematically breaking the rules of rugby at every set piece and b) an SA ref allowed them to because the 'boks would rather meet England in the final. Surely on his theory Ireland would be in the final. Talk about sour grapes.

  • 83.
  • At 05:30 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • argenspro wrote:

the english victory is a disaster for the worldcup and rugby in the world. Now i can only hope that boks (real great players)or pumas will defeat the worst team ever :england

  • 84.
  • At 05:41 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • BigJas K wrote:

What a time to be an Englishman living in NZ. These passed seven days have been bliss, they dare to call us whinging poms - you've never heard the like in your life!
Now we are in the final (again!!) after two wonderful games of determination, grit and attrition. We showed our true colours today and out mettled the French. What a glorious display of hard nosed, power northern hemisphere rugby.
Bring on the final, swinging low and i wish it could carry me home.....

  • 85.
  • At 05:47 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

We receorded the game earlier and just watched it in California. Mum and Dad are over from the UK and we went down to Pebble Beach today. Very nice. Bloody great game. From where they've come from the boys need to get huge credit. Solid. Solid. Solid. Good game from the French, just too many mistakes or they'd have taken it. As for the critics, don't you understand rugby, sometime it's not pretty, like the players. The TV hosts (Satanta?), what a joke, how embarrassing for them! Thanks England for extending the fun for another week! Schwing lowww...

  • 86.
  • At 06:12 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Charlie wrote:

Not without a fight. Damn right. Was in Lunasa in NY (thanks Gav, your the man)and the moment the drop goal sailed through, absolute bedlam. Finally home in the early hours US time. Time for bed. Dare we dream about one more massive display. Just one more. Go on. do it for mummy.......

  • 87.
  • At 06:13 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Frazzell wrote:

I'm a proud Englishman living in Canada. Great to see England win. Too bad we had to watch the Irish Setanta coverage...the low point in the post-game studio discussion came when Neil Francis implied that the South African ref. was letting England win because they would be an easier match for the Springboks, which was ripe because the French came within 10 minutes of winning on the strength of a phantom penalty awarded against Easter. All three panelists and the host were openly despondent with the result - bad day for rugby and all that. In the end, a lot of the comments we're getting out of the Southern Hemisphere on this forum and in other places are motivated solely by the same kind of hate espoused by the Australia Rugby Union's chief executive John O'Neill, but I was still disappointed to see the Irish experts getting their digs in on live TV.

"the english victory is a disaster for the worldcup and rugby in the world. Now i can only hope that boks (real great players)or pumas will defeat the worst team ever :england"

sour grapes, sore loser, bad apple, chip on shoulder - which one of these applies I wonder, or maybe all?

England have beaten two of the best teams in the competition, they scored the only try tonight, they have a world class pack and at least 3 world class backs - they have played with more passion and commitment than any other team in the competition, save maybe the argentinians - what more do you want?!

Well done England you make us proud!!!

  • 89.
  • At 06:31 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • paul wrote:

Now for the voice of sanity.

Boring. Absolutely boring. Can't wait for the try nations, looking forward to seeing some rugby. Enough of this glorified force back! I only watch Rugby for entertainment, and the AB's play entertaining rugby. My English uncle says that its all about winning. Perhaps he's right, but the sport needs spectators. He is understandably stoked about the win, but he admits he doesn't really enjoy watching rugby (he prefers football or even league). I believe he's watching the wrong games. I bet if you english watched a Bledisloe cup match or Tri nations, you may understand what i mean.

Ok, so i'm bitter! Congrats to England, your long suffering fans deserve the success, the true fans that is. To all the fans that bagged your team after the SA loss, you should hang your head in shame. I don't know how England would have fared against NZ if we had an experienced ref a week ago, I'm sure you might have even pushed us! Good luck for next week, you are going to need it!

Tomorrows game should be good, hopefully the winner is crowned champions in a week. Let the game be flowing, let the ref be fair, and let the drop goals be... in the last 5 minutes!

  • 90.
  • At 06:36 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Julian Manning wrote:

Michaeal, No. 62 is clearly not a rugby afficiandado. He must prefer basketball. If the game just played by two of the bravest teams to pull on national shirts did not make him feel something other than boredom, he should probably watch another sport. The Sothern Hemisphere (which he appears to appreciate) should take a good hard look at this and think. This is commitment. You guys are mere proffesionals. Sayonara.

Rugby isn't just a game played by people with odd shaped balls, it's a game WON by heros. Four more years to all down under. France to a man are better than all NZ and Aus have to offer.

This England team are by no means the most talented team on the earth, but they just showed the world why heart matters more than talent, sometimes.

Oh, and the ref also did a decent job on the whole (NZ).

  • 91.
  • At 06:36 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Peter Foster wrote:

Almaty Kazakhstan here, useful fact for the day is that the Kazakhstan Womens XV is ranked 9th in the world so Borat watch your mouth. Immense effort lads and thanks for making us exiles so proud.

  • 92.
  • At 06:41 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Steff wrote:

"You can keep your flowing rugby, your silky back-line moves, your 10-try thrillers."

What a pile of rubbish.

For the neutral, this game was miserable and marked the death of attractive rugby as a viable tactic for winning test matches.

  • 93.
  • At 06:42 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Darryl wrote:

Dear Michael (comment 62)
Perhaps if New Zealand (``consistently the number one ranked team in the world for 20 years'') ever made it to a final they would meet England there!!!
I don't see how NZ not winning the World Cup - for 20 years btw - is a problem with the format of the World Cup?!
World Cups are about the knock-out stages, that is what gives them drama. For two weekends in a row you have had matches of compelling drama as teams look over the edge of the cliff. One wrong step and they are going home. That is sport at its best and until you realise that you'll never fully enjoy a World Cup.
Don't choke on those sour grapes, will you?
For England, I'm astonished at your bravery.

  • 94.
  • At 06:44 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Chris Foster wrote:

To all you (presumably antipodean) people out there telling us england has no world class players, which, please share with us, of the english players on the field last night or last saturday are not world class?

  • 95.
  • At 06:48 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Bob Farrow wrote:

Just got into work here in Dubai after a celabratory evening!!!

So far we've managed to quieten the Aussies, the Kiwies, the French now it's just those pesky Safas!!

Come on England!!!!!!!!!

  • 96.
  • At 06:48 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • James Shine wrote:

Like Agincourt 2007 version...

Watched the game with 2 friends in Bar /Brasserie Castelnau Hammersmith Bridge Road Barnes. The place was packed with French supporters and England supporters were outnumbered around 300:10. It's the'HQ' of London French RFU and also the local social hang-out for the French Consulate in London, and with a large French community in Barnes [French Lycee round corner] French residents.

Managed to get a good spot surrounded by c60 French supporters and stuck out a bit wearing an England Rugby Top..handshakes and 'bonne chance' given to London French RFU people..have to stay friendly with the natives!

Huge chorus of the French Anthem and 'Allez Les Blues' before stunned silence and disbelief after 78 seconds @England's try and 3 English fans hi-fiving.

Give it to the French no matter whether it was a positive moment or a set-back they cheered their team on and repeated cries of 'Allez Les Bleus' incessantly.

Half time and @6-5 down I felt we were the better playing team. Swopped texts with friend in Melbourne Australia watching game surrounded by Ozzies..

2nd half just seemed to fly-by, the tension enormous. I'd originally said we kind of need to score first in 2nd half so thankfully going 4 points down lasted only 4 minutes or so.

Then there was 25 minutes with only a 1pt deficit - unbelievable match! I got very tense around abouts the 65th minute - started getting the feeling we're not going to do it, we're pinned in our own half and just repelling French attacks..maybe something's going to give.

Who am I to doubt the England rugby team? 2 searing penetrations deep into French territory and like the daggers @ Agincourt used to finish off the French knights 2 professional slotted kicks by Jonny and we're 5 points up with 2 minutes to go. The French resolve in the bar had wiltered with the 1st kick but with the 2nd it was pouring out of the bar, almost stunned disbelief that the party had been pooped.

Then it was over, England fans jumping around, French singing 'Allez Les Bleus' , followed by the small band of English singing 'God save our Queen [team]'...then rapidly the 300 French became 200 then 80...
Handshakes exchanged, apologies from the polite English about 'sorry to spoil your party' and a tactical withdrawal for post match analysis over a curry.

French are sporting people, they won't rub it in if they win and if they lose they'll accept a handshake, so so different from the wingeing, spiteful, ungracious Ozzie in Wimbledon @ the end of the Australia match last week!

Vive La Victoire!
and Vive La France!

  • 97.
  • At 06:56 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

does anyone else think argenspro is clutching at straws


and if the name is made appropriate - u must be doing naughty things in ure pants

YEAH we had no team - yeah we HADN'T won the games we should have won


what u ARGENTINIANS still have not learnt is


and we dont know when to stop.....when weare defeated.....


  • 98.
  • At 06:56 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • tom wrote:

I am an Irishman who loves rugby.

This has without doubt been the most exciting Rugby World Cup in history and England have been the epitomy of bravery, determination, guts and modesty.

I am an Irishman and find the comments made by my fellow non-English men(the ones moaning about the England games being boring and the tournament being poor) quite nauseating and embarrasing, really sums up the chips on shoulders many have!

Fellas have you not moved on from you're mud huts. I and most people in modern day Britain and Ireland have moved on from the days of hatred for England. These people accept us for who we are, welcome us into every walk of their lives, hold no grudges for our years of murder, rape and pillage of their people and frankly support us all financially!

There team has been the model sports team- modest, honest, together, behaved impeccably, with humour at all times in a most admirable sportsman-like-way.

I for one am proud to have such a group of men representing us Northern Hemisphere and Britain.
All the very best from (most of) your celtic brothers!!
For God sake Ireland please sort yourselves out!!

  • 99.
  • At 07:02 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • David Page (Pommy) wrote:

Well, for all of the anti-English comment I have had to endure from bitter Kiwis and an embarrassed New Zealand media (they all backed their horse to waltz it, then transferred allegiance to France) - I am absolutely, totally and utterly, speechless... merci, merci, merci England. It wasn't pretty, but then who cares? We won. God, those words are so sweet...and now to the final. Perhaps God is - as in indeed we have always thought - an Englishman.

  • 100.
  • At 07:10 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Chris Hart wrote:

Chris with a sore head in Poland

There will always be an England !!!
Tout les grenouiles sont perdu

Watched on TV5 monde very strange how it suddenly cut to a nature program shortly after the final whistle

SWING Lo ~ Swing ever Higher
Well done the boys

  • 101.
  • At 07:11 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Eddie Pratt wrote:

Great support here in the bar at San Francisco. The French supporters outnumbered us, but they were absolutely magnananous in defeat.

  • 102.
  • At 07:24 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Mandy in Aussieland wrote:

Remembering 2003 in Manly, in Oz meeting our heroes the day after they won The Cup. Was definitely the best day of celebration so far in my lifetime! What is everyone going on about "pretty" Rugby. Lets face it it's not meant to be pretty. (And if so our boys have it all going for them in the looks department!) It's a battle and our boys are fighting fit... can't tell you how fantastic it is being a pommie here in Oz. Last week listening to their whinging.. haahaa Bring on next week. Love It!.btw this blogs brilliant

  • 103.
  • At 07:35 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

If you're an England fan you're pleased, over-joyed, exstatic. If you're a France fan you're naturally sad, disappointed, gutted. If you're a neutral and unbiased (this leaves out most Welsh, Irish (Satanta huh?), Scottish, Aussie and New Z folks) and you wanted a flowing game; why were you watching this one? What did you expect? Teams play to win and to their strengths. I am English in the US. I was gutted by the loss to SA. Pleased by the comeback so far. Thought we'd lose to the Aussies big time 'cos they're awesome; still supported the boys. Thought we'd lose to the French, closely; 'cos it should be their time; still supported the boys. Think SA have a big edge in the final, will still support the boys. I'm a fan. Let's leave it at that.

Stop bitching, we're all fans, enjoy (or hate) the moment. Support your team. Praise those those who win. Congratulate the losers for their effort and passion (or bad luck/refereeing decisions). Whoever it is. We call that sportsmanship.

Bitchy comments just mean you're sad....appreciate the game, the sport, the effort these poeple put into this World Cup.

  • 104.
  • At 07:39 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

Just to say to the Celtic nations-be proud,England`s captain is one of you!Kernow bys vykken!!

"To all you (presumably antipodean) people out there telling us england has no world class players, which, please share with us, of the english players on the field last night or last saturday are not world class?"

By definition, if a team makes it to a world cup final, they are world class!! It is as simple as that!!! cmmmmmmmmon england!

  • 106.
  • At 07:49 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • rjshare wrote:

michael - comment 60

are you of antipodean ancestry by any chance?

moments like these are what sport is about. would anybody watch sport if we knew that the best team was always going to win? sport has that unpredictable element that makes it what it is.

if you want to spend your life watching predictable things then get a calendar, don't watch international rugby. maybe you are one of those people who get all disorientated if someone moves a piece of furniture in your house.

not many english people on here saying that it was boring, dull, predictable etc are there? - not surprising really, but there aren't any french saying it either, nor were there last night - and i live in france so i heard a fair few of them. its just the southern hemisphere teams who are already eliminated seem to be complaining - funny that isn't it?

any england fan will tell you that they didn't expect us to go this far and most if they are honest will admit that we are far from being the best side in the world right now - but they have got to the final by winning the games that matter - they can do no more than beat the team they are up against, whether that is tonga, france or the aussies. sure, we haven't played the all blacks - but thats only because the all blacks didn't manage to go far enough in the competition to meet england.

i can only guess michael that either you are a kiwi who can't get over losing to france or an aussie who still hasn't come to terms with the 79th minute of the 2003 final.

we promise to play more exciting free flowing rugby in the next world cup so that the all blacks can trounce us...

  • 107.
  • At 07:53 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Chris Hong Kong wrote:

Re Post No 60. Michael, are you from New Zealnd by any chance? Four more years mate.

By the way your compatriots here took it much better than you

  • 108.
  • At 08:16 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

Some of the comments from our dear Southern friends explains why they are in danger of going many more years with capturing the Web Ellis trophy. Winning major games of Rugby is about playing to your strengths and holding your nerve. Englands passion, courage, power, skill, intelligence, never say die attitude and NERVE is second to none and our parochial Southern friends just cant see it! " 4 more years mate"

  • 109.
  • At 08:19 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • One Legged Ed wrote:

Tom, your blogs continue to inspire envy and gratitude. Next time I want my own camper van, its clearly the way to do it. Keep an eye on Ben, he'll need a minder this week...

The noise generated in the pub last night is still ringing in my ears. It's my wedding anniversary today, I'm taking the Kenilworth Under 8's to play a match against Daventry.

Life can't get any better than this - until, maybe, next week?

  • 110.
  • At 08:19 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • JafaJones wrote:

Say after me England...

"Thankyou Wayne Barnes"

Do we smell a rat?

  • 111.
  • At 08:22 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Nathan in Holland wrote:

Well what can I say? Bring it on. I watched the coverage on the french channel TV5, the commentary was impartial and the team were appreciative of rugby seen at its best. I have already had messages from french colleagues congratulating England on a hard fought victory.

NZ, Aus and others please stop whinging about flair and entertainment. Ultimately the team with the most points wil win, Regardless of entertainment. As in all sports teams that adapt to the challenges of the opposition and make the correct tactical decisions win.

Come on England. One more win for sporting immortality.

  • 112.
  • At 08:29 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Mike Buckley wrote:

Not a pretty game for the neutrals, but by God did it have tension! Congrats to England for a performance of true grit and determination. And hats off to Jonny boy again....the way he calmly strode over to the left hand side of the ruck to take position for that last drop goal spoke volumes about the guy. Having said that.....this England team has'nt a hope next week against South Africa (I expect). The Boks are way too strong up front for them. I expect Burger and Smith will destroy the English back row and will give up very little turnover ball. Their back-line too is way too enterprising and has some zip that England has not faced yet. Good luck anyway.

  • 113.
  • At 08:37 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Philippe from France wrote:

My congratulations, good luck for the final.

  • 114.
  • At 08:40 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

To all the comments in this blog about "the end of rugby" just because several trys were not scored in Englands last too games.
Modern profesional rugby teams are incredibly well drilled in defence and it is just not that easy to run in a hat full of 5 pointers, apart from maybe NZ, and where are they?
I cannot understand how anyone can have watched the game last night and not been on the edge of the seat, admiring the commitment of both teams and the tension of a close fought contest.
Boring rugby...............! I think not

Let's make a World Cup table, including the 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007 (so far) World Cups. A team receives 4 points for winning the World Cup, 3 points for losing in the final, 2 points for losing in the semi-final and 1 point for losing in the quarter final. Up to and including England's victory over France, this is how it looks:

Australia 15, New Zealand 14, France 13, England 11 [will be on 14 or 15], South Africa 7 [will be on 9, 10 or 11], Scotland 7, Ireland 4, Wales 4, Western Samoa 2, Fiji 2, Canada 1, Argentina 1 [will be on 3, 4 or 5].

Come on England!

  • 116.
  • At 08:45 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Paul Spiring wrote:

That was not merely a game of rugby - that was about a nation stepping-up to the plate, rolling-up it's sleeves and collectively saying "over our dead bodies!".

I have never felt so proud of my nationality or my countrymen. I shed a few tears - and I enjoyed it. Well done England!!!

  • 117.
  • At 08:47 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Rob Andrew wrote:

" "You can keep your flowing rugby, your silky back-line moves, your 10-try thrillers."

What a pile of rubbish.

For the neutral, this game was miserable and marked the death of attractive rugby as a viable tactic for winning test matches."

Obviously you have no appreciation of finals or playoffs in any code of sport and what is required to win these high pressure games.

How many high scoring, free flowing knockout finals do you see? Very few. Its all about grit, determination and a will to win.

You like free flowing rugby? Go watch Auistralia play New Zealand and their major tournament winning styles.

  • 118.
  • At 08:55 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • kick and Hope wrote:

The English RU 'Secret' Strategy for Success: Kick and Hope

Plan A. Kick and hope for a lucky bounce into winger's arms and can stumble over the line for a lucky try. (Try for a chance to kick goal! - hurrah!)
Plan B. If lucky bounce doesn't happen, wait for an opposition mistake and get penalty. Give ball to Wilkinson to kick the goal. (hurrah!)
Plan C. If Plan B doesn't occur. Give ball to Wilkinson for field goal. (hurrah!)

Return to Plan A.

PS Don't forget to pump up TV commercial volume to wake up viewers at home who are in danger of being bored to death.
PPS Approach FIFA to see if we can merge the RU with soccer and avoid running with the ball at all.
PPPS. Examine laws of game to see if it is possible to cut the crotch out of shorts to free up leg action for longer kick. Question would the IRB give approval for England to play in skirts??

  • 119.
  • At 08:55 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Colin Mac wrote:

As a fervent scot living in Oz I can only say what a performance and what a response to all the so called NH rugby fans who trash this result.This was magnificent rugby that kept every one on their toes to the end I just wish that the Scots had shown the same spirit against the Argies,and I am quite sure the Irish and the Welsh teams are saying the same.The comments here in Oz by the sporting press and commentators over the past two weeks,including those lamentable remarks by John O'Neil,really made this outstanding victory so much more satisfying and I will be cheering them on next weekend,and any six nation fans who do not support England,well they really want to question themselves and admit their attitude is pure sour grapes."Go England"

  • 120.
  • At 09:00 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • gabe wrote:

I watched it on French TV – kudos for an unusually unpartisan commentary. When Robinson niftily stopped the ball going into touch before retrieving it, the French decided the ref had got it wrong for giving the line out. Same again, when Jonny lost us a penalty but turned out to be nowhere near the ball.

After the match you could see the respect they had for England. The French are renowned for their steely nerve and intelligence on the field. But England had watched the videos and sealed all the hatches.

These were two very powerful teams, very evenly matched. I can’t recall ever seeing France unable to break through a back line. Every chip was fielded by safe hands, every scissors move nipped in the bud. The French should have run it more but they were obviously rattled and afraid to lose the ball in a weak position. A fantastic try by England in the first two minutes of the game. What an opener! A simply heroic game – and great to watch to boot.

  • 121.
  • At 09:08 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • GLYN RICHARDS wrote:

Last nights game to me showed the game is all about the team preformance. Other R.F.U s have been very quick to sack management teams after a world cup exit but never the players. The English players and English team as coplete package have been run down by the world media for last 4 years but funny theis morning the so called "bias" world media is back on Englands side. Well done to all the players 1~30 you did us proud.

  • 122.
  • At 09:10 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Chris Browne wrote:

I see a lot of comments complaining about the biased Setanta commentary, and one Neil Francis's name comes up. As an Irishman and Irish rugby supporter myself, I can testify that Neil Francis never has a good word to say about anybody - he'd slag his own grandmother off! He is an Olympic standard empty-head, and wasn't even that much of a decent player in his day, although he'll probably tell you he was God's gift to Irish rugby. He normally uses his newspaper column to go on about how bad the Ulster players in the Irish team are - that's the type of narrow-mindedness we are dealing with...
So I'm not surprised he came out with some guff about the ref being biased, and fumed on about England winning.
Please English supporters, take no notice of these idiotic commentators who try and be controversial for the sake of it...
By the way I watched the game in my hotel room in Rio De Janeiro on French TV5, and England throughly deserved the win, and it was gripping stuff, even for an Irishman....

  • 123.
  • At 09:16 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

It's now 3am houston,texan time, I've been on the razzle since the game. One eye closed to write this, fingers like concrete blocks. agree with all the posts about Satanta in the US. The most one sided(almost racist) comments ever on a tv screen. No matter, we may have been lucky, we may not be the best at flowing rugby, no matter, WE ARE THERE!!!!! The tension was unbearable. The game was the modern equivalent I'm sure of the roman ampitheatre! God I'm shattered, to bed and dream of next week! Well done you buggers!

  • 124.
  • At 09:23 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Stuart wrote:


  • 125.
  • At 09:24 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Jon wrote:

Nice comment 62.

Just about as bitter and twisted as any on her.

Love it!

  • 126.
  • At 09:27 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Jimmy Fingers wrote:

Small chance of success! Certain death! What are we waiting for?

David Campese, please eat my pants. "Go France" the Networks cried and Go they did. Going, going, GONE.

  • 127.
  • At 09:29 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Clive Bennett wrote:

England played to their strengths, which is the most sensible tactic that they could possibly employ. It was a determined team effort and credit should be given for them reaching the final against all expectations. I feel sorry for the French, as they have been the best Northern Hemisphere side since the last World Cup, much as New Zealand have been the best side in the world over the same period. But this is a cup tournament and England have somehow found the reserves to grind out victories. Of course, Wilkinson is the pivotal figure. It is impossible to imagine England reaching these stages without him. He is truly an England great and it has been England's misfortune that he has suffered so many injuries over the last four years. Perhaps England have had a bit of luck in the last two games of this World Cup, that has compensated for them missing such a great player in their line up during his peak years.

  • 128.
  • At 09:30 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • martyn wrote:

In '91 we were fooled by the Aussies into thinking that we played "boring" one dimensional rugby and that we couldn't run or pass to save our lives. So we ran and they bored us into losing 12-6. It was kidology and it worked and no one in Aus gives a stuff that they won the World Cup without utilising the gifts of some of their marvellous players. They were ugly and they won. The world cup winners in 2003 were England. Fact. Get over it. So it's our Cup and we are not giving it up without a fight. Get used to it. Stop moaning and go away and work out how to play with the big boys. Anyone can look good with the super under 14's.

  • 129.
  • At 09:30 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • the big D wrote:

i would like to be forgivern for my foolish thoughts.

  • 130.
  • At 09:31 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Marcus wrote:

Let's be honest Bernard Laporte, possibly the worst manager ever. Why were Fraance going for drop goals from their own half or from first phase in our half.

Without doubt the least french performance i've ever witnessed.Why were they trying to out bore us at our own game!!!

Why did he bring Michalak on after 51 mins!!!!!! Nothing about the game so far suggested that you needed a flash of brilliance. All you needed was a solid 10, which Beaxis had been till that point, to control the game. Luckily we had Wilko and not some idiot trying to banana kick his way to glory.

As a firm England supporter i'm sad to see Laporte go, it's unbelievable how one man can make 15 of the best rugby players in the world look so average. Picture being back at school and having the 30 men who started the game lined up in front of you, how many englishman would you pick based on skill alone?

  • 131.
  • At 09:32 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Jeremy wrote:

Well done to England – a thoroughly deserved victory . . yet again. As a die hard Wallaby supporter that’s not an easy thing to say but this English team have clearly got the game plan down pat to win this world cup – I honestly don’t think the Pumas or Boks can stop them – especially as both those teams can be fiery and retaliate to niggle which the English should provide with 3 point Johnny there to take full advantage. I feel a bit for the French supporters – not making the final probably equates to a failed campaign for them and to get kicked out by a team that’s done nothing for 4 years really hurts (I know). I am interested though to see who English supporters would rather play – the Boks or the Pumas? I think we can write off the 36-0 result of the pool game against the Boks given Wilkinson wasn’t present. Also, the England scrum has really clicked the last few games and either opponent will struggle for the 80 mins. Finally, defending champs have a habit of fighting it out to the last kick – in 03 the Wallabies were much like this English team – given zero chance of making the final. I predict back to back world cup wins for the red rose unfortunately.

  • 132.
  • At 09:32 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • richie rich wrote:

I can only assume those who found last night boring are not rugby fans. I'm a Glos fan, and we and the Tigers and the other top sides love forward power. I understand the jealousy the SA and NZ populations have for England, and if I were from there I might be jealous too. If you only want to see running rugby with lots of tries, watch rugby league, and shut up the criticism of high-power gritty performances from two sides who sent you both packing a week ago, and who both deserve credit for giving a great performance of power rugby.

I love the way England play, and I love the Six Nations. I always watch the Tri Nations and the Super 14, and those competitions are not a patch on the Six Nations. Amazing that NZ and Aus think Bledisloe is what it's all about, just so that they can keep the Saffers out of the limelight. Notice the SA team have got on with business, and are in a semi-final. The other two "great" SH sides should look and learn.

I'd like to see SA and Arg join in an 8 Nations,and just leave NZ and Aus to play each other so they can feel stylish, and not get upset by the way the inventors of the game play it.

To the Celtic Nations, I always support you unless you're playing England.

  • 133.
  • At 09:36 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • anglophone wrote:


If you're watching rugby for entertainment alone then perhaps you'd be better off watching the professional wrestling channel. That has plenty of pre-choreographed moves and you can predict who will win. If you understand rugby and the meaning of sport you will realise that last night's match was a great game. Both sides gave it everything, there was great forward play and the ball was spun out wide as both teams sought a breakthrough. Tries were not forthcoming because both defences were so utterly committed. That's what knock-out competition is all about and what makes it so enthralling. When you play in leagues and the statistics matter then the technically best sides will usually win through...especially if the marketing men have invented a series of synthetic no-contests to boost ticket and replica shirt sales (look no further than football's Champions League). Cup knock-out games are more about who has the guts and cajones on the day and that's what makes it great...and I wouldn't have minded if England lost last night because I knew they had given it everything!

Self-knowledge is not a strong characteristic among SH rugby fans. You let the marketing men adapt the game in the early 90s to get a better "product" that could be sold to the wider public. It looks nice and allows all the usual chippiness about how "its" (and therefore "we") sooo much better than the NH in general and England in particular, to shine through. But it's sheer just end up believing in your own PR and go into a vitriolic frenzy when you get found out by a team that won't play to your strengths.

Just watch the wrestling!

  • 134.
  • At 09:36 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • silky wrote:

I love the way all neutrals are saying it was boring. I dont think one english or french fan would have thought it was a boring game! As for all the NZ and Australia fans watching...... maybe you should have a think about why your teams didnt make it through and why you are watching it as neutrals!? Maybe you should consider that sometimes attractive rugby isnt the solution and you sometimes have to grind out results with grit and determination rather than flashy backs moves and off loading in the tackle!!!
Well done england, a win is a win no matter how you achieve it!!!

  • 135.
  • At 09:41 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • billy wrote:

it seems the training with the Royal Marines payed off, hand to hand combat is never pretey, but the allation from victory,so worth every ounce of pain, well done Brian Ashton, well done England, its not often you meet a team of hard dogged players, you deserve to be where you are, keep up the good fight.

  • 136.
  • At 09:45 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • moss wrote:

good to watch. No! good to be English,yes. So what were not the best team in the world, were in the final, and only one other team will be there. winge all you want we are there! End of story! Be proud to be English!

  • 137.
  • At 09:49 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • fat tony wrote:

There is a lot of talk about England being "Old Men"....

Looking at the team out there last night I was wondering who might make a world cup 15 in 2011

15. Robinson - no
14. Sackey - yes
13. Tait - yes
12. Catt - you'd think not
11. Lewsey - maybe
10. Wilko - yep
9. Gommersal - no - Ellis should be fit!!
8. Easter - yes
7. Moody - yes
6. Corry - probably not
5. Kay - probably not
4. Shaw - I hope so
3. Sheridan - yep
2. Reagan - no but what about Chuter
1. Vickery no - bring on Stevens!

Flood and Hipkiss - yes, not sure about Worsley

So half the team could play in 2011 so perhaps not so old after all ?

What do you reckon ? Who are your tips for 2011 ?

  • 138.
  • At 09:52 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Jonny wrote:

For all those of us who watched the match on Setanta and the appallingly biased comments thereafter here are some statistics for Neil Francis (one of the 'pundits'):

International career:

P36, W12, D1, L23

versus England:

P5, W1, D0, L4

Is it any wonder that he was so bile ridden when England won? Not the greatest ambassador for Irish rugby or Setanta. I would also hasten to suggest that Setanta might start to book less green-eyed 'experts' if they wish to retain/develop a large subscription base.

As for England? The team personifies everything that makes England a great country - determination, a never-say-die attitude and a belief that no matter what the circumstances they can come through on top. A very proud moment for me.

  • 139.
  • At 09:56 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Fantastic result !! Watched the match in an Irish pub in Copenhagen on Setanta Sports - totally out of order studio guests - their comments were outrageous. has a customer feedback form and also you can mail to complain about their broadcasting style

  • 140.
  • At 10:01 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Dan wrote:

Post 119: your bitterness tastes delicious. How sweet it is to have once again knocked out the hosts in their own back yard. Every anti-English comment on here has made me smile. Thanks to those who have been gracious enough to be congratulatory. I could barely watch the last five minutes, breathtaking tension.

I'm not sure I'm going to be able to survive next Saturday!

  • 141.
  • At 10:01 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • madbeefsheppo wrote:

I can't believe it! I'm offshore off Canada right now, so no channel was showing the game. I followed it online and I really can't believe it!
Remember how poor England have been over the last couple years, and people were saying that this World cup would be a no-show, but here we are in the FINAL again and against South Africa (probably) we will have a real chance to avenge that 36-0 defeat! Come on!

  • 142.
  • At 10:02 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Richard Porter wrote:

England in World Cup Final - Awsome!

The French have put on an absolutely fantastic tournament and i have loved the whole thing.
Seeing England turn it on when it counts is just incredible and I haven't stopped shaking.

The only down side is the total tragedy of the NZ fans. You are hopeless (see comment 62). If you are seriously suggesting the rules change to suit your losing teams style of play you must be at the limits of desperation.

The rules are clear and we play to them. Apparently you guys like rugby......but only if it suits you. As soon as you lose you want to immediately make changes in the rules. Oh dear.

It hardly matters NZ have only played the Wrold champions once in 20 years. We dont need to knock you out as we have the French x2, SA, and fantastic Australia to do it for us.
NB Aussie fans just awsome too!
Well done England and well done to the French for this fantastic sporting event.

  • 143.
  • At 10:07 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Meg wrote:

To all the people complaining about how it wasn't a pretty / good / proper game of rugby...

The World Cup is a KNOCKOUT tournament. No-one, repeat, no-one will be playing free flowing, attractive, stylish rugby when there's so much at stake. This is why England do well in these situations - the boys can dig in and grind it out using whatever means necessary - nothing fancy, just do what needs to be done. The Southern Hemisphere expect every game to be a try fest and full of free running - this attitude is why they are, one-by-one, getting sent home.

  • 144.
  • At 10:08 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Pleen Setterfield wrote:

Unbelievable result! Should have had more faith in Brian Ashton, since we are Bath fans, but I didn't book for Marseille or Paris, after witnessing the lamentable display in Lens. But....

...I have two tickets for The Police in Cardiff this Friday. Are there any French, New Zealand or Aussie rugby fans out there (or anyone!) with Final tickets for Paris which they really don't want and would they like to swap?! It would be the best 50th birthday present for my husband. Allez les roses!

  • 145.
  • At 10:09 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Dan wrote:

Want to know what one of the great things about the magnificent English victory is?

Its hearing all the sourpuss Antipodeans whinge like there's no tomorrow.

Poor, poor losers.

Well played the lads.

  • 146.
  • At 10:10 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Riz wrote:

Well done England!
MY wife is a devout muslim and didn't come off the prayer mat untill johny had kicked that awsome penalty and then she couldn't stop dancing till morning. I cartwheeld half of my street. Simply unbeleivable . Sports and spirit at their very best. Just feels proud to be british. Still feel like dream though!

Let's make a World Cup table, including the 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007 (so far) World Cups. A team receives 4 points for winning the World Cup, 3 points for losing in the final, 2 points for losing in the semi-final and 1 point for losing in the quarter final. Up to and including England's victory over France, this is how it looks:

Australia 15
New Zealand 14
France 13
England 11 [will be on 14 or 15]
South Africa 7 [will be on 9, 10 or 11]
Scotland 7
Ireland 4
Wales 4
Western Samoa 2
Fiji 2
Canada 1
Argentina 1 [will be on 3, 4 or 5].

Come on England!

  • 148.
  • At 10:22 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • jess wrote:

people say that jonny isnt the only reason england won the wc or are in the final of this one but when you look at last night- it's hard to argue against that. if jonny had been injured do you really think england would have won- seeing as only one try was scored and even the conversion was missed. if jonny hadnt been playing against the aussies, they more than likely woulnt have won either because the lack of try scoring ability is worrying. it's very good that they are in the final again and well done to them but anyone who says it's not done to just jonny wilkinson is deluded.

  • 149.
  • At 10:25 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Samantha Norris wrote:


  • 150.
  • At 10:28 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Oh My God! Got back from Paris at 8.30 this morning. It's only just hit me, we're in the final. I can't believe it! I just burst into tears! The pressure, the drama. Words fail me.

  • 151.
  • At 10:35 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Carole Maidenhead wrote:

You wonderful, wonderful boys, well done! As for you , Tom and Ben, thanks for your continued excellent Blogging. I can't stop smiling. Now, let's see what happens today...

  • 152.
  • At 10:35 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Andre wrote:

Last week I was in Hong Kong, I managed to watch the England game and a repeat of the French game with the misses, who is French, screaming in my ear loosers.

Yesterday I watched the game in Baltimore with 50 other English fans and some French fans. The French were the ones singing until the penalty at the end. Then the bar errupted with song and the people in the street looked on in shock as singing in groups in bars is not the norm.

The pleasure was calling the misses with a sad voice she got all excited until she looked on the internet and I started 5 minutes of loosers until she put the phone down.

The truth is that no-one is a looser if they performed as best they could and at this level most people do.

Well done England, we are defending our title with pride and passion. Come on the final.

  • 153.
  • At 10:37 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • keith wrote:

Congratulations to both France and England.It could have gone either way and on the night the (slightly) better team won.

  • 154.
  • At 10:38 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Rob Mitchell wrote:

Thanks Tom (comment 98) for saying: "This has without doubt been the most exciting Rugby World Cup in history and England have been the epitomy of bravery, determination, guts and modesty".

Your other comments about England brought a lump to my throat.

To the others who knock the England team for playing "boring rugby" and if you want to see real rugby watch the tri-nations. Excuse me, what does that tournament mean to those who are not from those countries? Er, perhaps the word you're looking for is "nothing".

The game last night (and the rest of the competition) had me on the edge of my seat. Flowing rugby it did not possess, but moments of genius in defence, guts and determination it possessed in abundance which I for one found compulsive.

I am also proud Tom that such a team is representing the Northern Hemisphere in a competition which means something to more than just a few.

  • 155.
  • At 10:41 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • rick munter wrote:

Well done to England - had some tears in my eye at the end there. You tenacious, fierce, belligerent, dogged, primeval warriors!

Fair play to the French being so magnanimous in defeat also - I remember going to a game in about 1983 with my Dad and unlike soccer we were interspersed in the French crowd. "Allez Philippe" still reverberates in my head whenever I watch the French!
Not one comment about biased refs or 'you was lucky' ... just gracious acceptance that it was a close match and either team could have take it but the winner is the winner. One thing always out-ranks talent and supposed 'world class' ... is passion and fire (as the All Blacks found out to their cost last weekend!)

Thanks also for all the Celts (Welshmen, Scotsmen and yep even the Irishmen) throwing in their support ... well most off them anyway. My girlfriend is Irish and traditionally supports any team but the English (e.g. she went to a Portuguese bar in Vauxhall for the footie World Cup and rubbed my nose in it for days as she and her Irish mafia mates cheered for the Portuguese) BUT even she was cheering for the 'lads' ... her only comment was it was great to see us cold unemotional Englishmen all fired up - screaming and bellowing like a bunch of cavemen in the South London pubs. She didn't realise we (the fans) had it in us ... and I guess most of us didn't believe the team had it in them. But I salute you English forwards, Andy Gomarsall, Jason Robinson and of course for extraordinary cool under fire - Jonny Wilkinson.

And for all of those detractors of the so-called "ugly game" played. I'm sorry but if free flowing rugby is all you care about put all your effort into either a) rugby 7s or b) Rugby League. I have to say we were watching the St Helens v Leeds match just before the semi-final and there were plenty of tries but I don;t think it made for a more watchable game. It's interesting that most of the negative comments seem to be 'whinging and whining' from the Antipodean teams ... and they call us whinging Pomms!

Have to say that most of my Kiwi mates have been pretty decent about it - sure we all know the pass was forward but to suggest Barnes deliberatively didn't call it is rubbish ... and I think the McCallister sending off was warranted on watching the replay.

So this is a segment of an email from my Kiwi mate (who considering I'd just won our standing 1000 dollar bet that the ABs would choke and England would do better than them was being very gracious in defeat!) If Kiwis (and Aussies) are looking for a scapegoat as to why their out then I suggest the swaggering Southern Hemisphere sports press are to blame:
His reply:

"Its not just our press, every corporate in the country has been ramming advertising at us to do with the all blacks. Its quite awful. They have been over branded and the whole concept has lost its lustre.

So, good luck england, I think its anyone's now. I think the SA team aren't as flash as they make out. They will struggle if too far behind. "

And that's from a Kiwi. So there you go fellas not all Antipodeans are the same and it just remains to be seen if England can really pull off being the first team to defend the trophy successfully. Who'd have thought THAT was even a remotest possibility 6 weeks ago!

Anyway Tom and Ben - great blog and some great, witty and not-too-biased writing. And to write an entry after yesterday was, like the England team effort - above and beyond the call of duty!

  • 156.
  • At 10:42 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • wikhelm wrote:

more boring rugby from england, but fair play to them, they dug deep and won ugly!

but for the love of god, next world cup please keep it on the bbc, the ITV commentry and coverage has been an absolute joke.

  • 157.
  • At 10:52 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Jez wrote:

Comment 69: Oh dear Michael, are you forgeting a few things (yes, you are!)
1. 2003 England couldn't play the number one ranked team in the World as they were the number one.
2. To win a World Cup you need to win a minimum 3, preferably 4 qualifying games and 3 knockout games - something New Zealand are incapable of doing
3. To win, you need to play as a team, something which England are better at than any other team in the world - okay I reckon we may get found out by the South Aficans, but heh at least we are there to give it a crack.

  • 158.
  • At 10:52 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Sarah, Bucks wrote:

You know, I've just twigged as to how jammy you two gits actually are!! Last night was immense, and I wish I was there with you for next week's final!

Any chance of a spare ticket?! :P


  • 159.
  • At 10:53 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Maybe everyone complaining about the lack of fanciful passes and lots of running should bugger off and watch league and sevens instead of complaining about the purity of a game they clearly don't understand.

  • 160.
  • At 10:55 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

Wow. I'm out in Sweden at the moment, so no watching for me, but I'm still ecstatic! I spent last night partying like I've never done before, and boy am I paying for it now. My hangover might even rival some that are happening in Paris right now.

Did you know that Ben Dirs has his own appreciation society?

  • 161.
  • At 11:00 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • mark wrote:

Absolutely brilliant. Just goes to show what the tabloid press know about this England team. South Africa was the turning point. The amount of suport in the stadium stunned the French and I think this is Englands 16th man. The French Like the Aussies the week before thought that they had won before they had kick a ball. Now for the final. Good luck England and I will be cheering you lot on from my local. If last night is anything to go by it will be heaving.

  • 162.
  • At 11:01 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Note to the author of comment 61:

Here's my 5-point plan for the ABs to triumph in their own backyard in 2011:

1) Do a haka in front of each of the other teams as they get off the plane.

2) Beat Japan by 375 points in the inaugral match.

3) Award yourselves 1000 bonus points and declare yourselves the winners.

4) Award yourselves a second trophy for outstanding achievement in the field of choreography.

5) Leave the other teams to fight it out for second place.

  • 163.
  • At 11:07 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • r0nin wrote:

Awesome.. what can you say about last night... not for the purists it has to be said but for pure tension, excitement and a game that showed that rugby is not all about running in tries...

What makes me laugh more than anything is reading some of the comments from the anti-england brigade, mainly coming from the Chokers from down under... and maybe a few welshmen ;)... well boys let ur talking be done on the pitch rather than stupid comments about how the game should be played.. it's all about winning ultimately at the end of the day and not choking when the cards are on the table... Sorry for mentioning the choke word again but has to be said!

Bring on next weekend.. can't wait!

  • 164.
  • At 11:09 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Silky wrote:

Am not too sure what happened with the setantan sports thing but i am sure i am not alone when i say the ITV commentary has been absolute rubbish! Stuart Barnes is an idiot! Will Greenwood is absolutely fantastic, he makes everything very clear to people who may not have a clue what rugby is all about! He really does talk a lot of sense! Please please please let the bbc have it next time.

  • 165.
  • At 11:09 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Conor wrote:

As an Irish Rugby fan, I can only look on with a mixture of admiration and frustration at the way the England have learned from their mistakes to create a team that can now be a serious contender for the World Cup. If we only learned the same lessons!
Riveting game to watch. (young Saki came of age with some great covering tackles. He is improving all the time)

Keep it going, it would be nice to beat the Rugby World Champs back at Croker again!!

  • 166.
  • At 11:19 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • James wrote:

I am English. I watched the match here in Dubai. It was full of tension - the whole pub was alive!

The Southern hemisphere has developed a fast moving running game! Good for you but rugby is not just about finding faster and faster runners. (That too can be very boring)

By conceptrating on running they have left themselves open for the reciprical tactics of blocking by dominant forwards. If you concentrate on dominant forwards you probably will not be able to run as well. to beat the dominant forwards you will have to chip the ball forward and play probabilities as to who will be able to retrieve and hold that chipped ball.

The southern hemisphere types who complain that this game was boring do not understand the game tactically. They seek only to gain and retain reassurance of their superiority. (However if played without paasion it can indeed be boring)

England and France are in deed old enemies. After living through our shared histories a game of rugby is both a chance to show our national pride but also our mutual respect and overlapping cultures (but not congruent cultures). Culturely both nations cannot stand to lose!

It should be the same for all rugby playing nations. Australians often comment that Brits do not want or need to win enough. That comment has some credibility. But when we do win the colonial nations get upset and display a lack of magniminity. Perhaps this is prevalent in only only a few people but you cannot have it both ways.

For myself I believe that the southern hemisphere running game did cause us to lose some confidence - which was a mistake. When we were forced to confront that lack of confidence by finding that dominant forward play was the natural antidote we retrieved that confidence and went on to find that it was the runners who suddenly found they could not cope. This rugby and it is also life.

So let's all learn that this is the nature of Rugby. It is the nature of other team sports.

England soccer players are at last learning this trick and like everybody else they will need to keep re-learning it.

NZ need to re-learn this trick. (Whereas they had convinced themselves that they were the best in the world and that the world owed them the World Cup. We were infact pretty well convinced of that ourselves but - they were by the same token ready for the taking)

This is what it all about.

I am remain fanatically proud of the English rugby team. They have started to use their heads and to move forward with exemplary courage after a period of self doubt - But they are not arrogant.

There is nothing worse than a whinging colonial. Better to "...stoop again and build with worn out tools..."

  • 167.
  • At 11:28 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • George wrote:

I watched the game in my local. Houston, Texas. The best day ever.

All my mates in the bar in our village of Le Puy Notre Dame wanted me to go to the salle de fête to watch the game on a huge screen but I couldn't. The thought of dancing with delight at an English victory and then looking at the devasted faces of my friends and neighbours was too much, (although I suppose the though of upsetting me would not have stopped their celebrations). Anyway, for the first time in this world cup, I watched the match at home and alone. (at least I was sober),What a performance!
Afterwards I was elated but then felt just a little of the despair that every French person must be feeling this morning. This is what living in France for years does to you. I just could not recreated that feeling of absolute bliss in which I floated for days after the Aussie match. (During that match I even converted an American guest, who was staying in one of our gîtes, into becoming a Rugby Fan), but, anyway, now its over, we are in the final and this time I will watch it in the salle de fête with, I suspect, several hundred English fans, all speaking French. And if, (when), we win that I shall go absolutely, bloody crazy!! Allez les Blancs!!!

  • 169.
  • At 11:32 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Jason wrote:

I'm interested that some people didn't feel the match was good to watch - I beg to differ in my opinion.

People love flowing back runs etc. but Rugby is much more than that; the technical skills of the forwards should be appreciated more.

Watch "Strictly come dancing" if all you're interested in is seeing fancy footwork ... ;*)

That said - I may be biased, I'm an England fan after all. Hard luck France though; pity both teams couldn't make the Final.

  • 170.
  • At 11:33 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • vinny wrote:

"what's that coming over the hill? is it a trophy?"

England are doing a Greece at Euro 2004

can't beleive you bottled the Bois de Boulogne, bring back National Service!

  • 171.
  • At 11:37 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Fraser wrote:

Well done England and commiserations France, from a staunch SA supporter. That was a proper, hard game of rugby.

Ignore the whining about the style of play -- it's self-evident that neither Aus nor NZ have a clue about what's required to win in the knock-out stages, and we won't even mention the Welash and Irish...

I hope the Bokke see you next week in the final, but the way this RWC has been going I'm not betting my house on it.

  • 172.
  • At 11:39 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Jimbob wrote:

Let's face it, it wasn't pretty, but my GOD it was exciting!

Only a rugby purist with a complete lack of sense of what was at stake and a lack of understanding of the history and rivalry between the two teams could have failed to enjoy that game.

Or someone who feels that the colour of the shirt should give them an automatic route to the final.

  • 173.
  • At 11:40 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • bill wrote:

As a scot I was inspired to support England. People rubbishing this game must not understand that while seeing sport played at the highest skill levels is nice, there is something fantastic and inspiring to see individuals play at 100% and beyond of their capabilities - and when a whole team does this it is a powerful force.

  • 174.
  • At 11:42 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • gam wrote:

Watched it on French TV - worth it just to hear the commentary - never heard so many "ooh la la"s in my life.

  • 175.
  • At 11:46 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • chris b wrote:

Lets face it all in the 6 Nations should support England if only for bragging rights when they beat us in the 6N tournaments over the next 4 years.

It all goes to show that rugby is a game for 15 players not just the back 7. Most of all it is a physical confrontation on a level of intensity that is probably unmatched by any other major team sport. And the best team in the world at that physical confrontation is currently England. At least now they are playing as a team at last.

One of the things I remember about the last world cup is that the England pack hunted as a pack - the commitment in numbers and putting their bodies on the line in every ruck and maul was supreme. At the start of the tournament that just wasnt happening. Now atlast in the last 3 matches we have finally remembered to play as a pack again- and how...

  • 176.
  • At 11:46 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Prince wrote:

It is hard not to compare the heroics of the English rugby team with the pathetic efforts of their overpaid and underachieving counterparts in the English soccer team. There is no comparison in effort and attitude.

Also look at the cameraderie in Paris after the game between the English, French and others in Paris. Such a spirit would have been unthinkable following a football match..

Footballing authoritie need to look long and hard at the way they manage the game. Compare the discpline refereeing of a rugby game with the nonsense and backchat the referees endure on the football field.

  • 177.
  • At 11:46 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

As an Englishman living in Aus during this world cup it as been quite an experience,I have to differ from some of the opinion on here in that on the whole most of the aussies I know have taken defeat quite well (not that they like it, just deep down they know they were beaten on the day by a better team). The same cannot be said for the kiwi's, I lived there for 12 years, so know what a bunch of whinging bad losers they are, no backbone when push comes to shove. Very proud Englishman today, nothing but total respect for the courage England have
displayed against France today, onwards and upwards.

  • 178.
  • At 11:47 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • DaveW wrote:

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,--
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

  • 179.
  • At 11:47 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • tim c wrote:

I`m awake now just letting the result sink in.If any one from NZ asked the great Sean Fitzpatrick would he have taken winning ugly ,do you think he would say no???
Same question to Francois Pieenaar, John Eales.Grant Fox
Jo Maso Dean Richards,Pinetree ,Graham Price, mighty mouse. So many more.

  • 180.
  • At 11:49 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Carole Maidenhead wrote:

I omitted to say in my earlier Blog a big thank you to the French for putting on such a wonderful tournament. It must be hard to be the hosts and to go out, and for that, one might wish that last night was the Final. Merci, bien a vous, La France.

  • 181.
  • At 11:58 AM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

Regardless of next week's result, my abiding memory of England's performance from this competition will be that of amazing determination and resilience. I think the squad have aquitted themselves well and have represented their country admirably. They learned the lesson handed to them by a far superior South Africa team, and have earned themselves a place in the final by hard work and attrition.

My main memory of Australia and New Zealand's performances have nothing to do with excellent Rugby, but to with their attitude and behaviour off the pitch. John O'Neill's embarrasingly juvenille 'everybody hates England' comments are regrettable enough, but combine that with the reported death threats that Referee Wayne Barnes received after the NZ - France match and round it off with Doug Howlett arrested for drunken vandalism as he leaves the country, it saddens me and damages
the reputation that their amateur forebears created

Before this world cup, I held the southern hemisphere teams in awe. For as long as I can remember, they've seemed to have a magic style of play that we could never understand, let alone match. This world cup has cast a distinctly negative pall over their prescence in international competitions and my only hope is that in future they control their off-pitch behaviour let their Rugby do the talking.

  • 182.
  • At 12:01 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • James wrote:

All hail Saint Jonathon of the Boot. Once again Jonny Wilkinson gets England out of the mess that the rest of the team gets them into.

The English Rugby team are now effectively (as they were in the last World Cup) a single shot platform. Get Jonny W into range, shut down rucks in the opposing half until they go over the top, Jonny will get the 3 point from the penalty. Losing at the end? - get Jonny into range and win.

Not pretty, not great entertainment (I though that was what we all paid our money for - to be entertained)

However - and here's the rub for the Aussies, Scots, Welsh, French and everyone else the English have done this to over the last few years - there can be only one winner. So we may not like it - but unless we can beat England while they have JW and this game plan - we CANNOT complain.

So, with a tear in my eye for the beautiful game that running rugby is - WELL DONE ENGLAND.

  • 183.
  • At 12:04 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

Thank you England! I can't remember such an exciting 80 minutes..ok..ok maybe 2003 was pretty good!!! And to all those green with envy, bilious with jealousy and just plain narky.....ner ner ner!! If that defines boring, then I am happy to be bored for four more years!!

  • 184.
  • At 12:06 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Jimbob wrote:

Errr... woken with a fair old hangover and just checked my emails. I have lots of "booking confirmed" emails. It seems the Beer Fairy has stepped in and I'm heading to Paris next weekend!

Who's with me, and where to go?!

  • 185.
  • At 12:22 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Andy Wood wrote:

After watching the group stages and more recently the games by which the team have learned so much, let's finish it off and rejoice in our participation of a fantastic tournament. Allez les Blanc.

Need to know the name/composer, please, of the tune that greets the players from the tunnel onto the field? I'll feel that 'Je ne c'est qua' emotion next Saturday.

  • 186.
  • At 12:22 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Dan wrote:

Awesome, absolutely awesome. Went to bed early here in Melbourne last night, woke up at 11.30, and couldn't sleep, I was that excited. And we come out and play with our hearts on our sleeves and pull it off.

Oh and Channel 10, who will you be supporting next week? Go France???? Sounds like the only people who are less professional than the Aussies are the Irish!

Anyone else watching it at Crown next week?

  • 187.
  • At 12:22 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

What a fantastic day. Congrats to our 'kiss-ball' cousins at Wembley also.

But what a display by both sets of players in Paris last night. My god !!..full blooded doesn't even come close to describing it. Some of the hits..Stephens on Chabal, Worsleys tap tackle and once again Jonnys huge hit that ultimately saw off the man mountain that is Pelous. So proud of the lads.

Got to agree with those talking about ITV's coverage though. Barnsey (an ex England fly half, but with Welsh blood in him though)rarely has a good word to say about the team. That withstanding though, its the quick half an hour buildup and the quick thanks and goodnight postmatch that is the most annoying...I hope they put a bit more effort into the final next weel.

  • 188.
  • At 12:24 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • bill wrote:

4 weeks ago i watched the south africa game in a bar and everyone i was with laughed at us, now 4 weeks later i think ive got the last laugh on them, england have done this country proud and cant wait to next week, come on ENGLAND

  • 189.
  • At 12:27 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

I have a feeling Argentina could turn over the SAs this afternoon- will be interesting to see what happens. And if SA are complacent after the early pool game so much the better- after all the Australians thought they'd beat us easily in the quarters, and the hubris got to them.......

  • 190.
  • At 12:33 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Peter singleton wrote:

Thank you DaveW, thankyou Tom (an honourable post: totally agree with you). Just wanted to mention something about spirit. Wilko taking the time in the very moment of victory to comisserate with a brave Frech team. Vickery embracing Ibanez before the match. It could have gone either way. It was a titanic game, complaints about level of the rugby meaningless. The difference: a few plays from Jason Robinson, Wilko and a tap tackle from Joe Worsley. The English are in heaven right now, well done our lads...roll on next Saturday!

  • 191.
  • At 12:33 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Mungo wrote:

Not Pretty ? But excitment in buckets and nerve wracking. Ask New Zealand and the Australia where they would rather be !!!

  • 192.
  • At 12:37 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Steven Organ wrote:

I'm fed up with all these comments about 'bad for rugby' etc.

The tension and atmosphere surrounding that match was unbelievable, the way both teams went at it.

Sport isn't always about playing prettily, least of all rugby union, its about competing, digging in, fighting to the death, a battle of guts and nerves and sinew.

How anyone can label such a competative game as 'boring' I will never understand.

  • 193.
  • At 12:37 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • rob wrote:

great evenings entertainment, a very close competitive match. and we ended up on the right side of the result for the second weekend running.

we had a great start but when we went behind i thought that we had wasted our best chance.

as martin johnsen kept saying' be in the game after an hour and anything can happen' it did tonight

hope we can start with the same side next weekend and also we need to play the same way as tonight, keep it tight and be in the game after an hour, then give it to wilko

i personally would like to see argentina win tonight because it would give us more of a chance but then we would be favourites, so we have all the pressure on us again to do well.

we haven't had that pressure in the quarters and semi where australia were expected to win and france were last night, also being the hosts is an additional pressure

was a bit puzzled when michalak came on so early, it was obvious that the game was going to be won by penaltys and drop goals and he took off a kicker with a 100% record on the night.

roll on next saturday lets get plenty of beers in and enjoy another magnificent occassion, hopefully with the same result as 4 years ago but without all that tension

  • 194.
  • At 12:38 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

Win or lose now, who cares! What a match! What a bunch of HEROES! That match alone makes them world champions in my eyes for the next 4 years!

  • 195.
  • At 12:39 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

The Australian and NZ players and coaches should be watching very carefully how to win tournament rugby. Spirit, passion, guts, commitment, dogged determination to put you body on the line and then skill to put your game plan into action. Yes skill comes in many styles. The skill to defend and counter attack, the skill to use the whole pitch, the skill to tackle and turn the ball over. All just as important as the skill to throw a slick pass or dance around defenders.

I am proud to be English (even though I live in OZ). The best tournament rugby team for the last two world cups is playing in the final and whether we win or not I will still be proud to be English given the way our lads have stood tall for their country.

I will be crying with joy again next week if they do win just as I have done the last 2 weeks and 4 years ago.

  • 196.
  • At 12:41 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Rich wrote:


But good luck to them anyway - As a Welshman never expected anything from my team. Predicted SA - France final and SA will cream England in the final - they do not deserve to be there.

  • 197.
  • At 12:47 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Donnyballgame wrote:

Great thing about being here in America and having the satellite dish is watching with the many friends who turn up. Some of the English mates just showed back up for a celebration breakfast.

In the light of a new day: First to the quality of the match, we all know championship matches in all sports are not show-pieces, and neither was this. Usually tight defensive matches. Just enjoy the moment. All down, one more to go.

Glad to see other people heard the same garbage from the Setanta boys. The only thing they didn't accuse England of was burning down your neighbor's house. And we know these guys. Neil Francis (played for Ireland), Ciaran Fitzgerald (captained a Lions tour - hope I didn't watch) and Matt Williams (fired by Scotland as coach - I guess we understand). Sorry guys, but I still don't get it. We just replayed the bit and these guys still sound like they have a 'problem'. So next weekend, we will watch, but stream the BBC broadcast through the internet becasue the best broadcaster is probably the BBCs own Ian Robertson.

Since it is now Sunday, we can now start to stress about next week. Can't watch the other semi final because my wife has her family over today.

  • 198.
  • At 12:50 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

France bottled it, La Porte got it wrong bringing on Michalak. If they had run the ball a bit they'd have won comfprtably. Awesome defence though. Bring on the Argies! (hopefully)

  • 199.
  • At 12:51 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • rick wrote:

why do these blogs attract comments from the worst kind of supporters? no matter what country they support.

  • 200.
  • At 12:52 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • JohnR wrote:

Worst game of the tournament (without doubt) - and a travesty for this world cup, which had turned a corner last Saturday with those two great upsets. France were a pass away from closing the deal for 76 minutes, but failed to make it happen. A tragedy. Englands skills are so poor, I don't think I'll even bother to watch the final next week... a real shame

  • 201.
  • At 12:56 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • POM Scouse Cath,Adelaide wrote:


  • 202.
  • At 12:59 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • simonhill wrote:

Boring? I don't think so. Pulsating, nail-biting, compelling. Yes!

10 minutes to go and not knowing who the winner is going to be, now that's entertainment. That's the point of sport. If the result was a foregone conclusion then no-one would watch. Take your under 14's, your try nations, it doesn't matter a stuff on the WORLD stage.

What a match. Two teams giving absolutely everything. In the balance until the end when those truly world class players step up to the plate. Maybe the pressure and expectation was too much for the french? Maybe we defended like our lives depended on it? No matter, I feel immensely proud as an englishman this morning. All the bitterness bubbling up from below the equator just broadens the smile that bit more.

No arrogance, no gloating just pride in our boys!

  • 203.
  • At 01:01 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

All English fans - see 119 by Colin Mac. Comments from a Scot living in Oz. Clearly a true rugby fan and supporter of Northern Hempishere rugby. Thanks Colin and give them hell in Oz, they dont like it up em. As for John Oneil, if you meet him, please thank him for being our 16th man

  • 204.
  • At 01:01 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • cathal wrote:

fair play to england, I dont know how you've got to the final and i say most of the world are scratching their heads right now because your not a particulary good side and you are probably one of the most boring sides to watch as a nutral and to be honest the final i was hoping for would have new zeland in it because they try to play rugby instead of just trying to stop teams playing rugby and right now it really dosent matter who wins the final anymore because the three teams left have that negative attitude. Rugby has gone backwards just like the last world cup.

  • 205.
  • At 01:02 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Rugger Tragic wrote:

Love to see the Brits up there as an expat Brit. However don't get too carried away. This is a RWC that definitely does not have the two best teams facing off. The final should be the Boks and The Blacks as the best recent teams. Much as I would love to say England and the Wallabies should be there, most rugger tragics know that flukes happen and in this RWC it was flukey the Pumas got through to the semis and also England given their past recent form.
England deserved to beat the hapless Aussies (who I now support) but don't deserve to be in the final. Sadly the Boks, who I find obnoxious but recognise a great team, will smash them.
If only it was The Boks and The Blacks, both arrogant yet brilliant teams. This would be a RWC final made in heaven.

  • 206.
  • At 01:03 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Dan wrote:

Writing from the French Antilles.

Great stuff, the result could have gone either way right til the end, which is what makes for exciting rugby. Great to be English today and the French have taken defeat in their stride, gutted sure, but no sour grapes.

Talking of all these whinging Kiwis - get over yourselves! Of course the pass was forward last week, every Frenchman I speak to knows that too, but it was in the 67th minute - you had 13 minutes to score just three little points and win the game.

Thirteen minutes is one sixth of the whole game, and with all your 'free style attacking rugby' you had enough time to amass a heck of a lot more than three points.

A couple of multi-passing tries would have done it.

Or heaven forbid, one lousy penalty kick.

Or dare I say it, a drop kick?

But no, you didnt have the heart or the guts to do any of these, while the French had these qualities in abundance and so you whinged your way home once again.

Allez les Blancs.

  • 207.
  • At 01:14 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Wayne wrote:

At 9-5 down, my mate and I started singing "And did those feet", and I said this will turn into a Jonny ending. Was I ever right!

  • 208.
  • At 01:27 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • robyn wrote:

thankgod for bbc news i missed the match as am living in swazilnd as a volunteer surrounded by teenage springbok fans hope they win cos itl be an interesting experience with me the only england fan and a teenage female at that sooo chuffed got somthign to rub in their faces now!!

well done england

  • 209.
  • At 01:27 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • osieargyle wrote:

Oh my god !! I'm still drunk and in trouble ! I left Cornwall and moved to the usa ... had to get ppv while wife was at work !

  • 210.
  • At 01:32 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • nobody likes us-and we dont care wrote:

just a thought- when has a side playing the much vaunted 'total rugby' that the SH nations (well NZ and AUS) love so much ACTUALLY won the world cup? oh ye. never.
see you next time fellas.

  • 211.
  • At 01:41 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • David wrote:

I think rugby union is replacing football as my favorite sport. I don't think I've ever felt the level of emotion I've experienced watching all the teams, and particularly England, play in this tournament.

It is a game of contradictions leading to, in it's finest moments, an incredible, orgasmic intensity.
How about this? To defend you have to push forward as a team in unison. To attack you have to go backwards. You can attack by defending aggressively and you can defend by kicking the game into your opponents half. And if when the storm that these contradictions create is at it's most thunderous you can manage to make wise, intelligent decisions....well then you find a release that leads to rapture.

The way England play is exciting... intensely exciting. I felt a totally different sort of excitement watching, for instance, the Fiji/Wales match. If we ever witness World Cup rugby that combines all that potential excitement at once then we will having people dropping like flies from cardiac arrest in front of their TV screens.

I hope England win the final. It would be one of the greatest sporting achievements ever. Whatever happens though...Rugby is the winner.

  • 212.
  • At 01:57 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • sorcha wrote:

welsh guy who said england didnt deserve to get to final. youre so so wrong buddy. granted the sa game was bad but as an irish fan i have been v impressed with the improvement england have made since then. beating austrlai and france means they totally deserve to go to the final. as for callong them boring, well wales went out early and id settle for a few "boring" results but reachiong the wc final. seeing as ireland arent it ill shout for england if it's v sa but i will support argentina if they win as they have been the most consistent team so far and beat ireland well. england are our neighbours so it makes sense to support them and i have lots of english friends who'd support ireland if it was the other way around. however england do need to get more tries!

  • 213.
  • At 02:02 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Connal wrote:

The great Irish journalist Tom Hutchinson wrote once 'everyone knows the English team are the fat man, and the tournament the banana skin', though unfortunately the fat man has missed the banana skin and punched two attractive women and is now looking to open his next crate of beer (this is probably not so unlikely a metaphor). Unfortunately however, the South African bouncer who gave him a good beating earlier on in the evening is looming on the horizon...

And before we hear any 'bitter Celt' nonsense accusations, remember only last Fabruary Enlgand coming over to Dublin where you were massacred and taught a famous rugby lesson. We have nothing to learn from 'Team England'. Last night was quite a sad day for those on the lookout for attractive running rugby football. The French played into their hands of course, just like the Australians did, choking on England's attrition, making the errors the England side thrives on. This mentality is the problem; England win when others fail, not because they win on merit. I think the South Africa should correct this. Until then the fat man has twirled around on the lookout for more women to bother and a place to throw up.

  • 214.
  • At 02:03 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Chris A wrote:

I watched at Big Johns in Houston, the crowd were incredible. I sat next to a Frencman and his wife who were the epitome of the rugby supporter, applauding each good play (not matter by whom) and stayed afterwards to chat about it. They were gutted but continued to congratulate England to the tune of way-too-many-beers. There have been so many posts about the absolutley awful Setanta sports coverage and how biased it was, I agree. It was so blatently anti English it was embarassing, even my new French friends couldn't abide their commentary. The ganme wasn't necessarily for rugby purists but, my god, what a game nontheless.

  • 215.
  • At 02:03 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Moscowjonnie wrote:

Rich - 196:

"As a welshmen I never expected anything from my team"

Thats very sad.........

I support England and I expect (or hope for) them to win - sometimes they don't sometimes they do.

To someone not supporting England or France it may have been boring - I suspect that even if we had beat them by 20 points you would still find it hard to accept that England are showing themselves to be the best team in the world.

I saw the match in a bar in Moscow last night - sadly on Setanta with their totally anti-England team of so called pundits.

Apparently we "brought the French down to our level and so beat them"

Thats unfair to England and also France - they had the bulk of the possesion and territory but couldn't break us down - they tried and tried - Worsleys tap tackle has to be one of the most important by any player in this or any world cup - Sackey's tackle last week was also crucial.

I have seen many great and supportive comments from Aussies, Welsh and Irish -no Kiwis. All respect to these guys as they clearly haven't lost the true meaning of sport - play hard and play to win.

For those who decry the achievements of the teams that have progressed further I can only suggest you buy a playstation + Rugby 08 - lock yourself in a room and live out your dreams in a virtual, electronic world - where you can try, try and try again until you get the result you want.

"Land of Hope and Glory" - one doesn't come without the other......

  • 216.
  • At 02:08 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Bradders wrote:

Doesn't matter if you win ugly or pretty as long as you win. I love to watch attacking/flowing rugby as much as the next man but I get just as much pleasure watching a gritty, determined, heroic team grind out a result. The English team deserve full credit for upsetting the odds and bringing this world cup to life. It might not make for many highlight clips for the TV editors but it sure makes for exciting sport.

  • 217.
  • At 02:13 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Jim Martinez wrote:

With regards to post 138 - Jonny, you are correct. I was considering getting the Setanta package for the Premiership 'remainders' - after reading some of the posts on here, I don't think I'll bother now. It's galling to hear so many sour grapes, especially from so-called 'pro's' on what I thought was a gripping game and to trot out all the referee conspiracy stuff just beggars belief. Ref was impartial to a "T". Forward play ultimately won the game 'fair and square'.
So Setanta, just lost one customer here.

  • 218.
  • At 02:13 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Mat (from France) wrote:

Congratulations England !

Of course, i was so so deceived France didn't win, but it was great to fight for the cup, and England is a great team, and i'm very, sincerely honored that we lost in a tough fight with England.

England, we've been arguing for centuries, we still are, but today i feel a strong friendship between our countries, no matter what politics say, or if we disagree on this or that, that's just the way i feel things in my own case, friendship.

There'll be at least one frog behind you my friends for the fights to come ! Me ;-)

Let's show that Northern hemispher is tougher than some use to believe !

  • 219.
  • At 02:15 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Ringo wrote:

8;20am here in head is killing me....what a hangover....can`t wait to do it again next week!

  • 220.
  • At 02:17 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Maty wrote:

Well done England, but (and I never thought I'd say this) well done France too.

Not only was the match played in great spirit, but the French have given our southern hemisphere chums a lesson in sportsmanship and dignity in defeat.

I only hope the South Africans/Argentines get the chance to show the same qualities next Saturday.

  • 221.
  • At 02:20 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Keith Roberts wrote:


Like you my hangover was at least made less hurtful by the booking confirmation emails that had arrived this morning.
I must have been fairly sober for long enough to book with Brittany Ferries at double the price, after realising that the cheaper LD lines service was fully booked for Friday night.

I dread to think what hotel I booked and just hope its within range of a metro station.

We have had two great displays by this team, just one more will do. See you in Paris.

  • 222.
  • At 02:21 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Mag from Paris wrote:

Well done England, you've been pretty good ! best wishes for the final.

  • 223.
  • At 02:23 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • j barrett wrote:

England you were the better team,once again the attitude of my fellow scots shames us,its pure spite and jealousy and does not reflect us all,please remember that.We celtic nations need to find the heart and guts evident in englands recent displays if we are to compete in world cups,your team has done you proud,whatever happens in the final.

  • 224.
  • At 02:23 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • nigel wrote:

wow, not much more to say really. back of the sofa stuff again from the guys. oh yes, btw, regarding all the inevitable back and forth about who the irish, welsh , scots support etc. well i was in a small town in ireland for the aus match and most of them there seemed to be backing england. remember the old greek proverd; i fight my brothers, with my brothers i fight my cousins, with my cousins we fight the world.

  • 225.
  • At 02:24 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Etalon wrote:

I'm just very, very proud of this England team. Like many others I felt genuinely "hurt" when they lost 36-0 to South Africa; not so much by the fact of the defeat, but because the manner of it felt like a betrayal of the legacy of 2003. It is of huge credit to the individuals in the team that they have turned things around and will walk out next Saturday - heads held high - as defending world champions in the world cup final.

As to the Antipodean critics... Let's face it, you're from nations that are second world at best & when push comes to shove your biggest gift appears to be your misconceived ability to clutch at your conceited comfort blanket of bile towards the English. Your contribution to global culture and economics is negligible. Your amazing ability to punch above your weight in the sporting arena is truly remarkable... but for crying out loud don't let it give you such a totally misplaced view of your place in the world!

  • 226.
  • At 02:26 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Richard Kendall wrote:

What a game, our experience and determination won through, it was great viewing, possibly one of the best Saturday night's telly ITV have ever had?

...except for that inane, tabloid-style commentary, that really was appalling, I'm sure the Beeb would have done a better job!

Come on boys, one last push...

  • 227.
  • At 02:36 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Simon Yeo wrote:

In response to post 213 I would just like to say that you are quite right regarding the Irish demolition of England and that the SAs are likely to be more ruthless than other sides England have overcome.

However your lack of respect for Englands game astounds me. Their route to the final has been tough and they have shown a sensational defence. Whilst they have only scored one try in the knockouts how many have they conceded? A good game of rugby is not all about tries as some of the pool game shows you. Whoever you are, wherever you are from respect must be given to English discipline and determination.

You maybe right that SAs will turn England over and that England will be taught more lessons in the Six Nations. However it is the character of the team and the individuals that can raise there game at the highest level. Where are all the other 6 nation sides and what was their greatest result?

I hope this puts the record straight that entertainment does not equate to tries.

  • 228.
  • At 02:38 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

It's a marvellous time for English rugby fans, not least because we can savour the sourness of Australian, New Zealand, French and other nation's bitterness. English rugby can handle pressure. End of.

I'll join in from Ireland to say 'well done England'. I happily joined in writing off England for the next few years during the Six Nations but their progression has been a true show of character and pride. Good luck for the final.

  • 230.
  • At 02:45 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

178 Fantastic.

Rugby is about Pride, Passion, and Belief.

It's about the 15 guys on the pitch believing.

I've seen some absolute nonsense comments about 'flowing rugby'?

Connal. You have a problem and I don't think it unfair to say it is of a racial nature.

Get a life!

The French knew they had been in a game last night win or lose and were magmanimous enough to shake hands after.

Better men than you!!!!!

  • 231.
  • At 03:00 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • james Harley wrote:

All this rubbish about 'it should be the Bocks vs the All Balcks'. Well if it should be why the bloody hell isnt it? O yeah because the All Blacks got knocked out!

People round the world may be wondering why england are in the final, and the answer is pure passion. Fantastic stuff

  • 232.
  • At 03:04 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Iolo wrote:

get a grip you were rubbish! call that rugby?! only the english could big up such a performance as being fantastic. You're the chelsea of the rugby world, effective but boring. Would you even be in the final had it not been for that early xmas present in the first 5 mins?!

  • 233.
  • At 03:11 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Derek wrote:

I couldn't see the match because I'm on holiday in deepest rural France sans TV; very quiet round here last night!
However, as an Englishman whose team's scoring success rests largely on a great kicker, I have to say that I think that the game, in general, has come to hinge far too much on that one skill.
I would suggest that the penalty score for offences committed outside of the defenders' 22 metre line should be reduced to 1 point. This would encourage teams to kick for position and go for the try.
. . . And speaking of tries; could we not also change the rules so that a try is scored if the ball crosses the line under the control (in the hands of) a member of the attacking team, as in American Football. Let's be honest determining 'downward pressure' at the bottom of a ruck or maul has always been a nightmare decision for referees, which has not gone away with video facilities. Conversion kick to be taken in line with where the ball crossed the line.
In the meantime, well done England for gutsing out another great world cup performance.

  • 234.
  • At 03:16 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Al wrote:

Congrats to England for a gutsy world cup win. Although not pretty they 'deserved to win' (French Captain Ibanez). The French themselves had the grace to concede defeat with class.
I was unfortunately subjected to Setanta Sports commentary for the game which consisted primarily of endless Irish comments about 'illegal' play by England and how the result was a 'tragedy' for France, the World Cup and apparently all of mankind...
Although the host, at the end of the transmission, somewhat sheepishly appologized for their 'shamrock tainted' vision, it was too little too late. And so we still wait for the Irish to get that chip off their shoulder and grow up enough to offer professional neutral commentary on anything to do with English sport. I don't think I'll hold my breath.....

  • 235.
  • At 03:18 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Whitey in Canada wrote:

Watched on Setanta over here in Canada.
Always had a feeling we could do it, although would rather we 'put it up our jumpers' in the last few minutes...Great day, good performance, and more to build on for the final.

The Setanta offsite commentators were a disgrace though - they said it was a 'shame for the game' - 3 ex Irish players and a NZ coach. Earlier in the tournament they were talking about having an 'early losers' tournament for the poor teams like England so I guess they can't get past their own pride.

Shame - but GREAT GREAT result!!

  • 236.
  • At 03:20 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • sebinoucacoun wrote:

Congratulation England ! But I'm very sad for the rugby. French team are stupid and boring. English team are boring but more clever, crafty and strong. But, Only the win is important? Can we'll have one day a win with panach ? Very sorry for my bad english.

  • 237.
  • At 03:25 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

Not all Welshmen will be cheering the opposition. Admittedly I wish it were Wales but the last two Saturdays have been fantastic. I'm hoarse from the shouting and can't wait for next Saturday. Its going to be a long week. England just keep going, who cares about pretty, just win it to show the world what NH rugby can do. At least this Welshman will be cheering madly, wildly and passionately for you. Go England.

  • 238.
  • At 03:29 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Authorharj wrote:

"One of the best games" oh c'mon!?
how on earth have England managed to get there way through the world cup? they always bloody do it and there a rubbish squad. France should've won on paper and with the performance on the field, if somebody knocked out Johnny then you'd have NO chance, pure luck not skill- unlike 2003 (I must be fair).
I hope Argentina win!
I hope England DONT win (for the sake of the home nations!) totally arrogant.

and the "cheating" its a bloody ball-can I hear your theories on how johnny can only kick certain balls??- maybe hes just gone down hill? a ball is a ball (unless theres some sort of chip inside it to change direction- i hear thats the story going around the England camp!- pathetic!)

  • 239.
  • At 03:39 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Royston Jones wrote:

England's one-dimensional game has got them to another RWC final, which says a lot about the structure and laws of a game that now encourage and reward negative, destructive and boring play. If the law-makers don't address this problem then the game is heading for oblivion.

And everyone will leave France knowing that NZ is still the best team in the world - so what was the point of the RWC 2007? Well, obviously, making money, but apart from that?

If this shortsightedness was matched by soccer's administrators then we'd be 'entertained' by Bulgaria beating Brazil or Argentina, and urged to 'appreciate' the sterling qualities of a team of Baltic cloggers in beating Italy.

No, thank God! it just couldn't happen in soccer. The best team, or the nearly best team, invariably wins the World Cup. So unless the rugby law-makers now find ways of ensuring that justice is also done in rugby then this fan is going to find other interests.

Being Welsh has little to do with it - apart from the fact that I was brought up to believe that rugby, not soccer', is 'the beautiful game'. I wish I could tell my granchildren the same. I can't, and I won't lie.

  • 240.
  • At 03:53 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Moscowjonnie wrote:

234 - Authorharj

Its so refreshing to hear some reasoned and balanced comments from a man who clearly knows what he's talking about - NOT!!!!!

Please carry on winding yourself up -its great entertainment for the rest of us.

How I love this blogging mularky - shame we didn't have it in 2003......

  • 241.
  • At 04:00 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Paul Waiting wrote:

Authorharj - you don't get it do you? Of course that was one of the best games ever, not for technical flowing rugby (watch NZ hammer Italy if that's your idea of great games) but for tension, fear, horror, joy and pure delight/despair depending on your point of view. That's what sport is about. NZ can happily maintain their role as the Harlem Globetrotters of world rugby, but idea of a good rugby match is to be gripped by tension, not awed by dominance.

England... are the world champions for a reason. And we've seen that reason four more times in the past fews weeks. Let's make it five...

  • 242.
  • At 04:01 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Edmund Saw wrote:

I simply can't believe it! I am out of words just like the rest of you. I know it was Wilko kicked us into the final, but it was a great team effort allround... it's so wonderful to see the England team finally gelling. If only Wiko can sort those bloody match balls out, who knows... Beware SA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 243.
  • At 04:05 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Aphra wrote:

Excuse me, but why do we all accept the SH definition of "attractive"?

I knew sweet FA about rugby before this tournament but was enthralled, gripped and terrified by the match last night and it was a wonderful adrenalin-pumping experience. Isn't that "attractive"?

Given the choice of watching 30 hulking blokes giving their all in an immense battle of strength, guts and iron will or watching 30 ballerinas trip around a pitch looking pretty, then I know what my definition of attractive rugby would be!

England gutsed it out against an equally gutsy French team. It was a match of which both sides and both sets of supporters can be proud.

SH - if you want to play with the grown-ups, grow up. Otherwise just don your tutus, cancel any travel plans and let the rest of us get on with playing real rugby UNION.

  • 244.
  • At 04:09 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • paulcedron wrote:

The fact that England could get better all the time after their lost against SA is admirable.
As an Argentinian, just want to congratulate you English guys, and hope we can meet in the final.

  • 245.
  • At 04:12 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • frank wrote:

As an Irishman living in Paris, I decided to support my host-country team (also the team that beat Ireland), but was won over by England during the match.
Well done England - lots of guts and determination. You wanted it more and you deserved it. You proved it against the Aussies, now France. Who knows, maybe you have enough of the above to take it the whole way.

  • 246.
  • At 04:14 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Joe wrote:

Hard luck to France, it was such a close game that could've gone either way. Fortunately for me England showed a winning instinct at the death.

And to all the ABE's (anyone but England) out there moaning about boring play: keep sucking on the bitter lemons, keep crushing the sour grapes and keep clutching at straws. In '91 Australia won the final with a mean defence and rolling maul try, in '95 South Africa won the final with a mean defence and late drop goal, in '99 South Africa beat England in the QF with about twenty long-range drop goals and Australia first beat NZ with a Larkham drop goal and then bored France into submission in an immemorable final. What's good for the goose is good for the gander!

  • 247.
  • At 04:20 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Congratulations to England, on fighting through to the final, it says a lot about the character of the team, particularly after being humiliated by SA earlier in the tournament.

Personally I'd love to see Eng v Arg for the final, it would be compulsive viewing. Playing either Arg or SA will be a tough battle for England, all three of them are good enough on thier day to win it. Here's hoping for a NH win again.

By the sounds of it the Setanta commentary, it was just as awful as the ITV commentary which was at the other extreme, I'm sure a large part of the anti-english sporting sentiment from the other Home Nations is as a result of the vomit inducing standard of reportage and commentary that surrounds English teams, and not the team itself or its fans.

  • 248.
  • At 04:22 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Connal wrote:

Please let some English fans such as 230 on this blog not confuse themsleves into believing that the last few games from England have been anything other than pure, dire attrition. It's quite rich coming from an Englishman to accuse ANY other nationality on the face of the globe of being racist. But there we go. The metaphor of the 'fat man' seemed quite funny to me, fat man.

Even the try yesterday, oh yes he great 'try' that proves England are world-beating rugby players was a MISTAKE by France. That is the nature of the style, to force errors and clear up the remains. Please don't try to make it seem anything other than that. Good luck in the final England, but I seriously doubt the pack will have its way, that individual errors will predominate, and that the psychological edge S. Africa have over England after walloping them will not prove decisive.

  • 249.
  • At 04:22 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Cock of the North wrote:

Message for Connal Post 213.. Yes Ireland dig give England a beating at Croke Park ( I choose my words carefully my friend ) It never ceases to amaze me how much of a motivational force Hatred can be. To be polite your performance in this tournament was very disappointing, it would have been good to see Ireland at their very best! on paper for me you should have won this RWC. What Happened behind the scenes does anyone know why Ireland totally lost it.

  • 250.
  • At 04:22 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

Well done England - I am so proud !

I think people forget this is about a 4 week tournament - not about who has been the best team for the last 4 years (certainly not England _ i am happy to agree).

The RWC is not about ''course work'' over a 4 year period....its about how well you perform in the final exam !

A lot said on Setanta - all true...I live in the US and the half time and full time punditary is hard to listen too....until it starts to become amusing because it is just so ridiculous.

Its good to see a few rational comments from Irish, Welsh and Scots in these posts - you don't have to like England Setanta but at least try and be slightly objective.

  • 251.
  • At 04:25 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Keith wrote:

Congratulations to the whole of the England squad on a truely heroic performance.
We watched the game here in Detroit on the Satanta ppv channel. If ever the England squad need a tool to motivate them for the upcomming final, I suggest they listen to the bias and bigoted comments of the Satanta Irish commentary team.
I watched the game with some American and Canadian friends,they also commented on the negativity being aimed at the English team from the panel.
It seems the Setanta commentary team are like their own Irish rugby team,

  • 252.
  • At 04:25 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Jim wrote:

England 14 France 9!

As with the whole of the RWC this was a triumph for Rugby Union, and I say that as Rugby League die hard.

Not the greatest game in terms of flair and style?...possibly!

But, this was a group of true warriors (of both teams) giving all they could give in the cause. Superb!

Congratulations to both England and France.

And congratulations to France for staging a truly remarkable competition.

Just one more step, just one more summoning of courage, determination and belief.

Bon Chance England.

  • 253.
  • At 04:28 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • John Mayhew wrote:

Sad to say England won..
One try (a kick and run and lucky bounce). A game won by oxen.. Brave, Brutish and British(English). It would be nice to see a team with movement and flair but no.. 4 years of tedius (s)crap and now, apparently, its all been worth it. Jeez.. What would they do without wonderboy...nothing much..
BTW I am English but see no reason to be proud of it, it wasnt my fault.

  • 254.
  • At 04:32 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Dan wrote:

Post 239 simply hilarious. WC 1990 won by the best team in it? Or an incredibly dull bunch of divers?

Euro 2004, a Greek team playing the most mind-numbingly sterile football imaginably.

Porto winning the Champions League. Were they the best team in it then?

Honestly you should try and realise how ludicrously bitter you sound; any neutral will be laughing at you, and rightly so.

  • 255.
  • At 04:41 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Cock of the North wrote:

Post 234 If Argentina win it would be a triumph for world sport and I would be the first to applaud them, I spent 2 months in Argentina and was treated with much respect and kindness a truly great country. If South Africa win hats off they are probably the strongest team in the competition, If England win again by whatever means I will be amongst the proudest of English men, Good luck to all the teams who remain. I dont really think the laws of the game and modern refereeing allow for cheats to succeed and to suggest England or France are is beneath you sir " The Referee is the sole judge of Fact " It is you who is pathetic

  • 256.
  • At 04:44 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Rob Mitchell wrote:


Laugh Out Loud!

Royston - please! If NZ were the best team, wouldn't they be in the final then? Your comments about the laws and structures of the game rewarding negative rugby just don't make sense. Matchplay is about finding a way to WIN in matches that count which I (and many other non-English fans on here) find utterly compelling viewing.

I think what you're trying to say is that NZ are the best at flowing, passing rugby. So, in your world we're all ok if one sides passes the ball round and runs very fast and totally dominates the opposition and runs in cricket scores. Now, let me see - yes that's even more boring -
save that for the tri-nations.

Give me the World Cup (which I hope has managed to win many fans from other countries) any day of the week.

I think the BBC will not allow me to post the email addresses for complaints to Setanta Sports for their appaling anti-English coverage.

So just go to the Setanta website and hit contact us! I have done so and know several others who are following suit!

  • 258.
  • At 04:52 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Malcolm wrote:

I live in France and watched the match in the company one Frenchman and two Welshmen. Which made it three against one. One Taff changed sides sensibly, but the other remained resolutely for France in the face of a superb England performance. Even my French neighbour, though gutted, was generous enough to admit we deserved to win. In the unlikely event of Wales ever making it I will certainly rubbish every thing they do (even though inside I will rout for them unless it's England they're playing...). I really cannot understand this dog in the manger attitude. Roll on Saturday..

  • 259.
  • At 05:03 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Alan wrote:

I expect Royston Jones number 239 will be saying that Greece were and are by far the best footballing nation in Europe as they won the Euro Champs in 2004. The fact is they did what they needed to do to beat all the rest thruogh that tournament. I suppose one could liken NZ rugby to England football - neither have won "The" major tournament in their chosen sport for many years. Nearly men for many years. The England Rugby team are men who have nearly won back to back World Cups by doing that key activity - beating the opposition that is put in front of you. France were snuffed out and failed to score a try last night by an England team who were simply driven and appeared to both want it more and believe ib themselves more. Here's hoping a team that have gone up through the gears the last four weeks can find 5th and overdrive next weekend. COME ON YOU WHITES!!!!

  • 260.
  • At 05:05 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Darren wrote:

Post 299. I am a massive football fan, I watch Rugby ever now and again although I wouldnt consider myself a fan of the sport. I thought I'd reply to you because your comment has to be some sort of joke, surely? Poster 254 has already pointed out some underdog football teams winning competitions so I wont go there, but who wants to watch a sport where the best team always wins? If that should ever happen then I have a feeling that sport would go into oblivion, wouldnt you agree? I have got into Rugby this World Cup because its nice to see so many favourites being beaten, and underdogs like England, France and Argentina beating the big teams, its refreshing to watch a sport where any team/person can have a chance of winning. Anyways, good luck to Welsh rugby, I'm sure one day you'll win something :-)

  • 261.
  • At 05:12 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • j barrett wrote:

Right ill try this one more time;to my fellow celts do you realise how bitter,pathetic,and rascist you are sounding through your blogs,a simple congratulations to england would suffice,please grow up,your bringing shame to us all.

  • 262.
  • At 05:13 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew Gasson wrote:

All I'm going to say is wonderful just bloody wonderful. You can stick SH rugby clean up your poopshoot - because NH rugby wins world cups and I hope to god I'll be emailing my Aussie chums pretty soon of the fact!

The French where very gracious in defeat, and could teach the Southern Hemisphere a lesson on being gracious in defeat. But they will always gripe the loudest. Remember the Aussies invented the aerial ping pong which is the AFL. They won't ever and will never understand a war of attrition .

Go England!!!

  • 263.
  • At 05:17 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Kassra wrote:

"France should've won on paper"

But rugby is not played on paper.

  • 264.
  • At 05:25 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Kassra wrote:

5 points for a try, 2 for a conversion, 3 for a penalty or drop goal. england got more points than france. at the end of the day it's not the skill or panache that matters, it is who has the most points who goes to the next round. the sooner everyone realises that the better, then we will have less of this rugby-is-dead-due-to-dull-england-victories. England haven't broken any rules, they have won according to the rules.

  • 265.
  • At 05:30 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • pragueexpat wrote:

how many times have we sen in big matches be it rugby cricket whatever that as the contest reaches the final stages it gets tighter.......the difference is the will to win and that was yesterdays game

  • 266.
  • At 05:32 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Kassra wrote:

"it just couldn't happen in soccer. The best team, or the nearly best team, invariably wins the World Cup. So unless the rugby law-makers now find ways of ensuring that justice is also done in rugby then this fan is going to find other interests"

best team doesn't always win in football. just ask porto, greece, etc, etc.

also, the best teams have made it to the world cup semi finals here, because they are the teams that have qualified from their groups and won their quarter finals but gaining more points than their opponents as according to the laws of the game.

what i think you are looking for is for rugby to be more about tries and a running game, which is exciting, but is not the only way to win a match. and just because england won their last two matches primarily through kicking (although last night england scored more tries than france) it is hard to argue that the victories over france and australia were anything but compelling viewing and some of the best drama I have watched on TV for some time!

  • 267.
  • At 05:33 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • pragueexpat wrote:

how many times have we seen in big matches be it rugby cricket whatever that as the contest reaches the final stages it gets tighter.......the difference is the will to win and that was yesterdays game

  • 268.
  • At 05:36 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • vamos argentina wrote:

Disgracful after match analysis on Setanta. I watch it in a Irish bar in New York and woould have to say I couldn't believe what was coming out of their mouths (view through Shamrock tainted goggles).
To those of you on the other side of the pond it went pretty much like this. Pre game this has been the best world cup ever, afterwards it suddendly became the worst. Bias refereeing however the most controversial decisions was to award France the third penalty they scored in a crucially tight game.
Setanta a disgrace for the after match analysis!
England were the better team.
Irish man in New York

  • 269.
  • At 05:37 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Dan wrote:

Post 239, Royston.

What balderdash!

Were Liverpool the best team in Europe in 2005? Not even close.

Did they have what it takes to become European champions ? Yes they did.

Did they win one of the greatest European club championship finals ever? Yes they did.

Couldnt happen in "soccer?" (you must be American) - it happens all the time man.

  • 270.
  • At 05:37 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • sorcha wrote:

i hate all these petty comments flying back and forth about how the match was boring and england borought the french down to their lvel. em- hello! surely the whole point of trying to win a game is to make sure the opposition are prevented from playing at their best. that for me is the epitome of a world class team. i'm irish and seeing england's improvement throughout this last year and esp now has made me hope ireland can do the same. in my opinion the match was a fascinating battle of wills between a determined england team whose team spirit is the highest in this wc with the exception of argentina. they defended really well, jonny's drop goal was fabulous to see, matthew tait and jason ribinson excelled, the english scrum totally overpowered the french one and they prevented the french from scoring a try- quite hard to do in paris. i'm not ashamed to wxpress admiration for a team that was written off time and time again and who have shown tremendous character, unlike us irish, to come back into the reckoning. on the negative side england will need more than jut penatlies and drop goals against sa or argentina. so good luck england, i look forward to the 6n this year. ireland at twickenham is quite a frightening prospect this year.

  • 271.
  • At 05:38 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

I am sick and tired of the losing sides against England critisising us for playing "Boring Rugby" well if thier Rugby was so good,, they'd have won wouldn't they?. I can tell you from personal experience, it is a massive physical challenge playing any form of Rugby.

  • 272.
  • At 05:39 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Jason wrote:

As a Welsh supporter, the amount of sour grapes aimed towards England in the last few weeks by the New Zealanders, Aussies and Celtic nations has been unbelievable (and an obvious sign of jealousy). England have simply played to their strengths and nullified the opposition over the last two games. Simple but brilliantly effective - boring maybe, but I would love Wales to be a little more boring and win a World Cup. Let's face it, in the end you can score as many tries as you want against Japan or Canada, but that doesn't win you the ultimate prize.

You can't play "lovely flowing rugby" without the basics of a lineout and scrum. The Aussies have one of the best back divisions in the game and proved that point last week. NZ went back to basics with Henry in charge and have a great pack, but couldn't deal with the pressure of a tight game and great French defence.

Some biased Aussies have called for new rules to get rid of the scrum - sorry, do that and you glorified rugby league. Keep the scrums - just get some props!

SA or Argentina will be a different proposition in the final, as both have the all-round games to trouble England, but I really hope England do it!

  • 273.
  • At 05:42 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

I am sick and tired of the moaning from non-english rugby fans. Look im english, i'll level with you it was not the prettiest game ever, but it was close so it was not dull.However england won against a quality french side in france.This is all that matters, and to the posts which complain that NZ are the best team in the world, well who will remember the team who didn't win the world cup but were ranked no 1. No one because it means nothing.And the fact NZ is the most rugby mad nation ever, surely the RWC is all that matters to you and you failed again.
PS. I am scots and welsh aswell so im not a arrogant biased england fan

  • 274.
  • At 05:49 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • cheech wrote:

As a proud welshman, I do hate to say it, but I was on the edge of my seat last night watching the rugby...... and kind of hoping England would come back to win.

They have done what no other home nation has done this year, and I don't mean make the final. They have learnt from all the mistakes they have made and moved on. So what, not a try fest, so what it wasn't pretty. I actually enjoyed it.

These guys went on to do what they did best and the English forwards took over because I think there backs were slightly outplayed.

This world cup has been about teams not being able to kill off games when the opportunity presents itself.

England should have racked up so many more points in the first 20 but didn't. France should have exteneded there lead later on but didn't. How many times has this happened in games within this world cup.

England held on though and I hope they make a good game of it on Saturday.

  • 275.
  • At 05:49 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Frazzell wrote:

To 245, I agree with everything you say but would like to add a detail to your list, the epitomy of Australian negative tactics in the '91 final: Campo's deliberate knock-on to thwart a clear English try-scoring chance. And well done to France: they hosted a great tournament, played with guts and class, and were it not for Worsley's desperation tap tackle, may have booked their passage to the final. I hope that they are proud of their team. They should be. You still need guts to win knock-out games in tournaments and England and France had it in spades. If you like lots of scoring, try basketball. It's boring as all hell to watch, but there's lots of scoring.

  • 276.
  • At 06:00 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Damo wrote:

After reading about the Setanta coverage, they've just lost another three customers.
I play fantasy golf with two pals and planned to swap Sky sports for Setanta next month. But I don't subscribe to bigot TV, So we've all agreed to stay as is. I always felt the Irish were the one home nation NOT to have an inferiority complex. They certainly don't usually wear the backwardness on their sleeve, like those chaps up north. Pity.
The only boredom felt is due to the predictable comments (always eloquently ripped apart) from the usual nationalities. But you've got TWO problems to deal with today: not being in the final and coping with a poor character!
And kudos for every englishman here who have avoided using words like 'racism', when we all know it is. I just hope we're not so polite in the final...

  • 277.
  • At 06:18 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Please turn the light back on! wrote:

English rugby is back! The cynicism, negatives and the cheating which pervades the Guinness premiership and the minds of players brought up on it, is the cornerstone to the success of the english team. Thank god John Wells is obviously now coaching the team. We will win and change the face of rugby! Drop goals are to be worth 6 points and every time you work the ball into the 22, get the opportunity to let our no. 10 take a 5 point conversion. The try line no longer exists, as it is not necessary to score. When there is a ruck you scorepoints for lying on the ball, coming in from the side and as a bonus, killing the ball gets you extra shots at goal. Now we are talking! That is rugby, yeah baby!

  • 278.
  • At 06:23 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Bryan wrote:

What's the difference between a Boeing 747 and an antipodean rugby fan? The 747 stops whining when you turn the engine off!

  • 279.
  • At 06:39 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • londongirl wrote:

The reason none of the celts like to see England do well has nothing to do with history its the fact our press go ott if we win,if ireland scotland or wales do well they hardly get a mention,as for the style of our play does it mean the higlights of the game will be the showing of rucks and mauls, i hope this is not how all games will be played because it will be the death of rugby as a spectator sport,the best game of this rwc for the spectators was the fiji wales game free flowing entertaining rugby,for those of you that may think im anti english i have not missed one England 6 nations game in 31 years unlike most on here im not a fair weather supporter,well done England x

  • 280.
  • At 06:40 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • james wrote:


  • 281.
  • At 06:57 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Pagey wrote:

Just arrived back having travelled 350 miles today - and I would do it again next week.
What a night in the Stade!!
Au reviour les bleus.(Goes nicely with their current tune).
Fantastic atmosphere and whilst not pretty we did what we had to do.
All the genuine fans must stick together now and refuse to buy final tickets at no more than twice face value (and stuff those trying to profiteer at very greedy prices)as the ticket situation is getting quite immoral.What happened to the days of if you had a spare ticket or could not go you sold at face value, or even, gave it away?
Can't wait til next week now.

  • 282.
  • At 06:57 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • pistolpete wrote:

Does anybody know if any of the large arenas in London are planning to put up big screens for the final?

  • 283.
  • At 06:57 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Graham wrote:

How nice it is to see some congratulations for a fantastic win by England fro msome of the other home nations supporters, however the ones that can do no more than slate the English style of play why watch the game at all if you Hate England that much, oh i forgot its because you want the other teams to win, strange isnt it how this hatred by the minority gives such bad press to the majority who do wish England well, Connell you dont seem to have a clue as to what a good game of rugby is and yes Ireland did beat England in the last six nations but hey how many times have they won the grand slam in the last 40 years? get off your soapbox mate and if you dont like England then dont watch em, sour grapes very sour grapes

Good luck to the boys next week come on!!!

  • 284.
  • At 07:05 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Hammiami wrote:

Four years ago I was ecstatic as I was starting to fear that we were never going to win a world cup in a major sport in my lifetime (I was born in 1968 so missed out on being able to enjoy our sole football triumph by a few years). Now it could happen twice in four years-we seem to have rediscovered that bulldog spirit that enabled our ancestors to colonise a quarter of the world (whatever one may think of that in hindsight).

Our cricket and football teams could learn a lot from their rugby counterparts who, in the games when it has really mattered, have played their natural game with copious amounts of guts: how often have we approached a football world cup with great players and full of hope only to watch them play an insipid version of continental football. Our rugby players seemed to have learned their lesson after being conned out of winning in 1991 by being tricked into playing a 'less boring' game that was not natural to them

  • 285.
  • At 07:05 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • David wrote:

"It's quite rich coming from an Englishman to accuse ANY other nationality on the face of the globe of being racist."

You're very funny Connal (post 248 and others). He wasn't accusing any nationality of being racist. Only you. And you prove his point by implying that the English in general are racist. Thank goodness that most of your countrymen are smarter and more dignified than you seem to be. Otherwise I wouldn't be so proud of my own Irish blood.

  • 286.
  • At 07:07 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Margie wrote:

Watched the match last night in a bar in Girona (Catalunya), by the end was watching with my hands in front of my face, just peeking through my fingers every now and then. We were about 50/50 French/English in the bar, the French fans were amazing, so kind in defeat and lots of hugs and handshaking all around. Philippe from France (post 113) is an example of the French fans I met last night, so gracious in defeat even though it must have hurt like hell.

To Tom (post 98), Colin Mac (post 119) and all the other home nation fans giving their support to England, thank you so much, your comments have doubled my happiness. It's great to know that the myth of all Scots/Welsh/Irish hating the English is just that - a myth.

I was so proud to be English last night, and to see the boys absolutely refuse to be beaten. My heart goes out to the French, especially as they've hosted the most wonderful tournament. What a roller-coaster ride it's been, just hope our boys can do the business on Saturday...:)

  • 287.
  • At 07:11 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • The Landlord wrote:

"What's the difference between a Boeing 747 and an antipodean rugby fan? The 747 stops whining when you turn the engine off!"

Ha ha ha :). Two new stereotypes were born this WC: the whinging Aussie and the whinging Kiwi. The Whinging Pom still exists, but now it's spelt W-I-N-N-I-N-G.

But never mind, lads, you can always have an antipodean strop and refuse to play in the next WC. We *promise* not to let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

  • 288.
  • At 07:12 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Francis wrote:

Isn't Cornwall celtic?

  • 289.
  • At 07:18 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Roger wrote:

I'm totally elated after last night. What a game! The courage of both teams and the power displayed by the England pack was intoxicating. As someone who played at tight head for 20 years I found myself so involved don't think the neighbours will ever speak to me again - no problem they're soccer supporters. BORING!

I get the feeling that most of the negative posters on this site have never actually picked up a ball in anger. When you are on the pitch and you actually want to win, then you play to your strengths. It's no good standing in the bar afterwards and telling yourselves that you were pretty, while the oppo are toasting their win with your beer. You have to pull together as a team, look to the parts of the game you are winning, direct the game towards those areas and push home any advantage that you can in order to WIN.

I've got to agree with Steve Byrom. This team IS talented, perhaps not in the way that (s)our SH contributors would like. I wonder how they would like us to tell them how THEY should play the game.

Thanks to Ray Scott, Colin Mac and all the other non English Brits for their support and good wishes.

I'll be supporting Argentina tonight, Not because of any animosity towards the Saffers but because of the Pumas' passion and their courage. Plus we need to make up for that defeat at Twickers before we start on the Springboks.


  • 290.
  • At 07:23 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Peter singleton wrote:

One final point in response to those negative about England's performance, especially the "fat man" poster. Those who have actually played the game (to any decent level) will appreciate that rugby is about physical confrontation. The objective being to win fairly. When you have two outstanding defensive teams, desperate to win (England and France, who by the way kept out the All blacks too) its logical that the game is not free flowing, or that not many tries are scored. This match was enthralling, exciting, tense, as entertainment it was rivetting. Cast off your sour grapes fat man, and open your eyes!

  • 291.
  • At 07:41 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Simon Tucker wrote:

It was a great game of rugby by two excellent and committed teams who ran and tackled and kicked and rucked and mauled and scrummaged until they were out on their feet: and the team that created the most chances scored the most points and won - just as they had the week before and as they will hopefully do next week.

To all the whingers: we deserve to be in the final. Since the South Africa game we have got our team organised, have shown that we can score as many or more tries than the opposition and that, despite not hitting the kicking heights of four years ago, we have someone we can rely on to ice the cake of our superb defence and awesome pack.

  • 292.
  • At 07:42 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • londongirl wrote:

This match was enthralling, exciting, tense, as entertainment it was rivetting. Cast off your sour grapes fat man, and open your eyes! .................................yes i agree it was all those for the purist of the game but that style of play is not going to win over new fans to the game,

  • 293.
  • At 07:50 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Royston Jones wrote:

In response to my many critics let me say that I am rugby fan. Yesterday I also watched Free State Cheetahs play the Blue Bulls; a week yesterday I watched Leicester play Gloucester. Not because I have any connection with any of those places, simply because I love the game of rugby.

Yet I suspect too many contributing to this blog are England fans rather than rugby fans. Perhaps attracted in 2003 by the realisation that here was a sport England could still succeed at. For the message seems to be - 'England won and we don't care how they did it'.

Setanta - and how many know what the name means? - has also come in for criticism. For being 'racist', no less. Yet what of ITV and its abominable coverage? We have seen games in this RWC where, when we get to half time or full time, and go to the ITV studio, the attitude has been, 'Right, that's enough of that, let's talk about England'.

And what of ITV's RWC trailer; you know, the 4 guys in the car. From what I've seen of it - and I try to avoid it - the Taff is a moron, the Jock and the Paddy say nothing, while the Englishman is a superior being without whom the other 3 would be helpless. Or it is really a political message? Either way - it's insulting.

  • 294.
  • At 08:37 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Simon Tucker wrote:

Royston Jones - bigotry is so unattractive so please stop it.

The ITV top and tail pieces have nothing to do with English rugby and ITV is a British company - not an English company - and from what I have seen of them the stupidity is shared around equally.

I love rugby - and have done for over 40 years and I have watched England run the ball through the backs and now their increasingly mobile pack of forwards as their performances have improved with every game in this RWC since they lost to SA. Their rugby has been as good as anybody elses and better than France or Australia when it counted.

In both games they have run the ball as effectively or more so than the opposition, created more scoring chances and taken more scoring chances than the opposition. I don't expect them to beat SA in the final, if that is the way it turns out - but I won't write them off and I will hope that they do - not least so that people like you can continue to grow your shoulder chips.

  • 295.
  • At 08:45 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Alex wrote:

england rule!

  • 296.
  • At 08:48 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

Just watched the first 40 minutes of SA/Argentina - more of the "SH" "beautiful game" but nowhere as exciting as yesterday - all based on gaps and mistakes, not on heart, fire, tension and power.

Vive le NH!

  • 297.
  • At 08:57 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Rob Mitchell wrote:

Royston - I totally agree with your comments about the ITV coverage. They are bad at sport - period. Why they continue to get TV contracts amazes me.

What I don't agree with is your inability to see the irony of some of your comments - the latest one being about anyone challenging you not being rugby fans but blind England fans who were somehow turned on to the game of rugby because it was a sport we could still succeed at. What utter rubbish and I don't think I need to point out the lovely irony of that comment coming from where you do.

Your comments appear to be very anti English which is disappointing. I know if it were any of the home nations playing last night I would have been just as excited and just as nervous.

By the way, I played rugby at school and have followed it and many other sports since.

  • 298.
  • At 09:15 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Rich Lancaster wrote:

Watched with some Brummies in Seattle, magnificent result and very entertaining game to watch. After the SA thrashing it was too easy to cave in to negative emotion and write England off. The game against Australia proved that we were not going to "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" and the France game made us all believe we could be world champions 2 tournaments in a row. No matter what happens next week the England team deserve massive credit and a heroes return to England after the game.

"And did those feet....."

Cheers Rich

  • 299.
  • At 09:29 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Mic wrote:

I didn't see the Setanta coverage but good for them giving English supporters a bit of a taste of what it's like to be from the other home nations and having to put up with the complete English bias. Don't complain about bigatory when that is what the English have done to the rest of the British isles (for hundreds of years) the terrestrial channels coverage is appalling tonights game was constantly spoiled with Greenwood wittering on about England I'm trying to watch SA and Argentina. At least you have a choice to pay for Setanta with ITV and BBC you have no choice but to pay the licence fee.

  • 300.
  • At 09:40 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Yanis wrote:

I'm a Frenchman , i wanted to congratulate you England , you fought very well , both teams lacked the magic that night and this extremely tensed game was won on small details , but your team showed a great commitment , will and professionalism , they surely made you proud and honoured your country .

I have a lot of respect for this team that was much criticized before and during the tournament . I hope you will be the first team to retain the title , you are our best friends and at the same time our oldest and eternal rivals ,our relationship is made of a strong passion , people here are really hurt in their flesh to have lost this , but we love you and your team deserved this victory , hopefully , you will be crowned World Champions , it would be a happy end for a team that suffered setbacks and that only a few truly believed that this England team would reach the final , and now , here they are in the finale ! Congratulations and good luck , sincerely ;)

  • 301.
  • At 09:44 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

im bettin on s/a 2 win th cup- so then i cnt lose-
£100 well spent if england win

  • 302.
  • At 09:59 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • mike osborne wrote:

Watched the match in Montreal. Tense to watch, but exciting. The setanta guys were a disgrace and you couldn`t help but laugh at them. Now if anyone has the setanta guys on video, please post it onto Youtube. Then eveyone can see what a bunch of sourpusses they were and also, hopefully they might get canned!

  • 303.
  • At 10:04 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • londongirl wrote:

i agree with mic even when they interviewed the sa player at the end of the game he was not asked anything about tonights game only how well England have done

  • 304.
  • At 10:15 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Cock of the North wrote:

Youv'e have a point Mic, but dont take Will Greenwood to seriously though.. Hes new to the job and gets a bit excited.
Well done to S Africa lets get Argentina into the 6/7 Nations the more the better ( As if the Boys dont play enough Rugby already ... Great competion shame about all the sour grapes though.

  • 305.
  • At 10:45 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Al wrote:

299 - You totally missed the point about the Setanta coverage. If the match had involved an Irish team, then logic would dictate that their coverage would have been stilted toward an Irish Victory. In this case, however, Setanta was commentating on a neutral match. Having watched both the ITV and French TV coverage of the world cup, I can tell you that the Setanta coverage was by far the least interesting, enlightening and even entertaining of the three. They have only redeemed themselves by providing us with an excuse to laugh at that their sour grapes amateurism .

  • 306.
  • At 10:47 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • david wrote:

Watched the game in Vienna in a pub so heaving (with all rugby nations) I had to go back to the hotel for the second half. Watched the rest on French TV; the panic in the French commentators was hysterical "Allez! Allez!" and after the final whistle they cut straight to the adverts and didn't return, ce la vie!
Not pretty but an awesome England, thanks boys for a night to remember.

  • 307.
  • At 11:04 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Brian M wrote:

You can just hear the words 'arise Sir Brian Ashton'.

Can't wait for next Saturday!!!!

  • 308.
  • At 11:24 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • londongirl wrote:

And what of ITV's RWC trailer; you know, the 4 guys in the car. From what I've seen of it - and I try to avoid it - the Taff is a moron, the Jock and the Paddy say nothing, while the Englishman is a superior being without whom the other 3 would be helpless. Or it is really a political message? Either way - it's insulting.,,,,,,,,, the taff is not the moron he is the one that gets the most fee for having the talking part

  • 309.
  • At 11:33 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Jonny wrote:

For all those who cannot be bothered to look it up Royston Vasey (post 293) asked if we knew what Setanta meant. Apparently, it's (he's) an Irish Mythological Hero also known as the 'Hound of Culann'. I have no problem with that, nor of the company being Irish; I applaud their attempt at trying to break the Sky monopoly on sport. However, I do fear that they are sticking their own private parts in a breville when they alienate the entire English nation especially when they are running so many advertising campaigns to entice exactly those people. Bad marketing if you ask me. From what I can gather on this board they've lost a number of potential/current subscribers just for analysis of this match. What also amuses me are the comments that terrestrial TV is English biased; I lived in Scotland for 3 years and couldn't watch English sport for love nor money so don't tell me that it's all England orientated. As far as I can see it's tailored to the locality and we all have a choice of where to live don't we? I moved back to England.

I'm afraid that the venomous bile from the minority of the other home nation contributors to this site is only indicative of complete and utter jealousy.

  • 310.
  • At 11:41 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • steve wrote:

I agree fully with Margie, post 286, a great and very tense game. It could have gone either way and great admiration to the various French fans for their taking such a close defeat with honour. Also to the various Celts who as one poster pointed out shows that the myth of rabid hated of all things English is just that. Many thanks and congratulations to our northern neighbours over the result against the Ukraine. 

A lot of the criticism seems to be coming from people who do it for its own sake and I can't see any purpose with debating with them. However for those who argue that the game was boring. I watched both semis and the SA - Argentine one contain many more ports and try’s but how many actually preferred it. Having fallen behind early one the Argentines were trying to play catch up and their game crumbled under the pressure. A lot more points but was it anything like as entertaining as the France-England match which was undecided virtually til the end. The Boks fans will have preferred it more but I doubt if anyone else would have. There was more open play but again that often came from errors, sometimes unforced, so I don't think its a matter of quality either.


  • 311.
  • At 12:10 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Mic wrote:

Ahem no the point being made was how anti-English Setanta were, my point was that terrestial broadcasting at a national level in Britain has always inferred that the other home nations are never quite as good as England no matter what the results are, rather biased I would say and completely on the point.

  • 312.
  • At 01:44 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • britishandproud wrote:

Why did they have Johnson in the studio when it was SA and Argentina playing im sure they could have found a English speaking Aregentinian to do the job,but as we in the rest of the uk know he was there to talk about England,if a english person does well in any sport the commentator will say he is a englishman but a scot or welshman will be known as a brit,we celts dont hate you we just hate your press,Well done England and good luck in the final,

  • 313.
  • At 02:07 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • britishandproud wrote:

Lets get rid of the studio pundits that are a waste of space, most of the time i dont think they are watching the same game as i am, they are not needed anyway the ref lets us know whats going on,what the british rugby public need is another Bill McLaren who gave a neutral unbiased commentry to every game,

  • 314.
  • At 03:39 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Penelope wrote:

Jeez its hard being English in NZ right now....

New Zealanders are usually so humble and hospitable yet they have shown nothing but contempt for England & the RWC since their early departure...scathing comments and supporting anyone other than England.

The very epitomy of sour grapes !!!

The "All Blacks" lost...period...get over it !!

Im am sick of hearing that the All Blacks are the greatest rugby team in the world... if they were, why aren't they in the final?

Because they LOST....AGAIN !!!!!

The France & England game was nail biting to watch and the French have been gracious in their defeat and the English have been nothing but admiral in their victory... it would of been the same should the score had been opposite. The same could never have been said about NZ

Kiwi's need to take a leaf out of the NH's book...



Never, ever under estimate the sheer bloody grit determination of the god damned English...

Sing up make us proud :)

  • 315.
  • At 04:15 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • james grove wrote:

What is there to say except how proud i am to be english! They statrted this tournament with eveyone expecting them to come home with their tails between their legs but have proved eveyone wrong! Now is our chance to retain the cup and i cant be more happier that we get to play South Africa in the final and show them just exactly what we can do when the pressure is on.....come on boys!

  • 316.
  • At 04:23 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • BRYAN wrote:

Will done England you played the game to win in the last two weeks.
273 where you to ask anyone who the best team in rugby over the last 10 years 99% of people would say the All Blacks and I'm sure that in 10 years this would still be the case if the AB still hadn't won a WC. England are currently WC holders and deserve to be as they where the best team 4 years ago, This time I would’ve said that SA and NZ had the best teams but the comp hasn't worked out that way so lets just watch the final to this comp and understand that after this comp there will be another and another after that what ever the title is of the comp. The only way to crown a World Champ is if there was a round robin and then a final. The winner would be the World Champ but the next game they play they would have to defend the title. The current set up doesn’t prove any thing apart from a 3 game winning spree even the French couch admitted as much after the AB game.

  • 317.
  • At 05:21 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • a kiwi wrote:

wat can I say England in the final again wow! Wilko you are amazing mate
The old guard looks like they might do it again and the 10 man game is beating razzle dazzle like the ABs do
So far past form is nothing just depends who fronts up on the day and so far England have fronted up a lot more than we did..I saw a report in the Telegraph which said that the Eng v France had a greater TV audience in England than the FA cup final..Rugby has come a long way!!! and about 20 million watched in France

  • 318.
  • At 07:54 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • sorcha wrote:

so the celtic countries are supposed to put up wioth biased twaddle bymitv etc and the english are aloowed to vent their fury at non english commentry? is that right. personally itv has been the worst culprit this year. setanta in the group stages were v good to england- andy robinson was on saying england would beat sa and generaslly giving england a bit of a boost. anyway if they were critiscising england, what's the problem. the english ciommentators had no problem critiscising ireland, scotland, wales etc

  • 319.
  • At 08:31 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • duk wrote:

Congrats to both teams in a hard fought mid field encounter. It was a classic game of British Bulldog, that the French unwittingly were happy to play. To their detriment.

South Africa CAN be beaten by England. Its is going to be a hell hard game and a real hum dinger. Lets just hope it rains like hell on the day to close down the game and keep it tight in the pack. Springbok don't dance so well with wet feet, where as British Bulldogs love to frolic in the mud!!!

Two teams, both WC, both going for the 2nd. Whoever wins on Saturday, the England players can again be proud of what they have achieved for their nation.!!!!

  • 320.
  • At 09:03 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Jonny wrote:

The point about TV coverage has largely been missed. Setanta is supposed to give world-wide coverage; the fact that it is an Irish company is irrelevant. Local, national TV broadcasters SHOULD get behind their national team. ITV is regionalised for that purpose. A local SA TV network would and should be biased towards SA; likewise Scotland, Wales etc. That's all part of forming the national identity and pride in one's team. However, an international TV network should give an unbiased and objective analysis if it wants to retain/develop a large audience/subscriber base. This was not the case with Setanta. Had it been a local Irish network I and others who have commented would not have a problem.

  • 321.
  • At 09:09 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Scot English wrote:

Fantastic!!! Eurostar booked for Saturday lunchtime, not sure if we've managed to get tickets - will know today. Can't wait!!

Any suggestions as to the best places for pre- and post- match beers?

See you all there!

  • 322.
  • At 09:35 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Bev wrote:

I was lucky enough to be at the final in 2003 and I didn't think anything could match that experience but, boy, this comes close!

One more match, we CAN do it! SA were not that impressive, we just need to keep the errors down to a minimum and we will retain the title!

  • 323.
  • At 10:09 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Marksy of England wrote:

What can I say? Flabbergasted I am!
The England boys have done us proud yet again....A' toute La pay du France et Joan of Arc, Michel Platini, Charles de Gaulle and Nicolas Sarkozy, as our Will Greenwood testified to, "your boys took one hell of a beating".....The power, skill, ferocity and guts of 30 English Bulldogs reduced les Grenuilles Bleus and their hairy, ugly Caveman to girly tears....French Pain? OH YES, French MISERY? OH YES, England in the World Cup Final in PARIS? PRICELESS...

Bring on the Bokkies. We are ready for you..

  • 324.
  • At 10:15 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • britishandproud wrote:

Jonny during the world cup ITV is not regionalised

  • 325.
  • At 10:50 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Mark Becker wrote:

Sitting high in Stade de France as a beneficiary of a true friend I spent two minutes believing and then Lewsey scored!! Then I spent seventy minutes watching two teams play true test rugby...

From the rafters it was obvious that England had identified the channels for the French attack. They also pushed the kick for touch out of range and Robinson took the middle; then the up-front defence was critical. What a match they had at the point of contact! Match winner? Pelous off at 25mins...who was involved, body on the line, risk of injury in their mind? Immense and a text home - "Cool heads and hard tackles are going to win!!" - get the job done!! Seventy minutes of the most intense, dramatic, spine-tingling emotion and I seemed to be focused on the big picture; always checking the alignment, calling the decisions, aware of how close we were coming to turning the FRench in on themselves.

Then those last few minutes and true sport was seen in the raw! That tackle, the coolness, the drive and skill of the pack! The percentage kick for the drop goal, penalty no longer an option, defence re-aligned and ball coming to England...defence again aligned, awesome and the final whistle.

Need to know why Saturday was so good then I hope the RFU will release the analysis tapes. That was a game that said discipline and took away options that teams never believed England even understood.

Awesome!! ...and the biggest thank you to a true friend for daring to say it was possible. I cried then, I can't speak now, but for seventy minutes between Josh and Jonny I was cool and knew what I was watching and it was mesmerising, brilliant and a lesson on how and why we won. It is a sport but it was character and heart.

Dream for a week...

Thank you, England!!!

  • 326.
  • At 10:59 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Ross Clark wrote:

Well Well Well, who would have thought it, England in the final. As a jock from north of the border many people will think that i am jealous and bitter with my comments. Far from it, it is great that one of the home nations has made the final and what a boost for northern hemisphere rugby. But come on boys, a win is a win regardless but you cannot rely on one man winning you the world cup. The pressure on Jonny must be huge and god forbid he was to pick up an injury what would the team do then. I wish the side good luck however, questions must be asked regarding the method or victory.

  • 327.
  • At 11:15 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • duk wrote:

Further to Ross Clarks wasted posting:

Sorry bud but what game have you been watching.....I saw 15 hard english men locked in a mid field fight for dominance......typical north of the border comment.....go back to watching "Come Dancing" and stop pissing on the England parade.

What you watched was classic breakdown rugby and strategic play so please reserve you lack of rugby knowledge for yourself.

  • 328.
  • At 11:50 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Jonny wrote:

britishandproud. If the English/Irish/Scottish and Welsh were all playing at the same time I can guarantee that ITV would be regionalised. The fact remains that ITV is a free British channel and should therefore be right behind the British teams; I did not note any venomous criticism of any home nation after their respective matches - just objective analysis from the 'experts'. OK, there are some who get carried away but that is not a direct slight at the teams who did not make it past the Group or QF stages and I have heard no suggestion that they think England are far superior to any other team. I'm lucky enough to be able to switch between channels and am (currently) a subscriber to Setanta. The contrast between commentary styles was obvious and marked and the Setanta team - a so-called International organisation - were just spiteful and filled with obvious hatred. That's not the way to run a business.

I too am British and Proud but I won't stand by while people slate a successful team through pure jealousy; the times when the English were so beastly to the other nations has long gone - you might want to consider that when you listen to the words of the 'anthems' of some of the other home nations.

  • 329.
  • At 11:56 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Mark Becker wrote:

"But come on boys, a win is a win regardless but you cannot rely on one man winning you the world cup. The pressure on Jonny must be huge and god forbid he was to pick up an injury what would the team do then. I wish the side good luck however, questions must be asked regarding the method or victory."

Do you know why 30,000 ENGLISH fans belted out "Wonderwall" after the game as the team went round the pitch? Strategy and heart and a seeming complete lack of fear on a balmy, French autumn evening...

I was at Murrayfield in the cold, wet rain of a spring not long ago when the pragmatic, one-dimensional approach of a SCOTTISH team aligned with a passion and focus to get the job done - one man that day? No, a team supporting the main focus of the teams efforts into the play of one man. A TEAM game that again found its expression in a marvellous TEAM performance.

My own boys know a slightly different world today and it seems better to me. They started to talk about TEAMS, not Rooney or Ronaldo, and I'd say a cult doesn't surround Jonny because he himself speaks about the TEAM.

Enjoy the opinions, feel the edge in reading the comments and narrow minded, unrealistic and uninformed postings and then say; how can we make this work for something bigger and better? Ask Fiji, Samoa, Georgia and Portugal...a team game supported and loved around the world. Winners can make that happen.

Thank you France for a great RWC; next week matters but less than it did a month ago...

  • 330.
  • At 12:28 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • lisa wrote:

to whoever said france took one hell of a beating- clearly not true. a 5 point victory is not exactly a hammering is it?> if jonny had not being in the team, england would have lost as there would have been no more tries or points kicked. it was pretty much french dominated in the 2nd half. granted england did well to prevent france from scoring but it was more a measure of french failure than any english brilliance. if wilkinson was out, there was no way england would have won even if the french had only gotten the 9 points

  • 331.
  • At 12:42 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Connal wrote:

The generally gnomic responses from posts such as 283 and 285 seem to fluctuate along the 'sour graps, take your sour grapes line' in parrot-like fashion. I would at least try and distinguish yourselves; it all seems to blur. As for the racism accusation against the Irish, do go and read a history book. It's silly to have tried to bring it down to this level, though that tactic seems to be reflected in the English side. It is all illustrative of the inane 'banter' and long-winded terminage that characterizes 'Team England' rhetoric. 'We're pumped up, bulldog spirited, passonate, etc'.

I think people on here seem to resent being TOLD what constitutes good rugby. 'What is more intense and exciting than that England game?' Well, last night's game for one, which had players aiming to score tries. The intrigue and intensity exists for YOU, but for absolutely no-one else. It seems to resemble the former Man Utd-Arsenal duopoly in the English Premiership in football. For those involved and sections of the media this was apparently wonderful to behold. For the rest of us it was very, very stale and boring. Go figure.

  • 332.
  • At 12:48 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • londongirl wrote:

Lets not get carried away with all the hype SA have thrashed us in the last three games, a couple of penalties will not be good enough against a team like SA,