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Nick Mullins

Weekend to forget for Home Nations (49)

In the bright light of a Monday morning, you have to think that in the end Wales produced the most impressive performance of the home nations on the opening weekend.

England were horrendous (it’s a long time since I’ve been patronised by an American over Sunday breakfast), Scotland were OK but nothing more and I still have a rumbling feeling that Ireland are hurtling down the other side of the hill. Their final pool match with Argentina is beginning to look like a career-definer for so many of their players and coaches.

And while the headline writers were sharpening their pencils five minutes into the second half against Canada, Wales eventually rediscovered some composure and towards the end there were even echoes of those mesmerising passages of play against New Zealand and England in 2003.

I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a rugby day as much as I enjoyed yesterday in Nantes. The 5live team made an early start from our seaside base at La Baule to avoid the expected jams around the ground.

The 50-mile journey flew by, partly because we tailed some police outriders for a while who were whisking the Welsh mini-bus full of their backroom staff to the match, and partly because our summariser Rob Jones was being texted some of the most disgusting jokes I’d heard all year. I’d love to repeat some of them, but…

I don’t think they were from Dwayne Peel or Stephen Jones, although they may well have been forwarded some of them inadvertently as Rob tried furiously to get a signal on his mobile and send them good luck messages.

In the end, both players were about to have matches they’ll remember for a while. There will have been easier days to captain your country for the first time and Peel had to deliver some pretty brutal words under the posts after Morgan Williams had scored Canada’s third try.

And the introduction of Jones and Gareth Thomas proved to be the catalyst. Wales were transformed and the likes of Tom Shanklin were suddenly released to monster their way through the defence.

Over our pizza the night before I’d argued loudly for James Hook to start at 10 against Australia. I still think he should start, but maybe at 12. How can you leave Jones out now after an impact like that?

Beyond the fact that he’s such an accomplished player, it’s great to see one of the sport’s nice guys have a day like yesterday, when for a while not so long ago it looked like he wouldn’t even be here.

charvis_getty438.jpg

And what about Colin Charvis? His 21st Test try means he’s now scored more than Gareth Edwards and Gerald Davies for Wales. Gerald – looking as dapper as ever in the press conference afterwards – didn’t seem unduly worried. Charvis is another who’s been through the mill and come out smiling the other side.

The day ended in slightly surreal fashion. Our broadcast line at the hotel has been installed in the basement between the old gym and the laundry and next to the women’s loo. So while well-dressed 50-somethings came down from supper to do whatever they had to do, I took part in a podcast where Hugo MacNeil tried to pursuade us England might beat South Africa and Gavin Hastings told him he was talking rubbish.

I reckon this weekend was definitely one of those weekends when it was better to be Welsh than English.

Off to the airport now to ferry our producer Michelle Voiture home for a couple of days. There’s a coffee to be had with Tom Shanklin back at the Welsh hotel before the main media briefing at lunchtime, then there are plans afoot for some beach rugby. Can I be Colin Charvis, please?

Nick Mullins is a BBC Sport commentator on several sports and specialises in rugby union. He is covering Wales at the World Cup for Radio 5 live and you can see the station's full broadcast schedule here.


Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 12:33 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Evan wrote:

Although the Welsh performance (albeit the second half) was the best of the weekend from the home nations, there's still a lot of things to be worked on before the Wallabies come to Cardiff. The front 5 especially need to make yards and break the gainline - one example of this not being done was Adam Jones. He didn't seem involved or up for it at all, plus whenever he managed to actually get his hands on the ball he never broke the gainline at all. If he can't do it against Canada, he's never going to do it against the likes of New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. On the plus side, both Stephen Jones and Gareth Thomas seemed to inject some urgency and passion into the team when they came on. I've never been the biggest Stephen Jones fan, but I was ordering 3 courses of humble pie on Sunday...also, Tom Shanklin should be wrapped in cotton wool this week as if he gets injured, then the tournament can be written off for Wales.

  • 2.
  • At 12:43 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Vince wrote:

I don't think Wales produced the best of the home nations at all!

Although the substitutions did their bit by bringing some attitude and purpose on to the pitch with them, Wales were struggling until Canada ran out of steam, which occurred at the same time. Wales appeared to me to be treating the game like a training match and, for the first half, got the thumping they deserved for their disrespect. For instance Martyn Williams who is usually in and around like a ferret was standing back looking pretty disinterested.

I'm not sure that the players coming on were better, they just came on having been told to take the game on because the 15 on the ptich were not.

No matter the quality of the opposition, if you can't raise your game when in trouble then that's pretty poor.

For this competition, Wales have got a lot more to worry about than Scotland who, though making plenty of mistakes of their own, were the only home nation who remained undisturbed when put under pressure.

What's great so far is that no team appears to accept that they are just there for show and are giving it a real go.

  • 3.
  • At 12:45 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • collie wrote:

well that was pretty crap.

  • 4.
  • At 01:07 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Wise old owl wrote:

I think your title for this blog is a total dis-service to Canada, USA, Portugal and Namibia! I thought they were excellent and a credit to the world cup. Lets face it we need them for this tournament to progress as sporting spectacle. Kiwi's and the Aussies might have put in cricket scores but this does nothing for the credibility of the tournament. If the commentator last night was correct and the IRB only gave them 100k to help them prepare for this tournament it is an absolute disgrace!!!

  • 5.
  • At 01:24 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Harry'sgotahorse wrote:

Did JOnes make an impact or did his arrival just coincide with Cananda blowing a fitness fuse?

I still say Hook at ten - Jones on the bench

  • 6.
  • At 02:01 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

England - Lacking in every aspect
Wales - Lucky Canada ran out of steam
Ireland - Should have distroyed Namibia, but fair play to them for shear guts and determination.
Scotland - Generally ok, but not lighting a trail of fire behind them !

Each of the home nations need to up their games to avoid crashing out of the group stages. There are tougher teams to face than that of the opening weekend, It could be worrying viewing !

  • 7.
  • At 02:01 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Trevor Whiteside wrote:

The timing of the world cup event is always an issue for discussion. Is it better to come into it at the end of your season when your well tuned or is it better to come in fresh at the start of your season? I reckon the former if the season for the players involved in the world cup is well managed. I think it is in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern there are too many top line competitions and too much is asked of the players. Coming in fresh to the world cup is also a problem as it takes time to get up to speed. Between the devil and the dark blue sea then!!!! Got to reduce the number of games the top players play in the N. Hemisphere and manage their season better. Will be interesting to see how it all turns out but the S. Hemisphere teams are well ahead at the moment.

  • 8.
  • At 02:39 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Rhys Fussell wrote:

People who say wales were lucky to run out of steam is talking crap out of the home unions they were the only team who in the 2nd half showed brilliant running rugby and brought style to there performance and i think hook should start as 10 just because jones is back and fit and because Jenkins loves him as he was his old coach they put him back in James Hook as played so well in the warm up matches and is more of an elusive and mores stylish running 10 where as jones i a boring distributer thats all and i say wales v new zealand semi final

  • 9.
  • At 02:41 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Rhys Fussell wrote:

People who say wales were lucky to run out of steam is talking crap out of the home unions they were the only team who in the 2nd half showed brilliant running rugby and brought style to there performance and i think hook should start as 10 just because jones is back and fit and because Jenkins loves him as he was his old coach they put him back in James Hook as played so well in the warm up matches and is more of an elusive and mores stylish running 10 where as jones i a boring distributer thats all and i say wales v new zealand semi final !!!!

  • 10.
  • At 04:16 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Sean wrote:

Totaly agree with u! just on the second half peformance alone wales showed more flair than any of the other home nations.

bring on the Wallabies!!

  • 11.
  • At 05:01 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • peter holden wrote:

amazing how narrow minded the british supporters are. the small teams gave you all a very good run for your money, and luckily for you all, the small teams arent fulliy professional.
woe betide your teams when you come up against the big three:new zealand, south africa and australia.
a southern hemisphere team will win this year.

  • 12.
  • At 05:06 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Jake wrote:

Ending a game with the 'should have been' starting line-up is an odd way to play. GJ will likely bluff his way thru' as usual but his Old Firm addiction has/will cost us dear.

The Cronies Club selection is bizarre. Just cos' they're old mates is no reason to play them - Jonesy being the exception.

& why is Shane Williams playing at all. He's running AT walls of 4 & 5's, he chips at 1 & 2's. Try it the other way, for pity's sake. When he can hold on to the ball, that is!!

At least the Shanklin had his game on. Diolch, Tom!

England & Ireland were well beaten back & Wales got there in the end but my vote goes to Scotland - they lit no fires but weren't found wanting, just a little deflated.

  • 13.
  • At 05:12 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Philip Davies wrote:

Well we (wales) may have been the best of the six nations but i think the coaches are still a long way from knowing the best 15. They are going to have to make room for Gareth Thomas somewhere but he could fit in place of either of Mark Jones or Kevin Morgan, who have not been playing well of late, or at inside centre, as Sonny Parker didn't set the world on fire. I would assume that Stephen Jones has played himself back in at 10 but James Hook looks a bit light weight to be a 12 against the top teams. Dwayne Peel looks to be following protocol too much by offering the forwards the ball and letting them make very hard yards one at a time. Neither Adam Jones or Chris Horsman have grabbed that prop position, and could it be time to start with Colin Charvis and sacrifice Martyn Jones link play or Jonathan Thomas's athleticism at the line out ( which we seem to be getting to grasps with recently.)

  • 14.
  • At 05:33 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Karen D wrote:

I think your comments are very unfair. You should be giving commendations to Portugal, Canada, USA and Namibia. These teams have all slogged out their guts to get to the World Cup( also a few players ended up in a jail cell in Uruaguy they were so excited to qualify!). I am a Scotland Fan and I was impressed with Portugal. It is amazing what a team of guys who play part time for the love of the sport play like. I am not saying my team were outstanding. we had moments of blinding play and other moments were the foot was well and truly off the gas, but Portugal. They had nothing to lose. Maybe we in our home nations should be looking at the non pro teams for our fresh talent. I have to agree with other comments, a southern hemisphere team to win this year.

  • 15.
  • At 05:45 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • RJEdgeco wrote:

Those who suggest Wales were not the pick of the 4 Home Nations on the weekend need to take a quick look at the IRB rankings of the various teams involved. At 13th Canada were the highest ranked opposition followed by USA (15th), Portugal (22nd) & Namibia (24th). Surely allowance must be made for the fact both England & Wales were playing far tougher opposition than both the Scots & Irish.
Having said that Welsh inconsistency continues to be infuriating. One minute they are dire & the next running in some excellent tries.
As regards selection, even though I am an Ospreys fan I think Jones should be at 10 & Hook on the bench. Jones' experience will be key, as will that of Alfie who should start at either Full Back or Inside Centre.

  • 16.
  • At 06:33 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Bill Wagstaff wrote:

" I reckon this weekend was definitely one of those weekends when it was better to be Welsh than English."

Nick - it's alwayd better to be Welsh thn English !!!!!

  • 17.
  • At 07:50 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • eugene wrote:

watched SA put a big score on a very very dangerous Samoa. Frankly SA handled the match so well and of course have habana. England should not worry about lost causes ie a win against SA but should focus on getting past Samoa, which will be a real struggle. I will of course be supporting the Samoans. The same can be said of Wales the big match for them will be Fiji not Australia. Having said that Wales will be playing before 80.000 welsh fans. Nothing more than laying your life on the line will be acceptable for such loyal fans.

Contest everything and I mean everything, every lineout every high ball - we want blood and guts- this next game should be treated as the final - if, and I mean if, we win it then a whole new horizon opens up. C'mon wales!!!!

  • 18.
  • At 09:25 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Jonathan Male wrote:

Frankly, if Wales get a NZ or SA ref for their Australia game, they don't have a chance whoever they pick and however well they play. The bias the tri-nations refs show towards any of the other nations is incredible (witness the disgraceful referring in the Samoa game yesterday) and totally diminishes the whole competition. They always make enough biased calls to alter the outcome of the game, but not so many that they can't point to decisions that go the other teams way to deflect the criticism. Am I the only person who can't believe some of the dreadful reffing decisions these awful southern refs make?

  • 19.
  • At 09:59 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Patrick wrote:

In my mind, I think that South Africa will destroy England on Friday, even if Johnny starts and plays out of his skin he won't see the ball, the South African forwards are just so much bigger, stronger, quicker and better than South Hampton amateur ballet society [that is, the English forward pack].
Based on the weekends performance, Samoa will beat England and Tonga is a decent chance as well.

  • 20.
  • At 12:17 AM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Robin Jackson wrote:

Rhys Fussell, blog no.8, if you're going to post a comment, please make sure it makes sense in English before you write it.

  • 21.
  • At 01:03 AM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Dedric Watson wrote:

This is an observation on the comments of 18 regarding Southern Hemisphere refs. It is amazing how the team you favour will colour your perspective on the bias of referees. Paul Honnis is one of the most disliked refs in SA, prior to the Samoa game his record where SA tests were concerned was 5-2 against SA. We do not think he does us any favours. I do however agree with you that his refing is rachet. (No, not wretched)

  • 22.
  • At 02:25 AM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Emyr Watkin wrote:

Good points and some drivel. I totally agree with the sentiments re: the referreeing in the Boks/Samoa game. Honis should have sent Berger to the Bin, that might have had a bearing on the discipline thereafter. How he didn't give Samoa a perfectly legitimate try (when the score was 21 - 7) I will never know. Take nothing away from the Boks, they were clinical, and to put 50+ points on a team like Samoa is no mean feat. Boks are looking good. England have too much ground to make up. I feel for Brian Ashton, no matter what happens he's going to take the flak, but then again he knew that before taking the job. Wales - well, what can you say? Very frustrating to watch. It doesn't help when the management are still playing around with combinations so close to the Finals. BTW - Stephen Jones has done enough to get the starting slot against the Wallabies. Hook's tactical kicking was left wanting in the first half against Canada. With Latham, Ashley-Cooper and Mitchell back there, they'll have a field day. Credit to Canada, they really went for it. Maybe Wales should have looked at Morgan Williams's ancestry, I'm sure there's a bit of Welsh in there somewhere. The Irish - what's happening there. Give credit where credit is due. Namibia grabbed the bull by the horns and went for it. Excellent stuff. Group D has a definite "Group of Death" feel about it. Scotland - don't judge them on this performance. Portugal gave everything, and earned a lot of credit for doing so, however, let's see what happens this weekend. On the evidence to date, it is refreshing to see the smaller nations giving it all they've got. It's a huge shame that there is no real structure for International Rugby at the 2nd Tier and below. Will Carling called the RFU "57 Old Farts" back in 1995. Well the same could be used to describe the IRB. They are a disgrace, totally self-serving. They have the chance to spread the game, and look at their performance since the game went professional. They need to wake up now and realise that Rugby is enjoyed "Worldwide", and not just amongst the "elite" - and let's just remember that Argentina are not part of that, despite holding a current World Ranking of 5th, and have been in the top ten consistently since the last World Cup. Let's hope that the IRB take a little time to reflect on the World Game. It's a brilliant sport, let's not lose it before it's too late.

  • 23.
  • At 02:33 AM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • pegs wrote:

i just want to throw this out there, but i think the namibia game was the best thing to happen to the irish team all season(i am an irish fan) because all season the irish seemed to have started believing the hype about them,and seemed to believe it was there right to go trough to the semi's and even final without having to try. they seemed to forget the passion and detirmation it takes to win each and every game, and in my opinion i think they could learn a lesson from the fantastic namibian team and how a game should be played, full of passion and wanting(they played almost how we would expect a certain irish team to play). so in closing i hope that the irish take a look at namibia and remember the passion they used to play with, and then maybe they will have a right to claim a place in the last 4.

  • 24.
  • At 05:40 AM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Just found 'Perfect Your Passing' by Dwayne Peel in the Sports Academy section of the BBC website.....

.....and it leads me to ask "Has Dwayne Peel actually watched that video?" He might learn a thing or two!

  • 25.
  • At 06:51 AM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Doug M. wrote:

Sadly I think the comments about the 6 Nations teams are a waste of time. I thought Scotland were easily the best of an insipid bunch. They at least won convincingly, although the opposition could best be described as 'enthusiastic'.

Frankly on these showings, they will be hard pressed to score against NZ or SA and will not come close to Australia. It looks again like we have a 3 tier competition with the Tri-Nations sides - then the 6 Nations plus the Pacific sides and Argentina, then the rest. If Argentina get entry into the Tri-Nations then they too will be up there with the 1st Tier in a few years.

  • 26.
  • At 08:15 AM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • kipperchris wrote:

I don't think it was the best start to any campaign by any of the 4 home nations and can only hope things improve. Another thing i hope for is that we all support a NH side to go on to win it. Believe me, the idea of supporting Wales makes my skin crawl, but even us proud English would rather that than NZ (just!). I know it's stretching it, but maybe, just maybe, one of us might make semi, or even final. I would support the so called 'celtic' nations once we are out - probably Friday fortnight!(Whatever happened to the Picts and the Scots i learnt about at school, and do all Rangers fans like to be referred to as 'celts'?)
Anyway, enjoy the rugby and remember - we might be crap, but God is an Englishman.

  • 27.
  • At 09:56 AM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • ExileNick wrote:

Reference the referee for Wales v Australia, I believe that unfortunately we have Mr Walsh!!!!!!

  • 28.
  • At 10:23 AM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Neil wrote:

While not a huge fan of the IRB, I don't think its fair to rubbish their efforts to prepare some of the weaker nations for the World Cup. Namibia and Portugal have both recieved professional coaching help, funded by the IRB, in the run up to the competition and the benefits of this were apparent at the weekend, when both teams pushed their opponents further than was expected.

It seems rather disrespectful to these nations to assume that we should be able to brush them aside when they are giving maximum effort in the first game of the rugby world cup. I remember the Scotland-All Blacks game in the 1995 competition, when Scotland upped their game massively against an awesome NZ side - if we can do it, why not Portugal? Some of the Portuguese players were openly weeping as they sang their nation anthem, which surely suggests that they were really pumped up for the game.

That said, I can't see past a All Blacks - Springboks final. Hopefully, the All Blacks can hump SA off the park and avenge the 'deli-belly' final of 1995.

  • 29.
  • At 10:36 AM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • calvdog wrote:

I’d just like to reply to “pegs” who said that the Irish team needed the close win against the Namibians to wake them up a little. I rather fear the opposite, Ireland have been losing since the end of the six nations, indeed apart from the bashing in Southern France I don’t think they have won a game.
I too truly hoped that the Irish could take on the all blacks and lose gallantly. Now I really don’t see the Irish doing enough to progress from the group stages. I wish that wasn’t so but… I fear a return to the late 1980’s and early 90’s when to watch Ireland was to know how to lose with dignity.
SA and NZ both look invincible.
Would we support France against NZ? A tough decision as an Irishman I think: yes.

And a poser to any further contributors: I thought that referees were stamping out blocking. It seems to me that the NZ team are very efficient at it but are yet to be pulled up on it. Does this annoy anyone else who watches the game as much as it does me?

  • 30.
  • At 12:18 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Huw wrote:

Ireland need to up their game considerably if they are to progress to a Quarter Final.

England 'should' see it through to a Quarter Final but with the Samoans ready and waiting it won't be easy.

Similarly, both Scotland and Wales must gain some form and momentum to make it to the Quarters. There are no guarantees for either, with both Italy and Fiji providing stern tests ahead.

I can honestly see at least one team from the 'home' nations not making it past the pool stages, possibly two. Ireland are currently in the more precarious group, the result and performance against Namibia wasn't ideal and could come back to haunt them.

But this is exactly what the world cup needs, if it is to remain a 20 team tournament it needs at least 3 teams per pool with a shout at advancing to the quarter finals. Without that sort of competition it is a pretty meaningless event. There may be only 3 or 4 teams with the depth of talent to win the thing at the moment, but the more competition in the group stages the better. Any international sporting event needs to have uncertainty to make it interesting to the neutral observer, and ultimately to grow.

  • 31.
  • At 12:34 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Stuart wrote:

Re Post 6 (and others). I think you just abut have it. I don't think any of the home nations will be puting anything in the scrap book. Unless they sort themselves out sharpish, one of them is not going to make it out of the pool stages. Eng v Samoa, Ire v Arg and Sco v It. Only Wales have an easy ride.

On another point, the IRB should be ashamed of themselves. Arg should be treated with the respect they have earned. And the so called smaller nations should receive the lions share of the revenue of RWC07 to promote the game in their countries. Perhaps we should ask NZ about their qualification period for foreign-born players?

  • 32.
  • At 12:38 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Jon Cardiff wrote:

To be honest all the doomsayers who surround Welsh rugby make me laugh we beat a very awkward canadian team by 25 points when England only managed 28 in total against a USA team that gets annually spanked by the canucks, do we have things to work on hell yes but lets take things one step at a time we won our first game by a good margin getting a bonus point to boot and play one of the three big contenders for the title at home next. Lets have a bit of belief get behind the lads and show them we're behind them. C'mon Wales!!!!!

  • 33.
  • At 01:05 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • niall wrote:

ireland is not a british team

In one sense you're right Nick, in that we (Wales) produced more "sexy rugby" than the other three put together. But we were shocking for 50 minutes, whereas Scotland - without ever setting the world alight - did a calm and professional job on a stubborn Portugese side. I think they were the best of a bad bunch.

  • 35.
  • At 01:14 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • harry wrote:

i do not understand ow anyone can possibly say wales produced the best performance out of the home nations! Fine, once Canada were practically unable to stand up they started playing expansive rugby, but that is like saying that a team playing a match against tackle bags is playing brilliant rugby. Wales were completely dominated by an apparently lesser side, and went into half time looking by far the weaker team. England's performance may not have been a brilliant one, but at least they never looked in danger of losing the match.

  • 36.
  • At 01:27 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • richard thomas wrote:

How can people say Scotland were the best team?

Wales beat Canada who are only 2 places below Scotland in the IRB rankings! But even they weren't the best team...

Anyone saying Scotland were the best really need to look again at the matches. France, although losing, were still the best European team of the weekend. Argentina would have put 40+ points on the rest of us... Wake up people and pull your head out of your a***

What did Scotland do? They put a few points against the second worst team in the entire tournament.

  • 37.
  • At 01:29 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Yeha - cmon Wales - we're all behind you boys - Wales to win and I'm in the Stade for the final!!!

  • 38.
  • At 02:04 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • jon cardiff wrote:

Wales were the most impressive out of the home nations for harry to suggest that wales were dominated he needs to have a word with himself canada killed a afir bit of ball leading to three penalties had a deserved try from a bit of pressure then held out under pressure and broke from their own tryline to go ahead. Lets dismiss this bs about canada's legs going if you play sport and you're ahead of a team that're supposed to give u a drubbing you work that bit harder and legs dont go 10 minutes afer halftime!

  • 39.
  • At 02:19 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

All of the 6 nation sides started very poorly, I think Scotland were the least bad but I don't think any of the games provides a basis for positive analysis. I believe France will be a different side next time out and I hope that applies to the other 5 although even with a 100% improvement they would still all lose to South Africa and New Zealand but the beauty of this type of tournament is that none of us knows what will happen next and it is positive for rugby that the minnows displayed the odd sharks snarl.

  • 40.
  • At 02:52 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Walter McDermott III wrote:

We were robbed Saturday. The Super Eagles were clear winners if the referees hadn't turned things against us. How come the huge fat guy - (Vickery?)- gets to trip people, while we get TWO guys ejected for nothing. Even if the referee didn't see it, how about the line umpire???

With American Samoa losing to South Africa it was a bad day overall for the US teams. I just hope we get England again in the play offs - our scrimmage will smash them backwards - Vickery was the only guy stopping us on Saturday.

  • 41.
  • At 03:22 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Jason wrote:

Nick, I agree with your sentiments, but why must you begin so many of your paragraphs with the word "and"?

  • 42.
  • At 04:51 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Tez wrote:

Robin, blog 20, obviously Rhys (no.8) is a keen student of the Irish writer James Joyce and his stream of consciousness style as exemplified in such novels as Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.

Tend to agree with pegs (blog 24), in that with both the Italy and Namibia games, Ireland did not do the basic hard graft of first subduing the opposing pack and obtaining an element of control and then cutting loose with the fancy stuff. Expect this to be radically different with Georgia and looking foward to seeing how they front up to the Pumas tonight.

  • 43.
  • At 05:38 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • malcolm wrote:

the most disappoiting performance was marginally ireland with english game a close secondbut the reality is that although it may be abitter pill to swallow if England dont have a chance ,and they dont,none of the other home nationswill win the world cup ,ever?remember Niall some of the irish team are also British

  • 44.
  • At 05:46 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Can you believe Mr Ford: Ford warned that anyone expecting a try-fest in Friday's encounter will probably be disappointed.

"International rugby nowadays, when you get to the top eight nations, is a game of field position.

"Sometimes it is better if you don't have the ball and for the opposition to have it, because it is harder to attack in rugby union.

"It becomes a game of turnovers, about keeping your discipline, kicking your penalties, keeping the scoreboard ticking over.

"When you are up against the top sides in the world, that is the game. There won't be many tries on Friday night.

"You can talk about attack all you want but it rarely happens at this sort of level."

If you believe in Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, then perhaps yes. If you are a member of the All Backs, the Wallabies or the Springbok teams, not likely - what is the English management trying to say - are they throwing in the towel already? What garbage!

  • 45.
  • At 06:08 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • RJEdgeco wrote:

For those who are still debating the relative merits of the Welsh & Scottish performances on the weekend, particularly those who claim that Wales 'only' won because the Canadians got tired, can I draw your attention to what happened on the 21st August. Canada (42)v Portugal (12). If that does not reflect the relative strengths of the 2 teams, I don't know what does. I'm not knocking Scotland, in many aspects they are ahead of Wales (especially their forward play), but it's folly to dismiss the Welsh performance as being against a semi - professional team that tired in the second half & ignore the fact that the same must apply to the Portugese, only more so. I would also have to disagree with those who say Wales have an easy group. From memory we only squeaked past Fiji last time we played them in Cardiff. To be honest that is a game I am not looking forward to at all.

  • 46.
  • At 06:54 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Bill Mac wrote:

Six nations teams are awful. I was hoping that a northern hemisphere winner at the last world was a sign that the southern hemispheres dominance in rugby was over. Unfortunately the divide seems to be wider than ever. These are professional athletes who get paid well to practice and play rugby. Why do they find it so difficult? Ultimately rugby remains an elitist sport. Most kids in England don't get the opportunity to play rugby at school. Think of all the talent that doesn't get the opportunity to pick up a rugby ball.

  • 47.
  • At 07:15 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Markymark wrote:

I think in a sense Wales were lucky to start badly. I think both Scotland and Ireland certainly suffered from starting all too well and taking there foot too quickly off the gas.

I think England played poorly, and I would be most worried about them. Ireland played well in spells, Scotland showed flashes, and Wales played well under pressure.

I think it is very early in the season to expect these teams to be playing fluently though. I think/hope that as the tournament builds the Northern Hemisphere teams improve as the Southern Hemisphere teams tire.

  • 48.
  • At 09:19 PM on 11 Sep 2007,
  • Tez wrote:

Bill Mac
You sound like a Kiwi?

I sort of agree - I have two sons who shy away from the rugby ball. Ca Va. Anyone who loves the game could be thinking of how we bring youngsters into the game - and without any fear. Not easy when we see the bing/bang/bong of modern rugby.

  • 49.
  • At 06:53 AM on 12 Sep 2007,
  • SlingaTaff wrote:

Let's put things into perspective here. The Canadin team obviously took note of the tactics used by England when they literally battered Wales to death in the Twickenham warm-up game. Wales are not very adept at halting the rolling mauls which come at them time after time. Tries, penalties and lost games are the usual result These (very boring)tactics are now universal, and tend to favour the bigger (no...monstrous) forwards now plying their trade, with no other means of defence against them other than fielding even bigger forwards. England won the last world cup (and numerous 6N games) using the very same application. If Canada were (England) fitter they probably could have won on Sunday, but credit to Wales they (eventually) played REAL rugby and gave us something to smile about. I think I would rather watch 30 minutes of scincillating rugby than 50 minutes of ... part your bum cheeks buddy, I'm coming in.

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