Ryan Jones

And rugby was the winner... (49)

So it’s all over. After all the waiting, the hype and all the expectation, the tournament seemed to pass in the blink of an eye and leaves us with another four years to dwell over the next one.

What a tournament it was though. I think in hindsight, it will be regarded as the best yet for a number of reasons.

Most importantly for the game, France 2007 can be remembered as they year when the supposed also-rans came to the party.

Wales's lock Alun-Wyn Jones (L) vies with Fiji's flanker Semisi Naevo

The performances of the South Sea Island teams were a breath of fresh air for the tournament and although it was only Fiji who managed to break into the promised land of the last eight, neither Tonga nor Samoa would have been out of place there either.

And I am in total agreement with the weight of comment I have read, urging the IRB to help their respective unions by means of sheer financial clout and more importantly a sound infrastructure which will allow the sport to progress in the long term.

Argentina were arguably the team of the tournament and their ascent into the world’s top three is a massive achievement.

They didn’t get there through clichéd determination, passion or spoiling tactics either. Their brand of rugby was attacking, adventurous and fearless and their play-off win against the hosts was one of the highlights of the tournament in what the experts predicted would be a damp squib of a game.

The challenge now is for the IRB, the Six Nations Committee, the Tri-Nations Committee and the Argentine Rugby Union, to come together and discuss where Argentina’s future lies with regards to their future competition.

For the third ranked nation in the world not to be included in any meaningful annual competition cannot be right and therefore, it is imperative they find a home.

Another triumph of this tournament turned out to be its unpredictability. Granted, after All Blacks, South Africa would have been second favourites to take the crown, but apart from their victory, very little else went to script.

The elimination of Wales and Ireland at the group stage and, although it seems strange to say now, the progression of England to the last eight, when they had looked down and out after their first encounter with the Springboks, started the trend.

Then there was the unforgettable quarter-final weekend when the rugby world was turned on its head.

New Zealand is still in mourning following their trip to Cardiff and the Australians are probably still wondering where their world cup went. The Fijian’s gave the eventual champions their biggest scare of the tournament and Argentina qualified for their first ever semi-final.

It was the most amazing and dramatic weekend of rugby there has ever been and in years to come, I think it will be that weekend that will live in the memory.

The English, typified the unpredictability of the tournament in by-passing the hosts, who had seemingly played their final that day in Cardiff, to make the final but in the other semi, Argentina’s dreams were dashed.

And the final lived up to all expectations, those expectations being that it would be forwarded orientated, very tight and lost by the team who blinked first.

The South Africans came through without ever really hitting first gear - which had been the case throughout the tournament, and they have walked away as champions without ever really breaking a sweat. The draw panned out very well for them, with them not having to face New Zealand, Australia or France at any stage.

For England, the final proved to be a step too far and they will have been disappointed to have been beaten at their own game. I’m sure if you had offered their fans the journey they’ve had though in the wake of the South Africa group game, then you would have had your hand bitten off.

Congratulations must go to them for the way in which they came back from that defeat so doggedly and ultimately came so close to retaining their title.

As for Wales, it was a turbulent period and we will rue a missed opportunity. It was disappointing that we came into the game too late against Australia and the loss to Fiji has been well documented.

As I have said previously, it is down to us as players to prove that we can get to the level we think we are capable of with the talent that we have at our disposal and, contrary to recent newspaper headlines regarding my comments in this blog, achieve a blend of rugby utilising the undoubted attacking flair that we have in this country on the back of a solid structure based on a sound set-piece and an effective defensive system.

Overall, it has been a thoroughly enjoyable time in the world of rugby union delivering emotional highs and lows for all involved and in the first blog of this series I said how I hoped the French flair and attitude towards the game would rub off on the competition as a whole and I think it is safe to say that it did.

The French have raised the bar again for New Zealand in 2011 and who knows what will happen there; how about a Fiji v Wales final? We can but hope!

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank a friend of mine, Paul Barry, without his help this blog would not have got off the ground and to all at the BBC thanks.

Stay sexy Wales!

Ryan Jones plays number eight for Wales but misses the World Cup through injury.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 09:34 AM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • Mighty Mull wrote:

Thanks Ryan loved the blog.,

But maybe the last comment should read start winning wales !!! instead of stay sexy wales....

  • 2.
  • At 10:42 AM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

Between now and 2011, the only way Argentina will find a place in any meaningful competition is for one including them to be established.

There is little prospect of them joining the Tri-Nations (given arrangements are decided years in advance with a global broadcaster) or the 6 Nations (which lacks spare weeks for a new team).

The obvious answer is to have an international league. Games between 6 Nations teams and Tri-Nations teams being carried forward into this (so existing arrangements for each continue). The northern and southern comp teams play each other and Argentina in a home and away league played over 3 years (excluding World Cup years). This would give Argentina "18" meaningful games over 3 years. For the 6 Nations teams it involves "8" more meaningful games over 3 years. For the Tri-Nations teams "14" more meaningful games over 3 years.

Fiji, Samoa and Tonga (sans northern club players) should join an increased Super (12/14/20) comp (with teams based in Japan, Canada the USA and Argentina) when it's contract is renewed. This would simply involve using the regional group system used in USA sports.

Fiji, Samoa and Tonga and 7 other teams (USA, Canada, Georgia, Romania + 3) should form a B international league.

  • 3.
  • At 11:05 AM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • Rich Davis wrote:

Sexy Rugby is all well and good but Wales need to remember the basics first. All the great Welsh sides of the past were built on good scrummaging and safe line outs. I well remember the legendary Pontypool front row ( the viet gwent) as the cornerstone of the last really great Wales xv.

  • 4.
  • At 11:05 AM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • James Reid wrote:

How exactly was rugby the winner? The final was one of the most dour affairs I have ever seen with very little back line attacking play and an over reliance on aimless kicking and up and unders. While England must be credited with playing to their strenghts and reaching the final against all the odds they must also be blamed for proving that modern rugby is now a 10 man game (with 5 extra players there for defensive plays only). It was great to see so many upsets but when it is the teams playing the attractive rubgy that are losing it can only be a bad thing for game.

  • 5.
  • At 11:08 AM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • Rich Davis wrote:

Sexy Rugby is all well and good but Wales need to remember the basics first. All the great Welsh sides of the past were built on good scrummaging and safe line outs. I well remember the legendary Pontypool front row ( the viet gwent) as the cornerstone of the last really great Wales xv.

Not the best world cup. Not at all. Well done Argentina for a sterling performance and embarrassing sides like Wales and Ireland in the process.

With regards Wales - boy, I've taken some stick living in New Zealand (even with them getting knocked out in the quarters) - this tournament was a missed opportunity. 2005 Grand Slam... we should have been building into and climaxing during this competition. Instead, Gareth Thomas and his cabal have landed us in as embarrassing a position as Robert Jones having to explain how he scored Western Samoa's try in 1991.

The Welsh regime has failed, and root and branch it should come down. Gareth Jenkins tread water and undermined the success of 2005, the board made sure we could not capitalise (no spine, no leadership). Both should go... only one has.

I cannot put into words the hurt this tournament has given to Welsh fans... and for all the 'fronting up' the squad has done, it's not enough. You should be ashamed to pull on the jersey and the management should be ashamed handing it out to you.

We can only hope for a better and brighter 2008. I wait and watch in hope.

No no, im quite happy with the 'stay sexy' ending, apt coming from our very own Ron Burgandy! Milk, it was a bad choice!

And Im glad to see you were out researching this blog on Saturday night in Walkabout Ryan, purely just to gauge the welsh publics reaction to the final im sure!

Good work on the blogs Ryan, hope to see you back on a rugby field soon, but not before the blues have played the Ospreys tho ey!

No no, im quite happy with the 'stay sexy' ending, apt coming from our very own Ron Burgandy! Milk, it was a bad choice!

And Im glad to see you were out researching this blog on Saturday night in Walkabout Ryan, purely just to gauge the welsh publics reaction to the final im sure!

Good work on the blogs Ryan, hope to see you back on a rugby field soon, but not before the blues have played the Ospreys tho ey!

  • 9.
  • At 11:57 AM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • James wrote:

Nice evocative photo there...

  • 10.
  • At 12:36 PM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • Phil E wrote:

Couldn't agree more - whilst each nation involved has started analysing their own performances, what is generally getting overlooked is the tournament as a whole - and it was absolutely fantastic from a spectator's point of view! Forget all the talk of changing the structure of the tournament - keep it exactly the same, and in 3 1/2 years time World Cup 2011 will promote itself and attract larger audiences again, based on World Cup 2007.

  • 11.
  • At 01:07 PM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • Amie wrote:

Hi Ryan,

Firstly condolences about hearing that you have lost the title of ‘Sexiest Man in Wales’ … you were robbed !!

Another great blog and here’s hoping that Wales can get themselves together and put on a show against South Africa on 24th Nov !

  • 12.
  • At 01:15 PM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • DB wrote:

As a South African, I would like to make a comment on our team. The Springboks have not always had the best reputation internationally (an all time low must be the Twickenham match where Jonny was late tackled blatently, 2003 I think) - at that point many SA fans considered stopping support for such an appalling team (Poor coaching and captaincy), and the backlash back in SA was huge, as it was in the UK.

However, this team, apart from winning the cup, has shown such humility throughout the tournament that it is refereshing to be a Springbok supporter again.

In the first England v SA match when Jason Robinson went down with a hamstring, still holding the ball, every single SA loosie held back and stood off.
The entire bench stood and applauded him from the field.

Against Fiji, the entire team waited for Fiji to complete their farewell lap and clapped them from the field.

Against Samoa, after some fieresome high tackling by the Samoans, every player to a man shook hands with the opposition and congratulated them on their performance.

WOW. Some of you may say that any other team would have done the same, I'm not so sure.
The fact is that this team acted like gentlemen, played astutely (and hard),and won graciously.

Worthy winnners of the World Cup both on and off the field who have made many of their supporters proud of their conduct.

Looking forward to 2011!

  • 13.
  • At 01:51 PM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • Howard Williams wrote:

I agree wholeheartedly with the need for a "Super Comp" and think that one way of acheiving this would be through a two league, 8 nation per league competition. Half of this could be staged in September/October in the Southern Hemisphere, the second half staged in the North during March and April with relegation and promotion of one team each year.

I do not, however, agree with Ryan Jones - I did not think that this RWC did much for the future of rugby. The big teams and big games were dominated by 10 players, with the other five confined to tackling the oposition most of the time and chucking the ball about in a haphazard fashion. When this did happen it was fraught with poor passes, poor handling and poor short kicks ahead. In very few occasions did we see close support with short offloads, often the only way to get past tight opposition these days. With Pointless Ping Pong Punting (P4) the real only talent one needs these days is the ability to field the high ball safely - and that is not exactly a great attribute, and does not make for exciting play.

Hate to say this but modern day threequarters would benefit from watching the better games of the 70's and 80's for some tips on how it could be done, and not a spin pass or a professional player anywhere!

Finally, apart from the "shock" matches, I enjoyed the Minnows and the lesser teams play far more than the big names. That is very sad.

Howard Williams

  • 14.
  • At 02:59 PM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • ian williams wrote:

I took my two boys to Wales v Japan and Fiji v Canada. And their Nain and 4 of their mates. Had to flog the telly to pay for the privilege..

Huge shame that the Millenium was more than half empty both times: the tremendous support for the competition in France wasn't reflected in Wales.

When the administrators know the stadium will be half empty should there not be a plan to hand out tickets at the last minute to give those who can't afford the prices access to what should have been a memorable occasion?

The Millenium Stadium World Cup games were a damp squib: i know "i was there"


No no, im quite happy with the 'stay sexy' ending, apt coming from our very own Ron Burgandy! Milk, it was a bad choice!

And Im glad to see you were out researching this blog on Saturday night in Walkabout Ryan, purely just to gauge the welsh publics reaction to the final im sure!

Good work on the blogs Ryan, hope to see you back on a rugby field soon, but not before the blues have played the Ospreys tho ey!

  • 16.
  • At 05:27 PM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • Jason from Wales! wrote:

It was, apart from a no-show by Wales, an excellent World Cup. The unpredictability of it all really did make it entertaining. I had SA as my second favourites, but I never thought that next-door would make it to the final.

I'm not a rugby coach, but I really think that we need to learn to play the so called 'England way'. Granted, not the most exciting rugby to watch if they are playing a good team, but effective. I would take a 3 - 0 win if Wales were in the final!

  • 17.
  • At 05:29 PM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • Jason from Wales! wrote:

It was, apart from a no-show by Wales, an excellent World Cup. The unpredictability of it all really did make it entertaining. I had SA as my second favourites, but I never thought that next-door would make it to the final.

I'm not a rugby coach, but I really think that we need to learn to play the so called 'England way'. Granted, not the most exciting rugby to watch if they are playing a good team, but effective. I would take a 3 - 0 win if Wales were in the final!

  • 18.
  • At 06:30 PM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • Benedict Bannister wrote:

DB - absolutely. In every regard the "right" team won - the Bok pack, in particular Matfield, were simply brilliant. The final was not won aping England. It was won by a quite outstanding lineout, which won all it's own ball and spoiled a significant percentage of Englands, thereby undermining the England game plan. Putting the ball in touch merely handed it back to the Boks.

The Boks have played great 10 man but also 15 man rugby during the tournament, quite unlike England. The pool game thrashing was not simply down to a woeful England. It was as much to do with an inspired SA. They have been realists when required, closing the game down, going for points and the win rather than attempt glory and end up with ignomny. As Stuart Barnes said, Bok teams of the past were not noted particularly for "intelligent" play, this lot certainly are.

And finally their sportmanship and humility meant that despite watching my team loose the final, it was made a little less painful to see them beaten by worthy "champions."

  • 19.
  • At 07:22 PM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • JRVJ wrote:

Howard Williams,

How can you say that the RWC did not do much for the future of Rugby?

The mere fact that Argentina has gone Rugby mad (and Argentina is a country of 40MM people, with a very large diaspora), is a tremendous outcome.

Add to this the fact that two of Argentina's neighbors (Chile and Uruguay), with populations of about 20MM, have some Rugby Union background and have been somewhat swept along by the Pumas' success (as mentioned in different Spanish language forums and newspapers), and you have increased the market for Rugby materially.

Rugby Union doesn't really exist in Lat Am once you go over the Southern Cone nations, but I can tell you that in my small country (Panama) quite a few restaurants and bars showed Pumas games (broadcast by ESPN).

THAT increases the market, too (not so much on the playing side, but definitely on the TV eyeballs side).

  • 20.
  • At 07:41 PM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • Jhapinz wrote:

"I would take a 3 - 0 win if Wales were in the final!
That sums up the whole NH approach as this was the approach taken by every single NH team. Some were just better at it than others.
The problem now is that assuming the long term goal for any team is to win on a consistent basis- cup or no cup- how can these teams muster up these superhuman defensive, low risk, kick kick kick game after game, knowing the results will always be close even if that is achieved.
Here we take the easy way out. Pick the talent to score the tries and knock the stuffing out of the opposition so that they cant be bothered coming back from 40 to 0 points. We do it again and again and again- especially to your teams. That is why you struggle to form a reasoned opinion on why we shouldnt have boring rugby. Because youve never experienced the exhilaration of being a fan who supports a team that dominates all others with style and finesse. Perhaps the English fans should know from a few years ago but how easy they forget and accept mediocrity so easy provided its a win. Sad you just dont get it. Your rugby is a bore, bore, bore and so was this cup- not cos we were out, but cos the victors went on to play more bore bore bore.

Jhapinz, I totally agree with you. This safety- first attitude is exactly the kind of thing preventing the enjoyment of the game as a spectacle.

  • 22.
  • At 11:22 PM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • Sy wrote:

'Argentina were arguably the team of the tournament and their ascent into the world’s top three is a massive achievement.

They didn’t get there through clichéd determination, passion or spoiling tactics either. Their brand of rugby was attacking, adventurous and fearless'

Yes Argentina were the team of the tournament...

No their brand of rugby was not any more exciting than England's...

About 1000 up and unders a match, allied with excellent tactical kicking from the golden boot of Hernandez who was behind a pack that was dominant against everyone bar the Bokke (and even then they were on top everywhere but the line out where the majestic Matfield ruled supreme)

Early in the tournament i compared them to England in 2003... Massive pack. Great Scrum. Good kicker. Outside backs who are rarely used but look useful.

Even so... I'd still take the England 2003 crop of Lewsey, Robinson and Cohen over Corletto, Agulla and Borges any day.

  • 23.
  • At 12:21 AM on 25 Oct 2007,
  • Brian M wrote:

To DB 12,

I would like to commend your comments, as you acknowledge that your team was at a poor state, and that they have worked through them to become worthy RWC Champions.

In my experience the best rugby teams learn most from bad experiences, don't like it, and work harder to get it better.

South Africa have now set a standard that other teams will strive to emulate.

Building up from poor beginings has brought a humility that has not always been present in S.African teams, it is present now.

Hopefully, this learning will help the decision makers within your country resolve that working together is far better than arguing.

Having written that, there is probably more likelyhood of peace in S.Africa than the WRU.

  • 24.
  • At 02:39 AM on 25 Oct 2007,
  • Ben Morgan wrote:

I've got to disagree Ryan, despite the uplifting performances of a few of the minnows this was a terrible World Cup dominated by kicking, defending and slowing the ball down (yes I'm looking at you here England). If ever there was a case a charge of bringing the game into disrepute it should go to the English. I stopped watching everyone except Argentina after the All Blacks were knocked out.

I think the IRB needs to address some things and I hate to say it but in the professional age I think either the breakdown needs to be ruled with an iron fist or there needs to be only 13 men on each team. It's too easy for a poor team like England, completely devoid of any attacking flair to win games by slowing up the ball spreading 13 men across the pitch and kicking their goals.

  • 25.
  • At 02:43 AM on 25 Oct 2007,
  • Jim Page wrote:

I agree that this World Cup has to be the best so far. It shows how far the game has come globally and shown the big guns for what they are. South Africa deserved their victory as they were by far and away the most consistent side in the competition. Get off the English boys backs though. Forward dominant? Yes; Hard nosed and gritty? Certainly; Boring? Never. England got to the Final by playing rugby the way they play rugby and I applaud them for it.If the likes of Sheridan, Shaw, Moody and Wilkinson can't be applauded for being the best in the World in their respective positions then rugby supporters should take a long hard look at themselves. I look forward to the 6 Nations and watching England under the guidance of the attacking genius that is Brian Ashton. Come on the Lilywhites!

  • 26.
  • At 04:39 AM on 25 Oct 2007,
  • BRYAN wrote:

Sheridan may be but the rest of that list aren’t in consideration but neither is Dan Carter on this WC. The state of the game is still the same as before the WC apart from being shown that there 4 teams that need more games, but we new this after the last WC as well.
Rugby is about breaking the gain line and currently with 13-14 players standing around waiting to tackle there not much chance of that. Even the French team gave up attacking to wait for the other team to make mistakes. This is call negative rugby or tackle and kick down field.

  • 27.
  • At 05:51 AM on 25 Oct 2007,
  • Ted wrote:

"The draw panned out very well for them (SA), with them not having to face New Zealand, Australia or France at any stage."

"Congratulations must go to them (England)for the way in which they came back from that defeat so doggedly and ultimately came so close to retaining their title."

Just cant let it go - hey?

"Argentina were arguably the team of the tournament."

WIth SA hammering Argentina in the semis and in your own words, 'The South Africans came through without ever really hitting first gear.'

Sort of says it all - doesnt it?

  • 28.
  • At 07:45 AM on 25 Oct 2007,
  • Manonok wrote:

Why don't the IRB just create a new compeition for Argentina,Tonga,Fiji,Samoa,USA,Japan and Canada. The viewing public in the USA (potentially 300m)will compensate the islanders small size.The first 4s gamepaly will improve the later 3drastically...though there may be a need for a 8th nation.I don't for Georgia/Romania/Port...we could learn something from roundball...ditch the 6nations and have a 10 team European nations Cup every 2 (not 4:its too long!) years with a few qualifiers in between.It should free up club rugby in europe majorly for the most part...

There is probably a major problem with all of the above,and I'll freely admit that I could be wrong:afterall I am derided on my views on having the Barbarians in the WC

  • 29.
  • At 08:54 AM on 25 Oct 2007,
  • sndanceingspaceace wrote:

Answer to James Reid #4

He continues with the same rubbish as a few others."Dour game"
Not exciting enough?

You obviously have not played Rugby and do not know much about it.
You are probably a soccer fan brought up on exciting nil nil draws.

Go watch sevens if you want running Rugby all the time. Go watch "League" where they have effectively done away with scrums and forward play.

Leave Union alone, last time I looked, ie RWC, it was travelling pretty good.
Something for every one, for all shapes and sizes, Oh and thousands went to watch, Aim-less kicking?
Sheer ignorance pal.

  • 30.
  • At 09:06 AM on 25 Oct 2007,
  • sndanceingspaceace wrote:

Get over it.

Particularly Wales, Australia and NZ.

Sacking their coaches and ashamed of their players.

Please tell me where it is written in stone that they should win {NZ] or get to the semi's { Aus} and {Wales}

The great beauty of sport is it is not scripted that on their day lesser teams can achieve.

Some of you fans, journalists and Board members should wake up to yourselves.

  • 31.
  • At 11:53 AM on 25 Oct 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

I had no idea that the AB coach ahd been sacked. I do know his contract is up for renewal as was so before the event (most people thought he would move on whatever the result). As for "attacks" on the AB players ... they received a surprisingly large welcome back.

I suppose only those supporters and players of a team ranked number one for 4 years will ever know what it's like to lose a vital KO game.

Just hope, it's not over refereeing issues - coz then it's harder to take. Teams get beaten by better teams on the day. It happened in 1991 (even in 1995 - though the team was somewhat ill) and 1999 and 2003.

The AB players who continue in the game will have learnt the meaning of a KO game - just as those who played in 1991, 1999 and 2003 learnt before them. Like play the referee and if that means having to take a drop goal to get the points (because as the French media themsleves pointed out, the French team infringed again and again and weere not penalised) have the ability to do this and then do it.

#24 'Dancingspaceace', the arrogance of posters like you take my breath away! You say Paul Reid #4 must be a soccer fan, simply because you don't like his view that it was a 'dour' game. There are many people who may or may not have played rugby, but who are knowledgeable followers, who would agree with him. If you were not a Saffer or an England supporter,you might well have switched off.

  • 33.
  • At 05:06 PM on 25 Oct 2007,
  • chris b wrote:

The AB's were a group of wonderful individual players but they didnt play as a team at the most important point. Yes they were very unlucky with injuries removing their best playmakers. . well the best that were available seeing as Mauger wasnt on the pitch...

But blaming the referee for the loss is a non starter. For one thing the referee is the ultimate arbiter of the laws and for another im sure that if the AB's play was subject to as much scrutiny as the French in that game then there would be a whole lot more infringements that were not caught. I could be wrong but im pretty sure I saw the ball go forward for the NZ 2nd try for one.

Normally these things balance out.

  • 34.
  • At 07:29 PM on 25 Oct 2007,
  • Jason from Wales! wrote:

It seems like the only people complaining about the standard of rugby were some of the supporters of the sides that were expected to stroll through to the semi final, or the final itself!

Generally, the better teams of the tournament were the ones that adopted a pragmatic approach to the competition. Horses for courses and all that! After the pool stages, all the games are one off, knockout, no second chance, etc. If it's dour, 'up your jumper' rugby that is required to win the day, so be it. It is whos name is engraved onto the trophy that ultimately counts.

The mark of a decent team is how they react to the opposition's gameplan that is presented before them, and how they react if they fall behind.

We all like a show of running rugby - I enjoyed Wales 2005 Grand Slam season - but pragmatism generally wins the day and the prize.

Finally, certain supporters (Jhapinz) need to be gracious in defeat and magnanimous in victory! No one has a divine right to win.

  • 35.
  • At 11:08 PM on 25 Oct 2007,
  • sundanceingspaceace wrote:

To Graham Griffiths#32

I follow the Welsh as it happens, but that is beside the point, I appreciate sport and particularly Rugby for what it is. Running Rugby is fine but only as a contrast to the opposite, the ying and the yang so to speak clever boxer v the slugger, one of those on its own are boring.
You guys want to package Rugby up so you get the same stuff every week, well, guess what, that's what Rugby league did and it is Rubbish, did you enjoy the 58-0 Aus v NZ what a waste of time. I want to see a contest not a scripted pantomime.

  • 36.
  • At 11:36 PM on 25 Oct 2007,
  • south briton wrote:

good article ,but the really sad thing about Wales is that they never looked like serious contenders,never and thewelsh rugby public ned to get used to get used to the fact that they may win the odd game from time time against one of the big teams but they are just not that good
the most negative team in the tournament was clearly scotland white flag to new zealand,and then bland timid performance against argentina ,depressing!
watch out for Cipriani,Geraghty,Strettle and Ellis plus dan Ward -Smith and i regret as a celt we might be in for an english period of dominance,at least they defended their
position as champions with real courage and scored a try in the final,SA didnt!
i really hope Ireland go back to basics

  • 37.
  • At 09:33 AM on 26 Oct 2007,
  • luke wrote:

Everyone agrees that Argentina should take part in an annual meaningful competition.

I believe Argentina should take the initiative and create a competition and I suggest the Argentina Invitational Cup.

Argentina invites:
• 3 European teams. Taken from the 6-Nations, Romania, Portugal, etc
• 1 from either Fiji, Samoa, Tonga
• 1 from USA, Canada, Japan

Leave the tri-nations teams for autumn test matches.

All teams play each other in Argentina during the European summer break but not in a RWC year. The top two teams play in a final. Six teams, 16 games, 4-5 weeks, more international Rugby and in front of the home fans. Everyone is happy.

  • 38.
  • At 02:58 PM on 26 Oct 2007,
  • Bok Supporter wrote:

As an avid Bok supporter through thick and thin I read through all the comments and the article with interest.

We whipped the Argentinians, and yet they get to be known as the best team?
The Boks did not choose their route, and would have dealt with the Aussies and NZ. We have great respect for the All Blacks and expected to play against them in the final (if we made it).
We played a different game plan against each team - the final needed to be tight.
All we hear is the twining about the try that was disallowed.
We have to constantly listen to biased commentators.

My blood is green, always has been and always will be.

The comment that really got to me was, "when NZ were knocked out I stopped watching, except the Argentinians". Great sports fan.

In SA we would have carried on watching even if we were knocked out.

Go Bokkkke!

  • 39.
  • At 06:20 PM on 26 Oct 2007,
  • Dave Bernie wrote:

Sorry pack but until we (Wales)get some beef and aggression back we will not win many matches, viz a viz, you cannot win without the ball. Imagine England's pack and Wales' backs...what a combination. No disrespect guys, we've some excellent individuals up front but lets fight on as a heavyweight 'unit' and let the backs do the pretty stuff!! That's what the quarter final nations did well in RWC2007.

  • 40.
  • At 06:43 PM on 26 Oct 2007,
  • Briggsy wrote:

I would point out to all the detractors of England, Argentina and other teams that play a forward dominated game (such as Georgia and Canada) that one of the beauties of Rugby at all levels is that it allows an important role for players of all different shapes, sizes and skills. The stocky slower lad can become a scrummage maestro (Sheridan), the lofty giant can be a line out supremo (Matfield), the sniping small guy can boss the game from half back (Pichot), the deft kicker can put his team on the front foot (Hernandez, Wilko) and the slight winger can shock with a turn of pace (Ngwenya of the USA v Habana!!). Rugby is thankfully still not a game of faceless, super atheletes it has a place for anyone with courage and commitment.
If you want to open up the game then don't depower the scrum or introduce artificial laws, why not reduce substitutions then gaps will naturally appear as players tire?
Despite the intensity of play the sportsmanship was outstanding. I watched France v England with some French mates in Jakarta and at the end of the game (about 0430am) we all just sat back had a beer and launched into a back to back rendition of La Marsaillaise and Swing Low Sweet Chariot; I honestly believe that such was the spirit of the tournament stalwart warriors on the pitch such as Ibanez, Chabal, Vickery and Corry all probably did the same!!
Good on you all 20 nations you gave a lot of joy to a lot of people. Thanks.

  • 41.
  • At 09:44 PM on 26 Oct 2007,
  • Jerryirl wrote:

I think DB hit the nail on the head. I though the saffers totally banished the ghosts of the past and totally deserved the trophy. I think it would be a minority who would see it otherwise. You can only beat the team in front of you, and although people will say south africa didn't play nz, aus or france, they did produce some magic with the ball more than any other team in this wc. Also their dignity in the receipt of the trophy was to be applauded. Fully deserved.

  • 42.
  • At 11:19 PM on 26 Oct 2007,
  • Jhapinz wrote:

Bok Supporter fair enough.
I said I'd stopped watching only because the NZ team were out but actually didnt really. I wanted thge boks to win and think that a NZ Boks final would have been great. Didnt happen but I think that that crucial 24 hour period where between quarter finals was a godsend for SA in that they realised the only way to win against the NH teams was to play them at their own game having seen NZ and OZ try to attack against teams purely based on defence and hoping for errors or mistakes both which came.
Well done SA. Fully deserved and by far the best team in the cup bar non no one was even close.
Argees wre voted best primarily because they played more above themselves than any other team, but others were close a la fiji, tonga and most of the bottom tier teams when playing NH sides.

  • 43.
  • At 06:43 PM on 27 Oct 2007,
  • Mike B wrote:

Hey there Bok Supporter

I think you need to quickly re-read the blog you are having a go at.
Ryan didn't say Argentina were the best team in the tournament - that would have been the Springboks or the All Blacks - but he did say they were the team of the tournament.

The Boks did what was expected of them in getting to the Final and they deserved their victory. Any comments on it being the easy side of the draw, whilst obviously correct, are worthless. Luck of the draw - 'nuff said.

On the other hand, the Argentinians did far more than was expected of them and hence, they fully deserve the tag of the team of the tournament.

Try not to be so sensitive in misunderstanding what that means. (Is Afrikaans your first language by any chance?)

By the way, the ABSA Currie Cup final has just finished and it was another cracking game. What strength in depth you have in South Africa.

Regards to all rugby bloggers.

  • 44.
  • At 07:46 PM on 27 Oct 2007,
  • JOHN MAY wrote:

Ryan if you hope to return to international rugby I hope you are mentally ready for it. You were great but after your injury a lot was missing. As a professional you have to be fully prepared and committed if you cannot be the please step aside.

  • 45.
  • At 01:25 AM on 29 Oct 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

Best world cup ever?Your joking right?A boring kickfest final with no tries whatsoever.I am getting sick of these so called "exciting" cup finals in which shut down rugby is the norm and tries are hardly ever if never scored.This world cup got progeressively boring as it went on.If I wanna see a kickfest Ill watch the football.
As for the winners.SA had a relatively easy run up to the final so its not surprise that they won.They won a 2nd world cup on the back of another kickfest.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • 46.
  • At 12:44 PM on 29 Oct 2007,
  • Robert Wojcik wrote:

Best World Cup?
what are you talking about?the semi-finals & final was boring.Were there any rugby players on the looked like they were playing soccer.The final was a pathetic game. Not rugby AT ALL..!! I turned the TV off after a few minutes of it. I think the only games that were alive was Fiji vs Wales, Fiji vs S.Africa,Tonga Vs S.Africa, Argentina vs France. Rugby is a game know to all where players score tries...not by's how the sport is known for and also the players that are legends off. IRB should look more in the Pacific Rim for running rugby..for RUGBY...come to the PACIFIC IRB. I think also we should put the conversions and 1 point and penalties to 2 we discourage teams to go for penalties everytime....if it wins them the game...ok...but to do just that for the entire whole game...give us a break....GIVE US RUGBY A TRY..!!

MOCE Jo..!!

  • 47.
  • At 09:16 PM on 29 Oct 2007,
  • simon wrote:

Best world cup so far. To see the "minnows" perform so well all be it for 20 -40 mins was superb. The look on some of big teams faces when they realised they had a game on their hands.The IRB should now invite the Pumas into a comp and set up a decent comp for the likes of Portugal, Romania and others like them so the world competition gets better. England were lucky and brutal to get to the final with bully rugby. I understand that games need to be won but where is our game going to go if it is grind out rugby. After France New Zealand the spectical ended. I dont belive that we go down the road of Rugby leage (which a few seem to think is the way) the scrum is integral "it is Englands game plan" but for all the juniors out there it does'nt look well for the bigger juniors (for which may lose size in time won't have a sport that can utilise their sizes).
I am an ex rugbuy player and concerned fitness professional who is worried about our nations fitness and child obiesety. Wales' national sport is rugby and I don't care who you are it is a contact sport if you play get injured and put rugby though the mill then dont play if you want to play the sport then play if you get injured or if parents are worried that their kids will get hurt dont let them play. I played from under 8ts, Iv'e had injuries but I play rugby thats it.

  • 48.
  • At 12:01 PM on 30 Oct 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

I disagree with those who think the 2007 World Cup was the best yet. I agree with Mr. Rogge of the IOC that the overall quality of play was a disappointment. Too much emphasis on defense while standing around in mauls hoping for a called penalty, causes a certain sense of malaise to set in from the spectator perspective. The final, which lacked any tries, typified the problem. I love rugby and played it at the university level, but found myself becoming quite bored while watching many of the matches.

  • 49.
  • At 06:39 AM on 31 Oct 2007,
  • Jim Page wrote:

Some of the Welsh comments are hilarious. When are they going to stop crowing about being this rugby giant when some of their so-called stars are far more interested i what they look like rather than playing winning rugby.
Put the hair gel down boys and take a long hard look in the mirror. The Welsh Dragon is exactly that... A myth that started a long time ago with a small, short lived and fairly insignificant thing that, as time has passed, has been blown up out of all proportion.
Until you stop expecting people to laud you as a serious rugby and start effectively playing as a team you will win nothing... again.

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