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Rugby World Cup 2015

Discussion in 'General Sports' started by Spacemans Bong, Sep 15, 2015.

  1. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    [​IMG]
     
    Yeah, of course I was gonna start this.
     
    Tournament is hosted by England and starts on Friday. Fixtures are here - most of the best pool games are going to be played at 16.00 or 20.00 British time, so 11am EDT or 3pm EDT. Pretty convenient for US viewers.
     
    Unfortunately TV is going to be a bitch in the US, with a very expensive PPV service covering most of the matches. Universal Sports are going to show the opening game and the US matches, and NBC will show one semifinal on tape (Universal Sports will have the other) and the final live. Amazingly, given the sports TV landscape (and that it was the only World Cup the US failed to qualify for), the best Rugby World Cup for coverage was 1995, when Prime/Sportschannel showed most games live. Ugh. Online streams will be plentiful, though, and top tip: get a good VPN and stream ITV from England.
     
    After the last tournament in New Zealand, which often felt like it was only followed by people in New Zealand due to the brutal time differences, it's nice to have a tournament that people are getting excited for, at least here in the UK.
     
    The favorites are going to be New Zealand, no doubt about it, who have drawn more games than they have lost since the last World Cup (three to two). If they don't win, likely candidates are going to be the age of the team - they've picked a lot of the same dudes as in 2011, and a lot of key players are on the wrong side of 30 - and general complacency. In 1991, New Zealand came to a World Cup in England as defending champs and almost as heavily favored as they are now, but generally floated through the competition before being knocked off by Australia in the semifinal, a loss that the All Blacks at the time put down to not wanting it enough. But Richie McCaw, the best player I've ever seen, is still there captaining the All Blacks. Dan Carter, the best flyhalf I've ever seen, is still there too. And in a World XV, 10-11 players might come from the NZ team.
     
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    Australia and South Africa have had shaky runs in the previous four years, but are always dangerous. The Springboks in particular are just loaded with talent (all-time great winger Bryan Habana, all-time great lock Victor Matfield, flyhalf Handre Pollard, lock Eten Eztebeth) and I can easily see a scenario where they finally put it together and win it all - this is what happened when the tournament was last in Europe in 2007. England are probably the likeliest team from Europe to go on a run, but Ireland, Wales and France could all make the final if things break their way. Australia have won the Rugby World Cup the last two times it was in the UK, and feel confident. They've bought experienced old hands Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell in from abroad, David Pocock is still awesome, and Israel Folau makes Jarryd Hayne look untalented as an athlete.
     
    Group A, England's group, looks to be perhaps the all-time Rugby World Cup Group of Death, as both Australia and Wales (and somewhat dangerous Fiji) are in the group. Although Wales recently lost two key players due to injury, there is still a very decent chance the hosts get knocked out in the group stage. England are talented, but a little shaky, and coach Stuart Lancaster has been making a very big show of how the team's togetherness is key for them, dropping some talented guys like Danny Cipriani, Dylan Hartley and Chris Ashton because they aren't team players. Wales have talent, but those losses are huge: starting halfback Rhys Webb and fullback and goal kicker extraordinare Leigh Halfpenny. They are seriously weakened by those two losses. How all three teams play Fiji (a dangerous Pacific Island team that beat Wales in 2007 to reach the quarterfinals) will be key. Fiji won't beat all three teams, and they probably won't beat two either. But they might beat one, and that would make the run to the quarters incredibly easier for the other two heavyweights. Uruguay is the last team in the group and they're literally a bunch of amateurs. But their games are important as it's very possible, maybe even likely, that the three heavyweights beat each other, and progression from the group comes down to points difference, so whoever beats the complete shit out of Uruguay might buy themselves a place out of the group. World Rugby is very proud that no team had a century put on them in 2007 or 2011 (after Australia beat Namibia 142-0 in 2003) but that might change in 2015 - or at least Uruguay is the most obvious candidate.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Group B is where the Eagles play - the USA has Samoa, Japan, Scotland and South Africa in their group. South Africa are almost certainly through barring a total humiliation the likes we've never seen before, so the drama is going to be whether Samoa can knock off Scotland and beat them to 2nd place. Unlikely - Scotland has a good pack, and Samoa (like all Pacific Island teams) tends to get strangled by teams who can push their weaker pack around and keep it tight.
     
    The goal for the Eagles is to reach 3rd place and secure automatic qualification for 2015. Japan is a very winnable game for the Eagles, after a lean couple of years the USA came back against a team they used to beat and won a tight game versus Japan, 23-18, in the Pacific Nations Cup. Losing to Japan would certainly represent a major setback and coach Mike Tolkin would likely be shown the door. Beating Samoa is the goal - it won't be easy as the US has never beaten Samoa before, but the US has had several games against Samoa they might have won (they lost 21-16 this year). It's on Sunday, so the US's best moment in the World Cup might be their first. If they're going to do it, it'll take big games from people like Samu Manoa (an old high school teammate, who now plays for Toulon, arguably the best club team in the world), halfback Mike Petri, and flyhalf AJ MacGinty. MacGinty's a real find - an Irish kid who qualifies through residency, he's delivered the US's best play from flyhalf possibly since 2003, and really uses his kicking well to cover up for an atypically weak USA forward pack that doesn't muscle around teams as well as they used to. Other names to watch are Danny Barrett (cough high school teammate cough), centre Thretton Palamo who is back in rugby after appearing for the 2007 Eagles as an 18 year old (cough little brother of old club teammate cough), centre Seamus Kelly (who plays for my old club), and captain Chris Wyles, who plays for Saracens in England and is bringing up 50 caps during the World Cup.
     
    Versus Scotland and South Africa, the goal will likely be to keep the score down, although Scotland are shaky enough that it's not inconceivable the USA could knock them off. But very unlikely.
     
    Group C is New Zealand's group and it's going to be boring as shit. Argentina will play them close for about 50 minutes then fade away, and both teams will kill Tonga, Georgia and Namibia. Tonga facing NZ will be fun - like all Pacific Islander teams, Tonga has very close links to NZ (several Tongan players are essentially first-generation Kiwis), and they will be excited as fuck to play the All Blacks.
     
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    Group D is Ireland, Canada, Italy, France and Romania, and will be more intriguing. Ireland haven't had the greatest run up to the tournament, but they've won two Six Nations trophies on the bounce and have generally been very strong for the last few years. Hopes in Ireland are very high that they could make their first-ever semifinal. Jonathan Sexton is the best flyhalf in Europe, Jamie Heaslip is a great number eight, and old hand Paul O'Connell will captain the team in his last games for Ireland. France continue to be perhaps rugby's greatest underachievers, as they've had another ass-wrenchingly tepid Six Nations (amazingly, in the four years Philippe Saint-Andre has coached the team, he's never finished higher than fourth in the Six Nations). They bossed England around in a warmup game and looked pretty good, but I don't know if I have faith in them. Unfortunately, Italy look unlikely to make them pay.
     
    Of course, you could have said all this in 1999 and they went and beat New Zealand 43-32 (after losing to NZ 51-7 five months earlier) in maybe the greatest rugby game ever, and made the final. You could have said a lot of this in 2011 too, especially after France lost to Tonga in the group stages, but they made the final and lost 8-7 to New Zealand in a game they probably should have won.
     
    It'll be fun - my pick is for New Zealand to beat South Africa in the final, but really I wouldn't be shocked to see any of NZ, Australia, SA, Wales, France or England in the final.
     
     
     
  2. fiskful of dollars

    fiskful of dollars Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Thanks for this. I'm bucking up for the PPV. I like your analysis. NZ look the clear favorite. I agree a 3rd place Group finish is a possibility for the US.  Doubt they can beat Samoa but maybe if things break right for them. I'm pulling hard for Ireland, I think they might surprise some folks.
     
    Cheers!
     
  3. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    I was listening to Second Captains today (Irish Times sports podcast, highly recommended) and you could sense the nervousness of the hosts. Ireland are pretty good but there's a real sense of "How are they gonna screw this up?" That's partially because they were real bullish in 2007, coming off a succession of Triple Crowns in the Six nations, only to crash out in the group as they lost to France and Argentina.
     
  4. thehitcat

    thehitcat Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I too am rooting for the Irish especially after the crazy way they ended up winning the Six Nations this last time around.  I expect them to get out of their group but if they aren't winners coming out the path is unclear at that point and the French have looked both good and bad in the run up.  
     
  5. inter tatters

    inter tatters Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

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    The Group B match to watch is Samoa - Scotland. Samoa are actually the 2nd ranked team in that group, as they have had some very good results recently and Scotland have had some bad results. Samoa almost always qualify from their group in the WC but, as is always the case, it depends which version of Scotland turn up - the team that blew away Italy with 5 tries 3 weeks ago and almost knocked over a full-strength France in Paris last week, or the one that rolled over and let Ireland win the Six Nations with a 40-10 loss?
     
    Group B is a funny one, as you almost don't want to finish top. If you do, you're likely to get the loser of England-Australia (unless Wales pull off something remarkable without Webb and Halfpenny) in the QF and New Zealand in the Semi. The other side of the draw is far more preferable, as you'd get the Ireland/France vs Argentina winner in the semi, provided you beat England/Australia in the QF.
     
  6. HoyaSoxa

    HoyaSoxa Member SoSH Member

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    I begrudgingly ponied up for the PPV package - sure does seem like live sports content is desirable enough in the US that someone would have paid to show a few more matches on cable (what the hell else is Universal Sports showing? FS2?), but I guess I will have to keep on hoping. Note that the PPV allows you to log in from 2 devices, so you could potentially go halfsies. 
     
  7. HoyaSoxa

    HoyaSoxa Member SoSH Member

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    double post
     
  8. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    I'm not much of a tinfoil hat guy, but I could buy a theory that the NFL is leaning on broadcasters not to get too into rugby (which is the only sport besides lacrosse that is growing in the US - and it's growing much quicker than lacrosse). It's kinda weird that NBC covers a lot of US Eagles games and college rugby on NBC or NBCSN, yet puts the overwhelming majority of this World Cup behind closed doors when other than Premier League Saturdays, there's no clashes.
     
  9. dirtynine

    dirtynine Member SoSH Member

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    Excited for this.  A few Boston bars will do a very good job of showing matches, but I'm never as certain for rugby as I am about, say, the Phoenix Landing for marquee soccer games. PJ Ryans in Somerville has always been on top of 6 Nations but I'm not sure about the Cup. Down the road, it looks like Olde Magouns is showing the US matches.  If anyone has good recommendations as to where to catch the non-US matches, say the word. 
     
    update: it looks like PJ's will have all the Cup matches. Not sure about a cover. 
     
  10. dirtynine

    dirtynine Member SoSH Member

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    Oh, and thanks for the excellent write-up, SB. Hoping to watch US/Samoa early out somewhere based on your recommendation (and the fact that it's being played at Brighton's beautiful Amex Stadium, which I'm eager to see as a rugby venue). 
     
  11. cjdmadcow

    cjdmadcow Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Every major tournament in every major sport needs a defining moment, a moment that will be remembered long after the teams and fans have departed and returned to their homes.
     
    That moment in RWC2015 has just happened.
     
    WOW!!!
     
  12. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I've now watched that Japanese try 10 times, and I may watch it another 10 more. What an upset.
     
  13. fiskful of dollars

    fiskful of dollars Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Unreal! Biggest RWC upset ever, yeah?
     
  14. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Possibly the biggest international rugby upset ever. I mean, Japan hadn't won an RWC match in 24 years. And for them to go for the try at the end instead of taking the draw when the easily kickable penalty was presented to them was so gutsy - very much like an FCS team going for the two-point conversion to win a college football game against a Top 10 team, in the era before overtime, when they could have kicked the extra point to get a famous tie.
     
  15. HoyaSoxa

    HoyaSoxa Member SoSH Member

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    I guess a win against the Blossoms won't be a gimme for the Eagles, either.
     
    Ireland looked solid enough against Canada. They still might gag it away (I listened to Second Captains, too), but they surely can't complain about their draw - two warm up matches, then Italy, then France, then Argentina if all goes to plan, all spaced a week apart, close enough for loads of traveling support (especially in Cardiff). If they don't make the semifinal this time around, they might never.
     
  16. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    I literally have no idea what this win means for the Eagles or anybody else in the pool. I mean, Samoa usually beats Japan, does this mean Samoa have a real good chance of going through? Scotland actually have a few wins off the Springboks recently, does that mean Scotland should beat this team? Can Japan beat Scotland and Samoa and us and win the group? While my head says this is a blip and South Africa and Scotland go through, upsets like this in rugby are SO RARE that you think anything can happen.

    I think assuming the Eagles can beat South Africa is fanciful, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if we beat Japan even after they beat the Boks. It's all nuts.
     
  17. speedracer

    speedracer Member SoSH Member

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    Somebody must have rough win equity estimates for Japan taking the penalty kick vs. going for it, right?
     
    Pretty please?
     
  18. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Nothing scientific, but I'd guess that kicking the penalty for the tie would have been 90-95% successful from the central angle they had, while the odds of punching in a try were nearer 30-35% - and only that high because South Africa had committed that yellow card offense and was down to 14 men.
     
  19. dirtynine

    dirtynine Member SoSH Member

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    Anybody watching US/Samoa?  3-0 Sam in the early going. I'm far from an authority but 10 minutes in, it doesn't look like Samoa is going to just roll over the Eagles.  US hanging tough. 
     
  20. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    I'm up, easy for me since it's midday. Eagles stuttering a bit but Samoa aren't turning that into points.
     
  21. dirtynine

    dirtynine Member SoSH Member

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    Finally a little US offensive buildup...
     
  22. dirtynine

    dirtynine Member SoSH Member

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    YES!!!! On the break! 
     
  23. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    17,713
  24. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    USA need to stop shipping penalties at the ruck, gain some possession and win territory by better kicking. Set pieces need to improve too.

    So you know, just a few tweaks.
     
  25. dirtynine

    dirtynine Member SoSH Member

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    The US cannot get a lineout right. 
     
  26. dirtynine

    dirtynine Member SoSH Member

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    Great fight in the US. Good show. This is going to be a wild group. 
     
  27. MiracleOfO2704

    MiracleOfO2704 not AWOL SoSH Member

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    I'm using Hola on Chrome. Look up an English postcode, and don't let your browser broadcast your location.
     
    Watching Wales-Uruguay right now. For a home crowd, it's pretty quiet.
     
    And as I type it, Wales comes to life with an easy try.
     
  28. MiracleOfO2704

    MiracleOfO2704 not AWOL SoSH Member

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    Upset potential at Wembley. The All-Blacks are down 16-12 to Argentina. New Zealand actually had a period where they were down to 13 with two in the bin.
     
  29. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    Didn't happen in the end - Argentina visibly fatigued and NZ called in the cavalry that is their subs bench. 
     
    Fun opening weekend - Japan-SA is obviously the highlight but almost every game was watchable. Tonga-Georgia was a mini-classic, great game of rugby and a big win for the Georgians. USA-Samoa was a good game, if intensely frustrating for an American viewer. Even Uruguay put up a decent fight versus Wales, which is a moral victory for a team of amateurs. Wales picked up MORE injuries and are getting close to calling up people off the street (or James Hook and Gavin Henson - same thing, really) t play for them versus England.
     
    The only two games that were meh were Ireland putting a very, very poor Canada to the sword and France-Italy was very dull. Canada have fallen off badly - they've never beaten Ireland but knocked off Wales in Cardiff, beat Scotland a few times, beat France, and have beaten Italy. This all happened in the 1990s, when they also reached the quarterfinals in the 1991 World Cup and only lost 29-15 to the All Blacks. The USA actually has more guys playing top-level pro rugby than Canada, which says a lot - we've always been their little brother and we are probably the better team now. 
     
  30. HoyaSoxa

    HoyaSoxa Member SoSH Member

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    For those (like me) who enjoy rugby but have never understood much about tactics, I must highly recommend the work of Murray Kinsella for the42.ie. He makes great use of stills, .gifs and stats to show why things happened and to point out innovative techniques. His main focus is Ireland, of course, but he is a real rugby wonk who seems to watch every possible match around the world. For those who also follow the NBA, I would compare his work to someone like Zach Lowe at Grantland. He is apparently also doing work for Irish tv at the RWC, so that may limit his online output just a bit, but he is really worth following.
     
  31. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    Yeah, not bad. Analysis of tactics and techniques in rugby is surprisingly thin on the ground; everybody who has ever played can assure you there is a lot more than just brawn and power going on there, and rugby teams have a lot more set plays than they're given credit for (Clive Woodward's England, for example). But the rugby media, especially the British rugby media, is really poor at discussing stuff like this. It's all hearts and minds and desire and shit.
     
  32. HoyaSoxa

    HoyaSoxa Member SoSH Member

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    Well I did play for a couple of years in college, but I was a complete novice as were many of my teammates. Our best players almost always grew up playing the game abroad and our coach was a Kiwi, but our tactics still rarely advanced beyond a simple loop or skip - we had two possible lineout calls, were hopelessly confused about anything other than a full lineout, and our penalty restarts generally were one of three options: scrum half tap and go, give it to a charging forward, or chuck it wide. I made it through one training session during my junior year abroad at Trinity before I realized I had no hope of playing with Irish kids who had played their whole lives, but I have followed the sport ever since and rarely picked up any of the nuance from watching it on tv or reading about it on scrum.com (although I always knew there was more to it than I was getting). That is what makes Kinsella's work such a revelation for me. 
     
  33. fiskful of dollars

    fiskful of dollars Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Did you play for Georgetown? I played for Washington RFC in the late 80's-90's. We always recruited new Georgetown grads…they had a solid program then. 
     
  34. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    Yeah, sorry, didn't mean to come off like the fountain of all rugby knowledge. More a comment on how bad the media are, the vast majority of rugby media write about the sport the way baseball writers used to, when it was all heart, desire, and RBIs. The idea that players have different skills to others and why and how that's useful, how teams have set plays and tactics, and any sort of analytics *at all* are very rarely mentioned.
     
  35. inter tatters

    inter tatters Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

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    Scotland are now the FOURTH ranked team in Group B after Japan's win over South Africa (SA 6th, Samoa 10th, Japan 11th, Scotland 12th), so we should be in for a good game today!
     
    Have to admit, I was stunned at the way the Japanese fronted-up against the Boks. Everyone thought their tactics would be to try and keep the ball away from the big SA pack, and they did that for the most part, but they also went out there and took them on in the scrums and line-outs. The "traditional" 15-man shove for their first try being a great example, obviously! :D
     
    Scotland will have taken full notice of that game though and, like ex-Scotland player Kenny Logan said, I expect Scotland to play a much faster game and take the ball away from contact much quicker than SA did. If you watched the Boks game, Japan were committing 2 or 3 men to every tackle and sometimes more to the ruck. In turn, if you can get the ball back quickly, that means there should, theoretically, be more space out wide, as more men have been sucked in. Scotland have a very wily scrum half in Laidlaw, who should get that quick ball, or convince the Ref they should have penalties, add to that their big, strong and very quick back 3 of Seymour, Lamont and Hogg and they should be able to exploit those gaps, which the Boks completely failed to do, despite having Habana and co.
     
    I honestly have to question Heyneke Mayer's tactics in the game, it was if he was completely unprepared for what they might face and never had, let alone tried, a "Plan B". They continued to go straight ahead with the forwards, obviously convinced their big pack would drain the Blossoms in the end through sheer weight of tackling, but it never happened and it turned out their pack were the ones that eventually crumble.
     
    Really looking forward to watching the Blossoms again and see this being a very high-scoring game if Scotland can get their outside backs moving in space.
     
  36. HoyaSoxa

    HoyaSoxa Member SoSH Member

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    I did - I would say we were at the beginning stages of rebuilding a club that had become a glorified drinking society with no official support from the university. I joined more for the social aspects and didn't return for my senior year after spending a whole year away in Dublin, but the better players took it pretty seriously and they became a pretty strong club by the time I graduated (2000), then really stepped it up in the last decade or so to the point they are back in the administration's good graces and competing and winning national tournaments. 
     
  37. inter tatters

    inter tatters Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

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    ...and after writing all that, Japan have changed their tactics, aren't committing to the ruck and Scotland have started out by pounding them down the middle, to great success so far - 6-0 Scotland.
     
  38. inter tatters

    inter tatters Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

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    One stupid mistake, the Japanese do their thing again, the 15-man shove from the line-out, try to Japan, 7-6.
     
  39. inter tatters

    inter tatters Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

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    The Scotland defence is one of the most underrated in the game and they showed it big time today. Some nice movements from them, plus Japan visibly wilting, and Scotland ran away from them at the end. A 4-try bonus point win like that is BIG in this group.
     
    Onto Leeds for Scotland-USA on Sunday, I'll be there!
     
  40. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    Scots were a better team and executed their game plan well, but it was a bit annoying to see the game get a bit silly once Japan started to wilt. Almost every team has a quick turnaround but it's a shame it had to be Japan at this particular time.
     
  41. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    Oz vs. Fiji on now. Glad to see Will Genia out there, he was really great a few years ago but I think he's had some injuries since then.
     
  42. inter tatters

    inter tatters Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

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    It was a bit of a shame to see Japan wilt like that, but the US will be the recipients of a full week of rest when they play Scotland on 4 days Sunday.
     
    It was, apparently, something to do with the seedings - England, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa all get at least a full week between all their pool games, which seems a bit unfair to me, but hey what do I know?
     
  43. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    That's not true at all, New Zealand play today after playing on Sunday and South Africa play the Eagles four days after playing Scotland.

    The only teams that get full weeks off between games are England, Ireland and Italy. They've made an effort to even out the schedule but with five team groups the scheduling is always going to be staggered.
     
  44. inter tatters

    inter tatters Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

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    So it's not even slightly shady that the home team has at least a full week off between games, how about giving that to a tier 2 side instead, they could use it more? Not to mention that, whether England finish top or second in their group, they will play every knockout game at "Fortress" Twickenham. In fact their only game outside London is against Uruguay!
     
    At least Ireland and Italy are in the same group, so that mitigates it a bit, no excuse in England's group...
     
  45. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    ITV are probably paying more than every other country combined for TV rights, if you want to know why England get only Saturday prime-time games there's your answer. 
     
    Japan aren't that good. It's a shame they lost and all, but substantially the same team as Saturday lost to the USA a few months ago. There's a reason why it was such a huge upset. 
     
    Edit: New Zealand-Namibia tonight. Oh boy...grab a Windhoek and toast Jacques Burger, then drink to forget the carnage you're going to see. 
     
    Argentina play Georgia on Friday night. I'll be furiously wanking to that one, as it's going to be scrum porn. The two nations that love scrummaging more than anybody else in the competition. If South Africa (who are number three in scrum-love) joined in that three-way (settle down, Beavis) I think I might actually whip it out. Argies will probably win by 20 though.  
     
  46. inter tatters

    inter tatters Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

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    Martin Castrogiovanni and his friends take righteous umbrage at being left out of your scrum porn.
     
  47. HoyaSoxa

    HoyaSoxa Member SoSH Member

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    I suppose you could make the tournament more fair by cutting out the 4 weakest sides and only playing at weekends, but it sure seems better for the growth of the sport to allow Japan (or the US), Canada, Uruguay and Namibia to participate. And the draw didn't do England too many favors, what with 3 of the current top 4 ranked sides in the world in the same group, Welsh injuries notwithstanding.
     
  48. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    By the by, how did they justify making the draw so bloody far in advance? FIFA only needs six months to sort out the infrastructure for their World Cup; why did they need to sort out the rugby groups in December 2012? That's how you wind up with the ludicrous situation of having Wales - somehow ranked 9th at the time - winding up in the same group as England and Australia. Which is great for the neutral in keeping the group stage interesting, but not at all fair for the competition as a whole.
     
  49. swiftaw

    swiftaw Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    1,751
    Not a huge Rugby Union fan, but always enjoy the World Cup, although IMO it'll be a major shock if anyone but Aus or NZ win.

    Much bigger fan of Rugby League. Much faster game.
     
  50. inter tatters

    inter tatters Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    524
    World Cup positions are based on the rankings of teams already qualified exactly two years after the previous WC. Every team that qualified for the QFs, and the 3rd place in each group, automatically qualify - which is why Georgia's win over Tonga the other day was so huge - and they then know where all the "Smaller Nations" are going to go, depending on who qualifies.
     
    It would certainly have been fairer, had Wales been drawn in the New Zealand/Argentina group perhaps, but the top 8 teams at the time got seeded (NZ, Australia, England, Ireland, SA, France, Argentina and Samoa) then the other 4 automatic qualifiers (Wales, Scotland, Italy and Tonga) were randomly drawn, hence the "Group Of Death" in Pool A.
     
    Yes, it should have been drawn closer to the Tournament, but I'm sure teams will be far more aware of it this year and make a huge push in the draw year?
     

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