Sunday, 9 October 2011
Wales and France go through - RWC 2011 quarter finals
Ireland 10 - Wales 22
Ooh la la! This was rugby at it's most exciting. Wales have announced themselves on the world stage with an impassioned win against Ireland. I have to eat all my words for my first two quarter final predictions. I really thought Ireland were going to win this game, but their backs had no answer to a striking Welsh rush defence and an excellent forward effort. How wonderful for Wales, a true rugby nation that endeavours to play exciting ball in hand rugger. They must be drunk in the valleys tonight. No wonder Warren Gatland couldn't wipe the smile off his face. He has done wonders with this Welsh team. They always had the players, but now they have the confidence, the fitness levels and the belief as well. They could really go all the way. I almost could handle Wales winning this thing (almost, but not quite).
England 12-19 France
Meanwhile on the other side of the drawer England put up a spirited second half attack to try and claw their way back from a 16 - 0 deficit after France's flying start in the first half. Which French team turned up to play? The one that continually surprises on the world cup stage, and that's why we love France so much. Somebody said on twitter that when England loses, it is good for rugby. I don't want to be too mean to England because they've had a hard time of it in this tournament and I genuinely felt for Lewis Moody who gave a very gracious post match speech. However, if England had progressed to the final stages of this world cup, it would have been a travesty. They have not brought anything to the game in the last eight years and they did not deserve to be in the top four. They are soaking in wealth and get to call the shots with timetables and their powerful money hungry clubs. But they just haven't added anything to the international stage for quite some time. It's official, winning ugly is finally out of fashion. So justice has prevailed. It was still a cracking match though, nailbiting until the end.
As Slugso said - the north have zipped up the once gaping hole in skills between the south. This world cup is turning into a true classic. Shades of 1987 are beginning to shine through the clouds.....