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  1. #81
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Unbelieveable display. Game plan was spot on. Execution was near flawless. New Zealand couldn't live with England and both their execution and discipline went. England responded to having a try wrongly ruled off and to the officials missing a bunch of forward passes from New Zealand by keeping their cool and sticking to the plan. That could have been even more.

    That's definitely the best England RWC performance since the 2003 final, and it might be their best performance in this tournament, ever.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  2. #82
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Absolutely outstanding. They'll need the extra day to rest but after that, they have to be favourites.

    Some of the tackles were brutal, Itoje was unbelievable in particular.

    Also, it's really a good sign that there's no over the top celebrations from the players. While a historic performance and result, the big one is next weekend. Keeping those emotions in check will do them well I think.



  3. #83
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I don't know about being favourites immediately. It's a whole other 80 minutes. Though if they play like that again it's hard to see anyone living with them.

    But the other thing, of course, is that both of the other sides will fancy their chances against England more than New Zealand. Wales won't fear England because they know that they have the gameplan to beat them, because they did it six months ago. So they'll both have gotten a lift from New Zealand going home.

    It's wide open now. All three sides left could win this thing. But I suppose the good thing is that once you've beaten the side everyone fears, you've got no reason to fear anyone anymore.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  4. #84
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I'm sure Wales would have preferred us to the All Blacks, but they've not looked at their best, especially after the France game.

    South Africa... I said during the tournament they were dark horses (from the top teams at least). They could do one over Wales.

    England however would be kicking themselves if they don't end up winning the whole thing now.

    Imagine if England win a South Africa final. QF Australia, SF New Zealand and F South Africa. Arguably you can't ask for a harder run to the title.



  5. #85
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Well no, but I don't think England looked particularly great until today, did they? If Wales get through tomorrow they'll have a lift from that, and plenty of players have experience of beating us, so there'll be no fear there. Form does go out of the window a little bit, once the whistle goes.

    I think anyone of the three will now see it as a missed opportunity, to be honest.

    You're right though.... hoo boy, that is a tough run. Obviously no one has ever done it before, knock off all three Southern Hemisphere giants on the way to winning.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  6. #86
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Time View Post
    Well no, but I don't think England looked particularly great until today, did they?
    I dunno, I think that game against Australia was as good as it could get for England, I didn't think they could get better than that, but I was wrong. Furthermore, they were denied the chance to play against France so they have had one less game to "impress". I don't think England can look great against the likes of Tonga or USA because the difference in class is so big and thus it's hard to judge. The Argentina game was probably their worst performance, and yet they still ran out comfortable winners

    They've been on an upward trajectory, my feeling is Wales peaked against Australia which was very early on in the tournament and haven't reached the same heights since, or be it they have won every game. South Africa though, after the initial loss, look good, but England will have 2007 in mind.


    Not used to feeling as confident for an England win in any sport! Perhaps I am getting a little ahead of myself, just seems like it's perfectly aligned.



  7. #87
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I see where we differ now. I thought England did fine against Australia but I didn't think it was their best - I had the game against Ireland in my head as their theoretical best, when they went to Dublin against a highly rated team and won. Obviously I think they surpassed even that yesterday. But against Australia I thought they were good enough, but helped out massively by a side with crap tactics - which also meant our win over Oz was a bit less meaningful than the Welsh one.

    I think it's plausible that Wales peaked in the pool, certainly. I guess we'll know in an hour.

    I think you're putting more stock in form than me, is the difference. England played the best 80 of the tournament yesterday, sure. But I've seen them do that and then underperform before, so I tend to think it all depends on next week. It's a whole other 80 - and even though neither team playing right now currently looks a threat, they won't worry about that.

    I'm optimistic for sure, but I don't think I'd be put off by England having the favourites tag if I supported the others.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  8. #88
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    Bah, I hate rugby.

  9. #89
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Safe to say this is the moment where Gatland has to earn that reputation as the best coach in the world...

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  10. #90
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    South Africa deserved winners in the end. Fairly poor showing from Wales. Great effort but execution never really there for more than a few short spells. Turns out Gooner's feeling about Wales was true - they did peak too early and never really got going again.

    So, England and South Africa. They haven't played each other a lot lately, so not a huge amount to go on. The 2018 games saw them go 2-2, with three of those four games in South Africa - and the Twickenham game being won by just a point.

    On form, England will have to be favourites after the way the tournament has gone so far and that's reflected in the bookies odds. But it's a different set of match-ups, and a whole other eighty minutes. If you can't get yourself up for a world cup final, then you might as well go home.


    Lastly, we know that the last game of Warren Gatland's almost-twelve year career as Wales manager will a 3rd place playoff against the All Blacks. They lost to Australia at the same stage in 2011. So a win against his home country would make it Wales best result since 1987.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  11. #91
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Time View Post
    Turns out Gooner's feeling about Wales was true - they did peak too early and never really got going again.
    Can I frame this? Not used to being right! Haha

    There wasn't a lot in it, but South Africa appeared a bit more savvy, more streetwise. It's not quite the word I'm looking for, but yeah. Like they've been here and done it before (even if those individuals on the pitch haven't, SA have won semi finals in the past).

    Hard luck on Wales though.



  12. #92
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I think the best description is they kinda suckered Wales into playing their kind of game.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  13. #93
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Degenerate View Post
    I'm giving the edge to Wales to go to the finals.
    Quote Originally Posted by Degenerate View Post
    At this point I really can't fathom anyone beating New Zealand.
    Well, damn. Shows you how much I know about rugby with my picks.

  14. #94
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    To be fair, the 4 semi finalists are probably the 4 best teams in the world right now (Ireland would take exception to that, but they've been on a little bit of a downward trend since last year).

    NZ were firm favourites going into the match, so England putting on that type of a performance wasn't really expected. And Wales/South Africa was as genuinely a 50/50 game as you could get currently.



  15. #95
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    To be honest I think most people would agree that neither of those was a huge swing. Most of us had New Zealand to win, even those who believed England could do it.

    The Wales one was a bit more of a big call (I'd have still made South Africa favourites) but it wasn't unreasonable in itself.

    I see Gatland couldn't resist a last little dig at England, that Eddie batted straight back at him.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  16. #96
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    NZ kinda smashed Wales in the end. It's actually kinda interesting how the Southern Hemisphere big three always seem to pick themselves up for that match and the Northern teams - and British teams in particular - seem to be drained when they lose in the final. Here are the winners of that match:

    2019: New Zealand (vs Wales)
    2015: South Africa (vs Argentina)
    2011: Australia (vs Wales)
    2007: Argentina (vs France)
    2003: New Zealand (vs France)
    1999: South Africa (vs New Zealand)
    1995: France (vs England)
    1991: New Zealand (vs Scotland)
    1987: Wales (vs Australia)


    So in all that time, you've only had one bronze final where a Northern hemisphere team has beaten a Southern hemisphere team, despite six attempts. France obviously got their bronze, but at the expense of England, and some of them were still picking up bits of themselves from between Jonah Lomu's studs.

    To put this in perspective, when Wales did this, the game would still be amateur for another eight years....

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  17. #97
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    6 points down at half time, very nervy display. SA look composed and following their game plan to perfection.

    The scrum is a massive issue, especially with Sinclair off the pitch.



  18. #98
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    And that, right there, is why I was only optimistic and never confident.

    I've had a couple of hours to process it. Funny old feeling, because if you'd offered me second at the start of the tournament, I'd have probably taken it. Going from three ties up against Scotland at half time to drawing the game at home to the world cup final is a hell of a turnaround in six months. Objectively, I know this is a good performance for us. I should be happy. But I still believe there's no reason for our forwards to get beaten up like that, and 6 or 7 times out of 10 with those XV's England probably win. It's a huge missed opportunity to blow it in the final when the hardest work should have been done, and that's going to be the headline regardless of anything else.

    A reminder that this team is far from the finished article. Much like you can go away to Dublin and win and then draw at home against Scotland, England still have Jekyll and Hyde performances. It would have gone a long way to disproving that had we seen it out today, but right now there's still something about us that prefers the other team having the favourites tag.

    Congratulations to South Africa. Might not have been scintillating through the tournament but bloody superior on the day. And it'd be a churlish figure who didn't want to congratulate Siya Kolisi.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  19. #99
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    What English Rugby needs is a story to take our minds of the international game.

    So what we have is Saracens being hit with a 5m+ fine and a THIRTY-FIVE point deduction for breaching Salary cap rules.

    Obviously, they are appealing.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  20. #100
    Still not over the World Cup. But 6Nations is just around the corner! No Gatland for the first time in 11 years either. And Saints are fucking flying in the Prem so Rugby life isn't too bad right now.

  21. #101
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Fucking hell, huge news from the domestic game as Saracens could be automatically relegated for continually breaching the salary cap. That'd send shockwaves through the English club game, and with all kinds of international players - from Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and the Vunipola Brothers for England, as well as several others - potentially through the international game as well.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  22. #102
    No sympathy for Sarries and not just because it's good for my Saints.

    Good look to England side vs France and pleased for young Furbank, think he's going to do well

  23. #103
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I don't know if the Saracens affair has effected England but they just weren't at the races. France very good though. The women's game was so much better, much more competitive.

    Actually Ireland and Scotland was probably the pick of the men's games. Hogg's drop must have been a bit of a heartbreaker.

    You never know after one round, of course, but right now.... Wales will be pretty optimistic about another title and a positive start to the Pivac era. France will be very pleased with their new look side, too, and the days of them being a sleeping giant could be coming to an end.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  24. #104
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Italy vs Ireland games in the Six Nations are off because of the Coronovirus fears. No change - yet - to the England games in the final round. Can't see them going ahead though myself.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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