I was talking recently with a friend (in fact it was last night during my training with my Phantoms) about the upcoming rugby world cup next year. Being a kiwi and with the World Cup hosted by New Zealand he is telling me that there is no way the All Blacks can’t win this! I disagree – naturally
First of all, without disregarding the All Blacks’ strength and tradition in rugby, they didn’t show that much in last world cup – well they did to a certain extent but I think we all remember France kicking them out of the competition in the last 20 minutes of the game pretty much (while the All Blacks were in fact still leading on the score board!) – and the rest was history as they say… Another world cup the kiwis didn’t make it to the final!
It’s true they did show some good rugby the other week where they defeated the Springboks in the TriNations – quite sure it wasn’t something easy to swallow for the Boks who were playing at home. But it takes more than that methinks to reach the cup final. And unless from now on the kiwis smash everything in their way I can easily see a repeat of last world cup in 2011 for them.
On the other hand we got France in Europe who’s been flying through the 6 nations – and I’d be very curious to find out how they do this season in the 6 nations as they have finally came up with a brilliant formula for their team where each piece fits in perfectly. Granted they were “helped” by a limping England squad – which only showed improvement and brilliance towards the end – but not enough to deny the French their grand slam. Nevertheless the French rugby is at its peak at the moment – and as much as I’d love to claim the fact that this is possibly due to some English players infiltrating their rugby premiership (Wilko, James Haskell and Ollie Philips to name just a few) that isn’t the case really.
I remember seeing an article by Will Carling after the last 6 nations where he was claiming half-jokingly that the next rugby world cup final is decided: France v South Africa. To be honest one can see that happening the way things are shaping up at the moment. While Will has been pretty awful with some of his recent predictions in terms of rugby (sorry Will but as much as it pleased me when you predicted the other week that Saracens will take it to the Exiles in the London Double Header, they did get thrashed in the end I’m with him on this one as it does indeed look very likely.
I was told the level of domestic violence goes up in Auckland when the All Blacks lose at home – well they’d better get the police and ambulances on standby already as I can’t see the kiwis to make it to the final let alone win it!