Rugby World Cup: Views from Down Under

The Rugby Blog stalwart Jon Hobbs moved to Melbourne this year, and has been canvassing some of his team-mates at the local rugby club for their views on the Tri-Nations and Rugby World Cup.

For obvious reasons, they prefer to remain anonymous…

Q: Which players from the other tri-nations teams are you worried about?:

Kiwi 1: From Australia line ‘em up – Cooper, Beale, O’Connor, and Genia are all world class. From South Africa it’s all about the goalkickers – Morne Steyn is the danger man.

Kiwi 2: Obvious to say Quade Cooper the way he single-handedly destroyed the Blues in the Super Rugby semi-final. He has the undeniable Aussie confidence/arrogance….I get the two confused….that either win a match or sink the Aussie dream.

Aussie: Sonny Bill Williams for obvious reasons and Dan Carter rarely has an off day. The New Zealand back row is also quality. Morne Steyn and Patrick Lambie, maybe Jaques Fourie for the Boks, although I think SA have the weakest team (of the tri-nations) going into the World Cup.

Q: Which Northern Hemisphere players are going to make their mark in the Rugby World Cup?

Kiwi 1: BOD will want to sign off on a winner and I’m a massive fan of Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney (though the latter seems to have dropped off a bit lately).

Kiwi 2: It’s a good chance for Toby Flood to really set the world alight and take England through to the quarters and semis.

Aussie: Cedric Heymans, Maxime Medard. I haven’t really seen anyone that really wowed me from the rest of them.

Q: Who would you pick in the debatable positions in your team?

Kiwi 1: I’d pick Sonny Bill at 12 but Henry will in all likelihood go with Nonu. Conrad Smith is a certainty to start at outside centre. Back three is also contentious – I’d have Israel Dagg at fullback but Henry will stick with Muliaina. Hosea Gear on one wing and if Mils is full-back then Dagg on the other wing.

Kiwi 2: As it stands, Ma’a 12, Conrad 13. They know each other inside out. Sonny Bill is still unproven, superhuman busts and crazy offloads looked great in NRL and the “entertainment first, quality second” Super 15 but this is the Rugby World Cup and a big physical South African back line won’t fear him.

Aussie: Back row for Australia I think will be Rocky, if he can find some form, along with Cliff Palu and Pocock. With Higginbotham on the bench – he is a machine.

Q: As things stand, who will make the World Cup final?:

Aussie: At this stage of the year, England and New Zealand. Australia if they get their combos right. Fourth position is interesting, Irish players have had a strong year, France have a good chance.

Kiwi 2: Hard to bet against New Zealand making it, and having France in their pool removes one massive mental barrier. Second team I’ll say Australia – they are very close to being the elite team they were when Larkham and George “four more years boys” Gregan were at the height of their powers.

Q: Is Peter de Villiers finally going to say something that gets him fired during the RWC?

Kiwi 1: If they haven’t fired him already they’re not going to. Imagine what South Africa could do with a real coach.

Kiwi 2: No doubt! When they are eliminated by New Zealand there will be some ridiculous reason – the ref, cheating McCaw, poisoned lamb chops, racism even!

Aussie: De Villiers is a puppet, albeit a terribly outspoken one. Apparently he doesn’t really “coach” the team, he’s more just the face of South African rugby.

Q: What do you think of England using an all black alternate shirt?

Kiwi 1: I think if you were trying to come up with a way to ensure you’re the most hated team by the home fans at the World Cup then you’ve succeeded incredibly well. It’s just a pretty tacky option.

Kiwi 2: I have no issue with it…I fail to understand why, whether it’s a simple change in style or some vain attempt at psychological warfare?

Aussie: I think it’s a disgrace. England could pick any colour in the world and they picked the host team’s 120-year-old historical colour. It would be like them coming to Australia and wearing a green and gold jersey.

By Jon Hobbs

5 thoughts on “Rugby World Cup: Views from Down Under

  1. Is that not hypocritical to say “England could pick any colour in the world and they picked the host team’s 120-year-old historical colour” ? I seem to remember the AB’s wearing all white?

  2. I think it’s garbage about the alternate shirt. It’s precisely that. An alternate. I mean Wales had a black alternate shirt and nobody batted an eyelid.

  3. I’m a South African living in London for past 7 years and use to play for Western Province in Cape Town.

    From what I’ve seen PDV is definately more the “face of SA Rugby” as you mentioned. Dont think he is in that position because of his coaching abilities.
    He has got some good coaches next to him like Gary Gold who I have played under, and its a shame to see what is unfolding at the moment… Obviously my blood is Green and Gold and I’ll support SA to the death… but i’ll stupid not to admit to what’s happening.

    On other teams, Aus is really shaping well for RWC with all the guys hitting their stride at the right times. So is the AB’s. SO would be interesting to see what the outcome of Saturdays match will be.
    On current form I do think Aus might just take Saturdays game by 5. Aus Scrumming well and Lineouts functioning well. Broken play they are excellent. For AB’s to win their Loose forwards needs to be on top of their game (which they have been lately) and slow down Australia’s ball. AB’s will definately be up for physical encounter and will make RWC final.

    Northern Hemp wise, I must admit England is looking really good and I havent seen them play the style of rugby seen by them as yet, THey are not scared to throw ball around and with young stars coming through like Courtney Laws, Aston, Flood they will definately make TOP4 in RWC.

    Wales, Ireland and Scotland will as always look promising but fall short. France you never know what you are going to get so its a “watch this space” for them. Throw in Argentina and Italy who have the style to cause a upset on the day, then it could be a great tournament.

    Not even thinking of Samoa and Fiji!! Their “kamakazi like” style will definitely influence Ref’s, Opposition and coaches.

    Personally cant wait for RWC2011 and think it will be a great tournament hosted by a great rugby nation…

  4. “It would be like them coming to Australia and wearing a green and gold jersey.”

    Do South Africa not have those colours too?

    I think this is going to a tournament for the younger guys – the Aussie back line, the NZ wingers Guildford and Dagg, from the NH you’ve got the likes of Richie Gray, Courtney Lawes and Sean O’Brien.

Comments are closed.