Best of the Weekend: Ireland win in Cardiff

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If a heavy defeat at Twickenham last week had totally derailed Ireland’s Rugby World Cup bid, according to some people, what does victory in Cardiff mean?

Frankly I think it means that these World Cup games are relatively meaningless in terms of predicting what will happen in the tournament. Take England for instance – meek and mild in defeat to Wales one week, big, mean, powerful and title favourites against Ireland the next. It’s not quite that simple.

That said, Ireland’s win will likely restore the confidence that might have been lost in London, and their campaign will still probably hinge on a quarter-final meeting with South Africa.

Wales’ squad was confirmed yesterday, with Rob Evans, Samson Lee and Scott Williams surprise omissions, whilst fly-half Jarrod Evans clearly didn’t do enough against Ireland to usurp Rhys Patchell in the pecking order.

Looking at the 31, the starting lineup picks itself and will be a match for most sides, but they don’t have the same sort of depth as other squads and any injury could be costly.

France thrash Italy in another World Cup warning

England’s World Cup group rivals thrashed Italy 47-19, in another sign that they might be getting their act together ahead of the World Cup. Mathieu Bastereaud’s exclusion signalled a shift away from the powerful, direct gameplan, and whilst they still have a huge pack, the backline is full of skilled ball-players that will do some damage.

France will be dangerous in England’s final group game on the 12th October.

Scotland win first Tier 1 match in Georgia

The Scots’ confidence will be rising a little having beaten France and now having won comfortably in Tbilisi this weekend. The core of the team features some high-quality players such as Hamish Watson, Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg, and I think their World Cup could depend on the outcome of the New Zealand v South Africa match on the opening win.

The Springboks will fancy their chances against the All Blacks and would rather play Scotland than Ireland in the quarters, but Gregor Townsend’s men would much rather face South Africa with the belief that they might cause an upset. Against the All Blacks they wouldn’t have that belief, and hope will only get them so far.

How do you think each side is shaping up now that we’re into September? The Rugby World Cup starts this month!

13 thoughts on “Best of the Weekend: Ireland win in Cardiff

  1. Reading comments by a lot of England supporters I got the impression that they fancied a final between England and The Springboks with England winning comfortably. The ‘Boks have come a long way in the past 24 months, anything can happen. The Kiwi>>’Bok clash will set the tone for the tournament

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    1. If I remember the only way South Africa would meet England in the final is if one team finished first and the other second in their groups and then England would have to beat New Zealand on the way to the final. I doubt they will meet in the world cup at all tbh

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  2. Winning @ home is 1 thing. It’s another thing winning away. So recently, whom, between England & SA, have looked better away? Also bear in mind team compositions.

  3. Ireland’s Twick loss, whilst devastating, was not nec terminal as their ‘B’ team were more effective v their Welsh counterparts. However, their 3 recent losses must still be of concern going into a WC!

  4. Are these warm ups ‘relatively meaningless’? What’s their point? Well, presumably to help fine tune final selections, combos, but also, surely & regardless, to put down a marker by winning.. @ least according to SCW.

    1. IMO they are not meaningless, they just have a different ‘means’ in the present day game. SCW was of the mindset play your best 15 regardless of a test/warm up etc and win win win. It worked for him but we are talking 16 years ago and the game has moved on since then. Not only is the pace of the game so intense leading to more and more regular injuries, Managers now have to consider scenarios in games such as HIAs, yellow/red cards with the scrutiny on the high tackle….so scenario planning, testing out options, and resting your key personel is just as important in the warm ups as winning. Of course if you get whitewashed in the warm ups then concerns will naturally arise but I have seen these warm up games as sparring matches.

  5. Do Wales really lack depth? They’ve left out a few experienced guys & anyway, unless they have a swathe of casualties, it’s to be seen if they can still conquer. For me they still lack a bit of up front grunt & back row ballast, but time’ll tell.

  6. Who knows with France? Look good on paper with beasts in their pack & rapiers in their backs, but v Scotland? They fell over? 1 game I know, but the WC is also away. To threaten, they may have to pick it up on grass.

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  7. Decent win in Tbilisi. However, will Scotland frighten the top table? Maybe, but their pack just doesn’t look dominant enough for me. Some scintillating backs are not so useful going backwards.

  8. If SA fancy their chances v NZ why would they rather face the Jocks than the Paddies thereafter? To win the cup they & anyone else, need to beat the heavier hitters. If they would rather avoid anyone, then this must convey a lack of self belief. Not a good way to contemplate going all the way I think.

  9. I was at theme in Cardiff and surprised mostly that Wales have done the same as England in taking only five props. I think it is a really dodgy decision by both coaches. Interested to see Carre, 20 stone 6 foot nine prop included. Has a reputation as a ball carrier apparently. If he can’t prop up our decidedly shaky scrum that will count for nothing.

    1. So have NZ. If there’s an injury, they’ll just have to call up a replacement. 5 makes room for extra cover elsewhere. Also, do that many props get injured?

  10. Well it worked for SCW in 2003, but not in 2005. Agree with all WC considerations, but didn’t managers always have to have done this? They also need the wins. So, isn’t it both then?

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