New Zealand: 9th September - 23rd October
I'm with you in hoping it's a good game at least Nemo. Though I expect if NZ score early, then it will be a serious kicking. We know how fickle the French support is and the team don't play well from behind.
Yes, FB - he really knows how to motivate his squad doesn't he? Though I find it odd the other sides get a kicking in the press for a night out in the pool stages, yet some of the French squad think it's a good idea to go out a week before a final. Me, sour grapes? Too right
Well I agree with ML on this one. I don't think you can go out and celebrate getting to the final after a game like that. You should be thanking God or whoever and working on playing properly for the next match. All joking aside they probably are the worst French team I've seen and yet they're in the final when better French teams from the past have fallen short. Bizarre!
I hope that PSA can get some team spirit back and I'll accept an unsuccessful 6N if they start playing some proper running rugby again.
I'm going to be a nervous wreck by Sunday!
Interesting stuff, FB!
Looks like France will be playing in white again - boo
Wow, is it really a crime to think about cheating but not actually do it? I don't know how many things I'm going to get banged up for when the thought police come to get me!
I've watched NZ Aus highlights a few times now - couldn't see the real thing because I was racing. Strengely the highlights seem to show the Kiwis applying constant pressure, but not turning a huge amount of it into points. On the flip side, the Aussies couldn't apply much pressure, and therefore could get barely any points. Probably, therefore,a much closer match than many make out.
My predictions for the coming matches? Aus on Friday and NZ on Sunday.
What are Wales going to do about the missing openside and tighthead?
Why didn't they switch to Mitchell? He's not even on the bench. I like Ryan Jones at 8, but I've never seen Faletau at 7. Gethin is a good call for captain. A-W Jones looks like he's having a rest. Hook is back at 10 after his under performance against France - not that anyone could kick that day. I hope he does have a run this time.
Definitely not going to the Stadium on a Friday for a 3/4. I can't imagine there will be many enticed. Might have to work from home though.
So, how do the French play if they want to have a chance?
FB has been spot on as always on this one. You keep the ball and not only do you have a better chance of scoring points but you make sure the opposition don't score anything. I think France can raise there game and make this a close encounter but I just don't see them being able to do it from the way they have played so far this year. They need to go wide and make sure they aren't in a front row battle or it's going to be a very one-sided game.
Nemo you will be pleased to know I'm going for New Zealand for this one. Given I've said against France since the group games and every time I've been wrong there is no way you can lose.
The French don't have weight in the pack, but they've always had strength, speed and skill. I think Dusautoir is underrated (except by the French), and likewise many others in their pack. Pop one ball out of a tightly held situation and the French will have it and move. Can NZ really rely on a tight game? Historically NH teams have won in the pack and lost out in the backs when playing SH teams (1991 final, anyone?), yet this is why France have often had the better of the All Blacks, having a pack tested against England, Ireland and Wales, and then those skilful backs. Unfortunately they have also been destroyed by them, on those days when they decide they can't figure out what they're doing.
So I'm not so sure that NZ will play it tight. What they will have noted is that 9-10-12-13 for France ain't particularly world class. Run Sonny Bill up through the centre channels and keep the French central backs out of position so they can't maintain a defensive line. Do that for thirty minties, rack up about forty points, and then settle in to a tight match.
France? Quick hands to Clerc and Medard. Get to the breakdown before the best back row in world rugby (debatable...), and see if you can't get them to commit offences (and be noticed doing it). Then kick your points. Keep stretching things wide to keep the play broken, and launch through the gaps. Mostly, however, try to run with the ball!
I do hope it's a good match, even though I can't imagine it. Is that still because of residual feelings that the Welsh should be there?
Cake wrote (see)
I've no idea of what tactics the French should use and I don't think we've ever had a proper free-running type of rugby final. Can't realistically see NZ losing this one, unless SBW gets himself sent off for another dubious tackle!
Just really hope to see France play some positive rugby and not to be annihilated - wibble
Oh and maybe Clerc could score one more try to be top try scorer
ITV1 were provisionally going to show it so I guess they still will as a home nation is involved. I think you can watch it on their website according to the blurb:
ITV.com/rugbyworldcup will bring you live coverage of every match, and offers you the chance to chat live with fellow fans during all games. The site also features match highlights, exclusive video and the latest news
No problem, FB.
We have a big screen at work so we might have that on. One of my managers is a rugby fan so he'll find some way of justifying it
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