Warm up's over - who's where? - Green and Gold Rugby
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Warm up’s over – who’s where?

Warm up’s over – who’s where?

Where do the Rugby World Cup contenders stand with all the warm up games out of the way?

You’d have to say that the faces with smiles on them will have a beret above and garlic underneath. The French have dispatched all comers, at home or away, and while doing so still managed to rotate through two and a half teams. They even managed not to seem so ‘unpredictable’ (i.e. erratic), deservedly making them the Northern Hemishpere’s best shot.

I’m sure the Saffa’s too have a contented (smug) smirk across their mugs, having put together a pretty impressive 20 minutes against a stronger than usual Scottish side. In my mind through the Boks, while strong, are over-rated. Their A team having lost at home in the 3N’s and not having even shown up until Scotland.

Those looking more than a tad worried will be England and Ireland. The Poms had the forward power to whip the Welsh, but more was needed against the French and they couldn’t find it in over 160 minutes of rugby. For the Irish, I’m hoping they’re deliberately foxing us all by holding back. If not, shit. They got done by the Scots, should have lost to Italy and were beaten up by a French club side. Ouch – they’ve been fancied.

At this point the guy gibbering in the corner will be Wales. Spanked by the English and French, and then limping home against what looked like an amateur Argentinian side, this couldn’t have exactly been plan A for the valley boys. It would be typical for them to get their act together in Cardiff on the 15th.

And then there are the no-shows; the Wallabies and the All Blacks. You could say there’s not a lot to read into playing no games, but I’ve managed it. For the Kiwi’s, they’ve now been doing a hell of a lot of resting. If you like your steak underdone, I believe Graham ‘Ming’ Henry could be your chef. Who exactly are their first choice centres?

For the Wallabies, while frustrated at not having seen the guys demolish a ‘lesser’ rugby power the past few weeks, I actually figure this worked better for us for two reasons:

  1. I seriously doubt we would have spanked many nations outside of Portugal. Not because we couldn’t, but just because we never do when required. A curse of being a Wallaby supporter
  2. More importantly, we don’t have the depth to support potential injuries. Larkham and Vickerman are held together by tape, St Latho’s knee makes me wince and we don’t exactly have a glut of props. For Australia to go all the way, it’s a one shot deal; we need the injury chips to fall our way

So there you go, master strategising on behalf of Knuckles and the brains trust, not just an opportunity to top up the tan in Portugal and see the sights in France.

All Blacks
@MattRowley

Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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