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Rugby World Cup Daily - On the eve of the Final

It's not often I say this, but come on France! Shut down Weepu and Cruden to keep the kiwis from playing expansive rugby or they'll tear you apart.

...who am I kidding, they probably still will.

3 Years, 11 Months ago

Shane Williams flipped in huge double hit vs the Wallabies

Palota-nau may have performed a dangerous tackle or two in his time, but overwhelmingly, his tackles are just hard and legal. He'll throw his entire body at a guy, almost self-recklessly, but he'll still make sure to go for the arm-wrap.

He did that here. Williams was just on one leg and ended up getting flipped over. He was fine, though. Shane has hurdled over tacklers before, and has landed in awkward positions after falling plenty of times.

It just looked crazy is all.

I wish Shane Williams could keep playing rugby until he was 60. He's always great to watch, and is great at reading the game. It's awesome when the little guy runs at a group of forwards on the line, runs around the first one, ducks under the next tackle, and then sidesteps the third. Doesn't happen every time, but when it does, it's terrific.

3 Years, 11 Months ago

Rugby World Cup Daily - France to wear white as Craig Joubert gets final

(USA scored the first try against Australia during the tournament. Not the first try of the tournament itself)

3 Years, 11 Months ago

Rugby World Cup Daily - France to wear white as Craig Joubert gets final

Off the top of my head?

USA scoring first the first try of the tournament against Australia.

Argentina scoring the first try of the match against NZ.

Ferris and co. picking Genia up and driving him back 10 meters. Not a try, but it's one of the many things I love about rugby over the NFL - I hate the goddamn "forward progress" rule.

I'm sure there were many more celebrated tries than just those two, but the fact that the tournament became a 6N-on-one-half, soon-to-be-4N on the other for the finals kind of did away with part of my interest in it.

Other moments that stick out:

Italy's annihilation of our USA scrum (something I hope to not see again!) when they got so frustrated with collapsing and unsuccessful scrums/penalty attempts, that they just threw so much power into the next one that they got a penalty try. I'm not sure if I saw a more raw attacking scrum from one side this tournament...

Japan almost looking like they were going to upset France. And everyone in the stadium backing the Japanese. That was terrific. That, and Tonga's win over Les Bleus as well.

(...come to think of it...France have been even more abysmal than I've thought...and they're still going to play this weekend...)

Russia scoring a pair of tries against Ireland - the joy they took from accomplishing that said it all.

Mitchell making it back in time for the WC from that broken leg - and even scoring some tries. That was pretty cool.

Wilkinson was only a few points from retaking the points lead over Carter, and I wish that had come around.

Not an unforgettable World Cup (unless the final proves otherwise)...but it probably could have been worse.

3 Years, 11 Months ago

Rugby World Cup Daily - France to wear white as Craig Joubert gets final

I don't see the 2015 being all that different...would it?

The 2019 one in Japan, however, ought to be a fresh take.

3 Years, 11 Months ago

Rugby World Cup Daily - France to wear white as Craig Joubert gets final

Here's the simplified explanation, Calvin:

3 Years, 11 Months ago

Rugby World Cup Daily - France to wear white as Craig Joubert gets final

*edit: that should read say, SA down to 5th, and Australia 6th - for a Wales win by over 15 (assuming NZ beat Les Bleus).

3 Years, 11 Months ago

Rugby World Cup Daily - France to wear white as Craig Joubert gets final

If Wales lose to Australia, BuzzKillington, then yeah, they will be ranked below Ireland and Argentina (they'll have 80.24pts; if they lose by more than 15, they'll be at 79.81pts).

So, I was curious and messed about and got this:
France v New Zealand: (home-field handicap applies to NZ)
France win: Looks like they'd be ranked #1, regardless of 3rd place game results. The Kiwis would then be ranked 2nd or 3rd, depending on various outcomes.
NZ win: The teams change a measly 0.09pts, so I think they still remain above SA - even if NZ win by over 15.

Australia v Wales:
Wales win: Wales now have 84.18pts and move up to 4th. If they beat Australia by over 15 points, Wales move up to 3rd, and SA down to 4th, and Australia 5th.
Australia win: Aus = 87.35, and Wales 80.24pts (even more if 15-pt diff.).

So, NZ end up in 3rd place if:
1) France wins by <15 and Australia wins by >15
2) France wins by >15 and Wales wins by >15

Never gonna happen...but one can dream.

3 Years, 11 Months ago

Rugby World Cup Daily - France to wear white as Craig Joubert gets final

For all those wondering why Wales is now ranked lower than England...the IRB ranking system is pretty clearly laid out.

Because Wales was ranked higher than France last week, by France winning, they gained more points than what would've happened had Wales won.

(The pre-match points difference was x=0.53 in favor of Wales, so with the IRB ranking calculation for the points change: y = 1/10x + 1, that means the change would be 1.053 points by France beating Wales. Had Wales won, the change would've only been 0.047 points).

Then, because it's part of the WC finals stages, there's a 2x multiplier, meaning that Wales ended up losing 2.11 points, and France gained 2.11 points.

Because England didn't play, having been knocked out, their points remained unchanged. Notice, though, how they lost almost 3 points by losing to France in the QF.

Even though they're now below England, by having made it to the semi-finals, they're still higher in points than they were at the end of the pool stages (up 3pts by beating Ireland, and then down 2pts by losing to France).

3 Years, 11 Months ago

Rugby World Cup Daily - All Blacks outplay the Wallabies

Unfortunately, it wouldn't have.

Berrick Barnes still would have kicked the ball almost every time he got it, giving up possession; Australia still would have had no one who could compete at catching high ball; and they still would have been slightly worse than NZ in the scrum. The only place Australia seemed better than the ABs - and not even consistently - was the lineout.

Did Joubert miss out on (many) opportunities to ping the Kiwis in the breakdown? Yeah. And staying up late to catch the game, I was pretty pissed every time he did (especially because he managed to blow the whistle most of the times Australia were infringing).

But don't kid yourself. That's nowhere near the reason Australia failed to compete with New Zealand. The Wallabies looked like they lacked ambition and didn't seem able to adapt and change things up when what they were doing wasn't working. No team really seems to have the drive to stop NZ's dominance, and, for me, it's all become a bit boring.

The one plus side from the match, though, was Quade Cooper getting smashed in some tackles. He did well to regain some confidence later in the match, but I enjoyed seeing him get rocked and looking insecure. Too bad Deans is so in love with Cooper he failed to bring any backup who may have instilled a bit more solid tactics in the side.

3 Years, 11 Months ago