Saturday, October 27, 2007

OK…I’ve left it for a week (mainly due to not being online) but now I can post about the finale to the great 2007 Rugby World Cup. Firstly credit to Argentina for their supreme performance against France (for the 2nd time)…the second time was so much more a complete, rounded display of tough rugby, absorbing long periods of French pressure in the first half going in at 17-3 up and then a masterful display of heroic defence and massive work-rate leading to some wonderful tries; good post and comments here on Green and Gold Rugby “French dicked”!

“But an extra thanks for highlighting just where the future of rugby is; rediscovering the 'joie de vivre' that has always made rugby great. Forgotten under pressure by Australia, New Zealand and France. Pushed to new levels by Argentina, Tonga and Fiji.”
Or as Baldinio says here:
"The passsing, the tackling, the turnovers, the punch-ups!Who said that the bronze medal wasn't important, who said that this was a match too far for the team in celestial blue?Argentina played with a style and panache all the way through this tournament from that rain soaked Friday back in September when they shocked the hosts at the Stade De France. Last night they were playing at the Parc De Princes, the bear-pit of French rugby and they made the bears look all cuddly and non-threatening, that five minute spell just before half time when they defended their own line against wave after wave of French attacking moves..."
Uniting a country?Now the final: what an occasion…again I couldn’t breath partly due to the excitement but also partly due to the stress of 12 hours on a plane, no luggage, credit cards swiped and worst of all I was trembling from what I can only assume was ‘a bad pint’ :-) South Africa won; they were easily the best team in the tournament and the only unbeaten one; both teams in the final gave their all and the South Africans stood up when it counted. The last score was a penalty in minute 61; I don’t think anyone begrudges them their win…fantastic, all consuming defence and domination in the lineout were the main reasons for the win and Matlock deserved to be MOTM. Jake White, the South African coach, said what we all agree with and history has shown it again and again.

"I've always said defence wins World Cup. History is an amazing thing and it just keeps repeating itself,"
SI picture link; another RWC 2007 final summary on the IRB's official site here:

Reigning champions England came into the match on the back of four impressive victories after a poor start to the tournament but were unable to find a way through a disciplined Springboks outfit who were miserly in defence, dominated the line-outs and kicked five penalties.
However, this graciousness doesn’t mean I’m not going to slag off the ref…NOT the video ref and Cueto’s possible touchdown…he made a call that could have been controversial either way, he took a bit too long but after the heat of the moment has been shown to have made the right decision (millimetres!) No, I’m on about Irish/French Alain: as usual he was generally OK but in my opinion made several crucial wrong calls: firstly Moody (trip on Butch James) and possibly even Flood (push on Montgomery) should have been yellow carded – rules are rules….that could have changed the game, as could the following:

First half, the first SA penalty: Tait slipped and was adjudged to be holding on; the first and clearest offence was in fact a 100% clear and blatant penalty AGAINST Steyn – over the top and lying on top, no attempt to move and trying to play the ball on the ground – no doubt whatsoever.

Another poor decision was when the South African front row popped up and the Boks pulled (not pushed) the scrum round; two offences that would be a free kick to England but the decision was given as a scrum to SA for the scrum going 90º - ridiculous.

Second half: fourth SA Penalty: blatant offside and obstruction from Van de Linde, should have been an England penalty; however SA release the ball down the blind and Corry is penalised at the tackle (rightly)

Fifth SA Penalty: (minute 61) minor and harshly adjudged obstruction against England – if the ref was consistent I would have no problem; however I was frustrated to say the least, when two much worse and more blatant offences by the Boks, in easily kickable positions, went unpunished.

Between minute 62 (when the ball sailed through to make the score 15 - 6) and minute 68 there were 3 or 4 occasions when offences by South Africa should have been penalised, all in their own half (two almost in front of the posts) that went unpunished: one was one of the aforementioned obstructions, then a high and dangerous tackle on Paul Sackey; then Butch James lies over the ball on the England side and helps the ball back…the correct decision would have been a penalty in front of the posts but all the happened was a South African turnover. That 6 minute period could and should have changed the game more than the video-ref call.

Sour grapesAll this may sound like whinging sour grapes…and it is (click on image)…however I must insist that this is against referee calls and not the Boks; in fact I’m a fan of SA rugby and all my dad’s family have lived there for nigh on 60 years and those who may have heard me speak (in English) may even note a Highveld twang (which in fact is a North London blended with South Africa, Australia, Canada, Venezuela, Somerset and Spain!!!)…they won, it’s over, well done.

Moving on quickly!...Nadir of the tournament: being crushed and humiliated 36 – 0 against South Africa!

High points: England’s unexpected run into and past the Quarter Finals; Argentina’s two wins against France; Georgia vs. Ireland, how they deserved to win that game, outplaying the men in green in every position; Japan vs. Fiji – what an exciting finish – about 85 minutes before the ball went out!; Portugal singing (thanks for the heads-up Baldinio) and their try against New Zealand; American winger scoring after showing SA speed-merchant Habana a ‘clean pair of heels’ (thanks for the heads-up Kenji); Tonga all-but pipping SA at the post – what a difference a bounce can make! Wales vs. Fiji! …and many more…


the_princess_out said...

no entiendo ingles pero gracias por tu comentario en mi blog

=) adios

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Span Ows said...

Gracias t_p_out, espero que encuentre lo que busque.

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Paul said...

I agree about the high points Span particularly the Georgia v Ireland game that had been sat on the edge of my seat screaming like a loony for Georgia to stop trying drop goals and score a try!

I see the knives are out for Brian Ashton today (Sunday).

Span Ows said...

Re Ashton, that's almost to be expected when you consider the run-up and first couple of games and then reports of the 'players revolt'.

I won't comment on your lack of comment re the final - all in the past now ;-)...had to get it off my chest though.