RWC: Predicting the quarter finals

England are backing themselves to get to the semi-finals, how terribly big of them, why not shoot for the stars and at least pretend you're gonna make the final? Of course most people expect it to be an NZ, Australia, France, South Africa semi final series (14th Oct, 7am / 15th Oct, 7:30am).

The Dropkicks have their predictions for the dangerous end of the competition, Quarter Finals (Sun 7th Oct+) on ending with semis of All Blacks v Australia and South Africa v France ... I see nothing to argue with there.

A few more predictions from the world of rugby with Ben Tune (Australia versus France / Australia to win by 21 - 13) and this little lot from the Times (London):
  • Stephen Jones: Winner: New Zealand Runner-up: France Semi-finalists: South Africa, Wales
  • Stuart Barnes: Winner: New Zealand Runner-up: Australia Semi-finalists: South Africa, France
  • Jeremy Guscott: Winner: New Zealand Runner-up: France Semi-finalists: Australia, South Africa
  • Sean Fitzpatrick: Winner: New Zealand Runner-up: South Africa Semi-finalists: France, Australia
Just so we remember, latest IRB world rankings are:
1 New Zealand; 2 Australia; 3 France; 4 South Africa; 5 Argentina; 6 Ireland; 7 England; 8 Wales; 9 Italy; 10 Scotland; 11 Samoa; 12 Fiji; 13 Canada; 14 Tonga; 15 USA; 16 Romania; 17 Georgia; 18 Japan; 21 Portugal; 25 Namibia

Samoa have a few injuries as does Keith Robinson of the All Blacks.
Which begs the question, "What the hell are these players up to?", as they drop like flies before any match is played. Were they fit to start with, did they get injured in the toilet or is training so damned match-pace that it's getting silly?

Little news from the Welsh at the mo' as the coach, Gareth Jenkins, tries to keep his head down. Favourites, the All Blacks, on the other hand, are being feted like sporting rock stars and looking forward to the stressed out Italians (Sat 8th Sep, 11pm).

The NZ profile along with South Africa is up at the Dropkicks whilst The Times lists Five matches you musn’t miss:
  1. France v Argentina, Friday, Sep 7
    Put the cat out, get the beers in for a cracking opening game – one that could provide a shock result
  2. New Zealand v Italy, Saturday, Sep 8
    Your first chance to see if the favourites justify the tag. Italy won't be waving any white flags, either
  3. England v South Africa, Friday, Sep 14
    This full-on heavyweight title fight between two forward-orientated sides should decide who tops Pool A
  4. Wales v Australia, Saturday, Sep 15
    It's in Cardiff, it's the crunch match in Pool B, can Wales raise their game to ground the Wallabies?
  5. Ireland v Argentina, Sunday, Sep 30
    The penultimate pool match, and possibly the best, deciding who survives the 'Pool of Death'
And finally today - I disagree and enjoy this "60 seconds of stupidity"
Sportal: Jenkins wants 'statement' from Wales (26-Aug-2007)


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