2019, World Cup fever No 3: rugby union hits Japan amid uncertainty

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Post by maestegmafia on Wed 02 Jan 2019, 10:51 am

2019, World Cup fever No 3: rugby union hits Japan amid uncertainty

Gerard Meagher
Wed 2 Jan 2019 10.00 GMT In The Guardian

There is plenty of intrigue already surrounding the first World Cup to be staged in Asia, away from the sport’s traditional strongholds. Throw in the fact that Ireland have mounted a genuine challenge to New Zealand, the creeping sense that the balance of power is shifting from south to north and the narrative of Jones’s return to Japan – sure to follow England’s campaign every step of the way – and it is quite the melting pot.

If it is too strong to say a new world order was established last year, it was certainly shaken. Consider that there were no northern hemisphere teams involved in the final two weeks of the 2015 World Cup and then that three of the top four positions in the world rankings are currently occupied by Ireland, Wales and England.



https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/jan/02/2019-world-cup-fever-rugby-union-japan-ireland-new-zealand

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 10:30 am

Could this year really be a more equal year? The teams going into the six nationals are far more. Equal than in any previous year, Ireland out ahead and Italy just behind but closer than at any time sine the A’s long as I can remember.

Similarly on a world stage too. All blacks just out ahead but nearly everyone in the mix are close...

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Post by Irish Londoner on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 2:02 pm

Although you wouldn't bet against the AB's it's certainly more open than before once you get out of the group stages - anyone in the top six has a chance on their day and if the AB's have an off day in the quarters then it's anyone's.

With the likely quarters being:
Ireland v SA
NZ v Scotland
England v Wales
France/Argentina V Australia

or permutations thereof it's going to be a good one! Of course a minnow could sneak through - Japan or someone from Wales/Australia's group if the Aussies continue to decline. There's no easy matches there for anyone.

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 2:13 pm

I can only see all the teams getting stronger before the RWC, yes the All Blacks are out ahead but you would have said that at most RWCs. The rest are a lot closer now.

Scotland Australia and South Africa could well be much stronger by next autumn

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Post by Gooseberry on Fri 04 Jan 2019, 9:29 am

maestegmafia wrote:I can only see all the teams getting stronger before the RWC, yes the All Blacks are out ahead but you would have said that at most RWCs. The rest are a lot closer now.

Scotland Australia and South Africa could well be much stronger by next autumn

Surely of all the teams that have a good chance of outperforming their current ranking its France?
Its a real cliche to say they save their best for world cups, but theres clearly more potential talent to be properly harnessed and motivated there than a a world ranking of 9th and the last few years results would suggest. Of course they are in a tricky group along with 2 other teams who have realistic expectations of qualification so could still fail to progress, but in terms of the level of their play Id expect it to be significantly stronger in the world cup than it has been in recent tests.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Fri 04 Jan 2019, 12:07 pm

They were fairly bad at the last RWC albeit I can see them improving this time around.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri 04 Jan 2019, 5:29 pm

France have huge potential but also huge issues with clubs vs International rugby. The coach doesn’t get enough access to the players or any say in their game time, training or fitness.

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Post by Pie on Sat 05 Jan 2019, 11:43 pm

France have been by turns superb and awful at RWC; huge challenge for them to makes last 8 IMO. Both USA and Tonga especially will rough them up and I expect them to lose to England so can they beat the Argentines? Probably the critical game in that group. If they do and qualify 2nd they go on to face loser of Wales v Australia which I expect to be Aus. That said Gats may wish to avoid England depending on how the 6 Nations and warm up games go....

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Post by miaow on Sun 06 Jan 2019, 8:08 am

As much as I hope it happens, I think the stars will have to align for Wales to beat Australia in a RWC. The mentality gap is never starker than between these two teams; the Ozzies being ruthless competitiors, and Wales not having a clue how to deal with being favourites/how to avoid bottling a winning position. If it's a wet game - rain or humidity - you can guarantee Wales will go into their shell, trying to avoid losing rather than trying to win it. Recipe for disaster.

For what it's worth, I can see Ireland winning it. I can see an undercooked NZ losing to someone like England, and Ireland going on to clean up after that. Thought Wales might have an outside chance, but with the regions in relatively poor to diabolical form, that will surely have a knock on mental effect when it comes to implementing whatever last deck of cards Gatland's being keeping close to his chest.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sun 06 Jan 2019, 4:35 pm

Interesting perspective.

Wales vs Australia has been easy to call for a decade. Wales finally got the better of them this year.

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Post by Pie on Sun 06 Jan 2019, 5:44 pm

C and D group schedule indicates that based on outcome of Wales Aus and both Eng and Fr beating Argentina, Eddie and his French counterpart may be faced with a tactical decision on outcome of that game

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Post by miaow on Sun 06 Jan 2019, 6:46 pm

Wales have beaten France in all but one game since the 2011 RWC Semi Final. And then it was in dubious/strange fashion. I'm not sure they'd rather play Wales to be honest. Likewise England. While I'd bet on Australia beating Wales in a head to head, in terms of the two teams as opponents against England or France, there's not much between them.

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Post by maestegmafia on Tue 08 Jan 2019, 6:26 pm

miaow wrote:Wales have beaten France in all but one game since the 2011 RWC Semi Final. And then it was in dubious/strange fashion. I'm not sure they'd rather play Wales to be honest. Likewise England. While I'd bet on Australia beating Wales in a head to head, in terms of the two teams as opponents against England or France, there's not much between them.

Wales vs Australia is a tough call, I would say Wales look the better team on the last 12 months form but the next nine months will be defining.

It is intriguing to ponder whether Wales will still be in the top three in the rankings at the end of the six nations.

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Post by Taylorman on Tue 08 Jan 2019, 11:03 pm

Yes Wales and to some extent Scotland have been the quiet movers and could provide the upsets in 19, in both the Wcup and 6N.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 11:50 am

Taylorman wrote:Yes Wales and to some extent Scotland have been the quiet movers and could provide the upsets in 19, in both the Wcup and 6N.

I don't see why not. I can see anyone except Italy taking scalps, even France as they are also showing signs of progress.

Scotland are better now than they were in 2015 and should have dumped a higher quality Australia side out of that tournament except for some fairly SH sympathetic refereeing.

For Ireland playing away in Wales and Scotland used to in the early days of the six nations be bankers. They are huge games now. I fancy Ireland's chances v Wales much more without Barnes involved.

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Post by miaow on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 12:23 pm

Instead it's Angus Gardner. Brilliant. That means Ireland will get away with every 'dark art' in the book. And possibly a game-deciding big decision during the last play of the game...

For all Barnes' faults, he's definitely up there was one of the best referees in the world. It's just that his interpretation is strict, and Ireland have typically played 'close' to the laws at the breakdown, that seems to be the source of the issue. That, and chance.

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Post by munkian on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 12:37 pm

Barnes is an awful ref as he makes Irish players support their own body weight in the ruck, I think thinks that's the essential argument.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 12:43 pm

miaow wrote:Instead it's Angus Gardner. Brilliant. That means Ireland will get away with every 'dark art' in the book. And possibly a game-deciding big decision during the last play of the game...

For all Barnes' faults, he's definitely up there was one of the best referees in the world. It's just that his interpretation is strict, and Ireland have typically played 'close' to the laws at the breakdown, that seems to be the source of the issue. That, and chance.

Yeah he would be great if you could get him to apply the same rules to Wales as he does to Ireland.

He tends to be overly fussy, narcissistic, prone to getting flustered and inconsistent. Other that that he is fine.

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Post by munkian on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 12:52 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:
miaow wrote:Instead it's Angus Gardner. Brilliant. That means Ireland will get away with every 'dark art' in the book. And possibly a game-deciding big decision during the last play of the game...

For all Barnes' faults, he's definitely up there was one of the best referees in the world. It's just that his interpretation is strict, and Ireland have typically played 'close' to the laws at the breakdown, that seems to be the source of the issue. That, and chance.

Yeah he would be great if you could get him to apply the same rules to Wales as he does to Ireland.

He tends to be overly fussy, narcissistic, prone to getting flustered and inconsistent. Other that that he is fine.

We don't have Peter O'Elbows Mahony in our back row though..
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Post by Collapse2005 on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 12:59 pm

munkian wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:
miaow wrote:Instead it's Angus Gardner. Brilliant. That means Ireland will get away with every 'dark art' in the book. And possibly a game-deciding big decision during the last play of the game...

For all Barnes' faults, he's definitely up there was one of the best referees in the world. It's just that his interpretation is strict, and Ireland have typically played 'close' to the laws at the breakdown, that seems to be the source of the issue. That, and chance.

Yeah he would be great if you could get him to apply the same rules to Wales as he does to Ireland.

He tends to be overly fussy, narcissistic, prone to getting flustered and inconsistent. Other that that he is fine.

We don't have Peter O'Elbows Mahony in our back row though..

That's because Sam Elbows-Jones Warburton retired.

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Post by Taylorman on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 5:43 pm

miaow wrote:Instead it's Angus Gardner. Brilliant. That means Ireland will get away with every 'dark art' in the book. And possibly a game-deciding big decision during the last play of the game...

For all Barnes' faults, he's definitely up there was one of the best referees in the world. It's just that his interpretation is strict, and Ireland have typically played 'close' to the laws at the breakdown, that seems to be the source of the issue. That, and chance.

Close to the laws at the breakdown and not an AB in sight. Times have changed

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Post by miaow on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 7:59 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:Yeah he would be great if you could get him to apply the same rules to Wales as he does to Ireland.

He tends to be overly fussy, narcissistic, prone to getting flustered and inconsistent. Other that that he is fine.

If there's one word that has been massively overused online in the last 2 years, to the point where I want it to f off and die, it is flinging the accusation of narcissism at anybody and everybody. Not a dig at you specifically here, although I do think you could have chosen a better word - just armchair psychology being used to label every negative or ambitious or slightly cold trait as narcissistic is insane. Having been close to (including romantically) a few people who literally do have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the fact that Barnes might be a bit aloof/whatever you're referring to pales in comparison (his 'banter' with Andy Goode is good evidence he's fairly 'normal', if somewhat cringey). If anyone in the ref circuit can be called narcissitc, it was Steve Walsh...*checks self in big screen*

Aaaaaaanyway, that aside...I disagree almost entirely. In terms of Wales v Ireland, it's typically been two slightly differing but similar defensive attitudes up against each other: Wales' built on linespeed, tackle success percentage and minimising errors/penalties at breakdown. Focus on pressuring opposition into making a mistake. Ireland now much 'better' defensively, but in Kidney/early Schmidt era, they were more aggressive at the breakdown with similar approach but more 'dark arts' - and, in what is nothing new in Irish rugby, loved to spoil opposition ball. What's telling for me is how often you'd hear Sean O'Brien scream-squeaking at Barnes for a penalty, and Barnes quite clearly explaining why it wasn't: Ireland love to play the ref, still do, and they're mostly very good at it. But Barnes didn't buy things like trapping a tackler in a ruck and screaming 'roll away'.

If in doubt, it's safe to say the people who brought us the choke tackle love 1. spoiling and 2. enjoy pushing the laws...

I'd say Nigel Owens is prone to getting flustered in big games and trying to 'make it a spectacle' in ways that could rile up partisan fans (great for the neutral) but not Barnes. Human error might account for some inconsistency, which is why I also said chance plays a part, but he's not overly fussy - just strict. It's only 'overly' strict for you: Ireland might enjoy being the All Blacks of the north, but they also bend the laws like them too.

Also, a useful example of Barnes actively trying to avoid claims of bias. The penalty count was undeservedly positive for Ireland. Do Irish fans consider games like this when they call Barnes out? http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/matchstats?gameId=290911&league=180659

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Post by miaow on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 8:08 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:
munkian wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:
miaow wrote:Instead it's Angus Gardner. Brilliant. That means Ireland will get away with every 'dark art' in the book. And possibly a game-deciding big decision during the last play of the game...

For all Barnes' faults, he's definitely up there was one of the best referees in the world. It's just that his interpretation is strict, and Ireland have typically played 'close' to the laws at the breakdown, that seems to be the source of the issue. That, and chance.

Yeah he would be great if you could get him to apply the same rules to Wales as he does to Ireland.

He tends to be overly fussy, narcissistic, prone to getting flustered and inconsistent. Other that that he is fine.

We don't have Peter O'Elbows Mahony in our back row though..

That's because Sam Elbows-Jones Warburton retired.

*diversified his game to be the second cleanest poacher on the top stage after Pocock, and added more aggressive tackling and non-poaching-ruck-work to counter how opposition were targeting him with 2-3 men clearing him out of their offensive rucks.

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Post by Taylorman on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 10:32 pm

miaow wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:Yeah he would be great if you could get him to apply the same rules to Wales as he does to Ireland.

He tends to be overly fussy, narcissistic, prone to getting flustered and inconsistent. Other that that he is fine.

If there's one word that has been massively overused online in the last 2 years, to the point where I want it to f off and die, it is flinging the accusation of narcissism at anybody and everybody. Not a dig at you specifically here, although I do think you could have chosen a better word - just armchair psychology being used to label every negative or ambitious or slightly cold trait as narcissistic is insane. Having been close to (including romantically) a few people who literally do have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the fact that Barnes might be a bit aloof/whatever you're referring to pales in comparison (his 'banter' with Andy Goode is good evidence he's fairly 'normal', if somewhat cringey). If anyone in the ref circuit can be called narcissitc, it was Steve Walsh...*checks self in big screen*

Aaaaaaanyway, that aside...I disagree almost entirely. In terms of Wales v Ireland, it's typically been two slightly differing but similar defensive attitudes up against each other: Wales' built on linespeed, tackle success percentage and minimising errors/penalties at breakdown. Focus on pressuring opposition into making a mistake. Ireland now much 'better' defensively, but in Kidney/early Schmidt era, they were more aggressive at the breakdown with similar approach but more 'dark arts' - and, in what is nothing new in Irish rugby, loved to spoil opposition ball. What's telling for me is how often you'd hear Sean O'Brien scream-squeaking at Barnes for a penalty, and Barnes quite clearly explaining why it wasn't: Ireland love to play the ref, still do, and they're mostly very good at it. But Barnes didn't buy things like trapping a tackler in a ruck and screaming 'roll away'.

If in doubt, it's safe to say the people who brought us the choke tackle love 1. spoiling and 2. enjoy pushing the laws...

I'd say Nigel Owens is prone to getting flustered in big games and trying to 'make it a spectacle' in ways that could rile up partisan fans (great for the neutral) but not Barnes. Human error might account for some inconsistency, which is why I also said chance plays a part, but he's not overly fussy - just strict. It's only 'overly' strict for you: Ireland might enjoy being the All Blacks of the north, but they also bend the laws like them too.

Also, a useful example of Barnes actively trying to avoid claims of bias. The penalty count was undeservedly positive for Ireland. Do Irish fans consider games like this when they call Barnes out? http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/matchstats?gameId=290911&league=180659

Oh stop it...had managed to forget about Steve Walsh, but gotta give you that, though he did have his issues and sought help. Trump is the Narc king of the world, dont think anyone in history matches that description more aptly, certainly not on a grand scale. Maybe Narcissus himself might give him a run... laughing

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Post by munkian on Thu 10 Jan 2019, 10:14 am

If Ireland are finally penalised for diving into and taking players out beyond the ruck then we may see a good game.
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Post by Gooseberry on Thu 10 Jan 2019, 10:45 am

Collapse2005 wrote:

He tends to be overly fussy, narcissistic, prone to getting flustered and inconsistent.

You could be describing pretty much everyone on this board there

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