Tuesday 2 October 2007

Island Kings

September 25th
Canada 12-12 Japan
Romania 14-10 Portugal

September 26th
Georgia 30-0 Namibia
Samoa 25-21 USA

September 28th
England 36-20 Tonga

September 29th
New Zealand 85-8 Romania
Australia 37-6 Canada
Wales 34-38 Fiji
Scotland 18-16 Italy

September 30th
France 64-7 Georgia
Argentina 30-15 Ireland
South Africa 64-15

With the last round of group matches over and done with the eight teams left standing are an odd mixture of the blindingly predictable (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, England, Scotland and France), the random (Argentina) and the glaringly unpredictable (Fiji). The Boks, Crooks and especially the Blackness arrive in the knockout stages having cruised through their respective groups (bar a near slip-up by a second-string Boks team against the mighty kingdom of Tonga). The English scrape through by the boot of Prince Wilko after boring the Samoans and Tongans into submission. France progressed after their initial shock defeat to the Argies by thumping the other unfortunates in Group D and finishing in second place behiond Argentina who put the Irish out of their misery with a convincing 30-15 win. Scotland kicked the Italians to death, Chris Paterson having yet to miss a kick in this world cup. But the shock (and the most fantastic) result of this round came from the final pool game in Group B as Wales fell to proud Fiji in an epic struggle that only decided in the last 5 minutes as the Islanders found the try line again having just moments earlier surrendered their lead to a Martyn Williams intercept try.

Having lost their talisman and out-half Nikki Little to a presumed ACL tear things look bleak for the tournaments arch-entertainers as they bring their sexy rugby roadshow to bear against the might and power of Afrique du Sud. In much the same way I expect Argentina to smash a 'spirited' Scottish effort I reckon South Africa may be a step too far for the intrepid Fijians. I'm genuinely worried that the Poms could beat the Criminals too. With Wilkinson back England at least have a plan 'A'. This new found organisation may be enough to confuse and batter the convicts into defeat. Expect a lot of kicking for the corners, and the posts and.. kicking in general. The quarter final has to the Blackness againast the host's France. Being played in Cardiff (take that cocky French organisers) the French have been steadily improving whilst the Kiwis are yet to be challenged seriously (though they have dispatched all opponents with ann eerie efficiency). The best thing about this match is.. THAT I'M GOING! Mwahahaha

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