The Rugby Union Thread

Why not? They’ve got every chance.

They are an awesome side. The whole Irish set up from the very bottom upward is perfectly aligned to produce and develop players for the national side.

Farrel has taken a good side and elevated it. I did not expect that from him. They are accurate, clinical, physical when they need to be and remarkably consistent. Not quite as smooth as a great all blacks side but they have their own Irish stamp on that side of things.

France aren’t far behind. The rest though…


Toughest possible draw, pressure and still six months to maintain this level plus they’ve never won a WC knockout game. I still think a southern hemisphere team will do the business again.

I’d also say that showing at the Aviva suggests a big game mentality is still lacking. On the basis of form, Ireland was a solid favourite going into that, but that was a struggle even with the benefit of a technically correct but harsh red card. Knock out games punish slow starters.

French home advantage may also be a factor. Interesting competition bar the draw which has loaded one side of it. I haven’t decided if that’s a good thing or not yet.

Good thing for Australia/Wales and England/Argentina who have much easier paths to the.semifinals.

Japan in the mix on that side of the draw too.

Still it will all end at the Semi Finals for those teams at best.

I could see Australia getting through. Not a betting man, but I think they represent ‘good value’ as an outsider whose 10/1 odds are likely to significantly shorten.

Between that pool and their likely first knock out rounds, their position is not bad at all. Their toughest match before the semis might well be Argentina.

Yep and it’s a very long tourney. Ireland, for instance, need to be in form for two tough group games and will also face a tough QF. The wallabies can build slowly and only be a couple of good 40mins of rugy where they click against less fresh opponents away from another WC.

Finally saw a bit of the weekend’s coverage having already known what happened, and Im at a loss to understand the controversy over the red card in the England game. Not malicious at all, but if there is a duty of care to your opponent, then the England player very clearly violated that.

I am not sure what the England player could have done differently, which is why I have some level of sympathy. He didn’t go in for a hit, so I suppose his only option would be to get his arm out of the way and take the impact on the body. For me, absolutely the correct call with the rules as they are, but an example that really points to the untenable state of the laws of the game.

Just follow through with the tackle.

I think the biggest problem is too much onus is put on the defending player… The irish player basically sticks his head right down and into a dangerous place.

Watching it in real time Freddie looks like he anticipates the kick and moves his body for that, the irish player then shifts and starts to straighten up causing the impact at a dangerous level.

Personally it should have been a yellow card, it certainly wasn’t malicious or intended.

It is unlikely that that would actually have mitigated the head impact at all.

Agree that that is the problem now - hence my comment earlier in the thread that at some point, runners may have to take responsibility for the height at which they are holding their head. There are already coaches encouraging leading with the head into contact to draw penalties. In this case, I don’t think that was deliberate either, but the runner has a significant amount of control over something they have no responsibility for - that is always going to produce problematic outcomes.

That is utterly nuts, you could break your neck!

Producing exactly the opposite of the intended effect, but you can see how less scrupulous coaches can create pressures on players to ‘be tough’ - particularly because it can be done with some craft to produce a significant number of penalties relative to the risk.

Maybe not, but would that head sort of contact have had the same effect as what we saw. There are other ways this could have played out that have still seen contact with the head of the Irish player and those have still been interpreted by the officials as dangerous. But you cannot excuse a player for doing something irresponsible and KOing a player just because being responsible might have still seen head impact.

I don’t really disagree with that, which is why I think the rules right now are not working. If there is a situation where a player cannot actually avoid a red card, there is a problem.