Rugby World Cup 2011

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Hollywood2
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Rugby World Cup 2011

Post by Hollywood2 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:28 pm

Image Image
CANADA 25
TONGA 20


This was a great game. Canada had a 10-0 lead, fell behind 13-20, then rallied with the final two tries of the match to claim victory.

The games are all on TSN, who now have a dedicated rugby site: http://www.tsn.ca/rugby/ There are video on demand replays of several games. Also, ESPN.co.uk Rugby Site has many audio and video offerings for you.

Here are the links you need:

Official Site:
RugbyWorldCup.com

Match Reports:
RugbyWorldCup.com
PlanetRugby.com
Scrum.com
RugbyRugby.com
Try them and then pick the best site for your prime rugby bookmark. They all have their strengths.

Canadian Media:
TSN.ca - AP Story - Once at TSN they have stories and video clips about the game and the tournament.
National Post - The story says a lot about the media outlook on rugby.
Slam! - Similar to the NP story, but not as colourful.
Montreal Gazette - Postmedia Story - I like the comments on the gerrymandered schedule.
... Coach Kieran Crowley hasn’t decided if he’ll stick with the same lineup that picked up the win over Tonga, with the extent of O’Toole’s injury determining at least one potential lineup change.

“We’ll assess it,” said Crowley. “This is the World Cup and you’ve got to go out there and try to win each game. But I can’t guarantee the same group will go out.”

Canada will go into Sunday’s match at McLean Park in Napier, New Zealand, with three days off between games, while France has a week between games.

It’s something Crowley wasn’t happy about.

“It makes me laugh,” said the coach, who played from 1983 to 1991 with the New Zealand All Blacks. “The Tier 2 nations only have four days’ turnaround and Tier 1 has seven or eight days. It is what it is. We knew that this is what it would be like when the draw came out.” ...
White Cover Magazine - This little blog had a good bit on the controversial referee decisions which seemed to doom Canada in the 2nd half:
Surprised because the refereeing didn’t really seem to favour Tonga (I don’t believe any set of referees in this tournament have any care or emotion for who wins any of these games, unless the matchup is New Zealand v. Australia), but because it was so piss poor in every way that even the commentators and the play-by-play men couldn’t describe what they were seeing… they couldn’t describe this flaccid performance by the bald men in the pinnies.

Couldn’t describe why Canada was getting the royal shaft on every whistle.

“Huh…”

That was one of the responses they had during a replay after the Canadians were penalized for obstruction. It was followed by this:

“(… crickets …)”

The worst (actually, missed) call came with the Canadians pushing the ball up field, surprising the Tongans with a grubber kick that caught them off guard and pushed them deeper into their own zone. Forgive me, because I don’t remember who the Canadian was, but the Tongan hooker (who was too fat, too slow and too surprised to actually make a play for the ball, and who was embarassed by the Canadian flying past him at full speed) stuck his foot out and sent our boy flying.

The crowd erupted, the commentators reached for the replay. Like any rugby or soccer game, they immediately took the initial reaction of neutrality, urging viewers that they didn’t think it was as bad as it looked in full speed… that was before they saw the replay, though.

“OH!” both of them shouted. “He’s lucky to still be on the field,” they said of the Tongan, before the ensuing line-out. It turned out to be a 14-point swing, with Tonga scoring immediately after (and adding the conversion) to go up, 20-13.

There were more bad calls… more and more that the commentators couldn’t rationalize and viewers couldn’t understand.

Trust me, if you watched this game hoping to get a greater understanding for the rules of rugby and how it’s played, you were S.O.L. ...
Victoria Times-Colonist - The Castaway Wanderers is a great team name, and it makes one think back to the amateur days of rugby.
It's as if the crowd packed into the Castaway Wanderers clubhouse on Discovery Street late Tuesday night felt a personal connection to Team Canada's heart-racing 25-20 World Cup rugby victory over Tonga in Whangarei, New Zealand.

That's because they did have one. Actually, 11 of them.

“Eleven out of the 30 Canadian players [at the World Cup] have played at least one season for the Castaway Wanderers,” said club member Chris Spicer, whose son and former UVic Vikes star Dave Spicer, now in medical school, played for Canada in the last World Cup in 2007 at France.
The Globe and Mail - Player Profiles - Photo Gallery
Some teams at the tournament have saved players in certain matches to keep them fresh or available for other games in the pool. Japan has basically conceded defeat to New Zealand by naming a second-string squad, and France is considering sitting out many of its frontline players against the All Blacks as well.

Tonga even rested players against Canada only five days after losing the tournament's opening match to New Zealand.

Crowley doesn't have the same mindset. His aim is to finish third or higher in the five-team group, to earn automatic qualification for the 2015 edition. Canada reached the quarterfinals in 1991, but hasn't been close to repeating that in the four editions since.

“This is a World Cup, you go out there to try to win each game,” he said. So, barring injuries, he'll be putting his best team on the field against France.

And why not, the way they came back was impressive.

“It's a tribute to them,” he said, later joking: “Makes me proud to be a Canadian.”
International Media:
Daily Yomiuri (Japan)
Yahoo - UK
NYT: Second-Tier Teams Narrow Gap at Rugby World Cup

Image Jebb Sinclair and his beard scored the first try.

Image Phil "The Hoser" MacKenzie scored the last try.

Image The bearded Adam Kleeberger was Man of the Match.

Image And it all led to happiness!
August 8, 1961
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS 38
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The Tiger-Cats are the reigning champions of CFL/NFL football.

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Hollywood2
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Hollywood's Thoughts

Post by Hollywood2 » Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:14 pm

Here's what I think of the RWC as it stands:

Pool A

New Zealand are 2-0, Tonga and Japan are 0-2. That leaves Canada and France at 1-0 and playing one another Sunday at 3:30 am CDT. That one will decide which one will advance to the quarter-finals. I guess it is possible that France could lose to Canada then turn around and beat the All Blacks. They are just that kind of team.

This is one pool where the schedule is really rigged in favour of the big two. Their games are all about a week apart. Canada, Tonga, and Japan all have games to play on short rest. One such game is the big one between Canada and France on Sunday. Coach Kieran Crowley doesn't care - he announced that Canada is going with the same line-up for game 2. Canada has had some good moments v France. In 1991 France won the game to decide 1st place in the pool by 19-13 on their home soil. Canada then beat them in 1994, and in 2010 beat France A in the Churchill Cup.

In sad news, Kleeberger's beard will be gone after the World Cup.

Prognostication: New Zealand and France (barely) to quarter-finals, Canada gets third.

Pool B

This pool has thus far produced the worst rugby in the event. Scotland were lucky to beat Romania in the opener then narrowly won a dour struggle with Georgia. England showed they have a hard time playing in black when they won a goal-kicking festival against Argentina. As I write this, Argentina is slapping about Romania.

This all leaves me with the impression that the Scots will be hard-pressed to advance. While they can never be counted out, I have little faith in the Tartan Army. The big game between Scotland and Argentina is Sept. 25th.

Prognostication: England and Argentina to quarter-finals, Scotland gets third.

Pool C

Australia are the class of this pool. Ireland enter the World Cup on a downward slide, after having been Europe's top rated side not so long ago. Oz looked weak in the first half against Italy but then pounded them into oblivion in the second half. Meanwhile, Ireland had all they could handle from the Yanks. Then on short rest the USA dusted off World Cup debutantes Russia.

The IRB really like to "help" Italy. They were brought into the Five Nations, thus making it the Six Nations. They treat them as if they were a Tier One nation. Then in this World Cup they gave them a gerrymandered schedule where they never have to play on short rest. Therefore, I don't see a big threat coming from the USA to bump Italy out of third place. Also, Italy has a massive advantage in the scrums.

Prognostication: Australia and Ireland to quarter-finals, Italy gets third.

Pool D

This was billed "The Group of Death" prior to the World Cup. Thus far Fiji and Samoa have whipped Namibia and South Africa edged Wales. I believe that Wales v Samoa, Saturday at 10:30 p.m. CDT, will decide who finishes second behind South Africa.

Prognostication: South Africa and Samoa to quarter-finals, Wales gets third.

QUARTER-FINALS

This is how the draw would work if the expected teams win:

Australia v Samoa (or Wales)
England v France (or Canada)
South Africa v Ireland (or Italy)
New Zealand v Argentina (or Scotland)
August 8, 1961
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS 38
BUFFALO BILLS 21
The Tiger-Cats are the reigning champions of CFL/NFL football.

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France 46 Canada 19

Post by Hollywood2 » Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:37 pm

Image Image
CANADA 19
FRANCE 46


It has taken me some time to get over this game. I thought I tasted an upset as I watched in pre-dawn darkness. But mid-way through the 2nd half I saw Canadians going into contact and being unable to get up. (So I cursed the IRB for their scheduling.) Then came a horde of substitutions, all of which seemed to make the team go from a cohesive unit to a group of random players. IMO this is something which the coaches ought to have anticipated. Maybe start a couple subs and give the team a late boost by bringing the 1st choice guys back later in the game, or at the half.

The one call I did not like was when the score was 32-19 and Canada drove to the French line and were awarded a penalty at the 5 metre line. Canada chose a line-out, the throw was not straight, France escaped trouble with a free kick. IMO the forwards, with some fresh legs having subbed in, could have rammed the ball down their throats and got within 6 points. That would have completely changed the last couple of minutes when France got two more tries and a flattering scoreline.

Here are the links you need:

Video Highlights and Talk:
http://www.tsn.ca/rugby/

Match Reports:
RugbyWorldCup.com : Stats
PlanetRugby.com
Scrum.com
RugbyRugby.com

Canadian Media:

TSN.ca - AP Story - also at The Chronicle-Herald - This story had the coach's perspective.
... "We had reasonable patches, but we can’t afford to do that at this level," Crowley said. "If you accept it you won’t improve."

Canada also missed two penalties and a dropped goal when clearly in the ascendancy midway through the first half. Those misses proved crucial as France rallied to lead 19-10 at the interval.

"It was very disappointing from our perspective. We were nine points behind at halftime and lost 14 points in the last five minutes of the second half," Crowley said. "The guys have played well but you’re only as good as your last performance, and our last performance was a loss."

Crowley was delighted with how his forwards matched France for long spells in the scrum, but lamented that the "last five minutes of each half killed us" in which France scored the majority of its points. ...
Victoria Times-Colonist - This paper does their own stuff, not just a newswire story. And always lots about the Victoria boys on the team.
... The difference between a team of full-time pro players such as the French and mostly amateurs from the B.C. Premier League became evident as the match wore on. Imagine the Canadian men’s hockey team of NHLers playing a group of amateurs from any second-tier hockey nation and you get the idea what Canada was up against.

“In the first half we hardly missed a tackle. Then we fell off that level in the second half. When you play day-in and day-out at this level, it makes a difference,” said Crowley.

“We gave up just nine points in the first half and 14 in the last five minutes. You just can’t afford to do that [against an opponent as powerful at the French].”

In the wake of an exhausted Canada’s late-game fade, the subject of its short turnaround again came up. Canada played mighty France on just four days’ rest after beating Tonga while the French had nearly a week’s rest after opening with a 47-21 victory against No. 13 Japan.

Heading into the game, Crowley had said: “It makes me laugh that second-tier nations get four-day turnarounds, while the first-tier nations get seven- or eight-day turnarounds.”

He apparently heard about it.

“People keep going back to that,” said Crowley, when asked by reporters about the turnaround issue following the game.

“I’m not saying anything at all about that. I’m not getting another reprimand. It is what it is. We did our preparation knowing what it was going to be when the draw came out. We planned accordingly. We busted our backside for 80 minutes but it just didn’t come off the way we wanted. You can draw your own conclusions from this but we are not putting it out there as an excuse.” ...
CBC.ca - CP Story - They have video as well.

Montreal Gazette - Reuters/Postmedia Story : also in Vancouver Sun - Pritchard's wife gave birth just before the game. Maybe that's why he was shaky in the 1st half. He rebounded with some good kicks and will no doubt kick well in future games.

TSN.ca - Gareth Rees talks about the publicity for rugby generated by the tournament.

Rankings boost:
TSN.ca and Winnipeg Free Press - CP Story
- Both stories are about Canada's rise to #11 in the IRB rankings. A move past Italy could happen soon.

Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu's Tweets:
Scrum.com
RugbyRugby.com
TSN.ca
- All of the stories quote the man, and here they are:
"Ok, it's obvious the IRB are unjust. Wales get 7 days, we get 3. Unfair treatment, like slavery, like the holocaust, like apartheid."

"IRB, Stop exploiting my people. Please, all we ask, is fairness. If they get a week, give us a week. Simple."

"I wonder how would these tier 1 teams function after only three days rest."

"Give Wales 3 days off, and give Samoa a week!! We would kill them!!!"

"Hey IRB. Suspend me but give Wales the same days off as Samoa."
Image Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu says this ...

Image Ander Monro chases Picamoles.
August 8, 1961
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS 38
BUFFALO BILLS 21
The Tiger-Cats are the reigning champions of CFL/NFL football.

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Re: Rugby World Cup 2011

Post by Hollywood2 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:03 pm

Image Image
CANADA v JAPAN
Monday, September 26th, 2011
10:30 CDT / 11:30 EDT / TSN


Rugby Canada Story
IRB RWC Story
TSN Story

The links have stories on the mostly stand-pat line-up. Matt Evans is back from an injury. Jeremy Kyne is also added to the sub list.

1. Hubert Buydens (PRAIRIE WOLF PACK)
2. Pat Riordan (captain) (BC BEARS)
3. Jason Marshall (BC BEARS)
4. Jebb Sinclair (LONDON IRISH)
5. Jamie Cudmore (ASM CLERMONT AUVERGNE)
6. Adam Kleeberger (BC BEARS)
7. Chauncey O'Toole (OSPREYS)
8. Aaron Carpenter (PLYMOUTH ALBION)
9. Ed Fairhurst (UBC OLD BOYS RAVENS)
10. Ander Monro (vice captain) (ONTARIO BLUES)
11. Phil Mackenzie (ESHER)
12. Ryan Smith (PRAIRIE WOLF PACK)
13. DTH van der Merwe (GLASGOW WARRIORS)
14. Matt Evans (UNATTACHED)
15. James Pritchard (BEDFORD BLUES)

Reserves
16. Ryan Hamilton (BC BEARS)
17. Scott Franklin (PRAIRIE WOLF PACK)
18. Tyler Hotson (PLYMOUTH ALBION)
19. Jeremy Kyne (PRAIRIE WOLF PACK)
20. Sean White (BC BEARS)
21. Nathan Hirayama (BC BEARS)
22. Conor Trainor (BC BEARS)


Image TOURNAMENT OUTLOOK

Each pool has 3 games remaining, meaning one team in each has 2 games left and the others have only one. The top two seeded teams in each pool have also played already. Also, no pool has a match-up where you can say the winner goes on and the loser goes home. Keep in mind that wins are worth 4 points and bonus points awarded for getting 4 tries in a game and for a loss by 7 or fewer points. Here's a pool-by-pool run-down:

Pool A is led by New Zealand. They seem destined to advance along with France. Here's the thumbnail:

New Zealand 15 (v Canada)
France 10 (v Tonga)
Tonga 5 (v France)
Canada 4 (v Japan and v New Zealand)
Japan 0 (v Canada)

A Canada win over Japan should wrap up 3rd place. It is hard to picture Tonga defeating France or Canada defeating the All Blacks. Those are merely theoretical possibilities in my opinion. Canada would be happy to defeat Japan, grab third place, and the automatic qualifying berth for the 2015 World Cup which goes with it.

To advance Tonga must beat France, score at least 4 tries, and win by 8 or points, all the while hoping that Canada gets no more than 5 points in two games.

Assuming France beats Tonga, Canada must hope France scores fewer than 4 tries in the process. Canada must then win both remaining matches and score 4 or more tries to get the bonus point in each game.

Pool B featured Sunday's 13-12 comeback win for Argentina over Scotland. Argentina was able to score the only try in the game and IMO was deserving of the win. Here's a snapshot of the pool:

England 14 (v Scotland)
Argentina 10 (v Georgia)
Scotland 10 (v England)
Georgia 0 (v Romania and v Argentina)
Romania 0 (v Georgia)

Georgia and Romania are outclassed and are non-factors. Argentina previously lost 13-9 to England. This has everybody running what-if scenarios if Scotland could beat England. IMO it is hard to picture any 5 point wins between contenders in this pool. A team needs 4 tries for the bonus point and I don't see that happening. It is also hard to imagine Scotland beating England by 8 or more points, needed to deny them a bonus point in the loss. So Scotland could beat England and yet be eliminated.

Pool C witnessed the upset of the tournament thus far when Ireland knocked off Australia. This pool has also produced the most one-sided mismatches. Russia are outclassed and the USA are fairly mediocre. Here's the snapshot:

Ireland 13 (v Italy)
Australia 10 (v Russia)
Italy 5 (v USA and v Ireland)
USA 4 (v Italy)
Russia 9 (v Australia)

The Russians have been dreadful. Their game with Australia could be the biggest blow-out of the tournament. It is hard to imagine Italy beating Ireland. However, the Irish have been known to come up with surprises, both positive and negative. I would love to see the USA knock off Italy. But the Italian scrum should be able to dominate and the slow-moving USA response probably won't be enough.

Pool D had all the pre-tournament hype but so far it has looked like just another pool. South Africa edged Wales and Wales edged Samoa. The fireworks happened off the field when Samoan Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu unloaded on the IRB scheduling via Twitter. The Namibians are the weakest team in the tournament and Fiji have been a disappointment. Of note, some Fijian players had to quit their army jobs because since their military took over the country, they are not allowed in New Zealand. Here's the numbers:

South Africa 14 (v Samoa)
Samoa 10 (v South Africa)
Wales 4 (v Namibia and v Fiji)
Fiji 5 (v Wales)
Namibia 0 (v Wales)

I have to think that Fiji could beat Wales, since they did in the last World Cup. And Samoa have an outside chance against South Africa. However, Fiji was so dominated by South Africa and Samoa that I believe Samoa will need a win with a bonus point to pip the Welsh. And I don't see that happening. It would be too bad to see no Pacific Islanders in the playoff round.

QUARTER-FINALS

This is how the draw would work if the expected teams win:

Ireland v Wales
England v France
South Africa v Australia
New Zealand v Argentina
August 8, 1961
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS 38
BUFFALO BILLS 21
The Tiger-Cats are the reigning champions of CFL/NFL football.

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Re: Rugby World Cup 2011

Post by Hollywood2 » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:22 pm

Image Image
CANADA 23
JAPAN 23


This was an entertaining game but was, at the same time, frustrating. The Japanese play precision, fast-paced rugby but run into trouble when size and toughness become at issue. For some reason, Canada always seems to have spurts where they try to beat them with skill. Too many veteran players tried too many fancy passes, forsaking the time-tested formula for Canadian success.

It could be said that an early injury to FB and placekicker James Pritchard hurt the team. Ander Monro missed a 1st half penalty and a late convert. The latter kick would have made the score 23-22 and would have made Monro's final penalty a kick for the win, rather than a draw.

Here are the links you need:

Video Highlights and Talk:
http://www.tsn.ca/rugby/

Match Reports:
RugbyWorldCup.com : Stats
PlanetRugby.com
Scrum.com
RugbyRugby.com

Canadian Media:

TSN.ca - AP Story - This story is a good review of the game, with lots of reader comments. Also available at the Chronicle-Herald.

Toronto Star - This is a story about Jamie Cudmore, one starting lock and veteran of the French Top 14 League. He has held his temper in check so far. Maybe he'll mess up an All Black.

National Post - This is a story about stand-off Ander Monro, who scored the big try.

Vancourier.com - This is a story about Conor Trainor, a newcomer who has been first sub in so far for the backs. I wonder if he'll get a start against the All Blacks.

Toronto Sun - In this game report styled story, coach Crowley attributes the draw to handling errors.
August 8, 1961
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS 38
BUFFALO BILLS 21
The Tiger-Cats are the reigning champions of CFL/NFL football.

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