Northern Hemisphere rules

The last four years have not been particularly kind to the English rugby fan, so to say that I wasn’t expecting much from the Rugby World Cup quarter final between England and Australia would be an understatement. In fact, I felt I was being rather optimistic in hoping that we’d give them some sort of game and not get slaughtered, like we were against South Africa a couple of weeks ago. But when it really mattered, the English team stood up to be counted, and then some.
It wasn’t pretty, but it was proof of that backs may look pretty when they’re running in the tries, but forwards win rugby games, because you can’t do anything if you don’t have the ball (of course, I was a forward myself, so I may be a little biased on that score). English play at the breakdown was the best I’ve seen for four depressing years. And now we get to gloat at the Aussies for another four years.
Then, just to make a good day better, the French beat the All Blacks. That’s a whole lot of lording it over the supposedly far superior Antipodeans to look forward to, and no doubt a large vat, nay a lake, of sour grapes to savour.

Categories: rugby

Comments (6)

  1. blf says:

    I watched both games in an (Irish) pub in France. The tension near the end in both games was amazing; you could practically see the people thinking “bloody hell, are the English/French actually going to win?!” More-or-less everybody (neutrals included) except, for obvious reasons, the Kiwis and Aussies, went Librarian-poo at the end of each game. Of course, next weekend, England and France play each other… (Note to self: Get to the pub very early for that one.)
    The Aussies–spectators and players–admitted the better team won on the day. Indeed, the Australian’s play was poor and uninspired, albeit not as clewless as England’s play against SA. Even so, that should still have been enough to beat this Limey lot (based on recent form). But the English forwards played “out of their skin” to keep winning ball without committing too many errors. Mike Tindall (25-22) and Neil Back (20-17) in The Guardian did predict an English win, albeit everyone else (that I’m aware of) presumed the Aussies would dine on Roasted English Rugbyman. Including Paul Doyle, who did the minute-by-minute coverage for The Guardian (emphasis in original):

    Preamble: [Post-match note: the writer of this preamble is no longer available for comment, having choked on his words around 3:50pm on Saturday afternoon]
    Here it is then, the quarter-final that some naysayers reckoned England wouldn’t even reach. Here it comes then, the belated elimination. Brian Ashton’s backline is more patched-up than a thief in a Nicorette factory and for years the country’s bloated forwards have exhibited the vim and mobility of Christmas puddings, no doubt because they’re suffering from a condition that has recently come to be known, in specialist circles, as ‘just the way things are in the northern hemisphere’.
    Like a fairytale beauty in a souped-up stagecoach, Australia will be first to the ball. Always. Having fed it, through the revelation that is Berrick Barnes, to their fluid and inventive backs, the Aussie forwards will recline and watch the likes of Matt Giteau, Chris Latham and Lote Tuqiri tear England’s defence asunder, and perhaps chortle merrily when Stirling Mortlock decides that rather than run around flailing English arms, he’ll stomp straight through Mathew Tait, just for larks. Tries? I’m predicting at least five for the Aussies. I’m also predicting one last scorching run and touchdown from Jason Robinson, though more in hope than expectation – he deserves it. And finally, I foresee the publication of a raft of glossy cash-ins from England’s flops in the run-up to the festive season, as they emulate their footballing counterparts and release autobiographies that could possibly be summed up by Joey Barton’s famous blurb: “I played shit, here’s my book.”

    Roast Pundits, anyone? (If they ever emerge from the secure location where they are now hiding.)
    Now here’s hoping for Fiji and Argentina in today’s games…

  2. As a rugby hating New Zealander I was very pleased the All Blacks lost. Our local news media talks about rugby so much I’ve basically stopped watching the local news. Less than 50% of the kiwi population give a crap about Rugby, so I’m not alone. The loss to France will hopefully, after a short mourning period, give way to less rugby and more of anything else on NZ TV (although I’m not holding my breath).
    If only my country invested the passion we have for sport into something more useful, like replanting native bush, I feel we’d be better off.

  3. Lincoln says:

    It’s a pity the NZers are out. Our victory will not be as sweet. Ama Bokke Bokke!!!

  4. Julia says:

    I’m as astounded as you Chris. And my husband is wondering if Scotland can actually beat Argentina now.

  5. Bob O'H says:

    I was on a course in Estonia, so I couldn’t follow the matches. I checked the England score, and though (a) Huh? Is the BBC lying to us?, and (b) Oh well, we’ll just be knocked out in the semis by the Kiwis.
    Today it struck me that yesterday we beat our old rivals Australia, and next week we’ll beat (hopefully!) our other old rivals France. This can only mean we’ll beat our other old rivals, Scotland, in the final.
    I think I need more sleep.

  6. Chris Rowan says:

    And Fiji were so close to completing a sweet, sweet Tri-Nations triple – JP Pietersen’s tackle to prevent a try when all the momentum was with Fiji saved South Africa’s World Cup.
    Didn’t see the Scotland-Argentina game, but it sounded close…