France burgle a final …

Lose two pool games, including one against Tonga, spring a competent performance against England, take on 14 men for 60 minutes of your semi final, and the French are suddenly in the 2011 RWC final!

If the All Blacks get past the Aussies tomorrow, it will by 1987 all over again …

But this version of the Les Bleus must surely by the worst team to make a RWC final … Perhaps only rivalled by England in 2007. Even against a 14 man Wales, they were made to sweat for their 9-8 win. They seemed to prefer playing without the ball than with it, and when they kicked, they kicked aimlessly. That French flair is buried very deep in this lot …

It was a massive call from referee Alain Rolland to red card young Wales skipper Sam Warburton, but the correct one. The rules say that if you lift a player above waist height, you are responsible for putting him down safely, and this he did not do …

It put pay to the Welsh challenge … Which based on the first 20 minutes of the game, would have been good enough to despatch France with relative ease. Throw in the fact that Adam Jones had to be replaced very early in the game, and that both James Hook and Stephen Jones had pretty ropy games at flyhalf, and it was a fairly tough night at the office for the coal miners.

Yet still they could have won the game! With 8 minutes left, Wales were just outside the French 22, and going through the phases with ease … Yet there was no sign of Jones easing into the pocket and setting himself for the winning drop goal … Too scared to take a shot? Not part of the game plan?

Bring on the real RWC final, being played a week early, at Eden Park tomorrow night … The winner of that game has 9 fingers on the trophy …

Some stats and facts from tonights game:

– France are the first team to reach a RWC final after losing two pool matches.
– This was the third RWC knockout match won by a team that conceded a try and did not score one themselves. England won the first two.
– This was the second-lowest scoring RWC knockout match. England beat Scotland 9-6 in their 1991 semi-final.
– This is the second RWC knockout match decided by one point. The other is Australia’s 19-18 victory over Ireland in their 1991 quarter-final.
– Sam Warburton’s 18th-minute sending off was the second earliest in RWC history. Only David Codey’s fourth-minute sending off in the 1987 bronze final was quicker.
– Sam Warburton was the second player sent off in a Rugby World Cup knockout match. Warburton was also the second captain and the second Wales player sent off in a Rugby World Cup match.
– The nine points scored in the first half were the fewest scored in a RWC knockout match since the 1991 final which was 9-0 to eventual winners Australia.
– Wales’s Mike Phillips became the second starting scrum half to score two tries in the knockout phase of a RWC. Australia’s George Gregan scored two tries in their quarter-final against Wales in 1999.
– Wales lost a RWC match to an opponent from the northern hemisphere for the third time in 13 matches.
– Alain Rolland refereed his 14th Rugby World Cup match, setting a new record.
– France’s win will see them move to third in the IRB World Ranking, their best position since they were third for one week in June 2010.
– France are in their third RWC final after a 12-year wait. They also waited 12 years between their first two RWC finals (1987 to 1999).
– The official attendance at Eden Park was 58,629.

20111015-235402.jpg

20111015-235416.jpg

20111015-235424.jpg

Eden Park from the outside, the view from the press seats, and the Anthems.

The vibe at Eden Park really was fantastic, and the organization just extraordinary.

Advertisements

Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “France burgle a final …”

  1. Andrew dB Says:

    Wales were their own undoing! Warburton had an inexcusable rush of blood to the head, and as leading fetcher and captain he needed to be there. That being said, the Welsh had their opportunities with missed shots at goal (the Halfpenny one being extremely questionably awarded) and failed. I have a feeling that with Priestland at the helm it may have been a different night… That being said, this is an exciting young Welsh team for the future!

    • Anonymous Says:

      Fully agree. Preistland back, Jones and Warburton on the field, and they would have had this inept French side for breakfast!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: