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ithanos

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About ithanos

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    Lokapalas are never defeated

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  1. ithanos

    Rugby: Building up to Japan

    Looking at the quarter-final match ups, I got to say this is easily the closest race to a final in decades. Not that there aren't favourites for the weekend games, but that the opponents are not overwhelming underdogs. Japan exemplifies this, I can imagine any of the 'underdogs' engineering a win. It will be an upset yes, but not a shocking one. My 2 cents on the Quarters (I reserve the right to be completely wrong in every prediction - and that would still produce a tantalising set of semis): England vs Australia Never been a fan of Chieka's selections in the past, and he really should have produced more wins from the pool of talent Australia could draw from. He's been chafing for redemption since the 2015 finals loss. And now that the Aussie front row & scrum is very good, there's a decent platform for possession and position. Hmm, I wrote that and its not a mistake. England though have been building steadily and they look confident. Who doesn't love a barnstorming run from Tuilangi (with exception to anyone in front of him). A confident England will have the edge I think. Wales vs France Of the cancelled games last weekend I think France not getting a run will have the most impact. They looked assured & dangerous in long passages against Argentina but were then sporadic against Tonga and the USA. I think they're a match short to be able to overwhelm the Welsh defences, though if anyone can effect an All Blacks like blitz on the scoreboard, its France. Half the joy of any encounter against les Blues is anticipating which France turns up. My head says Wales, but I'm gonna call it - France to go through (and then lose the semi or final). Japan vs South Africa Thoroughly deserving their place in the final 8, I can't see Japan not continuing the style of play that got them here. Their half, Nagare, has been outstanding. Best clearing pass in the tournament, helped by never being short of keen runners. However I expect SA to pepper their back three with kicks and make them earn every metre back. And if they turnover ball at the back then I think SA's attacking prowess of De Klerk, and later on Jantjies, at half and Cheslin Kolbe on the wing will prove too good in the end. SA to go through but this Japan will die hard! Ireland vs New Zealand We (NZ) seldom lose ugly - by this I mean the matches where we've been beaten have been from teams playing sublime rugby. The most recent losses to Australia, Ireland and South Africa bear that out. Fantastic games but painful as a NZder. Although we can also win ugly, the challenge given to the ABs from their coaches seems to be to win by adventure. For NZ the Mo'Unga/Barrett crux must be deployed again, but you can't do much without the ball so the linkmen at 6, 7 & 8 will be crucial. In this I'm expecting Ardie Savea to have a beast of a game. Either way I think it will be a great clash of styles and determination. My only requirement from Ireland, should they win, is they better go on and win the final! I've lived through too many occasions where we've been knocked out by the eventual runner up (looking at you France ). Ireland to lead at half time with NZ to run them down after the gong.
  2. ithanos

    Rugby: Building up to Japan

    Top notification when I checked my phone today was; New Zealand 0 - 0 Italy, Final - see stats, news and more. Google nearly got me, I was just about to click on the game stats. Lucky I checked myself. These days I value sleep more than watching what I eat or getting daily exercise. But tonight I'll forego an early night and wait up for the Japan v Scotland game. I have to give Scotland the edge slightly - mainly due to Japan's recent form elevating their chances, and the matter of every game being a home game for them. If Japan remain within one score at halftime then they may grow another leg in the second half. And with the game they've recently honed, of sideline to sideline probing, and phase after phase recycling, Scotland could be run down if they're not careful. I just hope this game gives us 15 men against 15 men for 40 mins of each half.
  3. ithanos

    Rugby: Building up to Japan

    tight. tight game. Australia piled on all the pressure in that second half but the Welsh held on. Well done Wales! I don't mind them winning though I was by default cheering for Aussie since I've been living & working in Sydney for the last few months.
  4. ithanos

    Rugby: Building up to Japan

    4 points in it with 20 mins to go. Australia have risen this half. Need to be wary of Wales getting a drop goal or penalty to extend their vanishing lead from halftime.
  5. ithanos

    Rugby: Building up to Japan

    Aussie needed to be the first scorers. Got to keep in touch.
  6. ithanos

    Rugby: Building up to Japan

    Pre-game I was thinking AAC is too old to put out on the wing, but he's proved me wrong. Still able to score at a sprightly 35yrs!
  7. ithanos

    Rugby: Building up to Japan

    Wow!. What an upset. It may be a bigger upset than the Japan v South Africa game four years ago as it could dramatically change the match ups in the knock out phase. Ireland didn't play poorly. Japan just tackled ferociously on defence and recycled the ball well on attack. Well deserved victory for them.
  8. ithanos

    Rugby: Building up to Japan

    Ireland need to score twice in the last 8 minutes.
  9. ithanos

    Rugby: Building up to Japan

    Gawd damn, great try for Japan!
  10. ithanos

    Rugby: Building up to Japan

    Enthralling first half between Ireland & Japan. Fitness should not be an issue for Japan. Still think Ireland will pull away, but if Japan's structure holds and they persist with the ball, and stay in touch, we could be in with a close one.
  11. ithanos

    Rugby: Building up to Japan

    Hmm. this is an All Blacks team selected for pace. It looks like they want to run SA around the ground. The France v Argentina game was a cracker alright. I fear the French in any RWC.
  12. ithanos

    Rugby: Building up to Japan

    Australia deserved that 1st Bledisloe win wholeheartedly. I'm happy they lost the 2nd Bledisloe - but was disappointed they didn't bring that same cohesion to make it a closer match. Still, any All Blacks coaching appointment has one metric they must achieve annually, even in WC year - and that's to secure the Bledisloe Cup. There have now been entire squads of Wallaby players who have started and ended their careers without ever savouring a Bledisloe Cup victory, which as a trophy has to be one of the best drinking vessels to play for in World Rugby Good start for Japan, though a lot of errors. Russian defence was solid for long periods there. Looking forward most to the Aus vs Fiji game. Will watch it with some Fiji born friends so we're hoping for an entertaining match. Might have to break out some kava for the occasion. Fiji are currently the best of the Pacific nations at this juncture (read, least corrupt union) but my head thinks Australia should have the wood on them today. Then France vs Argentina. Honestly can't pick this one. I know the Argentinian game from The Rugby Championship but have not seen much of France. Perhaps someone Northern Hemisphere side may provide some insight there. NZ vs SA - The way these two have gone at each other these past 2 years shows both coaching teams know how to adjust from a loss to then win their next encounter. Given their last match was a draw, today's game is a toss up. Whoever wins might well spur the other side on to a rematch later in the tournament (which could only be the final if it comes to that). For me it wouldn't be a bad thing if NZ put in a decent showing and lost without incurring any player injuries, though I can't remember if any of the past RWC winners had ever dropped a pool match in their winning campaign.
  13. ithanos

    Rugby: Building up to Japan

    Always good to see both sides score tries to start a game off. But now several Russian players are looking mighty tired.
  14. ithanos

    Watch, Watched, Watching: Hunting Minds

    Been catching up on several small screen recommendations from this board. Life is too short to be wasted on ordinary TV. The paradox of choice is mitigated when filtered through threads such as this. Thanks board! As for the big screen, Bong Joon Ho's Parasite has been out in this neck of the global woods for several weeks - but only in select cinemas. So I made the journey into town to catch a session. And it was brilliant! So much to like, with dark humour, class commentary and fine performances from the cast - particularly from Kang-ho Song and Yeo-jeong Jo. I'm glad it lost its predictability after the 1st act. But the highlight for me had to be the direction & cinematography - simply stunning. Pretty darn close to a masterpiece. Is it his best work? Maybe, though my favourite Bong Joon Ho film still has to be Memories of Murder. I highly recommend, before watching Parasite, first checking out this breakdown of Bong Joon Ho's ensemble staging by the now retired youtube channel Every Frame a Painting. You'll come out after watching Parasite and thinking back to this with the realization your attention has been just been directed by a master.
  15. ithanos

    Cricket 35: Bat first, bat often

    That was intense! Congratulations England! Ben Stokes, you can visit your olds in Christchurch whenever you want. That was well worth shunting my circadian rhythm to stay up and follow. We were lucky to to sneak into the semis, but hot damn did this team not dwell on that luck but went on to play like tax collectors - maximize one game plan, against India, and pulled it off, and then built on another plan for the final and almost pulled that off! Capitulation was not an option.
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