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ljkeane

Rugby: Building up to Japan

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How much of a factor is the weather?  It seems much hotter and more humid than the typical rugby season for the North European nations.

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14 minutes ago, Iskaral Pust said:

How much of a factor is the weather?  It seems much hotter and more humid than the typical rugby season for the North European nations.

I don’t think it’s any hotter than most of these players will have experienced at some point playing in Australia/South Africa/the south of France. It’s apparently very humid in a number of the places they’re playing though which obviously takes a lot out of you.

It can be surprisingly hard to catch the ball when everyone’s sweating a lot too. You’d think it’d just be the same as playing in wet weather but it’s actually worse because you just get patches of sweat on the ball so it’s not consistent like playing in the rain.

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Fiji have played some phenomenal rugby at times, they scored some ridiculous tries today in the rain against Georgia, it’s a shame they’re probably not going to go into the game against Wales with a chance to progress.

Semi Radradra is quite good at this whole rugby thing.

Ireland pretty much did what they needed to do against Russia. They weren’t amazing but they can’t really do anything but pick up the bonus points from their remaining games and prepare for the quarters.

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Ireland started so well against Scotland but have since lost their way pretty badly against Japan and Russia.  They need to recapture that sharpness for the quarter finals.

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I know in the Southern Hemisphere super-rugby pre-season games are played in February, which is the hottest month for the South. So I don't think any Southern players are finding the heat and humidity too far outside their normal experience.

World cups are only really viable if lots of people pay massive amounts of money to attend matches in person. That means the competition needs to be held when the weather will be warm even if raining. I don;t expect any world cups to start between mid-Nov and March in the Northern Hemisphere. Unless it's somewhere fairly tropical, like Florida.

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Posted (edited)

Just reached the second half - Italy (very) lucky to have any props left - IMO that shoulda been 2 reds.

Unless either of them is a good Christian who wouldn't do such a thing, of course ;)

 

ETA for anti-targ. I don't expect any RWC to start at any time other than September, because that's what SANZAR insisted was written into WR regulations. Of course, a "global season" could change that, but then, a "global season" is a bloody stupid idea that should never have made it out of the pub where it was first mooted.

 

Edited by Which Tyler

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Which Tyler said:

Just reached the second half - Italy (very) lucky to have any props left - IMO that shoulda been 2 reds.

Huh, yeah that was a proper O’Driscoll in 2005 tip. I didn’t think we were ever going to see something as blatant as that again. Obviously it was a stonewall  red for the guy who was sent off but 17 probably should have gone too.

Edited by ljkeane

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I was on a bus yesterday morning so I had to watch the England game on a phone, still a pretty obvious red card for Lavanini. That was clearly a big factor in the game but England were largely in control before Argentina went down to 14. The important thing is England aren't going out in the group stage this time.

Japan looked like they were feeling the pressure a bit against Samoa and they were a little fortunate to pick up a bonus point but ultimately they did. Now Pool A's gong to come down to a massive game between Japan and Scotland next Sunday. Scotland having to play midweek doesn't help them but as it's Russia you'd think they might try and get away with resting as many players as possible.

France have played some great rugby at times this World Cup and they've got some great attacking players but the concern would be their game management. That was on show again this morning when they scored some really good tries against Tonga but then let them back into the game when they really should have won comfortably. I get the feeling that they'll be a real danger to win an upset but can't see them going all the way.

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Posted (edited)

Been travelling for a week so just catching up to the results and settling in to watch Fiji vs Wales - should be a good match, will be interested to see how intensely Wales go for it. Even though (Australia game aside) they've largely underperformed, Fiji are a side that could hurt them.

Edited by Jeor

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Well, that was a barnstorming first half. Really close match and Fiji could have led if they hadn't thrown a couple of forward passes.

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Cracking game between Wales and Fiji this morning.

I'm getting to be a bit of a broken record with this but Fiji have played some fantastic rugby at times, they've just struggled to sustain it long enough to pull off a big win. Picking up 2 yellows probably didn't help with that and I have to say I think they got the short end of the stick with that. There didn't look to be a huge amount wrong with the clean out that lead to the first yellow, maybe he didn't fully bind on but he's hit the guy over the ball in the back. The second yellow I can see why it's been given with all the penalties so close to the line but it wasn't a particularly cynical bit of play and most of the penalties preceding it were because they were down to 7 men in the scrum.

From a Wales point of view that wasn't the ideal performance and they'll hope Biggar is ok to play in the quarters. On the plus side having got into the kind of wide open game they really don't want to be involved in they dragged themselves back and managed to grind out a win.

The big concern at the moment in that the key games in Pool A and C are in danger of being called off because of a typhoon forecast to hit Japan at the weekend. It'd be a shame to miss out on the England-France game but it's probably not that big of an issue for the teams given they've both already qualified and there's not a huge amount of difference between the paths to the final. It could have a huge impact for Scotland though as if the game's called off then it's scored as a draw and they'll probably be below Ireland and knocked out without getting the chance to play. 

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On 10/1/2019 at 8:07 AM, Iskaral Pust said:

How much of a factor is the weather?  It seems much hotter and more humid than the typical rugby season for the North European nations.

I guess it could be a big factor. But not for those reasons. Japan might finish top of its pool because of the weather. I mean they might have beaten Scotland regardless, but still.

It's unlucky that there is a category 5 typhoon potentially playing havoc with the games. But I'm guessing this is Typhoon season, so if certain people weren't so insistent on having RWCs at this time of year the chance of typhoons ruining some people's days could have been reduced somewhat.

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Hearing England vs France has been called off because of the typhoon. Not happy about it but it's not the end of the world. England likely would have won and France probably prefer the bottom half of the draw anyway.

But the possibility of Japan / Scotland being called off is farcical.  It's too important to just cancel and end Scotland's tournament, who by the way are bookies' favourites to win the match. Japan, who are favourites to be eliminated from the group, would be declared the group winner. A joke.

This is the second major typhoon to hit Japan in the space of a few weeks, how is there no proper contingency plan? Move the venue, put the game back a day, play behind closed doors if organisers are worried about fan safety. 

It's just grossly unfair and highlights the shot callers' incompetency with their lack of flexibility and alternatives.

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I would like to think that they’ll reschedule the Scotland/Japan game.  It would be a very negative note for the tournament to send the Scots home without a chance to play, especially as it gives a big advantage to the host nation.

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They may come up with different outcomes for the games - e.g. cancel England/France as it's not material to who progresses, but reschedule Japan/Scotland.

France could have beaten England to top the pool but that was highly unlikely and they probably wouldn't have wanted to anyway, as winners of the pool face Australia. It seems that both Australia and Wales have some flaws that have been exposed by Fiji, and with Biggar probably out after concussion you'd think that Wales might have lost a step.

You think they'd have to play the Japan/Scotland game. Rescheduling or finding an alternate venue would be a logistics nightmare but even if they played in front of a 90% empty stadium, it's worth playing to retain the integrity of the tournament.

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So England-France and New Zealand-Italy have officially been called off. As an England fan losing one of England’s games is annoying but it probably doesn’t matter too much for the tournament going forward. I doubt they would have pulled it off but technically Italy have been knocked out by the typhoon though. 

As it stands they’re waiting to make a decision on Sunday’s games. Hopefully Japan-Scotland goes ahead.

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I'm surprised at how annoyed I am about this.

If it's cancelled, then all the fans with tickets will be disappointed.
Playing the match behind closed doors somewhere else in the country is better than cancellation - and doesn't affect those fans with tickets as they can't see the match anyway.
Unless the whole country is rendered unplayable; then surely it's not beyond the with of man to find a location with acceptable weather a patch of grass with some white lines and rugby posts; and transport 49 blokes down there; within 24 hours.

 

I really don't think it's an advantage to have the extra week of rest.

We "know" from the Premiership in England that teams used to target 2nd place in the league, to avoid having that rest weekend and losing all momentum when it came to the final - which is why they extended the SFs from 3 to 4 teams.

We worry about teams being undercooked getting to the KO stages; with a built up of intensity for the last 1-2 pool matches being the ideal.

 

England (for example) were really targeting the first 2 pool matches to try out combinations; with the last 2 being that build up of intensity to hit the ground running come the QFs. All intensity was robbed from us against Argentina by Lavanini; whilst there's no match at all against France.

It looks to me like Wales are arriving at the QFs in the best shape in terms of preparations. They've beaten the Aussies; had a little rest; and then come through a huge test physically and psychologically, against Fiji. England have probably had the worse preparation from the pools.

 

On the plus side - the All Blacks now lose their 100% record for RWC pool matches; whilst Italy record their best ever result against the ABs - holding them to 0 as well; not many teams can boast that!

Edited by Which Tyler

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The cynic in my colleague thinks there's is no way in hell Japan will reschedule its game. With a technical draw and 2 points Japan is guaranteed top spot in its pool. If it plays Scotland and loses without a bonus point even without a BP for Scotland PD Japan could end up 3rd and not make the 1/4s. Ireland is almost sure to win vs Samoa so they get 15 pts minimum. Japan will no it's progress condition before it plays Scotland as the Ireland result will be known.

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33 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

The cynic in my colleague thinks there's is no way in hell Japan will reschedule its game.

On the other hand, the fact that it's so obvious that the host nation benefits from a cancellation actually creates pressure to play it. It will really not be a good look if Japan gets assured progress through a cancelled game rather than fair and square. And Japan will feel like they have a realistic chance of beating Scotland.

4 hours ago, Which Tyler said:

It looks to me like Wales are arriving at the QFs in the best shape in terms of preparations. They've beaten the Aussies; had a little rest; and then come through a huge test physically and psychologically, against Fiji. England have probably had the worse preparation from the pools.

I agree that Wales have had the best preparation in terms of match-play, having had two real hard-fought matches and coming out on top both against Australia and Fiji. But they've lost Dan Biggar potentially for the QFs and that's got to be a big blow, given that much of their style of play is derived from his kicking options and decision-making. Patchell did a good job subbing on for him in the Australian game, but I'm sure Wales would have preferred their star No. 10 to be available.

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13 minutes ago, Jeor said:

On the other hand, the fact that it's so obvious that the host nation benefits from a cancellation actually creates pressure to play it. It will really not be a good look if Japan gets assured progress through a cancelled game rather than fair and square. And Japan will feel like they have a realistic chance of beating Scotland.

I agree that Wales have had the best preparation in terms of match-play, having had two real hard-fought matches and coming out on top both against Australia and Fiji. But they've lost Dan Biggar potentially for the QFs and that's got to be a big blow, given that much of their style of play is derived from his kicking options and decision-making. Patchell did a good job subbing on for him in the Australian game, but I'm sure Wales would have preferred their star No. 10 to be available.

Japan got 3 wins fair and square already, more than they were expected to get. They deserve to have the weather gods smile on them, by crapping all over Japan, and secure their place it the QFs for the first time ever.

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