Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ljkeane

Rugby: Building up to Japan

Recommended Posts

10 minutes ago, Jeor said:

Well those two matches were a little better, at least from a competitive point of view.

Credit to Japan for keeping it to 5-3 halftime. They were never going to have a good chance of winning but they put on a good showing and the home fans can be proud of how they played that match. This successful tournament shows that they are legitimately making their way up the Tier 1 nations, stronger than Fiji and Italy and now officially ahead of Australia in the rankings (ouch).

I'm glad Wales won against France after that nasty red card. The final try was a marginal call (I saw one angle where the strip looked flat, but another where it looked forward) but France also have themselves to blame for missing the conversions as well as the card. South Africa are hardly going to be worried about their semifinal after that showing.

South Africa somewhat lucky not to be red carded in the first half as well. But were always going to be stronger than Japan with 15 vs 15 players on the field.

Best 4 teams in the semis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, ljkeane said:

Even given that the Springboks rarely looked like they had a clear and cohesive gameplan beyond being bigger than the opposition under his tenure and mostly seemed to win despite rather than because of him.

 

Surely you are referring to Peter de Villiers’s tenure with that statement and used Meyer’s name by mistake.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Surely you are referring to Peter de Villiers’s tenure with that statement and used Meyer’s name by mistake.

Nope. Under de Villiers South Africa were actually good, the suggestion was that it the leadership group put together by White who were responsible for this rather than de Villiers but who knows. :dunno:

Under Meyer as those key players either made themselves largely unavailable by playing abroad or just declined in quality they became a pretty poor side who if they couldn't just bully the opposition didn't seem to have much idea of what to do.

Edited by ljkeane

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, ljkeane said:

Nope. Under de Villiers South Africa were actually good, the suggestion was that it the leadership group put together by White who were responsible for this rather than de Villiers but who knows. :dunno:

Under Meyer as those key players either made themselves largely unavailable by playing abroad or just declined in quality they became a pretty poor side who if they couldn't just bully the opposition didn't seem to have much idea of what to do.

Referring to the period dominated by the Mccaw-Carter-Read led NZ team as the “weakest international era since the dawn of professionalism” leaves me scratching my head. Just because England was crap didn’t make it a weak era. It just made it business as usual.

Australia today are the weakest they’ve been in a generation, and NZ is weaker than at any time since 2009.

That alone makes this a weak era. France is also nowhere. The British teams are half decent, but largely because the southern hemisphere as a collective is weaker than at any time in the last two decades.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Referring to period dominated by the Mccaw-Carter-Read led NZ team as the “weakest international era since the dawn of professionalism” leaves me scratching my head. Just because England was crap didn’t make it a weak era. It just made it business as usual.

New Zealand were really good. South Africa were rubbish, England were probably the weakest they've been since the 80's, Australia were largely rubbish, Wales had a good first 15 but lacked for depth which given the nature of international rugby meant they tended to be poor a lot of the time, same for Ireland. It's not unusual for France to be inconsistent but they were lacking enough quality to be the dangerous side they normally are.

If you only ever play one good side, even if that side are really good, that's a weak level of international rugby.

That's also not 'business as usual'. Usually England can be relied upon to have a very strong pack and on the back of that be a good side, usually at least one, if not both, of Australia and South Africa are good, France traditionally have a brutal pack and quality backs and New Zealand are consistently good.

15 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Australia today are the weakest they’ve been in a generation, and NZ is weaker than at any time since 2009.

That alone makes this a weak era. France is also nowhere. The British teams are half decent, but largely because the southern hemisphere as a collective is weaker than at any time in the last two decades.

This is probably the most competitive era of international rugby since about 2001-2003.

New Zealand aren't as good as they were but they're still very good, England are the strongest they've been since 2003, South Africa are the strongest they've been since 2009. Ireland have had a poor 2019 and will have to rebuild but they were really good for the previous 3 years, Wales have built up the best depth to their squad they've had in the professional era.

Australia are about the same but the positive for them is they've actually got a good young tight five for the first time in a long time which makes it easier for them to become good. France aren't good yet but on the back of their excellent under 20s sides of the last few years they've got some brilliant talent coming through. If they can get a decent coach in they could be really good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two good games. Japan gave a good account of themselves particularly in the first half so I'm relieved we got through that one. Wales were lucky against France and got through more by the French shooting themselves in the foot. It's a tasty semifinal lineup (with currently the top 4 ranked sides in the world) that is just too close to call.

 

Re: Quotas. This a very contentious issue and it's undeniable that the South African government has often meddled far too much in the selection of national sports squads but I agree with @ljkeane that in this particular instance, there is not a single player of colour in the Springbok squad where a clear case for their inclusion cannot be made. That is not to say that every non-white player in the squad is a slam-dunk choice or that every one of them where stellar for every moment as that line of thinking puts a burden on black players that white players do not face; it is simply to say that all these players are unquestionably talented and not a single one can be accused of being picked for "political" reasons. 

I also tend to agree with Kolisi that the transformation committees need to be much more focused at the grassroots level. Having the talent isn't enough without the access to well-resourced schools and it's a sad fact but the elite rugby playing schools in this country remain stubbornly and disproportionately white. 

Edited by Consigliere

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, ljkeane said:

New Zealand were really good. South Africa were rubbish, England were probably the weakest they've been since the 80's, Australia were largely rubbish, Wales had a good first 15 but lacked for depth which given the nature of international rugby meant they tended to be poor a lot of the time, same for Ireland. It's not unusual for France to be inconsistent but they were lacking enough quality to be the dangerous side they normally are.

If you only ever play one good side, even if that side are really good, that's a weak level of international rugby.

That's also not 'business as usual'. Usually England can be relied upon to have a very strong pack and on the back of that be a good side, usually at least one, if not both, of Australia and South Africa are good, France traditionally have a brutal pack and quality backs and New Zealand are consistently good.

This is probably the most competitive era of international rugby since about 2001-2003.

New Zealand aren't as good as they were but they're still very good, England are the strongest they've been since 2003, South Africa are the strongest they've been since 2009. Ireland have had a poor 2019 and will have to rebuild but they were really good for the previous 3 years, Wales have built up the best depth to their squad they've had in the professional era.

Australia are about the same but the positive for them is they've actually got a good young tight five for the first time in a long time which makes it easier for them to become good. France aren't good yet but on the back of their excellent under 20s sides of the last few years they've got some brilliant talent coming through. If they can get a decent coach in they could be really good.

Strongly disagree.

Australia are terrible at the moment. Absolutely nowhere.

England are decent, but certainly not anything close to great.

South Africa are better than during the disastrous reign of Rudolph Strauli - I was at Twickenham for the 53-3 hammering after Labuschagne got red carded for the tackle on Wilkinson -  but worse than under White, De Villiers or Meyer.

Meyer’s record against the top teams other than NZ speaks for itself. 4 wins out of 5 against England. 4 wins out of 5 against Wales. 4 out of 7 against Australia at a time when Australia seldom lost at home.

And 1 out of 2 against Ireland.

His style was based on physical dominance, and many dislike it. But it brought success and made them the number 2 team in the world during his tenure, closely behind the sublime Mccaw led greatest All Black team of all time.

The current Bok team are not at that level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Consigliere said:

Two good games. Japan gave a good account of themselves particularly in the first half so I'm relieved we got through that one. Wales were lucky against France and got through more by the French shooting themselves in the foot. It's a tasty semifinal lineup (with currently the top 4 ranked sides in the world) that is just too close to call.

 

Re: Quotas. This a very contentious issue and it's undeniable that the South African government has often meddled far too much in the selection of national sports squads but I agree with @ljkeane that in this particular instance, there is not a single player of colour in the Springbok squad where a clear case for their inclusion cannot be made. That is not to say that every non-white player in the squad is a slam-dunk choice or that every one of them where stellar for every moment as that line of thinking puts a burden on black players that white players do not face; it is simply to say that all these players are unquestionably talented and not a single one can be accused of being picked for "political" reasons. 

I also tend to agree with Kolisi that the transformation committees need to be much more focused at the grassroots level. Having the talent isn't enough without the access to well-resourced schools and it's a sad fact but the elite rugby playing schools in this country remain stubbornly and disproportionately white. 

Watch some Youtube videos of those elite quota free South African schools absolutely smashing the top schools from other countries - including NZ - when you have some time. Start by searching for Grey College against pretty much any international team. Then ask yourself where those good players go when they don’t make it into the 50% quota based SA age group teams. 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Meyer’s record against the top teams other than NZ speaks for itself. 4 wins out of 5 against England. 4 wins out of 5 against Wales. 4 out of 7 against Australia at a time when Australia seldom lost at home.

Those teams weren't very good. That's the point.

It's a bit bizarre anyone's a Heyneke Meyer fan. Are you related to him or something? He manged to lose every game in 2015 Rugby Championship leading into the World Cup, this wasn't coaching genius on show.

6 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Watch some Youtube videos of those elite quota free South African schools absolutely smashing the top schools from other countries - including NZ - when you have some time. Start by searching for Grey College against pretty much any international team.

That's because schoolboy rugby's a big thing in South Africa, Craven week and all that, compared to everywhere else. All the best players in most of the schools they're playing will already be in academy teams for clubs/franchises by the time they're at an age to be going on international school tours and probably won't be involved. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Free Northman Reborn said:

Watch some Youtube videos of those elite quota free South African schools absolutely smashing the top schools from other countries - including NZ - when you have some time. Start by searching for Grey College against pretty much any international team. Then ask yourself where those good players go when they don’t make it into the 50% quota based SA age group teams. 
 

I am well versed in SA schools rugby so I don't need to be educated by you or youtube. The fact of the matter is that non-whites have been on the short end of the stick for a very long time in SA and transformation is necessary. A lot more needs to be done at grassroots level to ensure that non-white players have the same advantages affored to them that white players do. And furthermore, those "good white players" are not good solely due to talent but also because they've had access to well-resourced schools with top coaching and facilities which for a long time non-white players were barred from attending. There are plenty of talented non-white players around the country who will never have that talent realised because the elite rugby schools remain disproportionately white.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, ljkeane said:

Those teams weren't very good. That's the point.

It's a bit bizarre anyone's a Heyneke Meyer fan. Are you related to him or something? He manged to lose every game in 2015 Rugby Championship leading into the World Cup, this wasn't coaching genius on show.

That's because schoolboy rugby's a big thing in South Africa, Craven week and all that, compared to everywhere else. All the best players in most of the schools they're playing will already be in academy teams for clubs/franchises by the time they're at an age to be going on international school tours and probably won't be involved. 

Haha. Not that I know of - at least not in the last 1000 generations or so. Before that, who knows -  you and I are probably then related!

No, I just enjoy the historical NZ-SA rugby rivalry, and secondly, my view is there are two philosophies of rugby - and I enjoy the idea that it is about physically dominating and smashing your opponents until that dominance translates into points on the scoreboard. It's about the physical contest primarily, else one could watch soccer instead.

The opposing philosophy is that it is about expansive, skill-over-strength "basketball style' razzle dazzle. And that's the approach that most fans seem to be gravitating to, sadly. The cheap thrills.  And I find that if you like that kind of thing, rather go and watch Sevens. Meyer - and South Africa traditionally - seemed to espouse the physical dominance based game most emphatically - going back to his time when his Bulls team won the Super Rugby tournament.

Anyway, I have never come across anyone claiming that the 2011-2015 era was by any means a weaker one in any shape or form. Maybe for England based fans that may be so, but I thought the likes of Ireland and Wales were quite strong in those days, Australia was in the top 3 in the world, and NZ were in the midst of their golden era.

 

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Consigliere said:

I am well versed in SA schools rugby so I don't need to be educated by you or youtube. The fact of the matter is that non-whites have been on the short end of the stick for a very long time in SA and transformation is necessary. A lot more needs to be done at grassroots level to ensure that non-white players have the same advantages affored to them that white players do. And furthermore, those "good white players" are not good solely due to talent but also because they've had access to well-resourced schools with top coaching and facilities which for a long time non-white players were barred from attending. There are plenty of talented non-white players around the country who will never have that talent realised because the elite rugby schools remain disproportionately white.

All of which may be perfectly true, but does not take away from the fact that some better white players will be forced to make way for black players that are there only because of the 50% quota.

Steve Hansen is on record that he could not even begin to think how one could possibly achieve success at the elite international level with a team that is not 100% picked on merit.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

All of which may be perfectly true, but does not take away from the fact that some better white players will be forced to make way for black players that are there only because of the 50% quota.

Steve Hansen is on record that he could not even begin to think how one could possibly achieve success at the elite international level with a team that is not 100% picked on merit.

Personally, I don't agree with a quota at club and international level. That's why I stated in my original post that I agree with Kolisi's view on the matter. The focus should be on increasing and developing the pool of players of colour at youth level by directing resources to ensure that these players have equal opportunity in accessing the training and facilities that their white counterparts do. However, going that route would have only borne fruit in the long term and the South African government wanted more immediate results. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought Wales got very lucky there, France really threw the game away with the red card and even after that Wales still seem to be struggling to really take advantage of the extra man.

It's a pity Japan couldn't make their quarter final competitive, but they should be very proud of their tournament despite that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, williamjm said:

I thought Wales got very lucky there, France really threw the game away with the red card and even after that Wales still seem to be struggling to really take advantage of the extra man.

Yes, it was a close one - one point victory, and don't forget the French also hit the post on a conversion attempt and a penalty attempt. You literally could not have had a closer game, but Wales really should have put the game away with France playing a whole half hour with a red.

My calls for the semis - NZ to get past England in a thriller, South Africa to steamroll Wales by 15-20 points.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't seen a single full England game this RWC. So for those relatively independent of both England and the ABs, what's your opinion on whether England or the ABs would be favored to win the SF?

Obviously I want the ABs to win, but I really don't have a good feel for how confident I should feel about it: standard confidence, ie. that the ABs basically win most of their matches so the have a good chance of winning vs England on any given day; increased confidence ie the ABs objectively seem to be a better unit than England; reduced confidence ie. England are at peak form and so are in a better position than average to be able to beat the ABs.

My impression is that the Japanese fans at the game will mostly be supporting the ABs so if there is a home crowd advantage it will be with the ABs. But I think neutral other nation fans might be more on the side of England, because they generally would rather the ABs not win 3 RWCs in a row. If I was a neutral fan I'd probably be of that view too. Certainly my Irish colleague will be supporting England for the win, and not just because he's sad about losing in the quarters.

Speaking of where Irish fans are landing in their support now that Ireland is out. Most of the time when my team is eliminated from the competition I want the team that beat mine to win the competition, because then it means we lost to the champion and I can justify in my mind that my team was really the second best in the tournament. If you are eliminated by a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th placed team then it's harder to parse that you're really a much better team than your final placing implies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

My impression is that the Japanese fans at the game will mostly be supporting the ABs so if there is a home crowd advantage it will be with the ABs. But I think neutral other nation fans might be more on the side of England, because they generally would rather the ABs not win 3 RWCs in a row. If I was a neutral fan I'd probably be of that view too. Certainly my Irish colleague will be supporting England for the win, and not just because he's sad about losing in the quarters.

What happened to the standard "I support two teams. X and anyone playing England"?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

I haven't seen a single full England game this RWC. So for those relatively independent of both England and the ABs, what's your opinion on whether England or the ABs would be favored to win the SF?

Obviously I want the ABs to win, but I really don't have a good feel for how confident I should feel about it: standard confidence, ie. that the ABs basically win most of their matches so the have a good chance of winning vs England on any given day; increased confidence ie the ABs objectively seem to be a better unit than England; reduced confidence ie. England are at peak form and so are in a better position than average to be able to beat the ABs.

My impression is that the Japanese fans at the game will mostly be supporting the ABs so if there is a home crowd advantage it will be with the ABs. But I think neutral other nation fans might be more on the side of England, because they generally would rather the ABs not win 3 RWCs in a row. If I was a neutral fan I'd probably be of that view too. Certainly my Irish colleague will be supporting England for the win, and not just because he's sad about losing in the quarters.

Speaking of where Irish fans are landing in their support now that Ireland is out. Most of the time when my team is eliminated from the competition I want the team that beat mine to win the competition, because then it means we lost to the champion and I can justify in my mind that my team was really the second best in the tournament. If you are eliminated by a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th placed team then it's harder to parse that you're really a much better team than your final placing implies.

ABs are always the favourites. England have some weaknesses in defence (Farrell and Manu for disciplin, Daly for positioning and be fairly shit head-on) that NZ are perfectly adapted to exploit; there's a real risk that we'll start without Ford, which pulls our teeth in attack, and makes us much less likely to score the tries we'll need to beat the ABs.

I would expect NZ by 5-7; then we look at Owens having the whistle, who lets things play on more than most, but can be quite pernickity about the English; pushes that to an expected NZ by 10-12.


Dunno about the Japanese fans, I think they'll be fairly evenly split; on the one hand NZ is their "local" team now, and the famous one; on the other hand, Eddie is half Japanese, and was their previous head coach, who earned them their first major scalps against SA and Wales, including their first holding of the Raeburn Shield during his stint. In the pools, they've been NZ fans in NZ matches, and England fans in England matches. I would expect them to go with whoever's playing prettier rugby once the match is in progress (AKA NZ), and mostly just be happy to be there.

As for the Irish - there will certainly some who go "anyone but England" but that's not a big thing in Ireland; I would expect most of them to either support their more local team (England/Wales) or the underdogs (England/Wales) or possibly, the team who's victory would be less... boring (Wales > England). Though Gatland has managed to create some bitterness between Wales and Ireland that didn't really exist before, so they may favour England over Wales. Mostly they'll be there for the Craic though.

6 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

What happened to the standard "I support two teams. X and anyone playing England"?  

He said Irish, not Scottish (and to a degree, Welsh).

Generally, whilst all 3 Gaelic nations have the English as their principal rivals, when "neutral" the Scots hate the English; and Welsh like gloating when the English lose, the Irish don't really care either way. When it comes to reciprocating - the English... know, but are too busy having our rivalries with France and Australia (yes, I'm old; the youngsters will swap Wales instead of France due to the last 12 years), except those who know lots of Welsh / Scots fans who react to having been rubbed up the wrong way over the years.

There are, of course, plenty of exeptions.

Edited by Which Tyler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As an Irish supporter, I’ve always like the ABs as my first foreign option, mainly because they played such incredible rugby and succeeded as a much smaller nation than Australia or South Africa.  And the Wallabies and Boks would have followed next.  But that AB affinity has waned over the years as they seemed to rely more and more on constantly pushing the boundary of dirty play, just daring the referees to rein them in.  It was ugly to watch their revenge on Ireland after losing in Chicago— such a dirty, cynical game.

England were always too familiar and too close of a competitor to root for them, plus their rugby usually relied on a bigger, bruising pack against Ireland to grind away in the scrum and maul, which was far less appealing than the open style from the Southern Hemisphere.   It was the 1991, 1995 and 1999 RWCs that I grew up on before moving to the US (and losing broadcast access for a long time), so my loyalties were set in amber from that period.  It’s not an old-fashioned nationalist objection to England, more that they didn’t have the exotic style of the trinations.  It’s like having Brazil or Argentina as your second team at the football World Cup. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×