The Roar
The Roar


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Joined October 2018









Was a great effort last night. I thought this game would have been close given that Ireland had the belief they could beat the All Blacks and the All Blacks being underdone after the cancelled match against Italy.

The All Blacks game plan was well varied. The first try was a build up of the forwards picking and going through the middle and eventually open a gap around the ruck for Aaron Smith . Smiths 2nd try was from a great set move that shows the skill the level of New Zealand. This was a really good team effort with some huge shifts from Whitelock, Read, Reece, Goodhue and Smith.

It was a sad way for Best and Schmidt to go out. As has been highlighted they probably hung on too long to some old heads and are guilty of not varying their game plan and have become easy to read.

Next weeks semi against England will be a great game. I am looking forward to the battle of the flankers.

Five talking points from New Zealand versus Ireland

Thanks as always Nicholas for another good read.

The way Japan have played in this tournament is down to some really sharp profiling of their players from their coaching staff. They have a game plan that suits their skill set and has paid dividends in two great games against Ireland and Scotland. Their speed, catch/pass and ability to retain possession is impressive.

Can they beat the Springboks? Yes they can but it will take another emotionally charged effort to do so and they may have already use that card against Scotland. If they continue the way they are playing and can make the big Bok forwards run they are every chance.

Jamies Joseph and Tony Brown are a great coaching duo. I hope they are considering applying the All Blacks gig for 2020.

Can Japan repeat the Brighton Miracle at the 2019 Rugby World Cup?

Well said Mal. I agree Lienert-Brown enjoys more space at 13. Yeah Goodhue must have trained the house down. He is a little under done but no denying his class.

I think Frizell off the bench would make an effective impact with his athleticism. Having Todd there will help us out the break down battle as Ireland got to the All Blacks last year in that area,

That was one of the first things people said with Coles not starting was his discipline. You highlight a real good point if he does something silly in the crucial last 20 minutes of the game if it is close. That is of concern. Hopefully he does something brilliant like a 20 metre run showing great footwork to score a try.

Will be a heck of the game.

Please keep up the good articles. You do a job.

The All Blacks' quarter-final line-up will balance stability and flair

Tuilagi vs Kerevi is going to be a great battle. I rate Slade so glad he is starting.

Eddie Jones proves two can play at the selection surprise game with England team announcement

Thanks Mal for the good read. I have really enjoyed your articles on the All Blacks through this tournament.

For me Crotty starts with Lienert-Brown. Williams off the bench. It is a shame for Goodhue who I rate highly but think he may miss out. In saying that if he is selected he will do a good job. I also think they will persist with Bridge and Reece. That will be a point of difference I think especially with Reece.

Forwards wise Retalick will start and play a big 50 minutes. His battle with Ryan excites me. Having Scott Barrett as a back up is a great replacement and he could potentially make an impact when he comes on. I cannot see too many other changes from the team that beat South Africa.

My concern is the lack of match play after the Italy cancellation. As well as a number of media outlets talking up the All Blacks and saying they should win easy. I think Ireland will be extremely tough. They have some big game players that know how to beat the All Blacks and a pretty switched on coaching staff. The All Blacks need to ensure they have a good amount of possession and can find space wide. Ireland will look to suffocate the All Blacks like in Dublin last year. Will be a good game.

The All Blacks' quarter-final line-up will balance stability and flair

This has been a long week waiting for these games. Can it be Saturday already?

My picks are:

England: Will just have too much for Australia in a close game. I think England will come out firing and get an early lead. Even though Australia have been playing better in the late stages of games, I think under pressure in a knockout game is too much for them.

New Zealand: I say this not overly confident given Ireland’s recent success and the All Blacks are underdone. I think if the All Blacks get most of the possession they will be better equipped to handle Ireland’s defence structure than in 2018. I still think Ireland will be in this game. They have some world class players and will be desperate to make the semis for the first time.

Wales: They have one of the most settled lineups at the World Cup. Their loose trio is really good. Davies and Adams are in great form and could really tear up France. France do have a big game in them but I think they are too dis-jointed at the moment to win a quarter final.

South Africa: Heart says Japan. I think South Africa will be too strong upfront for Japan and will grind the Japanese pack down. They will also be quite brutal on defence. I also wonder if Japan are emotionally spent after that Scotland game.

Lets hope there is no contentious red cards that change the course of these quarter finals.

In the words of Stephen Prescott from the 1014 Show “I CANNOT WAIT”

Rugby World Cup quarter-finals expert tips: End the desperation

I remember Nigel Owens refereed a classic between New Zealand and South Africa in South Africa in 2013. The game flowed extremely well and he had to deal with a couple of curly issues. One was a New Zealand player was not on the official team sheet. He spoke to the New Zealand manager at a stoppage of play and took his word it was a typo and let the game continue. He seems to be really good at speaking to the players which he is well respected for.

On this quarter final, I really hope there is no contentious tackle calls that see a player from either team red carded. This is going to be a classic affair. I have read some articles and listen to some radio saying the All Blacks should win comfortably. I do not believe this will be the case. This will be a tight contest. Irelands win against Samoa with 14 players would have lifted their spirits, they have a squad where a number of the players have beat the All Blacks 3 times (2 with Ireland and 1 with the Lions). There is enough big game class with the Irish team as well as a smart coach that they can finally break their quarter final hoodoo (Personally I hope not as I am All Black fan).

Law of averages could be a worry for New Zealand

Good article Nicholas. Thanks for the read.

The Australian forward pack is much improved and will go into this game against England knowing they can match them both at scrum and lineout time. The Wallabies lineout has every chance to win ball against England. Itjoe and Kruis have a big challenge facing them with being the only two genuine jumpers.

Looking at the defensive at the back of the Wallabies lineout where they are not protecting the space as you mention, I can see Tuialgi trying to expose that gap if clean ball comes Englands way. That is a prime opportunity to get front foot ball for England and he will have a field day if thats the case.

Wallabies (lineout) rising: Rugby World Cup quarter-final hope against England

Hey Geoff

That must have been right up there with in terms of one of the best sporting atmospheres on Sunday. The crowd noise through the TV was really clear.

What a great performance by Japan. “But it was the manner of the win; the speed of ball movement, the sharp tactical edge and the infectious enthusiasm and commitment to repeatedly drive their opponent back in defence, that truly captured the hearts and minds.”
That comment is spot on. Japans speed and skill on attack has been the best all tournament. Their line speed against Scotland and commitment to each tackle was outstanding. They are a team playing to what suits their skill set and Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown deserve great credit in that. Hopefully they can apply the same style of play against South Africa and not get sucked into trying to take their big men on.

On the other 1/4 finals. I am nervous that the All Blacks have to play Ireland. The cancelled match against Italy was a good stepping stone for the All Blacks to lead into the knockout phases. I think they will be more equipped to handle Irelands suffocating style of play this time around but do need a large share of possession. Ireland have enough players in their team that will believe they can beat the All Blacks again. Wales should be too organised for France. I think they have been the most cohesive team in the competition alongside Japan. However France always have one big game in them at a World Cup. England vs Australia will be a good match. I think England may just have the edge as their line up is more settled. The Wallabies need to start well or could be a tough game playing catch up with England.

The Wrap: Japan’s Blossoms do rugby and their people proud

I like that theory. Will give the Island nations more regular games against their nearest Tier 1 neighbours.

Japan rescues World Cup from flames of disaster

I did not realise the tension early on. I guess they have the balance right. Joseph the hard bugger and Brown the creative mind.

Japan prove they're the real deal - again

I think he definitely should be up for consideration. I am not sure what his contractual agreement is with Japan but he should definitely apply. Previous appointments have gone with coaches who have had coaching experience overseas at the International level. He has won a Super Rugby title with the Highlanders and has managed to get Japan to accomplish something that no Japanese team has ever done at a World Cup. Also Tony Brown is highly regarded as being a good backs/attack coach and having him as his sidekick forms a pretty good team. They would have an advantage there as they have proven history as a duo.

Japan prove they're the real deal - again

That is a hard large amount of changes from game to game. Consistency in selection goes a long way to helping build a successful team. I understand that there has to be an element of squad juggling to make sure every one gets a run but in a high stakes tournament the more your key combinations play together it will benefit the team in the long run.

The Wallabies will need to start well against England. Their starts at this tournament have been slow and I think England will be a team that will thrive if they get a big lead. Even though they wont be directly marking each other Kerevi and Tuilagi in the midfield will be a good match up.

Just their best performance of 2019: the Wallabies' simple quarter-final assignment

What a game last night!!! And the atmosphere from the sound of the crowd was immense.

Japan got out to a good lead and then held out. The speed and skill they are showing in this tournament is World Class. They definitely deserve to be in the quarter finals. Hopefully they have some more big efforts in them. Credit must go to Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown they have really molded a great team together.

Scotland deserve some credit for showing a good fight back, They will regret their basic no show against Ireland. I was really impressed with their openside flanker Ritchie. I will be keeping an eye on him for the future.

Japan prove they're the real deal - again

Good article mate.

I was really disappointed with Samoa’s showing. On paper their team actually had some really good and experienced players plying their trade all over the world. As well as a very good coach who has done some good things in Domestic Rugby. They had major discipline issues that they did not really get on top of and also looked like a lot of their players did not really want to be there.

I know a number of them sacrificed their livelihoods to be at the tournament and also a number of players that could have been playing for them chose club over country due to the pressure they faced of not having a contract when they returned. That situation is really unfair especially in a World Rugby sanctioned tournament, No easy way around it unfortunately.

Japan rescues World Cup from flames of disaster

Yeah fair call on those other games. Also Wales vs Australia was up there for mine.

Week 3 World Cup reflections: How rugby's crazy Cup just got crazier

Ireland were very good against Scotland and started the game well against Japan. Japans ball retention and game plan of going wide really fatigued Ireland. When Ireland had to chase the game they looked lost especially with no Sexton.

In saying that, I think they will fancy themselves against the All Blacks. They have the players who have beaten them before and Schmidt is a good enough coach to have something up his sleeve. Mind you so is Hansen and I think with the Mo’unga/Barrett combination they can really break down Irelands rush defence and run them ragged on the field. The forward battle will be good. I noticed you said that Ireland may have an advantage at lineout time. I disagree. Their lineout has been shaky without Toner and Best has missed his target at crucial times,

Ireland vs New Zealand: Betting against the greenback

Thanks Geoff for another good summary on the weeks events at the tournament. I hope you are in a safe zone. Must be scary seeing a typhoon in full force. I heard on NZ Radio today, that the Radio Sport commentator Nigel Yalden told Martin Devlin, he really did not want to be in Japan with the typhoon going.

I was surprised there was not a blurb about the Wales vs Fiji game? That is up there with the game of the tournament so far.

This is a really tricky situation for World Rugby to be in. Personally I think they have made the right calls with the cancellations. Unfortunately the timing of the stage of the tournament is not the best.

Has there be any talk on how they will approach Typhoons next year during the Olympics? That will be some large scale re-organisation.

Week 3 World Cup reflections: How rugby's crazy Cup just got crazier

Really enjoyed this read. Have been liking Roach’s contributions off the bench for Tasman. Seems to bring some good energy when he comes and is definitely good enough to continue playing professional rugby. He seems to have relished his time with the Mako.

The Mako have an impressive line-up which is basically all the Crusaders who did not make the All Black World Cup squad. I have been impressed by Ethan Blackadder, Alex Nankivell and Will Jordan. All three are future All Blacks.

Aussie abroad: Hugh Roach

I think Ireland are good enough to bounce back. Schmidt is a very wise coach and they have the big game players as the article highlights. They were very clinical against Scotland but against Japan they ran out of steam after defending for so long. If they are going to break their quarter final hoodoo I think they need to ensure they get through Samoa relatively injury free.

Why Ireland will still win the Rugby World Cup

Thanks Nicholas for the good read.

One thing I noticed with Folau in his early days he had a habit of turning his back in the backfield and was exposed a handful of times. There was no question his athleticism in the air and ability to score tries was good. I do think he had too much responsibility playing fullback.

What have liked about Koroibete this year is his ability to pick and go and look for some work in amongst the forwards. His speed doing that will be effective if they can get good ball especially in later stages of the upcoming games.

How the loss of Israel Folau has improved the Wallabies backfield

Thanks for the clarification.

CONFIRMED: All Blacks vs Italy, England vs France both cancelled due to Super Typhoon Hagibis

I was looking forward to seeing how France came out to play against England. With the rumours of a player revolt, thats generally when they play their best rugby. Wonder if they can keep the revolt up till the 1/4s.

Australia will be too quick in the backs for Georgia, but looking forward to the forward battle.

Ireland should be too strong for Samoa. Ireland will be desperate to get this game played.

Namibia and Tonga should get wins. Both had games that will boost their confidence. And the USA would have had a shorter turnaround. Wales in a canter vs Uruguay.

The crunch match. I have picked the hosts due to the positive hype around them. It will be close though.

Rugby World Cup tipping Week 4: now we're getting serious

I was setting myself up for a good Saturday of World Cup action. Lucky there is ample domestic rugby on here and a Ranfurly Shield challenge at stake.

The right call was made. I am curious though why the Japan game decision is being delayed to game day whilst the others were made two days out.

France may have been a good position to beat England, given the rumours of a player revolt, Thats when they play their best rugby when there is internal issues.

On a sad note Leonardo Ghiraldini was in tears when the news was broke. It was going to be his swan song for Italy. Also would this had been Parisse’s last international as well?

CONFIRMED: All Blacks vs Italy, England vs France both cancelled due to Super Typhoon Hagibis

Thanks Nicholas for the great analysis.

England are tracking really well at the moment and I really rate their squad. What I am really liking about them at the moment as they have some backs that have attacking instincts and are suiting the game plan Jones is trying to implement. Daly seems like a really well balanced footballer. Add that in with the power of Tuilagi and Joe Cokanasinga which you highlighted a few weeks back and their backline is vert strong.

A potential battle between Hooper/Pocock and Underhill/Curry will be very exciting.

A Wallabies Rugby World Cup quarter-final against England: Dream or nightmare for Michael Cheika?