Frankie Says ‘Relax, We Have the Pishun’

The early mornings aren’t easy – before you ask, no, we didn’t get up at 4.30 to watch Fiji v Namibia – but the first weekend was so good it was a pleasure to leave the scratcher.  Here’s a few things we learned over the first set of World Cup games:

1. Ireland are in trouble.  They destroyed the US scrum, took apart their lineout and mauled them at will, but could only muster three tries against one of the weakest sides in the tournament.  The lack of gameplan, skill, intelligence and support for the carrier was galling.  It’s sad to see so many good players playing so poorly. There is no basis on which to believe Ireland can trouble Australia.  Indeed, there is every chance Ireland will once again fail to get out of the group.

2. Hooray for the little teams!  Every one of the underdogs beat the spread.  Remarkably, the gap between the second and top tiers looks to have closed.  Romania were leading Scotland with 10 minutes to go, Japan got to within four points of France midway through the second half, and USA hung in for a late intercept to reduce Ireland’s winning margin to 12.  A genuine shock is on the cards.  Look no further than Wednesday morning, when a Scotland side with 11 changes and no Richie Gray takes on a feral Georgian pack including Mamuka Gorgodzilla, a world class scrum and a bunch of other grizzled Top 14 henchmen.

3. RTE’s choice of pundits is diabolical.  Watching the analysis of the highlights of Sunday’s action on RTE was a dispiriting experience.  Shane Horgan is no doubt a great player and a nice guy who looks good on TV, but what was he going to say, that his Leinster teammates and good friends had played like drains?  He’s too close to the players to offer anything.  Next to him we had our beloved Frankie Sheahan, a man for whom the word optimistic doesn’t do justice.  He assured viewers that the underdog spirit will inspire huge pishun in the Irish team, and that alone would beat Australia. It was left to Conor O’Shea to add some sensible commentary; he noted that all the evidence available points to an easy Australia victory.  We’re sticking to Matty and Franno.

4. Heroes in defeat were numerous.  The man of the match award could have gone to a losing player in any number of games.  Few Scots will forget Romania’s teak-tough hooker Marius Tincu for some time, while USA’s all-action flanker Todd Clever repelled Irish runners all day.  Tonga’s reserve prop Taumalolo carried the fight to New Zealand, and Japan’s scrum half Fumiaka Tanaka gave real impetus to their commendable running game.  Nobody deserved to lose less than Wales’ Sam Warburton, however.  The Welsh openside is almost impossible to dislodge from rucks – he dominated Heinrich Brussouw, the man who has been dominating Richie McCaw. He looks a star in the making, and an early runner for the Lions captaincy in 2013. 

5. New Zealand v Australia final looks inevitable.  It’s already impossible to see beyond a final involving these two wonderful teams.  None of their rivals even come close.  France look like they could wreak havoc, but can’t stay awake for the full 80 minutes.  England were ponderous and allowed themselves to be drawn into a pitch battle.  Ireland were hopeless and South Africa were deeply fortunate to beat Wales.  The passing, support running and execution of the Antipodeans is unmatched.



  1. 1. Ireland are in no more trouble than anyone else. Bonus point would've been nice but they are likely to be irrelevant in this pool. We have no divine right to run a ball of tries past anyone and if a team is psyched to the eyeballs in their first match, determined to defend their posts in wet conditions, whilst your kicker is having a jumpy start it ain't gonna be that easy. Lads Ireland will get out of the group win or lose against the Wallabies…and they can win that one too. Wales are in more trouble – despite a great effort they didn't close the deal and are now vulnerable to Samoa or conceivably Fiji. Neither do I think France or NZ are in trouble despite not looking flawless.2.The "little teams" (who ironically tend to be ginormous!) are giving it everything and there is a distinct impression that the lines between tiers are becoming more blurred. You are quite right the Scots are fighting to hold onto that status against Georgia, but equally they could take a scalp against England or Argies. Wales and South Africa have a few battles ahead yet too.3. RTE are a bit like the Wallabies, their first choice is first class but if Will Genia doesn't play it could be Nick Phipps. Not a fan of Franno's or Williams, though now and again I find both interesting.4. Marius Tincu and Ledesma….why oh why were they taken off? Steve Thompson's kiss and taunt of "he's a legend" was utterly disgraceful. He actually even disrespects the art of sledging. Good sledging is unseen until the other guys swings and gets sent off. It is the quiet words "how is your wife and my children." It ain't stuff the world sees and hears. I actually think Thompson should have been cited for that more than Lawes, as should screaming in the opponents face. It is enough to celebrate with your own without provoking the other crowd.5. NZ and Oz are magic, but I am minded of one of the Harry Potter books when the taoiseach of the magic world meets the prime minister of the human world. He tells him they are at war with bad dudes and it may start to affect the human world. The prime minister says "but it'll be ok, I mean you guys can do magic" The taoiseach replies "yes, but the problem is so can the other guys." France can do magic too, as can a few others and when the notion takes them-Ireland.I used to write as anonymous, but getting the hang of this thing. I'm sure you will recognise the nonsensical musings antway

  2. Hi paddy o. Good to see you've worked out how to handle the technology :)I'm not so confident about Ireland. At any rate, getting out of our group will not be seen as any achievement if we lose by 20+ points to Australia and then do likewise against the Saffers.But the Italy game is going to be harder than people think. It's a straight shootout, a playoff if you like – it's not a situation Ireland like to be in – think of Lens in 1999 or the jittery win over Argentina in 2003. It'll be a nervy affair that will come down to the last plays. Let's just say we should do it, but I'm not as confident as Frankie…I like your Harry Potter analogy…

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