Semi Final Match Up: Palla vs. Egg… and Wales vs. France

Here at Cordite Towers, Palla and Egg set out to discuss the weekend’s rugger like we always do, stretched out manfully in the nearest sauna, only a birch between us.  Normally, our shared passion for fast-paced, attack-minded, skilful, intelligent rugby means we see eye to eye, but on the subject of this week’s two semi-finals, we were in total opposition.  Palla is foreseeing a Wales v Kiwis final, while Egg is looking at France v Oz.  Neither could convince the other of their argument.  So, without further ado, Palla and Egg present their argument as to why they think Wales and France, respectively, will win.  Tomorrow, we’ll see who came out on top, and present our arguments for the second semi-final.

Palla Ovale says: Wales all the way

Wales were lightly dismissed in some quarters before the quarter-final as a bunch of inexperienced tyros who wouldn’t cut in the do-or-die cauldron of knockout rugby.  So much for that.  Now that Ireland have been despatched comfortably, this side has the confidence, and the ability, to go to the final.  France will hold no fear of them. 

A quick glance around their team shows them to be outstanding in almost every facet.  They’ve a hard-scrummaging front row that will stand up to the French.  Their back-row is arguably the best balanced unit in the tournament, and Warburton is vying with Pocock as the Cup’s most influential player.  Their centres have been only second to the New Zealand pair, and they have an abundance of pace and scoring threat out wide. 

More importantly, though, they are the best coached side in the Cup, and France arguably the worst.  Witness Wazza’s masterclass in nullifying Ireland’s threats.  I fully expect him to come up with something similar to derail the French, where at outhalf they look particularly vulnerable.  Doubtless, Roberts will be looking to smash through all 76kgs of Morgan Parra all day long, and given the Little General’s inexperience at half-back, expect the Welsh rush defence to do to him what they did to O’Gara when he has the ball – isolate him and cut off his options.

Finally, what of France?  The team appear to have taken control, but can they do what France so rarely manage – back up a big performance with another?  Palla doubts it.  Welsh tyros for the final.

Egg Chaser says: France have it

To get to this juncture, Wales have played three games at full intensity. They have won two well and lost one unluckily – very impressive. Different story now though – France know how to score tries, unlike the Bokke, Samoa and Gaffney’s Ireland.
Wales have yet to play a team who can put together multiple phase attacking, with the ability to run varying lines, break tackles and the gainline consistently and offload in the tackle.
In the case of France, they didn’t really bother until the quarter-final, concentrating instead on arguing among themselves. You do get the impression they prepared to face Ireland, but won’t be too worried about Wales either, having won the last three games between the sides, most recently 28-9 in the Six Nations, when the teams weren’t markedly different from this Saturday.
France are unlikely to play as well as they did in the first half against England, but should still be peaking around now – Wales are in bonus territory and, having gone to the well three times, may not have anything left for those crucial Championship minutes. Note also, France are habitual RWC semi-finalists – familiarity with rarefied stages can be a useful weapon, note how the same sides keep appearing in HEC finals – and unless Wales wear white, France are unlikely to freeze.
In spite of their laughable preparation, the French to win pulling away.
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1 Comment

  1. I loved Tom Shanklin's quote earlier today. "I haven't been this nervous about a semi since watching "Brokeback Mountain""

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