Seconds Out… Palla v Egg Round Two: Bloody New Zealand v Strylia

So, after round one, Egg is in front, by a nose.  But even he, despite his gloating, admitted he ws lucky and Wales should really have won.  Onto tomorrow’s game, which had better be a whole lot better, and we expect it probably will be.

Egg Chaser says: Australia will beat New Zealand

Egg Chaser must admit, he is much less confident about this one than he was about France, but letsgo with it.
This Australia team have beaten New Zealand in Australia and Hong Kong, the only place missing is in the land of the Long (All) Black Faces. And they will surely not have a better chance to do so, given NZ are missing Carter and are carrying not fully fit versions of Ruchie and Kieran Read.
And make no mistake, NZ without Carter are very human – in spite of having the best pair (or trio!) of centres in the tournament, they laboured against Argentina, and didn’t score a try until the 63rd minute – and this is the same Argentina side that Scotland nearly beat!
The Wallabies have defended stoutly in the tournament to date, conceding only 3 pointers to Italy, Ireland and the Boks, although, as noted in our France preview, NZ can actually score tries (we think).
If Pocock and Ruchie negate one another, the Aussies have the flamin’ back line to wreak havoc. While Quade Cooper has been, ahem, average in the RWC to date, he’s the man NZ fear, and he can be magical. I think the tyro back 3 might nick a couple of tries, and NZ may just fall short again.
Although, since its in Eden Park, that’s probably not true. Australia by 3.

Palla Ovale says: more Eden Park woe for Aussies

All evidence in front of me points towards a New Zealand victory.  Much has been made of the Aussies’ Tri-Nations-winning performance over the Kiwis, and the mental fortitude they will get frmo it, but that was back in Strylia; not in Eden Park, where they almost never win.  It will take something approaching a miracle performance for Australia to get a win in Eden Park in a world-cup semi-final.

The only miracle so far is that the Aussies have made it this far.  If WoC ever becomes a millionaire, the first thing we’ll do is hire a bunch of forensic scientists to work out how on earth they beat South Africa.  If their set piece, ball retention and out-half are even 20% as bad as they were in the quarter-final, there is no chance whatsoever of New Zealand failing to get over the try-line and punish them.  If Autralia’s set piece is poor again, the margin of victory could be as much as 20 points.  Quade Cooper’s form is atrocious – it does look like the pressure of being Public Enemy No.1 has got to him.

That said, Australia will hardly be as bad again.  The sight of the black shirts should bring out something better in them, but it will hardly be enough.  The Kiwis injury troubles are being overstated – Israel Dagg and Richard Kahui are back in tandem – they’re only really missing one player, albeit a crucial one.  But while we’re on that topic, Aaron Cruden looked happier to be there against Argentina, and should provide more presence than the ghostly Slade.

New Zealand by more than a score.

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4 Comments

  1. A hollow victory Egg Chaser. I put some hard earned on France myself, but cheered for Wales and was gutted at the end – weird. The Welsh players must be shattered, France were so obviously there for the taking and it makes last week even more painful for Ireland. The Welsh are right that it was a travesty, but it wasn't a travesty of Rolland's making. A few things spring to mind. The soccer final last year, when De Jong made the crazy tackle on Alonso – Howard Webb gave yellow and the game was spoiled by incessant fouling. Referees cannot win.OK it is unfair to compare the two sports and yes this tackle was not as beyond the pale as that, but it happened and Rolland should be commended for not bottling it. Young player, captain, unquestionably clean and sporting, world cup semi….they are not legitimate arguments as to why he shouldn't be sent off, but they are good reasons why a ref could cop out. Yes as Shaun Edwards said the wrong team will play the final, but that is not the job of the referee to control. Brian O'Driscoll put it better than anyone else has….it sucks.Really looking forward to tomorrow's game. New Zealand have obvious advantage at scrum time and probably in the centres…Australia at 9 and 10. Aside from that it is very, very tight. The teams who are favourites keep losing (it is not just an Irish phenomenon as some commentators wrongly blame our psyche for last week's loss, as if it is ours and ours alone). The psychology of having nothing to lose is a powerful thing. Quade Cooper for man of the match?

  2. France were there for sure – and that makes them even more dangerous for next week.We don't agree it was a travesty, we think Rolland was 100% right – post coming on Monday – but you make a good point – lots of good reasons for a ref to bottle it, and he took none of them. The law exists to protect Clerc, not the TV viewer, or the team that played beter on the day.Dean Ryan also made a good point, after the sending-off, Rolland stopped refereeing the scrum – Poux DESTROYED Paul James (who is very poor for this level) and got no penalties – sub-concious even-ing up?

  3. My use of language may have let me down a bit there, but i was saying that Rolland made the right call. I meant France winning was a bit of a travesty, but the sending off wasn't. It was an excellent decision in the context of the pressures on Rolland and reasons why he could have chose to cop out. The guy Howard Webb in soccer DID cop out….but the game was a mess anyway and he got the blame for not applying the law. Apologies for pre-empting the post, am looking forward to reading your take on it!Agree that Rolland did arguably try to even up things a touch. He is a superb referee and deserves to be defended for the brave decision on Warburton, but he is human and for halfpenny's penalty surely harinordiquay won a penalty prior to the entry offence? Think it was Roberts who didn't release.Also agree France are dangerous next week. They will rightly be underdogs, but have won in NZ before and their set piece would annihilate Australia's should they get through. If the sign of a good team is to play badly and win then the Frenchies are a bit good! One thing for sure it'll be hard for canal plus to pick coach of the year at the sport personality awards in 2011!

  4. Re: Quade Cooper….perhaps not, oops.

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