Wales vs France Semi Final Preview

I really want Wales to win the whole damn thing now…but ever since Lievremont started sporting his fabulous ‘tache I’m finding myself rather confused…and now he’s gone and shaved his head! Merde Marc, merde!

I shudder to think what he’s got in store for us if France reach the final…

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?

 Wales by 10.

Replacing love with hate: finding a reason to stay passionate about the World Cup

Many of us are licking in wounds after our team was knocked out the World Cup either in the group stages (poor Scotland) or last weekend in the quarters.  At times like this, it can be tough to stay motivated to get up and drink beer at 7 am in South Africa / go to the local pub in London and have to put up with the ex-pats still in the tournament / face Joseph the Saint’s surly demeanor and blood puddings in Greenwich Village’s Red Lion because it is the only place in New York City with a great vibe showing the game.  Here’s a tip I learned early on in kindergarten when you need to stay motivated:

If you can’t find something to love, find something to hate.

Hate is a pretty good substitute for love.  And it will keep you interested in the World Cup.  So instead of finding reasons to try and support a team that is still in the World Cup, I say, screw ’em.  Let’s find a team to hate and have our rugby viewing fueled by an intense irrational hatred for a country you’ve never been to.  Who will be your team to hate?  Do you need a few good reasons for each team?

New Zealand:

Damn, I hate them. They’re so good.  So damn good.  Why does my wife seem strangely aroused every time Dan Carter is on screen?   (Him and that werewolf guy from Twilight). What’s up with that little biscuit Weepu leading the haka?  Are they trying to turn the haka into a comedy routine?  Because it really isn’t scary when Weepu leads it.  Damn, did I mention they’re too good for my liking?  Also, it would be pretty sweet to see an Aussie run up to Richie McCaw at the full time whistle, middle fingers extended, shouting “four more years, fellas, four more years”.  One more thing Graham Henry is a sour, sour man who reminds me of my high school physics teacher.  I didn’t like that guy.

France:

You know you hate them, because they just get your hopes up. They’re everything you want to them to be one week, and then the next they’re cold and woeful, leaving you feeling like you just got a lap-dance from a stripper who was crying.  You feel ashamed for believing in their promise.  And just when you’ve fully given up on them – they totally redeem themselves with a bit of magic in the backline.  The kind of magic you used to dream about when you were running barefoot in the back garden, rugby ball tucked under your little shoulder, picturing yourself covered in glory on a rugby field somewhere, someday.  Then they spit you out into the gutter.

Wales:

Yeah, yeah, they’re the plucky underdogs who’ve never made it to a final.  Still.  I don’t like them.  They’re too arrogant for a side that hasn’t done anything since the 1970s.   That’s forty years since you did anything of substance. You’ve beaten the Boks once in over a hundred years.  Once!  Wipe that smug smile off your face, Welsh rugby team.

Australia:

Quade Cooper. Enough said.  Also, teams with crap scrums should never win World Cups.  That’s just wrong.

The team at Big Daddy Rugby were very careful to padlock and secure their laptops for the Quade Cooper interview.

Wales v Ireland QF preview: You may as well just toss a coin…

Of all the quarter final matches this weekend I reckon the Wales v Ireland game is the toughest to call.

Quite simply both teams have looked “fecking great” so far, something I wasn’t expecting to being saying at this stage of the tournament.

I mean, before the first ball was kicked, how many of you would have put money on:

                    a) Ireland beating Australia?

                    b) Wales beating Fiji 66 – 0?

I’m guessing not a lot. I certainly didn’t.

To be honest Ireland looked fairly hopeless in their warm up games. They lost 4 from 4 remember? Seems a long way away from the rugby they’re playing now.

And what about the Welsh…well they did beat a somewhat experimental English team in Cardiff, but the question marks about their ability to mix it with the “Big Boys” and maybe more accurately, to mix it with “Big Boys” when it mattered still remained.

Fast forward a few weeks and what we have is an Irish team who basically “bitch slapped” the Aussies into submission (yes Aussie fans I realise there was no Pocock or Moore!!) and a Welsh side who have not only stepped up to the plate in terms of physicality (within 1 point of the Boks) but who have also managed to combine that with, gasp!, a little bit of attacking flair. Sexy Rugby, if you like.

These two sides are just so evenly matched and both have that not so insignificant factor the pros like to call “momentum”, that I just can’t decide which way I think it’s going to go.

What I can say though is that in Sean O’Brien and in Sam Warburton, in Brian O’Driscoll and in Jamie Roberts, in Tommy Bowe and in Shane Williams there are going to be some rather special players out on the field. Game of the weekend I reckon.

Is it too much of a cop-out to say that whatever the result, at end of the day as long as “rugby is the real winner” I’ll be happy? 😉

(Off the record: if I had a gun to my head and was forced to pick a winner I’d go with Ireland…only because my mate Mike is Irish and he’d be pissed if I tipped the Welsh).

It'll be tears for one of these two on Saturday...(don't let the Brazilian flag on her bosom fool you...she's a massive O'gara fan!)