Copehead's RWC thread NOW IN ITS 14TH GREAT YEAR

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks
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andymacandy
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Postby andymacandy » 10 Sep 2003, 12:25

copehead wrote:Well Scotland have announced their squad and the big suprise is that " the Chainsaw ", i.e. tartan kiwi Brendan laney has been dropped for being a bit crap, even though he has played in the last 9-10 tests. How's that for consistancy.

Better late than never-not a maxim Id apply to Laneys play however.
At least they worked it out before the WC.
I cant decide how bad we really are.We played pretty well against Ireland, first half, but there was no penetration at all.We had loads of posession, but just passed it back and forth along the line before the law of averages dictated that somebody would turn it over.Geech needs to concentrate on what we do well.Line outs, and scrapping around the edges.
Oh and a kicker might be useful.....even if only to start dropping goals when we can't cross the line.
Catt over Healey?I can only imagine that Austin is still not fully fit, as he's the ideal cover man for a squad campaign.Not the best in any position, but tolerably good all across the back line.Maybe he's seen as disruptive.
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Postby Arthur Crud » 11 Sep 2003, 00:44

kiwi_todd wrote:I see that Mike Catt has been selected in the English squad.
We love Mike Catt in New Zealand.


None moreso than me and my mates - we delight in making "my cat" jokes all the way through the games he plays in.....y'know "My cat could have done better" etc etc or we just simply play a game where you swap "my cat" for "Mike Catt" whenever the commentary team mention his name.

You really do have to be there to experience the mirth, and it does seem funnier in those middle of the night games where one might have been imbibing a bit of the old amber nectar during the lead up. And it helps if you're on the right drugs. But apart from that anyone can join in.......

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Postby Copehead » 11 Sep 2003, 02:47

kiwi_todd wrote:I see that Mike Catt has been selected in the English squad.
We love Mike Catt in New Zealand. The single most played rugby moment on NZ television is Jonah Lomu running over the top of him in the 95 semi final. England may have a very good 15 or even 22 but the talent must taper out pretty quickly after that, and it's a long hard tournament.


I think sadly that Englands talent doesn't taper off after the 22, as they showed when as a 2nds/3rds team beat USA, Canada, Wales and lost by a point to a full France side over the summer. Look at the quality of the playes they dropped from the 35, 3 lions Rowntree, Shaw and Healey and 2 of the most exciting new talents in world rugby Simpson-Daniel and Forrester, that shows the 3 strength in depth, I think they now have the deepest squad in the world for quality.

As for Catt, people forget that when England were scoring hatfulls of tries 2 seasons ago the backline was; wilkinson, catt, Greenwood.

He has always been maligned but he is worth his place on talent.

So he got run over by Lomu, what world class back hasn't.

I think he strengthens the team much more than Healey would, he is a better fly half and england don't need cover at wing of scrum half ( healeys other positions )

Some people just like to hate Catt, they generally don't know what they are on about, he would walk into the Welsh or Scottish first teams, only Ireland out of the Celtic sides could dispense with him

If fully fit and back to his best even South Africa would probably throw envious glances when you look at Koen.

Pity his mum wasn't welsh is all I can say
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Postby Copehead » 11 Sep 2003, 03:04

having said all that he is still lucky to be in the side. He is there because;

a) King and ( especially ) Hodgkinson ( who IS class ) are injured
b) Walder is too inexperianced
c) Healey isn't an international standard out half

Therefore catt is the third best outside half available to woodward
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Postby Nikki Gradual » 11 Sep 2003, 08:37

copehead wrote:
Some people just like to hate Catt, they generally don't know what they are on about


That's me, that is
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Postby andymacandy » 11 Sep 2003, 11:22

copehead wrote:having said all that he is still lucky to be in the side. He is there because;

a) King and ( especially ) Hodgkinson ( who IS class ) are injured
b) Walder is too inexperianced
c) Healey isn't an international standard out half

Therefore catt is the third best outside half available to woodward


Possibly, but Id say his injury record alone makes him suspect.Even if what is said (and I mean the more positive elements!) about him is true, he's been very fragile throughout his career.
The other thing I would question ( and really only as a discussion starter) is do England have another stand off who can step into JWs shoes, given that much of the way England play is centred upon his versatility and outstanding ability.I really question if England could beat any of the big teams with Grayson or Catt at No.10.I guess its the only downside of having such a talent- he casts a bigger shadow if he's missing.
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Postby Copehead » 12 Sep 2003, 02:44

That's correct it is a huge problem when you have an overwhelmingly important figure in a team, as JW is percieved to be for England.

Playing Grayson would be detrimental to their chances, but how much? I bet Woodward hopes he never has to find out. I'd prefer catt in there if I was selecting he is a lot more composed on the ball a better passer and a fantastic kicker from hand.

NZ have a similar problem with Spencer who is class, where as his back up is solid.

Aus have no problem they have a plethora of outhaves of similar quality.

France have no one, Michelak is a talent, but a raw one, not good at a world cup

Koen?? even his kicking fell away towards the end of the tri nations.
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Postby Mr Pleasant » 12 Sep 2003, 13:59

copehead wrote:having said all that he is still lucky to be in the side. He is there because;

a) King and ( especially ) Hodgkinson ( who IS class ) are injured


Na, Hodgkinson was a crap full-back !
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Postby Bucolic Old Sir Henry » 13 Sep 2003, 00:58

This one's specially for Nikki... (sent to me by a rabid England supporter, I might add).

On a tour of Wales, the Pope took a couple of days off his itinerary to
visit the coast near Cardiff on an impromptu sightseeing trip.

His 4X4 Popemobile was driving along the golden sands when there was an enormous commotion heard just off the headland. They rushed to see what it was and upon approaching the scene the Pope noticed just outside the surf, a hapless man wearing an English Rugby jersey, struggling frantically to free himself from the jaws of a twenty-foot shark.

At that moment a speedboat containing three men wearing Welsh rugby tops roared into view from around the point. Spontaneously, one of the men took aim and fired a harpoon into the shark's ribs, immobilising it instantly. The other two reached out and pulled the Englishman from the water and then, using long clubs, beat the shark to death.

They bundled the bleeding, semi conscious man into the speed boat along with the dead shark and then prepared for a hasty retreat, when they heard frantic shouting from the shore. It was of course the Pope, and he summoned them to the beach.

Upon them reaching the shore the Pope went into raptures about the rescue and said, "I give you my blessing for your brave actions. I had heard that there were some racist xenophobic people trying to divide Wales and England, but, now I have seen with my own eyes this is not true. I can see that your society is a truly enlightened example of racial harmony and could serve as a model on which other nations could follow."

He blessed them all and drove off in a cloud of sand.

As he departed, the harpoonist asked the others, "Who was that???!"

"That," one answered, "was his Holiness the Pope. He is in direct contact
with God and has access to all God's wisdom."

"Well," the harpoonist replied, "he knows fuck all about shark hunting.
How's that bait holding up or do we need to get another one?"

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Postby Copehead » 13 Sep 2003, 03:21

Mr Pleasant wrote:
copehead wrote:having said all that he is still lucky to be in the side. He is there because;

a) King and ( especially ) Hodgkinson ( who IS class ) are injured


Na, Hodgkinson was a crap full-back !


He may be a crap full back, but he is a classy out half, and a good back up for JW if he wasn't injured
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Postby Earthling » 13 Sep 2003, 06:20

Magilla wrote:Some good news: the playing surface at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, has just been ripped up and removed.

Early this year, new turf and grass was laid, but some bozo also had the bright idea of including a huge amount of sand everywhere.
This resulted in an extremely soft, spongy surface and a lot of injuries. Also, there were lots of sand clouds, small sand piles everywhere, it was just atrocious.
The rocket scientists that run the place assure us that it'll be fixed in time for the RWC. They also deny responsibility for injuries and are passing the buck to the contractors that installed the sandpit... :roll:

Whatsforteamum, can you elaborate / comment on this further?


Magilla is quite correct. The turf of Suncorp is being peeled (See below).

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This ground, home to the Brisbane Broncos Rugby League team has been totally redeveloped. But the original turf was a problem. The Broncos only won one of their last nine games on it.
The latest news from Brisbane, experiencing unseasonally hot dry weather, is that the replacement turf will be no better. So the Stadium Trust decided it might be better abandon the grass altogether and turn the stadium into the largest Beach Volleyball arena in the world.
The other reason of course, is that this is the only way Australia ( a land generously bestowed with fabulous sandy beaches) will get any advantage in the lead up games to the World Cup. Romania will find it tough going in the dunes, as will England in their game against the unpredictable Uruguayans. The Fijians, Tongans and Samoans will revel in it of course, and it will save them from the prohibitive cost of having to wear football boots. South African forwards will be eager to grab handfuls of the golden grit to squash into their eyes of their scrum opponents. The All Blacks will haka into it well before the game, but their speedy backline will be drybogged before getting to the advantage line.
So. Good news obviously for some, but not all!

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Postby Copehead » 15 Sep 2003, 07:17

Thomas Categnaide made a good point in yesterdays Observer:
He pointed out that any team that is going to win the cup has to win 3 huge games in quick succession.

He thought that France who have to play Argentina/Australia/Ireland, England, New Zealand probably would win 2 out of those 3 matches, but probably, due to inconsistency and lack of back up to 1st 15, wouldn't win all three.

He thought only England and New Zealand had the depth and strength of character to win 3 huge games in 3 weeks.

On a lighter note, it is nice to see the captaincy of wlaes being passed around like a poison chalice.

When the music stopped Colin Charvis was left without a chair and is now captain
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Postby Magilla » 22 Sep 2003, 07:52

How well do you rate Australia's chances of retaining the Webb-Ellis Cup?

I think they'll make it as far as the semis, but will lose. Their build-up has been less than ideal: several losses to teams they're likely to face sooner or later during the WRC, coach Eddie Jones and captain George Gregan under a lot of pressure and criticism from the Aussie media and public, too many ex-league players involved...

I also think they've made the mistake the All Blacks made in '91 and '99 - too many players there on reputation, not form, with many also being a year or two past their peak.

The Wallabies will rise to the ocassion, take inspiration from a rabid home crowd, etc, but I just can't see them going beyond the semis.
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Postby Copehead » 22 Sep 2003, 17:46

I totally agree.
They are not going to be push overs but they havn't had a settled side all summer, a whole string of players coming back from injury, ill advised mucking about in the backs ( Steve Kefu ! ) earlier in the year. They havn't had time to get the ( possibly brilliant ) back line working as a unit, it remains to be seen whether being in the toughest qualifying group will help them settle down or not.
They also have the weakest pack of any of the top nations. Front row are laughable, second row OK, back row fast but lightweight.
If you look at englands pack you see 7 big men, all ball carriers ( 8 if moody pays instead of Back ), all footballers. Now the Wals have lost Kefu, and Finnegan is not his old self, they look very lightweight for taking the ball up, they may have to use their big backs, Sailor etc, to that job, and if they are doing that they are not out wide where they should be. So I can forsee big problems.
If they make the semis I can see the ABs pack rolling them over, and the ABs have backs who are even more talented wide out, ony Umaga looks out of his depth and that is because of the talent around him.
Having said that, if they play to their strengths, quick ball out to the talent in the backs, I can see them making the semis, if it goes the other way they won't make it out of the group, the Argies and Ireland both have strong packs who can dominate, That group will be very interesting.

So to sum up, I'd be very suprised if the Wals won the RWC, I'd put them in the second rank with Ireland, Argentina and SA. With England, NZ and France in the front rank.
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Postby The Write Profile » 22 Sep 2003, 23:10

I'm going to come to this thread late in the piece...
here's my views on the matter
1. S Africa have got no chance, they're a total mess

2. England's backs are average at best, and without Johnny Wilkinson, they don't have any real flair in that department. Australia has hard tracks, so you better be damn sure to run it fast, and wide. I don't see England doing that

3. NZ has the best backline in the world. bar none. It's official. Joe Rockoko, Aaron Maugher, Dan Carter, Dog Howlett, Tana Umanga, Carlos Spencer
As soon as they string together a set-piece they walk all over everyone else. Their 50-point wins against Australia and SAfrica are testament to this.

4. NZ's line-out throwing is shocking, and Spencer is amazing backline runner/kicker, but as a place-kicker he's mediocre. It could be a hinderance in later rounds

5. England has the best foward pack in the world, they're gritty as one thing, but professional fouls seem to rule the roost at times-much like the hugely dominant NZ foward pack of 1996-97

6. Australia, and not England are NZ's greatest threat. The two teams are evenly matched in playing tactics, though I fear Australia may be getting on in years, and without Kefu they will struggle at times. But they're a great team, and you should never count them out.

The Right Profile's predictions for semi-finalists

NZ, England, Australia and France

England are a great side indeed, you don't win 20 games in a row without being tight and coherent, but have they peaked?
Possibly
Let's hope so :wink:
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Postby Nikki Gradual » 23 Sep 2003, 08:39

I reckon that's a pretty fair summary and I was particularly interested in the stuff about the packs. As an England supporter I find it pretty worrying that, however talented our team is, for the last 10 or 15 years, tactically all we seem capable of doing is emulating the southern hemispere (and particularly New Zealand) but less well. NZ started bunging big powerhouse forwards in the line and crashing through (or at least setting it up in the centre of the park) and so England adopted that and did it to overkill when there could be four or five pack players all getting in eachother's way in the middle of the back line. The problem is, by the time England get any of these tactics right, everyone else has moved on and learned how to cope with it. This is the way it always seems to be.
I think you are a little harsh on our backs, many of them are supremely talented (and scintillatingly quick), but not in a way that will shine in modern rugby. We have superb runners, but that's not enough now all defences cover the pitch so well, and we only have a couple of genuine tackle-breakers (Cohen and Greenwood) which is the key to breaking the gameline today. That will be their downfall.
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Postby andymacandy » 23 Sep 2003, 09:30

Couple of points;
If everyone agrees that Spencer only lacks in the place kicking, dont they have anybody else that could play at 11-15 that could do it?
You have to feel sorry for Ireland-at full strength, they would have been a wildcard match for anybody,certainly top of the second division, but to have lost so many world class players before the off is a tragedy for them, and the spectator.I couldn't help thinking, as they trampled Scotland a couple of weeks ago, that the significant difference between the teams was a willingness to go where it hurts -and it has hurt them.
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Postby Nikki Gradual » 23 Sep 2003, 09:35

The Ireland injuries are very sad. To lose a player or two is to be expected but to lose some which would cruise into my personal world 15 (or the squad at least) must be gutting for them. I really enjoy the way they play too. The Irish don't seem to have any good luck. Ever.
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Postby Magilla » 23 Sep 2003, 10:24

andymacandy wrote:Couple of points;
If everyone agrees that Spencer only lacks in the place kicking, dont they have anybody else that could play at 11-15 that could do it?
You have to feel sorry for Ireland...but to have lost so many world class players before the off is a tragedy for them...


With regard to Spencer's place-kicking, fullback Ben Blair and mid-field utlility Daniel Carter (both kicking under-studies to the dropped Andrew Mehrtens at Canterbury) have been included in the NZ squad to cover for this.
The only problem is finding a place for them: first choice fullback Mils Miliaina and second-five Aaron Mauger are in top form and, barring an unlikely form slump, won't be dropped.
Still, if Spencer's having a poor time kicking, Mitchell hopefully won't hesitate to bring them on.

As for Ireland, I feel damn sorry for 'em too. Is Keith Woods among the injured? I hope not, as he's an inspirational player and captain.
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Postby Copehead » 23 Sep 2003, 14:44

I can't agree with Rightprofile that England are tactically unimaginative and have average backs.

They seem to be able to play any sort of game plan at the moment. The 3 games over the summer we're all played differently dependant on opposition and weather. They have the best pack in the world and a very decent set of backs. Jason robinson would walk into any team in the world, including the ABs and we all know it. Greenwood is a fantastic try creator and scorer. Cohen is the form wing in the world and he has experiance and strong defence that Rockococo doesn't.

I think you underestimate england at your peril. Surely destroying Australia away should have taught the aussies something.

It is true that England play a very " professional " game, i.e. cheat, but the best sides always do. Shelfords ABs were very " pragmatic"

I think the RWC has come too early for what may become a great AB side, this England side is at their peak, they are the best in the world and I gice them a 75% chance of winning the world cup
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