England, no chance, France, just as non
existent, Fiji, don't make me laugh.
Which leaves Scotland and Argentina as the
one competitive quarter-final, although
Argentina would be 20-point favourites if
they were called `France' instead of
Argentina...looks glum viewing for the
Northern Hemisphere reading the form lines.
There seems little hope but then I remember
Fiji in Nantes and I think anything can
happen. Whether we will see a game like that
again is doubtful but it is a classic
reminder that sport is a live event and the
past, no matter how recent, is no guarantee
of future success.
France might be better away from Paris,
where New Zealand have resoundingly thumped
them in recent years. In Cardiff the
underdog tag might suit them and help repeat
the 1999 stunner between the two countries.
Maybe the All Blacks are light of a serious
As for Fiji, what a wondrous effort but
surely the Springboks will squeeze the life
from the Fiji pack in a way Wales did not.
It cost Gareth Jenkins his job yet I reckon
he was right to play with one eye on the
South African horizon. Wales would have won
in Nantes had they been tighter from the
start but they sought a game to challenge
Erroneous short term, he has paid the price
for having some courage. I have not been
convinced by Jenkins as a coach for some
time, but in his moment of demise, I feel
sorry for him. He went out doing it right.
England? Well the tight five will have to
play out of their skin and Wilkinson have an
unforgettable day with the boot. I don't see
this scenario unfolding but then again,
And finally Scotland...Argentina are still
calling themselves underdogs but in winning
Pool D they are deservedly strong favourites.
Their line out can be tested and the
composure of star players like Felipe
Contepomi tweaked - a few penalties and with
the best boot in the business in Chris
Paterson, it's the most probable shock
scenario but Argentina are improving.
I have a sneaking feeling they have a
greater role yet to play in a tournament
which is ready to ignite....
STUART BARNES |
SKY Sports | Tuesday, 2 October 2007 |
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