category: rugby news

Fiji accept Mission Impossible

Stuart Barnes2/10/07

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 work out...

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 South Africa.

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, Fiji?

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 | Comment on this article

Stuart Barnes

Still fighting 15/10/07
Fiji accept Mission Impossible 2/10/07
No time for complacency 24/9/07
Step forward for Boks 16/9/07
Minnows impress 10/9/07
World Cup wonders 5/9/07
Stuart Barnes' dream XV 2/9/07
The gloom deepens 20/8/07
Backs to the wall 13/8/07

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