It’s not going well, is it? Two games in against the weakest sides in the pool and we’ve barely managed to scrape by.
The game against Namibia was atrocious, with far too many handling errors and too many tactical mistakes. It was like watching a car crash in slow motion. Luckily, we managed to escape that game with a bonus point because of a try that shouldn’t have been.
In some ways, the game against Georgia was even worse. Our handling was slightly better, but tactically, Eddie O’Sullivan got it wrong, and Georgia were able to take us on physically. If it wasn’t for some last ditch defending and quite a bit of luck, we would have lost that game. Georgia played out of their skins, and there’s a valid argument that they deserved to win that game.
France are up next, and we have to win. If we don’t, then we face the possibility of trying to get a bonus point win over Argentina in the final pool game. Considering that we are not playing rugby, a bonus point win in the last game is an unattainable goal. At the moment, just beating France is looking like it’s a step too far.
I don’t think we are going to do it. I don’t think we’ll beat France, and I don’t think we’ll beat Argentina. I’ll be a nervous wreck watching both games because I sincerely hope I’m wrong.
What a game that was. In all my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined that Ireland would put England to the sword in the manner they did. Apart from the first couple of minutes, this was Ireland’s game. This was Ireland playing the way that we know they can. This was Ireland’s biggest ever win over England. This was England’s worst loss in the 5 or 6 Nations. Ever. This game was glorious.
Ireland fully deserved the margin of victory. They were worth every point. Ronan O’Gara’s place kicking was immaculate. The forwards put in a herculean effort to deny England any space – whether they were going forward or defending. The backs were mercurial. Backs and forwards clicked in the same manner as they did against Australia in the November Internationals.
While Jonny Wilkinson did make an impact on the game (he was the top tackler in the match), he was generally denied any meaningful attempts at goal. He scored two penalties from 3 attempts, and one conversion. Compare that to Ronan’s 5 penalties and 3 conversions. Then factor in that we out-scored England by 4 tries to 1. Add to that the fact that we were on top of England in almost every department, and you have a record-breaking result. Here are the full match stats, if you’re interested.
Ireland are now 9 – 1 for the World Cup and 2 – 1 for the 6 Nations. France have England away and Scotland at home to face, and Ireland have Scotland and Italy away, so I’d say that the odds of us winning the 6 Nations are rather long. Though, here’s hoping that England do us a favour. Though I don’t see it happening, do you?