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Old 21-02-2002, 09:40:30   #1
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Rugby Union world Cup Poll

England are currently regarded by many to be the best side in the world - but have we peaked too soon? Will we actually manage to win the World cup in 18 months time?

It's Poll Time!
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Old 21-02-2002, 09:48:33   #2
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There is some danger that we have peaked too soon but I would still back us for the trophy next time.
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Old 21-02-2002, 10:02:35   #3
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No. We'll cock up under the pressure like we always do in the 5 and 6 nations in the Grand Slam match.
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Old 21-02-2002, 10:05:49   #4
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Isn't it a bit too early to tell? 18 months seems a lot of time.
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Old 21-02-2002, 10:08:55   #5
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That's the whole problem - England have just become top in the rankings, but we've got another 18 months to go - can England maintain this top form for another season and a half? Will we bottle it yet again in the crunch grand slam matches as MikeH mentioned?
Also, consider that Australia have been weakened by the loss of several key players, South Africa have sacked yet another coach and New Zealand are in a period of "rebuilding" and you could say that the SH teams are not all at their peak at the moment, but then perhaps they'll all time their peaks for the World Cup in 18 months time, which is being held in NZ and Australia, home advantage...

Hmm!
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Old 21-02-2002, 10:11:01   #6
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If it's down there we definitely won't win it.
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Old 21-02-2002, 10:11:18   #7
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We have time to slump and peak again!
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Old 21-02-2002, 10:18:26   #8
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I agree with Mike, I reckon they'll crack under pressure as usual.
Besides, I'm Scottish and duty bound to say no to this question
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Old 21-02-2002, 10:41:13   #9
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The key match is France in Paris next up. The French are looking pretty poor this year. I don't see the Welsh beating England and I doubt Italy are really going to be in the same ballpark.

They key will be how England manage in Paris without Johnson enforcing in the scrum.

Can someone remind me of the score at Murrayfield this year?
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Old 21-02-2002, 10:59:51   #10
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I can't count that high.
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Old 21-02-2002, 11:04:18   #11
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Old 21-02-2002, 11:14:19   #12
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I dont think the french on current form are a major danger with or without johnson. If the team plays half as wel as they did last week they should win.

The real question is whos going to be last? wales or italy?

(and I voted no for the World cup - the SH will peak thay year as usual and we'll end up third or second or somthing like that.)
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Old 21-02-2002, 11:51:02   #13
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I'm going to stick my neck out and say England will win the WC. The squad we have now is very strong and Woodwood really seems to be able to inspire the players to play "What they See" rather than the Graham Henry "play this set way" type scheme.

I was worried that losing players like Dan Luger, Matt Perry, Lawrence Dallaglio and Matt Dawson would prove a real problem, but the squad has genuinely absorbed all these problems and I think become stronger. Thompson at hooker is a real bright spark, Hill and Back will still be real game winners in the back row and I'm really impressed with Ben Kay. I guess yes the only question mark is over the 2nd row and how we cope without Johnson.

Bracken is playing the best form of his career as far as I can remember, and Duncombe is a great talent. Wilko just gets better every game, Shaggy Greenwood is enjoying a real rennaissance in the centre now he's moved across and Tindall sems to work well there in the pairing with him. The back three are awesome - Robinson, Healey and Cohen all can break any defence, and don't forget that we still have Perry, Balshaw (should he ever rediscover his form) and Luger (should he ever not be injured!) as cover. I guess the only question mark in the backs really is what happens if Wilko gets injured? Also, Robinson can quite happily play at any possition in the backs, along with Healey, and cause a real nuisance.

Finally, I believe this team has the mental fortitude to not bottle it. They have been ruthless in recent games and have a rock solid defence. Yes, we came off the gas against Ireland, but that doesn't matter. We held our nerve against Aus and SA in both sets of Autumn Internationals in the last 2 years. With Johnson around they have that ruthless competitive edge that isn't normally part of the English sporting psyche.

Rock on England. I'd really like to see Robinson vs Lomu at Twickenham. Can't wait for the Autumn Internationals this year...
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Old 21-02-2002, 13:38:43   #14
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Are we still going to the Rugby next weekend?
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Old 21-02-2002, 14:43:33   #15
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I voted NO for two reasons:

1 - The loss to Ireland in Dublin shows that this very talented team still has a weakness when it comes to high pressure games.

2 - England have yet to prove themselves against the best SH side, The All Blacks.

If England beat the All Blacks before the WC I will change my vote to YES, but for now I will just say they definitely have a good chance of winning.
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Old 21-02-2002, 16:00:05   #16
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Fair play Calli - however in our defence - Ireland had already played 2 other 6N games before the Eng game, Eng had come in completely unprepared and we had already won the 6N championship, just not the Grand Slam.

I'd love to see Eng v NZ before the WC, I'm amazed we haven't played you since 1998. Bring on this October, it will be a classic!

MikeH- do you mean when you come up to visit with Dave, I thought that was March 16th? If so, then yes defniitely if you want to: Quins v Newcastle at The Stoop. By the way, I got in touch with Rob, he's definitely coming along!
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Old 21-02-2002, 16:02:00   #17
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16th? Shit. I got all confused then...

I think I just arranged a band practice for 16th, I'll move it to the Sunday.
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Old 21-02-2002, 16:02:37   #18
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What's this thread about?
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Old 21-02-2002, 16:05:03   #19
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Cheesewire.
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Old 21-02-2002, 16:08:53   #20
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Thought so.
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Old 21-02-2002, 16:31:17   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by FunkyFingers
Fair play Calli - however in our defence - Ireland had already played 2 other 6N games before the Eng game, Eng had come in completely unprepared and we had already won the 6N championship, just not the Grand Slam.

I'd love to see Eng v NZ before the WC, I'm amazed we haven't played you since 1998. Bring on this October, it will be a classic!
For sure! I cant wait to see it.

Im hoping NZ will win of course.
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Old 21-02-2002, 21:32:27   #22
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Personally I think it's too early to say. The only thing I will say is that although England have beaten the Aussies the last two times they played, both were only one-off tests weren't they, and both away from home? And one to a rather dodgy try?

Recently Australia has had an appalling record of playing single tests away from home, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. But try and beat us at home, it's a different story. England are certainly up there, in the top rank of betting with the SH sides, but I wouldn't like to predict quite yet who is going to win. It'll be out of us, the sheepshaggers and the Poms though.
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Old 21-02-2002, 22:04:21   #23
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Since when were the Welsh in contention?
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Old 22-02-2002, 00:32:59   #24
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Advice to the English: Wisden Cricket still has you ranked at number 3 for test playing nations. You aren't. Neither have you proved you're number one in rugby, for two reasons:

1) You haven't played New Zealand recently
2) You've beaten a lot of good teams AT HOME, on their end of year tours.

If anything, Australia has showed that they are on track for the world cup with their demolition last year of the Lions and then their last minute clinching of the Tri-Nations. New Zealand might be back to the strength of old in 18 months time, but at the moment we are experimenting with new combinations and a new forward pack, and while we can beat Ireland and Argentina at home, it's a risk to predict anything.

South Africa, of course, would stand a chance of winning the world cup if it was being played in South Africa, but as it's not they can be safely discounted.

So, Aussie is playing the pressure rugby when it counts at the moment, they get a semi-final and a final at home surrounded by 100000 screaming, singing Aussie fans, and a one-off loss to a European side in Europe at the end of the season is not a true indicator of their power.

(Of course, they've just lost John Eales, so in reality they're totally fucked.)

New Zealand will win the World Cup
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Old 22-02-2002, 00:40:36   #25
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Bear in mind that, no matter that we beat them at home, the Aussies had to resort to spoiling tactics against us and the South Africans looked petrified.

And, Shiny, your lot are welcome anytime, I’m sure. Come to Fortress Twickenham, please, it would be a good game.

Beating the Lions is nothing—Henry’s gone now, so that shows what a mess he made of that. The Lions under Henry would have been beaten by England under Woodward.
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Old 22-02-2002, 00:59:35   #26
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I am yet to see the British beat Australia, the sheepshaggers or the Box at home or away in a three test series, it has all been single one off matches in the case of Aus and the Box, or not at all for the Kiwis.

I am not writing them off by any means, but I also do not believe that they have "proven" themselves as the best rugby team in the world.

Especially as Wisden's rankings can be misleading. For instance in the cricket, even if we beat South Africa 3-0 away on top of the 3-0 drubbing we gave them at home, they have the chance to overtake us later in the year as they play a few extra series. Now tell me how that makes sense again? Rankings are just somebody's guess at how the teams stack up, a vague indication of how the teams stack up in relation to each other. They can't be used to determine who will or won't win a particular match or a World Cup.

Having said that, England are definately in the top 3 sides in the world, which is a good thing to see.
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Old 22-02-2002, 01:03:38   #27
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Australia making way, are they? .
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Old 22-02-2002, 01:45:06   #28
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Sean: In the words of the Ogre-mages: "We're on our way"

My point was that England need to beat someone OUTSIDE of Fortress Twicky Wicky, especially since the next world cup is going to be played in the heat of an Australian winter (with a few games in New Zealand if you are really unlucky with your draw).

I think the jury will never be in on Graham Henry's Lions. Certainly, his Welsh didn't do well recently, but then no coach after 3-4 years is really top notch. They burn out after a while unless they start to show results.
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Old 22-02-2002, 02:09:02   #29
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I think Graham Henry did a fantastic job with the Welsh. Because of him they had their first ever victory against SA. Bloody ingrates
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Old 22-02-2002, 10:41:19   #30
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He did a terrible job with the Lions though. We got overrun in the second half of all three tests, gives a lot of credence to Lions claims that the training was too severe and leaving them too tired to perform to their best in the tests.

I don't think we have a hope of winning the World Cup but, we'd only have to win one off games not best of 3s.
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Old 22-02-2002, 10:56:06   #31
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Don't ever try and make Graham Henry look like a success at Wales or the Lions. Injury and bad coaching robbed the Lions of victory, that and the Aussies appalling "professionalism" in the latter two tests. Do not get me started on how many times the Aussies, when a player had been sin-binned started deliberetely collapsing scrums and feigning injury in order to waste time, oh and of course your constant blatant off side, and your constant use of obstruction in the midfield...

I'm not bitter of course

Actually I'd say we finally lost the Lions tour when Richard Hill got injured. And when Dallaglio got injured. And when Luger got injured. And when Healey got injured. And when Dawson got injured. And when Balshaw got injured. And when Henry couln't let the players play the way they needed to but to his "set plan", and when he inexplicably picked 5+ Wales players in his starting lineup.

The Lions would have won under Geeky, or under Woodwood, of that I'm absoloutely certain.



As to the accusation that England only beat Aus because of a dodgy try - what rot, what half baked drivel!
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Old 22-02-2002, 23:10:59   #32
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It's possible that Henry trained the players too hard before the games. It's also just possible that he took a pack of soft ass British players and gave them their only chance at all of beating Australia at home. After all, many of the complaints seemed to be along the lines of not being allowed time off to go and play golf, see the sites, etc. It's called a tour, but they shouldn't be acting like tourists.

Like the English cricketers here at the moment. They stepped off the plane and onto a golf course, recovering from the 'rigors' of India (no golf courses?). Then they get beaten 2-0 including their second worst loss ever. A wakeup call that gets them training seriously, and would you believe it, they win the next game.

I don't buy Henry being at fault for losing to the Aussies. He's the coach, he makes the calls and the team follows them, instead of whinging about how they want to do things differently. After all, you're trying to BEAT the Aussies, with all their wonderful illegal runners and brutality and a fair whack of actual talent as well. So sometimes you have to have a plan that doesn't involve playing as you want, and it works better that way because the Aussies are too expert at stopping teams playing their own style.
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Old 22-02-2002, 23:16:27   #33
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But we lost playing the different system (POD?), so that argument’s shot.
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Old 22-02-2002, 23:42:42   #34
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And he didn't play the best players in the squad. The best Lions team is England with a few players from the other nations in weak positions... there is no way that there are 5 Welsh players that would get into the England side and certainly shouldn't be 5 Welsh players in a Lions side.

It's possible that's what happened but if you look at the difference between the SA Lions tour and the Australian Lions tour and the difference in talent available I think you can only blame the coaching staff.

Henry was good at the start for Wales but recently he's been terrible.
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Old 23-02-2002, 00:05:57   #35
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Heh. Sounds like if Woodward had gone, it WOULD have been England (in funny red shirts) vs. Australia.
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Old 23-02-2002, 00:08:17   #36
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Wrong! Humphries would have played .
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Old 23-02-2002, 00:40:25   #37
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This is like the time 14 Aucklanders got selected for an All Black squad and the rest of the country just about cut them off.

Ireland had a few good players at that time as well, or had you forgotten?

I guess the mark of a great British or Irish team is that you don't have any Kiwis in your side.

Poor Scotland...
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Old 23-02-2002, 00:49:23   #38
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Whoops, meant O'Driscoll, who, like Humphreys, is Irish, but for some reason I get them confused. Odd, as one is a centre and the other a fly-half.
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