Don't write off the Welsh!

2011-09-22 09:08

With New Zealand’s match against France looming this weekend as the biggest game of the tournament to date, former Wales captain Colin Charvis believes the clash between the hosts and the side that’s proved their World Cup nemesis, could well be a preview of the October 23 final.

Speaking exclusively to Sport24 and the Laureus Foundation, Charvis made the point that “suddenly (after the Australia result) we are guaranteed a southern hemisphere team in the final - unless France beat New Zealand this weekend. So a France-New Zealand final looks very possible. But maybe Wales could sneak through!”

Spoken in jest, perhaps, but the man who played 98 times for Wales has been impressed by a young side that came so close to upsetting defending champions South Africa, before seeing off Samoa.

“For a young side we are showing a lot of strength and tenacity. With two huge games played we need to stay focused and win the remaining two, probably leading to a quarter-final against Ireland, which will be winnable after the way we have played so far.”

That possible quarterfinal clash against Ireland, who have never progressed beyond the last eight of a World Cup, looks set to define the tournament for both teams, and Charvis is aware of the strengths of the Irish - as well as the limitations.

“Ireland have been responsible for the first upset of the World Cup,” the former skipper acknowledges.

“It was not pretty, but the way they beat Australia was comprehensive. You could see Australians looking at each other helpless to stop the Irish. An effective way to beat the Australia team, but is this style of rugby good enough to win Rugby World Cup 2011?

“The style of play is often dictated by the conditions for each match,” Charvis adds. “It will take a versatile team to raise the Webb Ellis Cup in a month’s time. We still need another round of games for coaches to establish their first choices and teams to lay down markers of intent to reach the final.”

That last round of matches will be the last for many of the teams, but 2011 has seen the minnows offer robust resistance and technically improved play against the established teams.

“The smaller nations have always had several players from the top leagues around the world. These players still shine and help galvanise the second tier teams,” Charvis suggests.

“The gap is closing due to their steep learning curve, but experience is still missing, as is seeing a win.”

Charvis also took time to commend the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation on the projects it has underway around the world, with Laureus Academy members such as Sean Fitzpatrick and Morne du Plessis supporting the global growth of the game. “Any project that offers an involvement in sport needs to be maintained,” Charvis commented.

“Sport enhances so many people’s lives, and the more people we can reach the better.”

An inspiring tournament in New Zealand will only help to spread the gospel of the game, as will performances of stand out performers; so far, Charvis likes “Nonu, Carter from New Zealand, and Warburton as a very young captain from Wales,” as players who’ve made an impact. But much as he’d love Warburton to lift the Webb Ellis Cup this time round, he concedes his money is elsewhere.

“New Zealand to win,” the big loose forward says with a wry smile; this weekend’s clash with France will go a long way to suggesting whether or not Colin Charvis has called it right.

For regular rugby updates from Laureus Academy Members including Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Lynagh, Morne du Plessis and Hugo Porta, visit


  • Marcus Daily - 2011-09-22 09:18

    Yeah Right! And the IRB plans on introducing a new rule inspired by singer Adele "Tackler not rolling in the deep".

  • rheinhardt.peens - 2011-09-22 09:20

    Sure!!! The boks never fired the first game and were lucky to win... But if that game was played now!!!!! Poor dragons wont make it past the last 8!!!

  • BigRed - 2011-09-22 09:23

    The average age of the Welsh boys is 5/6 years younger than most other teams (probably more if you take Shane Williams out of the equation;-), but he is an enigma and defies logic for size and age. In fact, the average age of the loose forwards against the Boks was just 21. The boys are fit and strong and are prepared to put their bodies on the line. Be that as it may, I think experience may just count against us in the knock out stages, if we make it.

  • phoenix - 2011-09-22 09:40

    For that to be conceivable, it will also have to be accepted that it will snow in hell!!!

  • Anon - 2011-09-22 10:13

    LOL!! Quote: "came so close to upsetting defending champions South Africa" Wales scored a lucky try off a forward pass and a received quite a few penalties that confused most people. The ref came so close, not you.

      BigRed - 2011-09-22 15:21

      Anon, Boks second try against Wales was made possible by the referee blocking the view of the Welsh defenders. If you don't believe me, watch the replay. As regards the Wales try, I think you need to consult the rules of what constitutes a forward pass. This may enhance your understanding: Then there is the question of Hook's penalty which was clearly in between the posts, even your own players agree. In the warm up games to the world cup Wales beat England and Argentine and have outscored all teams they have played against recently in tries for and tries against, apart from the last game against the Boks. Then considering the average age of the team, they're doing pretty well.

      BigRed - 2011-09-22 15:39

      Sorry Anon I gave you the wrong URL: Is the correct URL.

  • Kailif - 2011-09-22 11:11

    The press needs something to write about. Let's face it - Australia went into their game asleep and never woke up. Their superior attitude is what lost them the game; they thought it would be a walkover. RSA did the same. No more. As for the minnows doing so well initially; they'll soon play themselves out if they haven't done so already. Wales to go nowhere - Ireland to go into last 8. Don't even talk about a young Welsh team; 4 years ago they were not a young team and they still achieved nothing at the 2007 RWC. There are really only three possibilities - AB, Oz, RSA. Two more maybe's - France and England.

  • howard staunton - 2011-09-22 12:04

    The Irish play little rugby. :) Seriously, why when other times play 10-man rugby and win they get hailed as innovators, but when we neutralise expansive teams by grinding them we are called old-school dinos. Apparently the Irish also have the oldest team at the tournament.

  • Kevin - 2011-09-22 12:19

    Yeah ,Dream on . Wales and Ireland will never progress into the last 8 unless a weak pool allows it . Do not unpack your suitcase.

  • IQ - 2011-09-22 12:38

    Skaap is n Scooter en Moses was n cowboy!!

  • jon - 2011-09-22 13:26

    France and NZ final as in 87.

  • pages:
  • 1