Stage set for cut-throat climax

2011-09-28 12:40

Auckland -The stage is set for a weekend of cut-throat action at the Rugby World Cup as the pool stages reach a climax.

Italy's bonus point win over the United States on Tuesday set up a Pool C showdown with unbeaten Ireland in Wellington on Sunday with the winner going through to the quarter-finals.

A similar situation already exists for Pool B where Scotland take on England, Pool D where Wales meet Fiji, and in Pool A with France going up against Tonga.

The victorious Italians joined Ireland in Wellington on Wednesday morning with coach Nick Mallett warning that he was ready to unleash his ferocious pack once again to grab a first ever spot in the World Cup quarter-finals.

"If Italy's sitting with probably one of the best front rows in the world it would be really ridiculous not to use that strength," he said.

The Irish, who earlier defeated Australia 15-6 in the biggest upset of the tournament, are fully aware of the danger.

Forwards coach Gert Smal said of facing Italy this weekend: "It will be a much bigger scrum challenge than the Australia game.

"They're a heavier pack, (Martin) Castrogiovanni is a great scrummager. They've a very good front row and a heavy back five.

Ireland prop Tom Court added: "Italy would be regarded as one of the best scrums in the world, a very experienced front row.

"It's always tough against them. They are a very passionate bunch of guys and have a lot of pride about the scrum and base a lot of their play around it.

"But our boys should take a lot of confidence out of our last few games, the confidence is a high and we are on the right path."

Unlike Ireland, England can lose to Scotland and still go through if they are within seven points, but scrumhalf Ben Youngs has called for all thoughts to be on a fourth straight win for Martin Johnson's men.

"We need to be more hungry than what they'll be. We need to be more passionate than what they'll be. We need to match them physically and if we do that, we should be in a good place," he said.

"I expect the forwards will go hammer and tongs at each other and we'll see who comes out. But I'd always like to be behind our pack."

Over in the French camp players were saying they were treating their final pool match against Tonga in Wellington on Saturday like a straight knockout tie.

Marc Lievremont's men need just one point from the game, but they are wary of the Tongan challenge.

The Pacific islanders can still make it through to the last eight if they win by scoring four tries or more and deny France a defensive bonus point.

"We are looking at this match as if it were a last 16 round game," said lock Julien Pierre.

"We are still not sure of qualifying for the quarter finals and they are still in with a chance."

With the 2011 tournament nearing its knockout stages, there was already talk of the 2015 edition to be held in England and a dire warning that if things stay as they are there might not be an All Blacks team competing.

New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) chief Steve Tew said that New Zealand would consider pulling out of the competition unless commercial restrictions imposed on teams were revamped.

Tew said such a drastic and unprecedented step would be "the very last port of call" but it could not be ruled out, as current arrangements meant his organisation posted a loss every time the quadrennial tournament was held.

"That's obviously a last resort and our style is to be consultative, collaborative and to try to work with everybody to find a solution," Tew told Radio New Zealand when asked if the All Blacks could boycott the 2015 World Cup.

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  • Anneleen - 2011-09-28 12:51

    ...and the Bokke will be right there, playing their part...go Bokke!!!!!

      alexvanwyk - 2011-09-28 14:52

      Bring the cup home boytjies! Bokke!!! Gotta love this video

      Anneleen - 2011-09-28 14:59

      @alexvanwyk...thanks for the visiting an internet cafe as soon as possible...go Bokke!!!!!

  • aus_beats_sa - 2011-09-28 12:55

    @Anneleen.. yeah, eating chicken or beef after the aussies thrash them

      Anneleen - 2011-09-28 13:06

      @aus_beats_sa...ha-ha...think they already had chicken or beef on their flight over to NZ...? Boks forever!

      Hannes van der Linde - 2011-09-28 13:08

      You thought you were going to beat the Irish as well, hahahaha!!!

      BABaracus - 2011-09-28 13:28

      The Aussies choked on Irish stew, so don't talk too fast mate.

      Karien - 2011-09-28 13:55

      Aus beat SA and NZ's B-teams in the tri nations and now you think you're up for it? HA! Appart from losing to Ireland, you also lost to Samoa just before the tri-nations. Watch the Boks vs. Samoa match-up this weekend and you might get an idea as to how far fetched your summation is. Hahahaha!!!

      aus_beats_sa - 2011-09-28 14:07

      @Karien: Your right, I'm really really sorry for my comment. I'm sorry that all the intelligent people have left SA. I'm sorry that the best cricketers have left SA. And, I'm sorry that despite voting for the AWB you're still living in SA wearing ur "special khaki outfit", waving your "special flag" and singing your "special anthem." I'm sorry Karien. Your right, we lost to Samoa and Ireland but I'm sure we'll make up for it by blowing the boks away in windy Wellington. Sorry Karien.

      callan - 2011-09-28 14:54

      @aus_beats_sa.... What a childish, moronic response to Karien's comment..!! Try post positive constructive comments, or go play elsewhere, chop!

      oVaDoSe - 2011-09-28 15:43

      @aus_beats_sa I hope you have left SA!!!

  • Razz-ma-Tazz - 2011-09-28 13:05

    The log speaks for itself. AB ONLY team to have 15 points after 3 pool matches. Go ALL BLACKS Go..

      tHeOrAcLe - 2011-09-28 14:25

      Are you happy with that result, played only against nothing teams, AB's got an easy pool draw. So dont take anything from that. Boks will wipe the Allblacks and the Wannabees. We are the only team with big match temperament...

      tHeOrAcLe - 2011-09-28 14:32

      Same as in 2007 them what... ooops we chocked.

      tHeOrAcLe - 2011-09-28 14:34

      Just look at that photo of the trophy and see who's names are on it. SA twice Aus twice AB once 1st time when SA were not playing

      Andrew - 2011-09-28 20:29

      It's ignorant to think NZ are not big threats! It's a rugby crime that the Boks and NZ won't meet in the finals again.. That being said, Go Bokke! #allforgoodrugby

  • - 2011-09-28 13:14

    SA 34 - Samoa 10

  • HJS - 2011-09-28 13:17

    The NZRU already preparing an escape hatch for 2015, in case they crack this time (2011) like at previous tournaments. If they now already hint they might not play in 2015, they then safe from the same fate as previous RWC tournaments.

  • aus_beats_sa - 2011-09-28 13:23

    @Hannes I couldn't be bothered spelling ur name - yes we did, but now we'll do 2 u what our cricket team does to u every 4 years - knock u out of the world cup..

      BABaracus - 2011-09-28 13:33

      I don't remember Australia in the last cricket world cup final either, you obnoxious twat.

      aus_beats_sa - 2011-09-28 13:42

      @BABaracus - Cricket World Cups Aus - 4 SA - 0. You could have won in 1999 but choked (against us remember klusener and Donald). You could have won in 2003 but choked and forgot how to read the D/L table. You could have won in 2007 but choker (semi vs Aus). You could have won in 2011 but choked against or Trans-Tasman brothers - NZ. Still rather have 4 WC's than 0 buddy..

      BABaracus - 2011-09-28 14:04

      I'd still rather be who I am than an obnoxious, arrogant irritant like you.

      aus_beats_sa - 2011-09-28 14:12

      @BABaracus: :) You've got some heart man.. good on ya.. we aussies like that :) May the best team win in Windy Wellington :)))

      callan - 2011-09-28 15:03

      @aus_beats_sa, Get your day nurse to explain to you, very sloooowwwllly..... T h i s i s a r u g b y a r t i c l it?

      Shakes - 2011-09-28 16:08

      So you left SA for Oz, good on ya mate, glad the Ozzies are prepared to take in any old scum, now leave the rest of us alone.

  • aus_beats_sa - 2011-09-28 13:25

    @HJS, maybe the proteas should take a Cricket WC or 2 off :)

      Ashton - 2011-09-28 13:45

      Shame bud, rather let your rugby team do the talking on the field... you're only embarrassing yourself on here. You and your flop Quade Cooper... maybe they'll make the posts a little wider in the Russian game so he can kick a conversion or penalty. And leave cricket out of it - it's the RWC. Besides, as it stands, your cricket boys aren't looking too hot at the moment big mouth.

      aus_beats_sa - 2011-09-28 13:51

      @Ashton - Yeah but Quade's actually a New Zealander. Same as Beast is actually a Zimbo. I honestly feel SA is peaking way to early. Our cricket team has hammered yours over and over mate. We hammered u in the tri-nations. Only sport SA beats Aus in is hijacking/carjacking.

      Kailif - 2011-09-28 14:26

      Yip, Aus also beats RSA in sheep-shagging....

      Ashton - 2011-09-28 15:14

      You're right - our crime is pretty crap mate, it's something ALL South Africans wish they could change, and we're not proud of it. But i'm pretty sure i could come up with a few Aus problems that have nothing to do with sport... but this isn't the medium to bring those things up. As for Aus beating us in every sport, i bring your attention to the 2007 RWC winners (SA), and the fact that Aus haven't won the Super rugby competition since 2004 (a year after their last RWC win). As for Tri-Nations - well done this year - but you do know it's the first time you've won since 2001?? In that time SA won it twice and overall SA and Aus have both won it 3 times. So by the looks of it you guys don't seem that special or dominant at all... Just a thought.

      pants - 2011-09-29 09:03

      Auzie shackle draggers are going to get it stuck to them by the Boks.......

  • BABaracus - 2011-09-28 13:35

    If we could engineer a narrow loss against Samoa so they earn no bonus points, and come in second in our pool, it will make our life much, much easier, so we don't have to face Australia in the quarters and then, if we get through that, New Zealand in the semis. That is one hell of a tough ask. But I guess it's a bit too dangerous to play that kind of game...

      aus_beats_sa - 2011-09-28 13:46

      Petrified of facing Aus in the QF are we? Should be.. maybe the boks will pull a protea.. lol

      Jim - 2011-09-28 14:31

      SA arrogance delux you will have a similar problem against the Irish in the other group.

  • Good Advice - 2011-09-28 13:45

    Hahaha. We've never been afraid of the Aussies. In the big games we tend to knock them out. Don't get me wrong, I like the Aussies, I just don't think they've got it. This tournament will be embarrassed by pre-ejaculation! Aus will be knocked out before the semi's and S.A. will face the AB's in that BIG clash! When the final comes it'll seem as if you've already been "satisfied" ;-)

      aus_beats_sa - 2011-09-28 14:14

      Your poor wife mate. Thats just Bad Advice :)

  • marco - 2011-09-28 13:58

    "South Africa seem to have escaped from the spotlight during these first few weeks and have quietly gone about their show of strength. They're the most powerful team across the board and if New Zealand are to be stopped these are my tip to do it." Dean Ryan,SkySports pundit.

      JimbOb - 2011-09-28 15:06

      hear hear!!

  • gabasa - 2011-09-28 19:03

    I wonder if these are all adults on this site,these crap comments makes me wonder

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