Ireland 36 – Italy 6

After an impressive rally against Italy in the second half, Ireland guaranteed themselves a quarter-final place, but it took a fair amount of grinding before they finally started to get on top.  Selecting O Gara and Murray was the right decision, but it took a while before Ireland got into the rhythm and started releasing the big ball carriers like Ferris and O Brien.  BOD finally nailed it with a try in the 47th minute after a great run and offload from Tommy Bowe.  Keith Earls celebrated his 24th birthday with two great tries but Bowe was denied a perfectly legal try and an obvious penalty try in the final minutes.  In the end, Ireland outclassed Italy in every department, and even though it was a physical, even dirty, performance by Italy, there weren’t any serious injuries.   Paul O Connell was withdrawn as a precaution to save his niggling hamstring and Best took a bang on the collarbone, but other than that, all seems well.   [Update.  I spoke too soon.  It looks like Best might have a broken collarbone.]

The line-up of the final eight is interesting.

Ireland meet Wales, probably the toughest of the Six Nations teams, and the winner of that will meet whichever side comes out of the England-France encounter.  I have to say, neither of those teams has been particularly impressive.   France lost to Tonga yesterday and England were lucky to scrape past Scotland.

On the other side of the draw, Australia meet South Africa while New Zealand come up against Argentina.  Now that their talisman Dan Carter has been ruled out of the competition after a bad groin injury, the All Blacks are in disarray, which is a bit strange in many ways.  You’d imagine that the supposedly best team in the world wouldn’t be so dependent on one player, even if that man is himself arguably the most complete player in the world.  One way or another, New Zealand should come out the winner, but they’ll be bruised and battered after a full-on clash with Argentina.  Likewise, whoever gets out of the other southern hemisphere match will be thoroughly softened up.

So how does that work out?

Well, in theory, if we beat Wales, we could meet either France or England in the semi-final..  On current form, neither is a terrifying prospect.  Therefore, we could, conceivably find ourselves in the final, against either New Zealand, Australia, Argentina or South Africa.  I’ll stick my neck out and predict an Australia-New Zealand semi-final, with Australia winning.

I know it’s a big leap to imagine Ireland in the RWC final, but we’re now two games away from that position.  We could be playing Australia for the second time in this tournament.


27 thoughts on “Ireland 36 – Italy 6

  1. Perfect stuff from 1 to 22.Management got it spot on also from start to finish,made all the right calls on tactics,substitutions and showed a willingness to adapt to a changing game as it progressed.Murray really shaping up to be a truly exceptional scrumhalf.Pope called our backrow the best in the world.
    Can’t believe how dirty the Italians were,no need for it,its attritional enough without sticking your fingers in someones eyes.Did the Italians do the same to Kaplan before the match I wonder,Ray Charles would’ve done a better job on some of those calls,2 legitimate tries disallowed?Lets hope we dont have the fucker(or Poite for that matter) against the Welsh,we all know what happened the last time.

  2. no way Ireland will win the world cup. They’ll ( I won’t say “we” as I’m not in the match day squad) bottle it again, but the fact the rest are all so sh*te, Ireland might be in with half a chance……..

  3. I reckon we’ll win it. Why the fuck not.
    We just need a bit of manic aggression and lots of it.

  4. Yeah Barry, there’s nice place for cuntology here.

    Get past wales, and we’ve a right good shot at the final. Neither the french nor england look a happy camp.

    The country will go apeshit! :-D

  5. Who says we’ll get past Wales? Awful cocksure all of a sudden? I reckon if Ireland’s Call meet the Aussies again, the Aussies will win it……

  6. There’s no guarantee we’ll get past Wales, but if we do, we’ll face less worrying opposition in the next game.

  7. Ireland have their tails up and are looking good, it’s the kind of form that intimidates all the opposition. I reckon Ireland definitely could win this world Cup.
    Best of luck to them!

  8. I don’t know if we’ll win it, but you got to fancy our chances after recent performances. One things for sure, it’s worth getting up for!

  9. As a Welshman, I obviously want Wales to win this game; and our youngsters are on form. It’s a shame that we have to meet so soon; what a final this would have made! May the best team win.

  10. Best will be a big loss, he’s playing his best (pun?)rugby in this WC. Time for Cronin and Varley to step up.

    Kidney now has two hookers, Cronin who has had limited rugby recently and Varley who has had none.

  11. It’s surprising there wasn’t more cover provided for, given Flannery’s habit of injuring himself at a vital moment.

  12. Cronin will do a great job..wait and see. Wales are going to be very tough. 50/50 game. If we manage to get through it and England beat France. Then I recon we could make the final. The whole psychological thing we have with France – we seem to shrink in stature when we are up against the French. Also on paper they are a much better side then England.
    Wales England and The All Blacks in the final. What a dream eh? And you know, it just might be the reality.

  13. wales will match us all over the pitch, it could come down to the bounce of the ball.
    dont forget a few weeks ago we lost to both france and england at home.
    however it seems that Kidney has had a plan going back from when the draw was made.
    was it just me or did Ireland target the Italian front row in the loose for the first half hour.

  14. LJS, I don’t doubt that Cronin will do the job as will Varley if and when he plays. Mike Sherry now called up as number 3 hooker but won’t be added to the squad unless Best goes home. Poor selection by St.Declan. The 3 hookers should have been Best, Cronin and Varley from day one, Flannery was injured for all of last season and was still picked after a cameo role in the warm up games. Now we have one crocked hooker and 3 with limited game time and experience at test level.

    You’ve got to laugh at some of the crap quoated and printed about St.Declan, from todays Examiner (re Murray)
    “Declan [Kidney] showed an awesome amount of faith in the boy bringing him across and leaving Tomás [O’Leary] back at home. It was a big call but I think Conor will be the future of Irish number nines.”

    Considering that O’leary was going instead of Murray until he had a nightmare against France that is crock of shit.

    I would absolutely love us to win the RWC but the thoughts of St.Declan being lauded even more kinda turns my stomach.

  15. I think Wales vs Ireland will be an absolute cracked and I can’t see an awful lot in the game. Is anyone heading to the pub to watch this? I missed all of the games bar the Italy one so I am planning on watching this clash. One of the pubs at home is reputed to open for all of the games, supplying rasher sandwiches, tea and the likes. The plan is go to bed early, or just stay up all night. I am not overly worried about Best personally, he is potentially a big loss, but if Kidney has shown anything in this tournament it’s that he has thought everything through, I reckon we still haven’t seen Irelands big game.

  16. Putting on my Limerick hat there are 8 Limerick players in the squad Cronin, Earls, Murray, O’Connell, Reddan, Ryan, Sherry and Varley. A record? Certainly an achievement. Putting on my Garryowen hat Earls, Murray, Sherry and Varley all played AIL for Garryowen. Murray and Sherry last season and Earls and Varley in 07/08 before both went pro with Munster and Wasps.

  17. 8 Limerick players.. wowsers. That’s great.
    You know your stuff No.8.

    Is it 6am kick off next Saturday?
    If I get up and they bloody lose, I’ll ah..I’ll go back to sleep I suppose.
    Should be worth it though.

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