A lot is on the line for Wales and France during tomorrow’s opening quarterfinals of RWC.
For the French, they must not fear the All Blacks and find a way to repeat the ‘shock’ upset of 2007. The side all the ingredients to repeat, they have just come off a big loss to Ireland and have absolutely nothing to lose because the bookies give them no chance.
A French side not expected to deliver the goods is one of the most dangerous oppositions.
The All Blacks have been average at best up until the second half against Tonga when the powerful backline, with the injection of Ma’a Nonu and some brilliance by Nehe Milner-Skudder, finally showed the typical try fest All Black have come to expect. Though many fans are not saying it, certain media commentators (including a famous ex All Black) have been absolutely correct in their writing that so far, the All Blacks just haven’t looked like a side destined to go all the way in this tournament.
The French, like in 2007, have no better opportunity to beat the All Blacks in neatural territory.
The other big match of the day is South Africa, the side that lost to Japan in opening pool play, playing the dangerous Welsh in a match that is almost impossible to determine a winner of.
South Africa have looked absolutely sublime both in their running with the ball and kicking territory since the loss to Japan, and there is no doubting that the shocking result was a one off. South Africa should be on the popular side of the punters because of their experience of winning World Cups.
Wales would have lost a lot of confidence against the Wallabies when their attacking ball runners just couldn’t get across the line and one can’t help but wonder if it has the potential to bring out the worst flow on affect for the quarterfinal.
Wales made the semi finals of RWC back in 2011 and should have progressed further. Warren Gatland has been the talk of this years’ tournament, and his side has finally made the rugby world stand up and take notice. But all that notice, though well deserved, will be gone in an instant should South Africa win, and it will be a terrific shame for the tournament in many ways.
The real RWC 2015 begins now.