Talking World Cup Rugby: New Zealand will thrash France in the final
I had lunch in Auckland yesterday with former Wallaby coach Bob Dwyer and, as ever, you hear a stream of what I would call rugby common sense coming across the table at you.
Bob is in New Zealand with a tour group based on the Holland America line ship ‘Volendam’. They’ve been from Sydney down to Wellington, up to Auckland and now they’re spending a few days cruising around the Bay of islands north of here before returning to Auckland on Friday for the 3rd place play-off match, Wales v Australia.
But before he left, Bob had some interesting thoughts from last Sunday’s semi final between Australia and New Zealand. Bob shares my view – we saw the real final then. This weekend’s game between the All Blacks and France will be predictable.
This French side just isn’t good enough to get within 10 points of New Zealand and personally, I think they’ll lose by between 20 and 25 points. It threatens to be the most one-sided final since, well, 1987 when these two teams met in the final, also here in Auckland. What was the score then? 29-9 or something, wasn’t it, with the French never in it? I reckon it’ll be a similar story this time.
As a former Wallaby coach who took Australia to 1991 Rugby World Cup glory, Bob wasn’t very impressed with this current Australian team, or their tactics. He found the latter bizarre. They found it hard enough trying to win the ball but then just booted it away aimlessly.
That series of up and unders just gave the New Zealand defence fielding practice. Nor was the Australian kick and chase much good, either.
Bob reckoned he’d have started with Berrick Barnes at outside half rather than Quade Cooper because Barnes gives a side greater structure. The pressure seems to have got to Cooper in this World Cup and he’s looked a pale shadow of the real player he is. It was a brave call by coach Robbie Deans to stand by him but it may not have been the right one.
Cooper dropped high kicks, got caught up by tacklers, dropped passes and always looked indecisive. As a proud Aussie, Bob Dwyer sat in the stands and felt like someone had kicked him in the stomach.
And the Kiwis just don’t give up taunting Cooper. One said “There’s a lot of cocks out there – (Tony) Woodcock, (David) Pocock, Quade Cooper…”
20 points to 6 on the scoreboard by the end of the evening? Dwyer said “Mate, 30-6 would have been a fairer reflection of New Zealand’s superiority. They’re a complete side, the only complete side in this tournament.”
He’s right on the front too. The All Blacks mix power and physicality with pace and precision. That’s a pretty good combination in anyone’s language.Tagged in: bob dwyer, France, New Zealand, rugby union, world cup
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