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  • He's on the wing this weekend.

  • I can't quite understand why France are persevering with Huget. He can be great but he's also a liability who has cost them massively in the past, plus they have better players than him on the bench. Looking forward to the France match.

  • Fancy France at Evs

  • My money would be on the pumas on that one but it's very close.

  • Agreed, he just seems to fit in with the set up. For all his occasional class, probably a mirage brought on by his 'laconic' style he really is a mistake waiting to happen

  • Yes, they like him there. Vakarawa in for injured Fofana (can’t be typed without hearing Eddie Butler’s overpronunciation!) could be interesting.

  • (Double double post post...)

  • The Faltering fullback in Finsbury park will be showing everything. Saturday looks like an early start.

    Will be pretty busy for popular games though.


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  • Fiji does have a great lineup, most of the backline would smash some of the competition forwards, and they have some strong pack players (nakarawa, wakaniburotu, yato), but the week point is their flyhalf.
    Australia lineup is pretty good, it will be hard for fiji to battle against both Pocock and Hooper (as maybe not the most organized team whereas they improved that quite a bit since previous years), the pack is correct and they have strong attacking players if in right direction (Beale, Koroibete, Kerevi, etc.). I think their goal kicker on the wing is good and has long range.

    Being French, very irritating to see some of the odd choices from the clowns we have in our rugby decision makers (don't think it's old timer moustache that is taking decisions but anyway): they made iturria move from 2nd row to back row with Clermont this season, to make him play in 2nd row for opening match. Vakatawa hasn't made the whole preparation but passes in front of Guitoune who has made the season of his life (maybe Vakatawa is very very good, I don't know, but good luck with group management with choices like that).
    And don't make me talk about the presence of Le Roux in the squad, I disregard him so much the only quality he has is is physique, but as he isn't able to catch a ball he is useless in attach, and at international stage has proven that he was crushed by opposition so pretty much 100% useless. Dropping Cros from toulouse to have Le Roux in the squad is a total nonsense! however good to have Ollivon back in the team, he is probably the most complete player we have in the back row with Iturria

  • And don't make me talk about the presence of Le Roux in the squad, I disregard him so much the only quality he has is is physique

    The new Bastareud?

    You seem to be pretty negative about a lot of players in the squad but I have to say that I can't remember France playing so cohesively for some time, albeit in fits and spurts. They seem to be loosing their tendency to play as 15 highly paid individuals and actually pulling a team performance together. We were dire in Nice but I think that is largely due to being surprised by the French start and power up front then not being able to get a toe hold in the game.

  • You are right I am being negative but the reason is that we have (I think at least) some very good players that play very well in the club, but for some years, we produced such crap international rugby that is is really really painful to watch.
    Under Saint-André, all players seem to not know what to do with the ball, no game plan, poor attach except individual feats, poor technique, and nonexistent cohesion.
    Noves was trying to change all on long term plan but Laporte king of the mafia interferred an placed his puppy Brunel to be able to control the French team. Brunel start was so crap it might even have been poorer than Saint André. With lievremont it was not so great, but we had players such as Servat Dusautoir Harinordoquy Nallet Yachvilli Rougerie that were guiding the team with true rugby spirit. Since them, seems like no real will to win was present...

    However you are right, recently (this summer and the preparation matches) they seem to have began to play a little bit more rugby which is great news. U20 was/is high quality both in terms of players and games, why not possible on pro level? And the problem is more global, everytime there is a good game everyone is happy and erase the previous and global crap result but this doesn't solve the whole club/national team interactions and problems. But the preparation is a glimmer of hope even if the stage with Argentina and England will be hard.

    I am negative on mostly Leroux tbh ; the rest of the selection seem (more or less logical). Lambey has been dropped probably because he lacks size but it is a good player have great spirit and is good in lineouts ; or as said he could have dropped leroux to take Cros in back row and put Iturria in 2nd (which is contrary to Brunel request to Clermont to make him change position but he is doing it anyway). Even Olivier Magne said Cros was destined to a great future in France's team, and it was quite a player.
    Other main problem for me is Slimani, not him in itself because he is a good player except in defense, but mainly because he is too much penalized in games. Also some older players as Guirado, Picamoles are not up to their former "standard" but the competition (Aldritt/Ollivon and Chat/Mauvaka) might have done some good to them which is great.
    I believe we have a good line of very complete and interesting players such as Dupont (huge attacking threat), Penaud (best back player), Ollivon Poirot and Iturria (very complete players), Chat (very strong but sometimes too crazy all over the place), Vahamaaina (if guided well) etc. It is good to have Medard on the back to guide the younger players, I hope the association Dupont/Ntamack will not be too targeted and lack experience, back row has a huge performance to do to protect them. Guirado/Poirot have to guide the pack in the right direction though.

    On another side, Bastareaud was for me a different debate.
    IMO it was a good player with some specific set of skills and a strong mindset, but never used in the position he should have been. Total nonsense to have it on outside centre in my point of view ; defending on 13 is really really hard and require to be quick and have speed to compensate and defend with the rest of the backline, which was not his strongest suit whereas obviously never suffered the front collision. Considering this, his size, power and skills on jacking the ball, it could have been really interesting to have him re-positioned on the blindside flank. Very similar profile as Steffon Armitage, but a lot more powerful and his previous knowledge of back position could have help him have an interesting game of passing creating gaps etc. Was mainly criticized on his weight but because mispositionned, which is a shame. I believe he's not a bad person and a bad player.

    Upon reading all the teams and squads, it appeared to me that most team are really really competitive and that's really difficult to predict games. Australia has a very strong team, SA seem to have back some great games, AB are AB (despite IMO not having the best team ever), England is f*cking scary, and as outsiders other norther teams Ireland/Scotland/Wales (strong XV but maybe not enough bench for the whole competition), and pacific teams Japan/Fiji are quite contenders to make everyone revise their plans. Honestly not sure if France can pretend to be an outsider but in terms of player quality inherently, why not. I believe this world cup will be great to watch, lot of hard stages and competitive teams!

  • Not too sure about Bastareud not being a bad person, it was a long time ago admittedly, but the whole assault allegations in NZ still leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.

    England are potentially scary but, and it's a big but, they have a major flaw; there is no plan B to Farrell and as we have shown in our last two Calcutta cups if you can rattle him England have a habit of falling apart. Scotland and Ireland could well do well and I think will make it out of their group but what damage will they pick up on the way in a tough group? If they can both get to the last 8 with a full squad it will be a miracle add to that in order to progress beyond either the ABs or Boks they will need to throw everything at them. Wales will do well as long as Wyn Jones is able to play.

  • ITV are doing a great job of blowing smoke up Eddie Jones' arse

  • ^ Very true. But that Japan vs SA game was epic.

    As an Englishman, I can't remember anything else about that particular WC...

  • Japan has the nation behind them, that can be a very powerful thing, it can be a pressure too.

    Reminds me of something that as a Scot I take ahem absolutely no pleasure in bringing up.

  • Agree with you on the comments regarding Scotland and Ireland, IMO if they suffer injuries early no chance they go till the end. Farell is important for England but man they have a very good players in some positions! But indeed if it doesn't go as they plan, are they able to adapt? I am not sure. However I like to think that they are really verstaile and can adapt if Farell is out, with either Ford (which admittedly is a little short but you can adapt the lack of size by adopting a defensive system similar to Australia last WC where the protected the smallest players) or Slade who is really complete
    Wales is a good team but rely upon same players everytime which is not enough I think to perform. They are a bit up and down but Australia when on top of their game have a very interesting team! and for the AB, preparation I believe is the key we will know if it was enough to "rebuild" their team and if the change with Mo'unga/Barett and their centre association problem/question is solved

  • Interesting start to the game.

  • Thought Russia had that for a second.

  • Fuck me Japan are choking here.

  • Normal service resumed. Cracking try

  • Great hands by the Japan back line. From a skills perspective only one winner here.

  • Not sure about that Russia are doing the basics well (they don't have much else) Japan are executing their showy skills well but 5 handling errors in less than 2o mins would imply there is a problem with basic skills.

  • Russian forwards are blowing - the coach will have to make changes soon. They'll be goosed by 60 mins and start falling off tackles, etc.

  • Something, something, we back ourselves at home....

    Oh dear... (shudders)

  • Now that was a great try!

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