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Home-James ! … Allez Les Bleus!

  • October 8th, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

wallabies-1.jpgWeekend of Decision: The Wallabies were sent home, after losing their try for “revenge” against England; France went wild celebrating a shock win against the All Blacks — putting the national team into the final four.

Games in the Rugby Union World Cup on Saturday (6.10.07) saw an unexpected set of four teams emerge for the semi-finals, leading to the Final on 20.10.07.

France defeated New Zealand, 20-18 at Cardiff.
England defeated Australia, 12-10 at Marseille.
South Africa defeated Fiji 37-20 at Marseille.
Argentina defeated Scotland 19-13 in Paris.

Reactions underlined the mass emotion the game is capable of generating at this international level.

In Paris on Saturday night celebrating Rugby-watchers in pubs and bars spilled out among huge crowds already in town for an arts event. The sports daily l’Equipe, which has devoted several forests of paper to France’s hosting of the World Cup, urged a little caution; this was no time to get cocky: The team, it said, was working to get its feet back on the ground to get ready for the semi-finals. “L’equipe de France a tente de redescendre sur terre …”

In Auckland the New Zealand Herald carried post mortems on how the favourites were beaten: “An angry New Zealand public is pointing the finger at the ‘pampering’ of the All Blacks as much as they are criticising the referee and [coach] Graham Henry’s player rotation policy as the reason for the national team’s shock exit …” It said its bloggers were deploring “arrogance” in the ranks and the outlay of NZ$ 50-million (A$42.45-million; Dcerates.com, 8.10.07) on a large squad that could not get into the four.

Australia’s coach, John Connolly, acknowledged the team were shattered, having failed especially to avenge the extra-time defeat inflicted by England’s Johnny Wilkinson in 2003 – the man again on the field this time kicking the winning goals.

“It was our worst performance … At no stage did we control the breakdown in any shape or form … We lost a fair bit of composure,” he said.

Argentina is enjoying some Rugby euphoria after making a first-ever entry into the semi-finals, and holding up the end for the Southern Hemisphere; teams from South of the Equator having failed to meet expectations they would dominate the final stages of this year’s World Cup.

South Africa’s Springboks have moved to favourite position following the early demise of the All Blacks’ chances.

Reference
:

Humilite et Travail“, l’Equipe, Paris, 8.10.07. www.lequipe.fr, (8.10.07)

“‘Pampered’ All Blacks, not Henry take the blame”, NZ Herald, Auckland, 7.10.07. www.nzherald.co.nz

Peter Berlin, “Stunning Upsets at the Rugby World Cup”, International Herald Tribune, Paris, 7.10.07. www.iht.com (8.10.07)

Planet Rugby, http://worldcup.planet-rugby.com, (8.10,07)

“Rugby fever gripped Argentina”, Aljazeera, 7.10.07. www.aljazeera.net, (8.10.07)

“Wallabies shattered by World Cup exit”, ABC Online, 7.10.07. www.abc.net.au, (8.10.07)

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