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Thread: Rank the performance of eliminated teams

  1. #1
    Request Your Custom Title Now! Howe_zat's Avatar
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    Rank the performance of eliminated teams

    1. Argentina

    Argentina's most disappointing world cup for 16 years, and included a total disasterpiece against England. But the difference between Argentina and the rest of this list is that if one Bofelli kick had gone three feet to the right, they'd be in the quarter finals. They took their foot off the gas after one dominant half against Tonga, without being their best, but the Pumas showed in their final game against the USA why they are a top tier nation.

    2. Scotland

    No one else on this list beat up the minnows quite like Scotland did. A 61-point hammering of an exhausted Russia and an organised 34-0 win against Samoa means they achieved more than most sides getting sent home. But memories of this world cup will be two key games where Scotland were soundly beaten. A loss against IReland may have been acceptable, but they didn't at any stage threaten the iron curtain of IRish defence, and the decisive match against Japan was lost in a flurry of Blossoms scores either side of half time. Both occasions were marked by an inabilty to get possession in the opposition half, making this Scottish side look a far cry from the side of two years ago.

    3. Tonga

    One of two eliminated sides that got the abolute maximum out of their players. Tonga had a starting 10 in this tournament that plays semi-pro club rugby in Spain, but here they were coming perlilously close from knocking out the French. After a first day write off against a full strength England side, they had a good half against Argentina, scared France and finished with an enjoyable win.

    4. Fiji

    The reason why a lot of games at the end of this pool stage were dead rubbers is because of the performances of the third best sides. Argentina opened with a crucial loss against France, Italy never really threatened and Fiji, having opened with a barnstorming 20 minutes where they looked dominant against Australia, lost to flipping Uruguay. In any reasonable circumstance Fiji would have swept aside the Uruguayans and then spent the rest of the tourament making scary runs against Wales in games where it really counted, but their defeat meant no matter how much their star-studded backline charged into the opening phases of games, the big teams were through with a game to spare. Imagine how good they'd be if they only had to play for 15 minutes. Oh, hold up.

    5. Italy

    Italy have never qualified for the quarters and being drawn in the same group as New Zealand and South Africa meant that has been particularly unlikely to change, but that hasn't stopped Italy's campaign from being a disappointment. With two of the weakest sides also there for company in group B the Italians have effectively had two and a half years to proepare for one game against South Africa, in which they lost every contact, lost their heads and got belted. I don't think O'Shea has much room for argument if they dump him. Italy have dropped further behind the top sides over the last four years while their clubs have become competitive. And if your professional development of Italian rugby leads to two props dropping a bloke on his face for no reason after they've just won a penalty, well, that about sums it up really.

    6. Uruguay

    I've sung the praises of Uruguay over and over in this tournament. Safe to say they have significantly outplayed some far bigger and far, far richer unions in Japan. Here's that Gaminara post match interview again.

    7. Georgia

    A somewhat disappointing cup for Georgia. They won the game they were expected to win and lost the games they were expected to lose, but their effort against Fiji will haunt them. That game was supposed to be a tasty clash of stlyes that could go either way, and had a direct path to 2023 on the line. The fact they lost it so heavily, while being suckered into playing Fiji's game rather than their own, was a poor display. They also showed that while their strengths are there against Australia and Wales, it wasn't enough to compensate for the fact that they still very much defend like a second tier team. Unfortunately they don't quite belong at rugby's top table yet.

    8. Samoa

    Remember when Samoa were the second tier team? The big banana skin of talent, size and speed that really made you fight for a world cup quarter final? They're really not there any more. A campaign blighted by ill discipline and seemingly a refusal to understand the rules. This squad with bucketfuls of talent, but the likes of Nanai-Williams who can look a million dollars in super rugby was little more than a bystander as a lot of his team were seemingly more interested in knocking opposition heads off, even against Russia. Samoa haven't been the worst team at this world cup but they have been the ugliest. It didn't do them much good and they were one of the first sides eliminated.

    9. Namibia

    Namibia entered this tournament as the lowest ranked side, and struggled, obviously. But there were periods where Namibia stood up to be counted. Little pockets of resistance against the big boys that showed what a country with not much behind it but a love of rugby can do. They took the lead against Itlay and scored two more great tries, players like Stevens and van der Westhuizen embarassed players earning orders of magnitude more. Against the All Blacks, they were soundly trounced in the second half. But for 30 energetic minutes they won penalties, snaffled turnovers and demanded to be taken seriously as they came within a point of the world champions. They didn't have the chance to claim their first world cup win against Canada, but their performance elsewhere suggests they were about to go one better than the other winless sides at the cup.

    10. USA

    Were they USA - a side who came in to this tournament ranked ahead of Italy, and recently took their first major scalp of Scotland - really worse than Namibia? I'd argue yes for two reasons. One, they never showed the kind of inventiveness in attack that the Africans did against Italy, nor the kind of tenacity that they pulled in a lost cause against the All Blacks. Secondly, they didn't have to play the ruddy All Blacks. USA's mission in this world cup was to win at least one game and challenge for direct 2023 qualification by way of a shock result against either France or Argentina. They didn't come close to those goals, their best game manager AJ McGinty had a torrid run of poor decisions, and after a stellar 2018 it's hard not to think of this side as having taken a backwards step.

    11. Russia

    Russia were nowhere near qualifying for this world cup and it shows. They came in with a beefy pack of forwards and a kicking fullback who learned his rugby in Ireland, and that is about it. It was enough to hassle Japan and Samoa for a half, and number seven Tagir Gadzhiev in particular made a nusiance of himself. But they were significantly outclassed in every game, and by the end you felt a pang of sympathy for the mostly Siberia-based side that were exhausted in the heat of Japan's late summer.

    12. Canada

    Most of the sides on this list will not have had a good time against South Africa and New Zealand. But most of the sides on this list might have put up more of a fight. The Canadians opened their world cup with a leaky defense against Italy and then found themselves conceding as many points as the big sides could construct, rather than what they could get past a determined side. It was cruel to end their tournament early without a chance against Namibia, but the form book was pointing to the African's first win nonetheless. Canadian rugby is in some trouble and it might be a long break before we see their next attempt at a world cup campaign.
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  2. #2
    International Coach Bahnz's Avatar
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    Think you're being a bit harsh on the USA there. They were landed in a considerably more difficult pool than Namibia, and put in respectable displays against France and Tonga.
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    123/5 Flem274*'s Avatar
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    do you watch squidge rugby on youtube/vimeo howe? if you don't i think you'd really enjoy him.

    canada are a silly team. they're so bad but their skipper would be in all black selection discussion if he were kiwi, especially with the retallick uncertainty and loose forward arrangement debate pre-wc.

    i loved namibia and really hope some of their boys come play mitre 10 cup or super rugby. stevens in particular.
    Last edited by Flem274*; 13-10-2019 at 10:21 PM.
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    Request Your Custom Title Now! Howe_zat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bahnz View Post
    Think you're being a bit harsh on the USA there. They were landed in a considerably more difficult pool than Namibia, and put in respectable displays against France and Tonga.
    I think their performance against France was a little overstated and they never got close to scoring a try, and while the difficulty of the pool as a whole was easier for Namibia, they didn't get to play the game I think they would have won. So if you were to swap the fixtures around, I don't think the US and Namibia would have a very different tournament. Given their resources I think that's a win for Namibia.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flem274* View Post
    do you watch squidge rugby on youtube/vimeo howe? if you don't i think you'd really enjoy him.
    Yeah sometimes. I find him a bit hit and miss. I tend to agree with him less the more I know about the team in question which gives me suspicions.


  5. #5
    123/5 Flem274*'s Avatar
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    yeah, i can see what you mean. i like him because he's good for northern hemisphere and tier 2 analysis. he's perhaps a bit biased but given we have to interact with your average crusaders fan down here in nz he's fine really.

  6. #6
    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    Ireland

    If ever a world cup came 12 months too late for a rugby nation, it was Schmidt's Ireland. The opening clinical dismantling of the gifted but ultimately lightweight and flaky Scots proved little more than a final rake of the dying embers of the great side who'd carried off a Grand Slam, won an away series in Australia and bested the All Blacks in 2018.

    The line between experienced players and ageing ones is very fine and the wise heads of last year seemed to crumble into today's old men almost before our eyes. In Ryan and Larmour they have two for the future, but the storied half back combo of Murray and Sexton will be hard to replace and it's difficult to imagine either playing in the next tournament, when they'll be 34 and 38 respectively. Farrell sr. has some tough calls ahead.

    The loss to Japan condemned them to the tougher half of the draw and the wait for that elusive first semi will last until at least 2023.

    Australia

    Something of the curate's egg of a tournament for the men in green and gold. In Kerevi, Koroibete and Petaia they've got some backline runners of pace and power who (injuries and the lure of foreign money notwithstanding) should be in situ in 4 years time, and they finally look to have a tight five worthy of the name.

    In the debit column though the once peerless Hooper and Pocock were rather made to look their ages by those cheeky upstarts Curry and Underhill, Genia looked a shadow of himself and fly half seems to be an ongoing issue. I've a lot of time for To'omua and Lealiifano but both look to be natural 2nd 5/8ths. Both have all the parts to their games, but maybe not the cold eyed decision making under the gun that marks out the truly great first receivers.

    Foley, a less gifted ball player than either but perhaps a man with a better rugby brain, were he fit and firing might've made a difference.
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  7. #7
    Request Your Custom Title Now! Howe_zat's Avatar
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    Oz could do with a coach that is less focused on riling people / complaining about refs and more about actual strategy.

    They are less than the sum of their parts.

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    Cricketer Of The Year ripper868's Avatar
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    Good write up. Disagree on the Foley bit, hed have done worse then either CLL or Toomua today. He, like Beale, is running on past performances.

    4 years will hopefully be a different story. Petaia and Kerevi is something to build around, as is Tupou. Where the other 12 players come from though, I dont know.

    Add to that, Kerevi is headed overseas next season, so the brightest spark for Australia may already be out.
    Last edited by ripper868; 19-10-2019 at 06:50 PM.
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend NUFAN's Avatar
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    I think the write-up was too positive about the Wallabies. I for one have no idea how Beale got back ahead of Haylett-Penny.

    CLL was never going to be 'the guy' and Nic White even with that dirty mo is a much better starter then Genia.

    Wallabies just made a lot of dumb plays and didnt seem capable of playing the territory game. I find it harder to pinpoint what went right/wrong in the forwards.. Just leaving that 25 metre gap for the England prop to fit through so soon after we had scored was inexcusable.

  10. #10
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    France - a lot better than I expected. Had 1 game of genius spread across two matches - the first halves of their respective clashes against Argentina and Wales. Other than that they were pretty abysmal. They were lucky to get out of their game with Tonga and were more or less held to evens by the US for 65 minutes. Very lucky to get out of their group, and very unlucky to not make the semi's - which I guess sums up French rugby of the past decade quite nicely.

    Japan - fantastic running rugby at its finest. Started off with a shaky performance against Russia, but then moved into top gear with convincing wins over Ireland (19-12 badly flattered the Irish) and Samoa before riding the emotion of the moment to a thrilling victory over Scotland. I do worry that this will prove to be a flash in the pan, a result of Jaime Joseph's de-facto year-long training camp with the Sunwolves A squad. But for now its nice to just enjoy the promise of the 2015 campaign fulfilled and think of the great things that this might do for the sport in Japan.
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  11. #11
    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    New Zealand

    Such are the vertiginous heights set by and expected, nay, demanded of the men from the land of the long white cloud that anything other than a three-peat in Japan is always going to look and feel disappointing.

    So, a semi-final, an achievement sought vainly by their vanquished last eight opponents since rugby union world cups were a thing, will be viewed as coming up short. I'm not here to debate the rights and wrongs of this kind of expectation but the very fact the All Blacks have only failed to make the last four once ever (2007, Wayne Barnes, France, Luke McAlister and all that) is probably fair indication this was barely the base camp of them. To paraphrase Glen Close's character from Dangerous Liaisons, one does not applaud the maestro for tuning up or the tenor for clearing his throat.

    Now then, disclaimer aside, what did go wrong? As an outsider looking in I bring a different perspective: ignorance. I only half-jest. I'm not off-book with the vicissitudes of form or the direction of the selectorial wind. But selection must be at least worthy of debate. Here's a fun fact: the English backs that started yesterday included more players who featured in the British Lions first test of 2017 than did New Zealand backs who remained from their thumping win.

    Some of those names who started in 2017 but not 2019 are enough to pop an aneurysm of envy for any rugby nation: Ben Smith, Israel Dagg, Ryan Crotty, Reiko Ioane, Sonny Bill Williams and Aaron Smith. Heck, that's all of them, in fact. Sadly Dagg's career was ended prematurely, but the other five remain available for selection. Is this depth of riches an ironic problem? Some wags have long argued New Zealand "B" is the second best XV in union, but is it now the first?

    And the Scott Barrett call will probably be 2019's Wayne Barnes's missing of the forward pass: something most observers more or less instantly know was iffy and doesn't get better on repeated viewings. The big difference though is that this one was self inflicted, a doubling down on a perceived area of strength (the line out) and sacrificing an area where England may've held a marginal advantage (the break down).

    As it turned out England's two and a half line out jumpers more than held their own against New Zealand's four and Cunderhill produced a breakdown masterclass, so hindsight makes the call look an absolute smeller.

    And yet and yet. The dismantling of South Africa and Ireland suggest this is a borderline great team. Read's boots will take some filling and maybe a more destructive carrier in midfield would be nice, but they'll be back. New Zealand to win in 2023. You read it here first.
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    Request Your Custom Title Now! Howe_zat's Avatar
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    Given the form of the players at the time I don't think you can criticise the selection of Mo'unga and Goodhue too hard, they were the best Kiwi backs on the field this week and last. Maybe hate for the Crusaders is strong enough down there that people will do so nonetheless, of course.

    Agree there was at least one Barrett too many, maybe two. Jordie may have a lot of talent but his mauling at the hands of Underhill suggests a wiser head with as much credit in the bank as Smith has earned would have been the better call. Sometimes you need the better Test player rather than ball player and this was a real test match.

    Mostly though I think this is just NZ being back to normal excellent-but-human levels, and therefore beatable by a team that played out of their skins like England did. The team of 2011-16 is the best team there's ever been and we're just seeing further evidence of that now.

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    International Debutant Meridio's Avatar
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    Think our tight five (plus Barrett over Cane) were a big problem. Other than one break from Retallick (who was probably still very underdone) they were pretty much anonymous. I don't follow rugby closely enough to know why Codie Taylor was preferred over Dane Coles, but the mobility of Coles around the park was been a huge strength of ours that just seemed to vanish, along with accurate throwing to the lineout. I'm struggling to remember any contribution from our props except Laulala being stripped by Farrell (iirc) in the first few minutes, similarly Whitelock except that slap. Was really noticeable in comparison to the week before where every player was heavily involved, both in carrying the ball, getting to the ruck quickly in support and were also really strong in defence.

    I don't know if it was tactical, but our loose forwards never really seemed to have a crack at the ruck until late in the second half. England's try, they basically had very quick ball for a minute straight, so we were always going backwards. Partly it was the strength of England's ball carriers, and their forwards supporting quickly, but we just never seemed to have guys going in for the turnover.

    The backs meanwhile were the most skittish I think I've ever seen them. Again, huge pressure from England, but I've never seen so many inaccurate, panicked passes and poor decisions - how many times were we bundled into touch trying to go round the outside? Thought Goodhue was clearly our best, carried the ball strongly, one of the few to get over the advantage line. Was noticeable that England used a lot of dummy runners on attack, holding our defence in, and their runners could then hit us at pace; I don't recall anything similar from us, more a static backline.

    So other than the tight five, the loose forwards and the backs, we were really unlucky to go out.
    Last edited by Meridio; 27-10-2019 at 03:23 AM.

  14. #14
    123/5 Flem274*'s Avatar
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    scott barrett chased down a winger to save a certain try. im not sure cane has that pace. ardie savea yes, but he wasn't in position to do so. giving ourselves more line out options wasn't a bad call.

    goodhue is superb and our standout player from last night, but that's probably one of the rare occassions in his career mo'unga has been behind a struggling forward pack and tight five in particular. barrett and mckenzie have had to do it for their super rugby sides every other week. it's not surprising he didn't know what to do, and it's why barrett 10 mckenzie 15 was our best combo if mckenzie was fit.

    england won in tight 5 dominance. itoje in particular was insane. the nz loose forwards did what they could as a 3 man unit and our midfield and outside backs were also good when they could be. anton, goodhue, bridge, reece and beaudy were often excellent with what they had to work with (goodhue's escape from our line and bridge under the high ball particular highlights), but the loosies and smith/mo'unga just couldn't compensate for the tight 5 being monstered.

    i said it last night - you can't win games with no reliable set piece or ruck.

  15. #15
    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flem274* View Post
    scott barrett chased down a winger to save a certain try. im not sure cane has that pace. ardie savea yes, but he wasn't in position to do so. giving ourselves more line out options wasn't a bad call.

    goodhue is superb and our standout player from last night, but that's probably one of the rare occassions in his career mo'unga has been behind a struggling forward pack and tight five in particular. barrett and mckenzie have had to do it for their super rugby sides every other week. it's not surprising he didn't know what to do, and it's why barrett 10 mckenzie 15 was our best combo if mckenzie was fit.

    england won in tight 5 dominance. itoje in particular was insane. the nz loose forwards did what they could as a 3 man unit and our midfield and outside backs were also good when they could be. anton, goodhue, bridge, reece and beaudy were often excellent with what they had to work with (goodhue's escape from our line and bridge under the high ball particular highlights), but the loosies and smith/mo'unga just couldn't compensate for the tight 5 being monstered.

    i said it last night - you can't win games with no reliable set piece or ruck.
    NZ basically turned in a wallabies performance, tbh.
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