And then there were eight

Shhh! Just between you and me, Ned’s on a secret mission to the northern hemisphere. I’m not saying that Shag is involved, but let’s just say that it involves secret caches of Maketu Pies behind enemy lines. To cover my undercover moments, I’ve selected a few choice moments from the Road To Redemption.

Originally published 3 October 2011

I’ll get to the Tragedy That Dare Not Speak Its Name soon.  Sometime.  Maybe never.  I’m trying to pretend it hasn’t happened.

Meanwhile, back in the tournament, the quarter-finalists have been found:

  • QF1 Ireland vs. Wales, 6.00pm Saturday 8 October, Wellington
  • QF2 England vs. France, 8.30pm Saturday 8 October, Auckland
  • QF3 South Africa vs. Australia, 6.00pm Sunday 9 October, Wellington
  • QF4 New Zealand vs. Argentina, 8.30pm Sunday 9 October, Auckland

The first thing to note is that this is a pure North-South split through to the finals.  That’s a bit of shame, as by and large I reckon the South plays by far the better rugby year in year out.  But it will mean the television rights owners will be happy. And in these times of global economic meltdown, don’t you just worry yourself sick about about keeping the billionaires happy?

The second thing to note is that, apart from the All Blacks-Bargie match, these are three classic duels, derbies really, with their own histories going back decades.  And those histories will have a great deal of bearing on how the teams prepare.  France, for example, have been dreadful through the pools, but there is nothing more likely to get the Frenchies focused than the opportunity to poke Perfidious Albion in the eye.

Several months ago I decided to go for the QF weekend in Wellington, so I’m looking at a couple of very juicy contests in the flesh.  The Oirish and Jones clans will go at it hammer and tongs, but it’s the SethEfrika-GirtBySea match that stands out as the Clash of the Titans.  

I’m going to sit down and have a bit of a rest after watching 40 matches straight, and reflect on the pools and think about the quarters, and bring you my thoughts all this week.  (“Yippee” I can hear MrsDavy sighing in the background.)

And maybe I’ll get around to confronting the Great Groin Groan.  Maybe.

About Ned Davy

By hokey, the big fella’s tipped into his 50s. A rangy loose forward in his prime, good with the ball in hand, but rarely up with the play any more.
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