Saturday, 18 August 2007

Rugby friendlies

South Africa 105- Namibia 13
England 62 Wales 5
England 15 France 21
Scotland 31 Ireland 21
Japan 69 Asia Barbarians 6
Ireland played Bayonne of France

You need to pick an opportunity where you are going to learn something about the form your players are in. If a player plays well for South Africa against Namibia what does this tell you?

You need to pick a team that will compete as otherwise you put yourself under a lot of pressure. Wales picked a second team against England and got hammered. This means that the match against Argentina is almost a must win but it is a friendly. The players are under pressure in a warm up match!

You need a team who don't want to lose their own players. One of the players for Bayonne broke the cheekbone of Brian O'Driscoll by punching him, putting him out of some of the early matches in the World Cup. The player who threw the punch might well get banned but they are not in the World Cup and might have improved France's chances greatly.

You need to be able to compete, although not necessarily win, without giving away any tactics that you want to use in the world Cup. All the coaches have video technology and will break down your set plays, lines of running in the backs and which players are doing which jobs so you need to practice but not give away all your secret weapons.

The following matches are on in the next couple of weeks sparking all kinds of debate and a litany of injuries to factor in to the debate about who will win the World Cup.

Canada v Portugal
Italy v Japan
Wales v Argentina
France v England
Ireland v Italy
Scotland v South Africa
Wales v France

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