The Rugby World Cup: the dream lives on for the Dragons!

by

Sensational. Clinical. Precise. Physical. Fast. These are all words which could be quite rightly used to describe Wales’ fantastic display against Ireland last Saturday. No-one gave Wales a second glance before the world cup. Many predicted they would fall short in the group stages and lose to Samoa. Even the most die-hard Welshman would have been laughed out of his home pub if he had said that Wales would be the favourites to win a semi-final against France. But how times can change…

This sudden elevation in Welsh performances has been brought about by the exuberance and vigour of the fearless youngsters in the Welsh side. Warburton, Lydiate, Faletau, Priestland, Roberts, Davies, North, Halfpenny. All have been stars of the tournament. All of them are under 24 years of age.

Such has been the impact of this Welsh side on the tournament that Sam Warburton is now one of the most revered players on Planet Earth, earning favourable comparisons with the likes of Richie McCaw and David Pocock.

Although Warburton’s performances have been exceptional this World Cup (they might as well start announcing the man of the match before kick-off) we should not forget the brilliant performances by the rest of the team. Like England in 2003 and South Africa in 2007, every member of the Welsh fifteen is in great form. Warren Gatland, the Wales coach, has finally realised that a good young’un is always better than a bad old’un – a fact many coaches seem to ignore.

But playing against France in the semi-final will be a very tough challenge for Wales, as France showed how well they can play in their match against England on Saturday. England and Wales have been polar opposites this tournament. England made mistakes, they conceded silly penalties, and they lacked cohesion. They stuttered their way through the group stages, and it was only a matter of time before they came up against far superior opposition. Although many had hoped for a Wales v. England semi-final, there was no doubt that France deserved their victory.

However, recent history tends to show that France follow up good performances with shambolic performances. There aren’t many teams in the world who can defeat New Zealand away from home, but who can also lose so catastrophically to Tonga or Italy. Rumours also suggest that the French players have told their coach, Marc Lièvremont, that they are going to go it alone, and against England, this seemed to have galvanised the team.

This shouldn’t worry Wales. They should believe that they are able to defeat anyone, even the All Blacks. Who knows what next weekend will have in store for us…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.