Posted by: fiore | October 14, 2011

Do or die

We already knew that after the pool stage, every match played would have been decisive so here we are again at a crossroads. Which 2 teams are going to reach the final?

In the first of the two semifinals Wales will face France in a very balanced game. The Welsh team will have to do without their talented and cool-minded fly-half Rhys Priestland, but apart from that the team is pretty much the same. As for France, they are a very gifted team and at this stage they seem they have put all the inner incomprehensions a side…

There are also several “games within the game“, with Shane Williams and Vincent Clerc on the wing, the flankers’ battle between the two captains  Thierry Dusautoir and Sam Warburton, and the interesting match between the insiede-centers Jamie Roberts and Maxime Mermoz.

The second semifinal will be a real rugby “classic“: Australia v New Zealand. A what a game, what a battle, it will be! During the long way to the semifinal both teams suffered major blows due to injuries: the Allblacks lost Dan Carter and Mils Muliaina and rumors have arisen about captain Richie McCaw’s conditions. While for the Wallabies, there has been concearn about Kurtley Beale‘s fitness but apparently, both him and his fellow back Pat McCabe are fine and ready to play.

And here again we will see some interesting head to head: at scrum-half both Will Genia and Piri Weepu are pivotal for their teams. Weepu has taken the game management on his shoulder after Dan Carter’s loss and Genia is probably the best number nine in the business and is the real mastermind of the Australian side. The other huge duel is between Richie McCaw and David Pocock. These two guys are the best in the world in that position, and the breakdown area is really going to be a battlefield. I’m really looking forward to both games.

Anyway, I’m not going to do any predictions, but once again I will say….


RWC2011 - Semifinals


Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Shane Williams, 10 James Hook, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (capt), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Huw Bennett, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Lloyd Burns, 17 Paul James, 18 Bradley Davies, 19 Ryan Jones, 20 Lloyd Williams, 21 Stephen Jones, 22 Scott Williams.

France: 15 Maxime Médard, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Aurélien Rougerie, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Morgan Parra, 9 Dimitri Yachvili, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Julien Bonnaire, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (capt), 5 Lionel Nallet, 4 Pascal Papé, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 William Servat, 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Fabien Barcella, 18 Julien Pierre, 19 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 20 Francois Trinh-Duc, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Cedric Heymans.

Date: Sunday, October 16
Kick-off: 21:00 (20:00 GMT)
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa), Wayne Barnes (England)
Television match official: Giulio De Santis (Italy)


Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O’Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Dan Vickerman, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Luke Burgess, 21 Berrick Barnes, 22 Anthony Faingaa.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Richard Kahui, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Brad Thorn, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Sonny Bill Williams.

Date: Sunday, October 16
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 21.00 (08.00 GMT / 09.00 BST / 10.00 SAST)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Romain Poite (France)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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