In which I reflect on the decision of the IRB regarding the Rugby World Cup 2015 and 2019
In which I anticipate the announcements for the venues of the next two Rugby World Cups but one.
Congratulations to South Africa (no Kiwi-style whinging, please England supporters!). They prevented England from making history by retaining the World Cup. England just didn't get through on the night. The game was one of forcing errors (it'd be interesting to analyse which players, and which premiership teams, gave away more penalties.
One controversial moment was the try that wasn't. It wouldn't on its own have changed the result, but it might have provided a lift to encourage further scores).
It was a tough call to make, did the foot graze the line or not? My impression was that the call was good, unfortunately. A difficult decision to make, but the correct decision.
It was beyond wildest imaginings that England would make the final, especially given where we had come from, with big losses in the autumn of 2006 - and with the 36-0 loss to South Africa, we certainly gave them a run for their money last night. England did fantastically well to get into the finals, and the wins against Australia and France were classics.
No, overall, we can be very pleased with England's performance.
A big downside is that the RWC has really eaten into the premiership, with many games already being played. Surely in a world cup year, something has to give way to avoid fixture congestion? Putting the anglo-welsh competition on hold for a year, and maybe even (shock) the six nations would be sensible?
Yesterday in the premiership, Quins beat Wasps by one point. Dave Walder missed the last-gasp drop-kick. There were some unusual decisions during the game, that I didn't quite understand, and would love to see some video of. The ref was probably right (he was a lot closer than I) - but from where I was sitting, he looked like he was having a bit of a shocker. Penalty Try to Quins? Really?!
What a game! Win or lose, it was edge of seat stuff - and win England did! We now face either South Africa or Argentina in the final. It would be a real coup if it were Argentina.
Crikey. Today was a weird one. Both Rugby World Cup games go contrary to expectations, with England beating Australia and then France (the team who lost to Argentina) knocking out New Zealand.
Crikey indeed. Who'd have thought that 24 hours ago?
Strewth! My blood pressure is through the roof. I'll be hoping for a French win tonight - NZ would be a bridge too far in the semi. I really thought it'd be Australia's day - and Wasps would get our players back (Wasps are having a bad run right now)
Still, we have a Semi Final place, if someone had offered that before the tournament we'd have snapped their hand off.
We went to France this weekend, we saw the Rugby World Cup match between England and the USA live. We expected England to dominate proceedings, but it was not to be. England were rather slow and turgid, and the US truly dangerous as a result.
Unless there is a massive improvement, South Africa will stomp all over England on Friday.
We arrived in France to catch the end of the Argentina vs. France game.... Well done, Argentina.
Midway through Wales vs. Canada I couldn't believe the score either, and Namibia have just put up a phenomenal display against Ireland. Whilst the expected teams won these games, they were not won comfortably - Namibia especially should be celebrating tonight.
The World Cup starts today, with a game between France and Argentina. Enjoy.
Tomorrow, New Zealand will hammer Italy.
Then Australia will hammer Japan.
Finally England will hammer the USA. At least, that's the way the script should go.
Will Carling has claimed that Dallaglio is a divisive personality to include in the England team for the World Cup. Carling said: 'Sometimes the nature of someone like Lawrence can be a problem in a squad if he's not a captain and there are not very strong guys to keep him in check.'
When Dallaglio comes onto the pitch, he brings an energy which invigorates his team-mates. He may be good at sledging his opponents, and that's part of the game, but he brings a passion which is palpable even from the stands.
From Brian Ashton: 'he's been totally the opposite. He's pulled the squad together when it's needed it and he's been incredibly supportive and positive, he has massive belief in what can be achieved and he just a real asset to us.'
If that's divisive, let's have more of that.
Lawrence's verdict? 'I always thought Will was a decent bloke. I'm not sure now'