The All Blacks take on Portugal in 2007 with a 20 minute turnaround.
Mole has heard a few discussions about the fairness of World Cup schedule, the protracted nature of the tournament and the slim chances of any minnow beating a big fish. They’re all legitimate comments and Mole recognises that it’s not a fair world. Sometimes though it pays heed to listen to what isn’t being said.
I could be wrong about this, but none of the players involved have come out and bitched about the schedule, the experience, the competition or the opportunity to play against the best players in the world in a professional environment. And when all is said and done, rugby is a players’ game.
Marius Tincu was interviewed after the English had given Romania a swan diving drubbing. Tincu is a smashing hooker and well capable of mixing it on the pitch. Afterwards, he was like a big teddy bear with a wise perspective: “England are a very big team and it was hard for us. They are professionals. We play rugby for happiness and for family and I’m very happy tonight and now I look forward to playing Georgia.”
There’s a back story to this comment. Since 1999, Mole has had a high regard for the playing ability of Petre Mitu. This was reinforced by his performance for Montauban against Munster in Thomond Park. Mole’s of the opinion that if Italy discover a Mitu of their own to link up with Parisse and the I-talian scrum, they’ll be very dangerous in the Six Nations. However, Mitu has a high opinion of himself that wasn’t shared by his teammates and he didn’t play in the World Cup for happiness or money. His loss.
I think Romania will find it a bit difficult tomorrow, mainly because they’ve only had a four day turnaround. However, both teams will be going at it hammer and tongs in a match that will be the highlight of some careers. Mole reckons Romania offer value with a 9 pt start and wishes both teams well. Schedule schmedule.