The Team That Never Travelled: Part Two, The Second Row

Jerome Thion [France]: Thion is in the prime of his life as a second row: 33 years old, 115kgs, 45 starts for France and two World Cups. The Biarritz man has locked the French scrum with Lionel Nallet in a lot of big games but has been surplus to requirements since the defeat to Italy. Continue reading

The Team That Never Travelled: Part One, The Front Row

The Best Players Not Selected For The World Cup: Part One, The Front Row

What’s the point of doing one of these things now? Aren’t they normally a space-filler in the lead up to the world cup, tacked together once the squads are announced but before a tackle is missed in anger? Continue reading

Skrela Out, Doussain In; Whither Beauxis?

Tortured genius overlooked for versatile nipper

Confidence-drained David Skrela will not feature any further in France’s World Cup shambles campaign. The Clermont Auvergne-bound outhalf re-injured his shoulder against Japan, an injury that first flared up during the August match between France and Ireland in Dublin. Continue reading

First Round Thoughts

Fly my pretties, fly. Just don't try to maul it.

Fly my pretties, fly. Just don't try to maul it.

A few things have stood out for the Mole after the first round of matches:

Firstly, the Rugby World Cup is a Good Thing. Yes, it overshadows traditional tournaments, disrupts the season, the politics of who gets the tournament is not transparent and hoteliers gouge fans but the atmosphere, sense of occasion and opportunity to see rugby cultures collide in competitive test matches is great. Continue reading

Match Review: Australia 32 – 6 Italy

Five Italians in his wake, hot-tempered larrikin James O'Connor gets over for a try. Bonzer.

Australia filleted the Italians with a second-half display of accuracy and precision that’d impress surgeons and intimidate future opponents. Continue reading

Match Preview: SA vs Wales

Matt Williams has been vocally suspicious of Taff hopes in recent days, and it’s pretty funny just how dismissive he is of them. However, one of the writers on the excellent ESPN has made the very valid point that the Welsh are coming into the tournament without the usual hoopla or barely-veiled truckload of acrimony that usually forms the body of their luggage. Continue reading

Match Preview: England vs Argentina No. 1

Maradona heads one in against Angleterre in a typically unemotional sporting encounter between the two countries

England don’t have many options but to pick a huge pack, and they haven’t veered very far from the form book. Continue reading

France v Japan Preview

Japan has a vibrant domestic league and was the main contender to New Zealand to host RWC 11. The decision to give the cup to the smaller country was made six years ago and the Mole thinks it was an opportunity missed. Japan is 10th most populous country in the world, with a staggering 127m people and 3rd largest economy in the world. Japan will host the 2019 tournament, by which time rugby, or the Sevens variation, will be an Olympic sport. Instead of introducing another Australian franchise to the Super 15, Mole believes that Tokyo should have got one team and Hong Kong another to make a sixteen team tournament. Teams could have been populated by a mix of Islanders, Argentinians, other imports and local talent. This would give the game massive exposure in two huge economies and introduce more crowds, sponsorship and interest. Continue reading