Blogs & Opinion


Roos ripe for glory

Consistency will be key for Kiwis says Jason Robinson

Features Posted 18th November 2008 view comments

It's about time someone stepped up and challenged Australia in this World Cup - and where better than in Saturday's final?

New Zealand stand between the Kangaroos and another title and if they can mount a real challenge the competition will end on a high note.

The Kiwis will be hoping to cash in on complacency but their outside chance of glory actually hinges on consistency. They need to be physical and get into Australia's faces early to cause what would be a massive upset.

Slater: sensational form

Slater: sensational form

As England found out the Kiwis have some big, strong runners and if Benji Marshall can get the forwards playing well, make some yardage and release the backs then who knows?

No weaknesses

The problem is that Australia are getting better with every game. Before the competition began people were saying 'let's just put the green and gold ribbons on the cup now' and so far it has been that way.

Many observers are saying that this is the best Australian team for many, many years and looking at the guys it's hard to disagree with that.

Jason Robinson
Quotes of the week

NEW ZEALAND v AUSTRALIA
8.30am, Sat, Sky Sports 2

You can see the confidence flowing through the team. The players are enjoying their rugby and while New Zealand will be competitive, I doubt they will be as clinical. Billy Slater, named Player of the Year at the inaugural Rugby League International Federation Awards, has been sensational at full-back, scoring tries for fun.

And guys like Israel Falou, Darren Lockyer and Johnathan Thurston can just tear teams apart - and that's what they have been doing. They've got strength all around - there are no weaknesses that I can see.

The players just want to play top-class rugby as they know someone else will come in and take over if they don't. Like all top teams they are able to produce when it matters.

Many observers are saying that this is the best Australian team for many, many years and looking at the guys it's hard to disagree with that.

Error-strewn

In contrast, England's World Cup was summed up by their 32-22 semi-final defeat to New Zealand when yet again they underperformed.

There are times in games when you can get away with certain mistakes but when you play at the highest level you cannot afford basic errors and unfortunately England made too many and almost gifted New Zealand the points.

I'm disappointed overall because I know the players are far better than they have shown. We've seen some great tries and touches throughout the World Cup but only at times; consistency is something that is a must at this level.

Golden Graham

Going forward, I was pleased to see James Graham named as prop of the year at the RLIF awards. He's had a fantastic year and people are starting to take notice of this guy.

He works tirelessly and not only that, he's able to back up and I've seen him score tries when he's put in a lot of effort. I think the award is just reward. He's still a young guy and with the experience he gains in Super League he will just go from strength to strength.

And I've got a lot of respect for Tony Smith; it was always going to be tough for him having only 10 days to prepare for the World Cup. That was probably the worst possible start.

He didn't even have the luxury of having one game with his full team prior to the World Cup. He's got to have access to players throughout the year just to say 'this is the way we want to play' so when they do come together for the games everyone knows what is needed. Then perhaps England can mount a title challenge again.

Comments (1)

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George Ross says...

In a two-horse race, or a contest between two teams, the less fancied one always has a chance, however slight, of winning. But I doubt whether there has been an international knock-out final in any major sport in the past 20 years where one team was such an overwhelming favourite to win. If you were asked to design your ideal rugby team, it would consist of big, powerful, skillful, fast, brave, determined, selfless, ruthless players working together like a well-oiled machine. That is what the current Australian team is. In my opinion, there is no doubt that they are the best rugby team - in either code - in the world at present, and must lay claim to be one of the best of all time. I have never before seen a team walk off a pitch having been stuffed 52-0 with their heads held high, knowing that they had played well - but Fiji did on Sunday, and rightly so. The Australian team were awesome then. I will be rooting for New Zealand this Sunday, simply to make a contest out of it - but I certainly won't be putting any money on them to win! Also well done to Ashley Klein for getting the fixture. His calm and unflappable yet decisive and accurate style of refereeing is just what the game of rugby needs - I hope that he has a good final.

Posted 08:23 19th November 2008

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