Blogs & Opinion


Scott Quinnell:

Turn up the intensity

Wales must keep the pressure up, says Scott Quinnell

Scott Quinnell Posted 29th September 2011 view comments

As we head into the final round of pool games, the knock-out stages are starting to take shape although there still could be a few shocks.

The team who have set the standard are New Zealand who were very clinical against France.

The French did start well but New Zealand soaked up the pressure and then just moved up a gear. It is going to take a special performance to beat them. You can't rule France out though - they will beat Tonga this weekend and set-up a quarter-final, probably against England.

Tricky fixture

I say probably because England have a tricky fixture against Scotland and could actually end up going home early. If Scotland beat them by more than eight points and Argentina beat Romania with a bonus point then it's an early exit for England.

Scotland's Euan Murray and John Barclay hoping to upset England

Scotland's Euan Murray and John Barclay hoping to upset England

Scotland blew their game against Argentina and will be desperate to beat their auld enemy. It was some weak defence that allowed Argentina to get back into that game with that winning try but the fact remains that Scotland should not have been in that position in the first place.

England's three games so far have all been inside, they have been slightly pampered and Scotland will be doing a rain dance before Saturday's game. They will want some real driving rain.

Wales need to put out a team that will dominate the Pacific Islanders and not get bogged down in that open style of rugby they tried to play in 2007!

Scott Quinnell
Quotes of the week

Scott's Sky Bet Tips

Scott's tipping England to beat Scotland by eight points (9/2) and James Haskell (11/2) to score anytime

Wales to beat Fiji by 15 points at 9/2 and scrum-half Mike Phillips to score at anytime. See all Sky Bet's Rugby World Cup odds.

They will believe that they are a little more weather-battled than England going into this game and hope to use that to their advantage. Never underestimate Scotland, especially when they have their backs to the wall, but I just feel that England will have enough strength and power to see them through.

I think England will win by eight points (9/2 with Sky Bet) and I wouldn't be surprised if James Haskell gets a try coming off a drive. He's 11/2 to score a try at anytime in the match.

Parrisse & co looking to upset Ireland

Ireland may have beaten Australia but Italy will really fancy their chances. Sergio Parisse has been superb for the Azzurri and their pack has been going very well too. They will be desperate to beat Ireland on the world stage.

They will look to dominate in the forwards and look to take the likes of Paul O'Connell, Sean O'Brien and Jamie Heaslip out of the game. Ireland need to play a much more up-tempo game and get Italy running all over the paddock - if they can do that then they should win and top the pool.

Forward thinking from Wales

As for Wales, it will be interesting to see what they do as far as team selection goes for Fiji. A lot will depend on the South Africa v Samoa game.

South Africa are on a roll after easily seeing off Fiji and Namibia. As expected they are a very physical side - and they will have to be at their physical best to beat Samoa. It will be a massive game as Samoa know they can upset the apple cart.

If South Africa win with a bonus point then the pressure will be off Wales, but they still need to go about their business if they are serious about the quarter-finals and beyond. They need to go out and put down a marker against Fiji.

They need to put out a team that will dominate the Pacific Islanders and not get bogged down in that open style of rugby they tried to play in 2007!

Fiji are very comfortable in open and broken play so Wales need to drag them into a forward-dominated game. Get them into rucks and mauls and really tire them out. Wales really need to get a good solid win - especially with Ireland on the horizon.

I have heard some suggestions about playing George North with Jamie Roberts in the centre. That would certainly be a massive partnership but I personally wouldn't. At this stage you want consistency and you don't want players playing out of position.

John Davies and Scott Williams have played really well so there is no need to experiment. I think they will win by 15; Rhys Priestland to keep the scoreboard ticking over and if he is playing I can see Mike Phillips getting over the whitewash round the side of a ruck.

back to top

Other Rugby Union Experts:

Latest Posts in Rugby Union:

Latest News RSS feeds

Waratahs book Crusaders final

Waratahs booked a Super Rugby final showdown with the Crusaders after beating the Brumbies 26-8 in Sydney.

Crusaders storm into final

Seven-time champions Crusaders are through to the Super Rugby final after demolishing the Sharks 38-6 in Christchurch.

Waratahs v Brumbies: Teams

NSW Waratahs have the lure of hosting their first Super Rugby final if they can get past the ACT Brumbies in Sydney.

ACT deserve title says Mowen

Skipper Ben Mowen says the ACT Brumbies deserve to win the 2014 Super Rugby title after three years of hard work.

Exeter kick off in Wales

Exeter Chiefs will begin their defence of the LV= Cup with a trip to Wales to face Newport Gwent Dragons.

Features

Super Rugby final: New South Wales Waratahs host Christchurch Crusaders in Sydney

Super Rugby final: New South Wales Waratahs host Christchurch Crusaders in Sydney

The Crusaders will take on the Waratahs in the Super Rugby final after both sides registered eye-catching semi-final victories on Saturday.

Thinus Delport casts his eye over the Super Rugby semi-finals

Thinus Delport casts his eye over the Super Rugby semi-finals

Crusaders v Sharks: 8.25am, Sat, Sky Sports 1 HD

Sky Sports runs through the highlights of the last week of sport

Sky Sports runs through the highlights of the last week of sport

It's been another eventful week across the world of sport, but again it showed that for every smiling winner there's a disheartened loser.