STEWART ISLAND, NZ – The 2011 Rugby World Cup has gripped the world by the collar, shaken it like a James Bond martini and produced all we expected… and more. and Crazy things have happened. Predictable things have happened, we’ve predicted perfectly so far:
Okay, so bragging aside, now the heavy-lifting begins. While we stayed perfect after 4 rounds, we did a much poorer job of picking scores. Why? Three reasons:
1) We underestimated the scoring power of clubs like S.A., England and Australia.
2) We forgot about the “Live Another Day” aspect of the RWC, where teams rest players for a do-or-die approach in the next round. Scotland made this famous in the last RWC, benching the first-stringers AT MURRAYFIELD against the All Blacks, conceding in William Wallace’s backyard in the hopes of beating Italy the following week. They did. Barely. Team USA, whose RWC schedule is so unfair it’s left us apoplectic, implemented this strategy vs Australia, ironically in the hopes of beating Italy.
3) We overestimated the tackling and defensive abilities of some squads but really, the Tier II teams have no shot when they are playing Super Powers on short rest.
So going forward, it’s tougher to pick. You can see our picks – which are rather conservative – below. We’re nervous about Argentina over Scotland… Mainly due to the potential injury potential for Argentina but also because the specter of William Wallace looms…
Finally, to fix all this scheduling nonsense, how about simply giving the Top Teams a bye. It’s their reward for being on top and also eliminates the ridiculously unfair scheduling. Is it a perfect solution, no. But it acts as a reward for squads like the All Blacks, Wallabies and one or two more – the Boks and England???
Here are our latest picks:
P.s… Do you think Italy are getting ticked that teams basically intentionally walk batters with the bases loaded when up by two runs just to pitch to them? (That’s an analogy for the American audience).