Saturday was hyped as the biggest day in Welsh history, with the football team attempting to confirm their place in Euro 2016 and the rugby team facing Australia to decide who they’d face in the Quarter Finals.
A win would line Scotland up next, after they’d recovered from a shaky start to beat Samoa. The final whistle bought two polar opposites in response, with Scottish joy unfolding next to Samoan despair. Scotland were a little lucky, and I suspect this will be their last victory in the tournament.
I watched the Wales match under unusual circumstances, at mine and MWF’s engagement party. Keeping it casual we had a big screen showing the match, and the guests wound up yelling at the screen.
Wales went in against Australia with a terrible record, having lost the last ten meetings with the Wallabies. Wales started okay, but the Australians deserved to extend their run. At one point they were reduced to thirteen men, and Wales should have made the advantage tell, but they defended like heroes and kept the Welsh out.
Wales weren’t terrible and a shuffled line up did well, especially Taulupe Faletau, George North and Sam Warburton. Australia bossed the scrum, but Wales kept them pinned down to a 15-6 defeat.
The defeat meant that Wales would face South Africa, a much tougher challenge and will do so without Liam Williams, who joined the long Welsh injury list.
Wales will probably go out to South Africa, who recovered from their surprise defeat to Japan to thump everyone else in their group, including a 64-0 demolition of the USA. With Bryan Habana finding his form they look dangerous and may well prove too much for the boys in red.
I’m aware that our World Cup will probably only last a week more, despite how much I hope for a surprise win.
English fans have been rather smug announcing “you’ll be out in the next round”, which is like someone who’s flunked out trying to sass you by saying you’ll only get a C.
England finished on a high, with a bonus point win over Uruguay, but it was a case of too little to late. It also means Chris Robshaw catches more flak for choosing to kick for touch rather than the posts, as a draw against Wales would have meant they qualified. A Facebook friend made this point in the masochistic “if only” way sports fans are susceptible to. But as Beverly Knight said “shoulda, woulda, coulda are the last words of a fool”
Wales then lost 2-0 to Bosnia Herzegovina in the football, but results went our way and we’re through to the European Championships. It was an odd day, with two losses but still a feeling of victory and progression to the next level.
The Quarter Finals promise some good matches, although in several there are already clear favourites.
Quarter Final predictions, winner in bold:
South Africa v Wales
New Zealand v France
Ireland v Argentina
Australia v Scotland
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.