The luck of the Irish has been in short supply so far this tournament, it couldn’t possibly continue, could it?
The match many predicted to be the Final has come early courtesy of Ireland’s loss to Japan in the pool stages.
Ireland had a solid win over Scotland utilising their traditional “bore them to death” method of gameplay. Even in the wet they looked solid and secure.
The same style of play was less effective against Japan, Ireland was unable to adapt to the exciting flair in attack, and relentless consistency in defence. Ireland didn’t play poorly, Japan just played awesome.
Even against Samoa, they were far from convincing. Yes, they played a man down for a long time, courtesy of Bundee Aki’s Red Card. Yes, they score 47 points to 5. But they hardly set the world on fire.
You’ve heard it said, never peak too early. I fear the Irish have. If one the RWC was last year, alas not.
The Kiwi’s on the other hard are perennial favourites. It’s hard to say a word against them, but the bigger they are the harder they fall. Their extra week off due to Typhoon Hagibis cancelling their game against Italy could work against them. If ever they were to be rusty, this might be it.
However, having lost to Australia in Perth less than two months ago, their wake-up call came painfully early. I don’t see them making another misstep. REALLY happy to be proven wrong.
Prediction: New Zealand by 21