27 May

The World Cup — Nostradamus reporting
by Rick Boyd
27 May 2002

Ok, we know who the seeded teams are, even if they are completely arse about face due to Vernon Puke and his little band of village idiots having a combined IQ of about 9. If they’re lucky. And as for the finals — what a pile of reeking dingo’s vomit. Another masterpiece where Australia and New Zealand will meet in the semi-final.

But what about the rest? So far we’ve heard a fair bit about Europe 4 and Asia 3 — but what does it all mean? Andorra vs Macau?

There are four places going to Europe — and it is between Ireland, Italy, Romania, Spain, Czech Republic, Georgia, Poland, Holland, Portugal and Russia. Based on the brilliant mind of stats genius Ross Finlayson, this will be:
Europe 1 – Ireland
Europe 2 – Italy
Europe 3 – Romania
Europe 4 – Georgia

There’s one spot going to Africa: from Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tunisia, Morocco, Madagascar and Ivory Coast. According to Ross it will be Namibia.

Asia gets one spot: Japan, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Sri Lanka and Taiwan will fight that one out. Ross says Japan is streets ahead.

The Americas get the nod for two places: and it’s between Canada, the United States, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay and Brazil. Canada and USA it is, according to St Ross.

Oceania has two places on offer: from Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands. Fiji and Samoa are one place ahead of Tonga on Ross’s ladder.

Then we get to the Repechage. The second African country (Zimbabwe), third Americas finisher (Uruguay) and fifth European nation (Russia) will fight it out for one position, with Asia’s second nation (South Korea) and third Oceania team (Tonga) playing off for repechage 2. According to Ross the two spots will be going to Russia and Tonga.

So here’s how it looks:

Pool A — Australia, Argentina, Europe 1 (Ireland), Africa 1 (Namibia) and Europe 4 (Georgia).
Pool B — France, Scotland, Oceania 1 (Fiji), Asia (Japan), Repechage (Russia or Tonga).
Pool C — South Africa, England, Oceania 2 (Samoa), Europe 3 (Romania), America 2 (USA).
Pool D — New Zealand, Wales, Europe 2 (Italy), America 1 (Canada), Repechage (Russia or Tonga).

And so to the finals. If all goes according to plan, New Zealand should meet South Africa in Melbourne, but I’m not convinced England has that sort of consistency yet, especially away from home at the start of their season. I’m picking South Africa to win their pool, so England will get to meet New Zealand in smelly Melly. New Zealand to win in either case. New Zealand has done well against teams with forward-based play, limited backs and a structured game. But it’s a killer quarter final in either case.

The second quarter final is Australia v Scotland in Brisbane. Australia unless there is perhaps the biggest upset in world cup finals history.

The third quarter final is France against Argentina or Ireland in Melbourne. Take your pick. I’m inclined towards Ireland myself but it’s a close run thing. France to win in any case.

The fourth quarter final is South Africa v Wales in Brisbane. South Africa it has to be.

The semis are both in Sydney and did I mention Vernon Pugh is a halfwit? The first two winners meet in the first semi — New Zealand v Australia. I guess you’d be going with Australia based on recent experience and Ross’s ranking, but not this little all black duck. Australia has used up about 100 years of jammy good furtune in the last couple of years and are ripe for the plucking. So they can go and get plucked. New Zealand to win, and by a good margin at that.

The second semi is the final two quarter final winners — France v South Africa (although it could be England, let’s face it). Now there’s a nice three-way tie. Can France repeat their recent defeats of England/South Africa? According to Ross they can but since when did the French ever perform to expectations? My gut feeling is the wheels will be overdue to come spinning off the Gallic chariot by then. South Africa to win in Sydney. Sorry garlic-munchers, but there it is.

Sorry Australia, you’re out of the final, and it serves you right. Nya nya nya nya etc. What a glorious final — the All Blacks v the Springbox, the most hallowed contest in the great traditions of rugby. No food poisoning, no extra time, no drop goal lottery, New Zealand to win and win in style.

That’s the way I’m calling it. Call me madly optimistic that the great big bunch of jessies who have played in black jerseys recently can win the world cup, but I’ve got faith.

Now we can sit back and watch it unfold.

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