On Saturday in Paris, the Greens, number 1 in the world and unbeaten in 17 games, faced the Tuttineri in search of redemption
From the start of the tournament there was fear. In fact, long beforehand: two quarters of the 2023 World Cup will be early finals. And it’s not just a figure of speech: Ireland-New Zealand and France-South Africa, scheduled to be played in front of 80,000 spectators at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday and Sunday, will pit the first power in the rankings against the fourth and the second power against the third party. . This is because the draws for the composition of the groups that determined the pairings were carried out three years ago, when the values were still very different from the current ones. With the “team” Wales-Argentina and England-Fiji, it will still be a weekend of fireworks in Marseille. Featuring Ireland All Blacks Challenges, Clash of the Titans. Between the team of the moment, fresh from 17 consecutive victories (only two national teams in history, if you take into account the Tier 1 teams, that is, the first division, have achieved 18) and that of… always, with their load Charm and tradition.
Paradoxically, the Greens have never reached the semi-finals of the World Cup: eight attempts (in the nine previous editions of the event), as many failures. The last one against the Blacks, in Japan 2019: In Tokyo it ended with an eloquent 46:14. But what happened in the summer of 2022 should not be forgotten: after the defeat on July 2nd in Auckland – the last defeat before the sensational series – the Clover national team won in Dunedin and Wellington in the following weeks and closed the series in their favor . Coach Andy Farrell, a 48-year-old Englishman who took over management from New Zealander Joe Schmidt, to whom he was assistant, after the 2019 World Cup and six seasons of management, began to create his masterpiece on this triumphant journey. Even after the Grand Slam in the last Six Nations, success could now come. It doesn’t matter whether Schmidt himself has been the coach of the Tuttineri’s attack for a year: according to English bookmakers, Ireland and France are favorites for the title. And if the forecast is kept, a representative of the northern hemisphere will finally become champions, for the second time after England in Australia 2003. Johnny Sexton and his team-mates have been almost perfect so far, especially in the win against South Africa (13-8) on September 23rd, at the end of an epic game, one of the best in the history of the sport. The system of play has been consolidated to the point where, according to various insiders, most recently Scotland coach Gregor Townsend, who were overwhelmed 36-14 on Saturday, “this group can dominate for the next 5-10 years”. Sexton himself, a 38-year-old luxury opener, is fighting against time: his career will end when Ireland leave the stage. He is one of the starters returning from the debacle in Tokyo: the others are the center Garry Ringrose, the flanker Josh Van der Flier, best player in the world in 2022, and Peter O’Mahomey, fresh from his 100th international match, the second Line Iain Henderson and prop Tadhg Furlong. Farrell will field the best possible XV after regaining wingers Mack Hansen and James Lowe. Including center Bundee Aki, who was born and raised in New Zealand, a “revelation” of the World Cup: with the ball in his hand he is unstoppable. Ireland will play at home: the tens of thousands of fans following the tune of “Zombie”, the Cranbierries’ hit, are one more.
This is New Zealand
However, the All Blacks are the All Blacks. Never underestimate them. “During the 2022 series,” said Bauden Barrett, one of the most charismatic characters, in the final hours, “we learned a lot. It was hard to lose in your own backyard. But we all know their strengths: they are numerous and not unattainable.” . “Revenge”, “Amend”: “Revenge”, “Rectification”: These are the words that are most popular in the land of the white cloud these days. Ian Foster’s team lost the first game of the tournament against France – their first World Cup defeat in a group – but even against weak opponents such as Namibia (71-0), Italy (96-17) and Uruguay (73 -0) caused a sensation. The 240 points indicate that the national team is probably healthy again. And ready for the fourth title. Despite having had 24 hours more rest than his opponents, the coach will wait today to officially announce the starting lineup. Lomax is doubtful, the right prop is injured. Above all, there is a country and a movement that will not accept defeat.
October 12th – 9:35 a.m
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