Darth Vader v Luke Skywalker for the Rugby World Cup; McCarthy sets out stall for Denmark
The Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the Rugby World Cup with The Irish Times sports team
A view of the artificial pitch being laid in Donnybrook ahead of Ireland women’s hockey Olympic playoff. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
The thing about the Rugby World Cup is that, because matches are so spaced out (particularly in the knockout stages), there is a lot of time to fill between them with analysis and build-up. The final is still three full days away so you can expect plenty more of that before England and South Africa actually take to the field but at least this morning Gordon D’Arcy has come up with a fresh take – that being to compare the teams to Star Wars characters. D’Arcy writes this morning that the Springboks are this final’s Darth Vader facing up against England’s Luke Skywalker. “The Springboks are not playing the villain – they are the bad guys at this World Cup. It’s dreadful to watch; boring, dour, ultra-physical from the biggest humans we have ever seen play the game. They are Darth Vader to England’s Luke Skywalker. England are the good guys,” he writes. The power of the South Africans, and indeed England, is also backed up by English defence coach John Mitchell who says that the two finalists are the two most powerful teams in the world.
Yesterday it was confirmed that Jérôme Garcès will take charge of the showdown in Yokohama and this morning former IRFU referee director Owen Doyle writes that communication at the breakdown and the scrum will be key. And while Ireland’s journey is now long over, there is still time to reflect, with former All Black Justin Marshall the latest to get in on the act. “All of a sudden the 50/50s that Ireland were winning by kicking and getting the ball back – they weren’t getting it back anymore. Yet they were still doing the same thing. So you’re now kicking the ball back to the opposition instead of kicking it and getting it back,” he said.