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Archive for September 17th, 2011

Irish upset for the Wallabies is priceless for the Rugby World Cup

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Irish eyes smiling after one of their country's greatest wins in the Rugby World Cup

Irish eyes smiling after one of their country's greatest wins in the Rugby World Cup

 

The Official Tribute to Rory Underwood - click to buy

The Official Tribute to Rory Underwood - click to buy

BY JOHN GUBBA

Ireland’s stunning 15-6 win over Australia is just what the Rugby World Cup needed. And it is no more than the Irish deserved for producing a magnificent performance at Eden Park.

There is nothing more boring in sport than knowing who is going to win every match in the opening stages of a major tournament. And while we have had a few close calls for the favourites so far, this was the first upset. Where Wales failed to take their chance of upsetting South Africa in a thrilling 17-16 defeat last weekend, not helped by being denied a penalty that clearly went over the posts, there was no way the Irish were going to let the Wallabies off the hook.

Jumping for joy! Irish fans celebrate

Jumping for joy! Irish fans celebrate

Intriguingly, if Ireland can now win Pool D they will expect to play either Wales or Samoa in the quarter-finals and that will give them a great chance of reaching the final four for the first time.

Two penalties and a drop goal from Jonathan Sexton and another two penalties from Ronan O’Gara proved decisive as the Irish pack, and their scrum in particular, secured the of the great wins in the history of Irish sport.

“It was the performance we knew we had in us,” said jubilant Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll, who was thrilled with his team’s performance and the amazing support of the traveling fans.  But the skipper insisted: “It’s just half the job done. As much as we’ll enjoy this, let’s not lose sight there are two more games.”

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Kean villain to hero and Wenger back in firing line – pure madness

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Villain or hero? It all depends when you ask the question

Villain or hero? all depends when you're asking

BY JOHN GUBBA

It is one of my pet hates: the fickleness of the average football fan – a symptom of the modern game that never ceases to amaze.

Before this afternoon’s match against Arsenal, Blackburn fans were campaigning for the sacking of manager Steve Kean, his team rock-bottom without a win in their opening four games. A couple of hours later Kean is a hero and those same fans are celebrating a remarkable 4-3 win at Ewood Park. Most pleasing for Kean, who has always asked fans to judge him once he has built his own team, was to see his new signing Yakubu score twice and be named man of the match.

With Kean out of the firing line for the time being at least, the spotlight is back on Arsene Wenger, who was predicting his side can still challenge on all fronts before kick-off. On the back of that 8-2 thrashing in their previous away match in the Premier League, the knives are out for Arsenal’s greatest ever manager. Why do we have to be constantly demanding football managers are sacked when they lose a couple of matches.

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