If at first you don’t succeed…

Wowcher-Blogger-ID-Anna-Robinson
Stock-imageWhen the Rugby World Cup began a few weeks ago, the country was overwhelmed with excitement. Would England bring home the trophy once more and this time reign in triumph on their home turf? Would Twickenham ring loudly with sounds of ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ as Chris Robshaw lifted the trophy in his (lovely) arms? No. No he wouldn’t. That chariot has sailed.

Where we had hoped to write a blog on England’s domination and the string of glorious tries, we figured the more uplifting focus is the string of glorious thighs, a little rugby (‘cause let’s not forget the other home nations are still in) and pondering the results of this weekend’s rugby madness.

Now that we’re into the quarter finals, what team do you fancy winning? Or what team do you fancy? Let’s have a look at the final eight’s best assets, shall we?

Dragons V Springboks

Wales

In times past people would have argued that Leigh Halfpenny had the most to offer from the Welsh squad but, alas, he is out injured, so what will they do? While Wales may be penniless, they are rich in many other ways. George North is arguably one of the greatest wingers in the game, with his fast pace, his quick feet and his oh-so-lovely face. Just look at that face.

George North and Sam Warburton - Welshrugbyunion/Instagram

George North and Sam Warburton – Welshrugbyunion/Instagram

Welsh Captain Sam Warburton (more like Sam What-a-bottom) is confident for their next game against South Africa, pointing out that in their most recent meeting Wales defeated the Springboks and is bringing with him a Welsh of expertise as well as, ahem, his other good qualities.

South Africa

Let’s face it, not all of us know a lot about rugby, but what we do know is that South Africa are meant to be good, and Japan are meant to be bad. Yet… in the SA v Japan meeting the score would tell a different tale. Will South Africa recover from their embarrassing defeat? Of course they will. The 2007 World Cup Champions have a lot going for them.

Firstly, and our personal favourite, Brian Habana. Holding the record number of tries scored in a World Cup (equalled with All Black legend Jonah Lomu) Habana’s speed and agility make him a serious threat. His incredible experience (playing – and scoring – for the winning SA team who brought the cup home in 2007) is a contribution the team will truly value, ‘cause let’s face it, who doesn’t love a man with experience?

Bryan Habana - prodirectrugby/Instagram

Bryan Habana and The Beast – prodirectrugby/Instagram

South Africa’s other asset (yes that is our favourite pun) is the Beast. *Beeeast*. What other man can inspire a crowd of 80,000 people to chant about his masculinity? Tendai Nihal “Beast” Mtawarira is a 6ft1, 18 stone prop who made his international debut in 2008 against Wales, and will be looking to demonstrate his dominating presence once more during Saturday’s match. Isn’t he manly?

In this battle of the brave, our money is on the Springboks (sorry George).

Bravehearts V Wallabies

Australia

The other team that play in green and the team that crushed England’s dreams. Two weeks ago, as England stepped onto the field against this testosterone-fuelled, adrenaline-powered team of bulldozers, we said ‘all we have to do is win’, but boy, we were kidding ourselves! How could we win against such a strong hold? Scotland have quite a match coming up but it is possible that Australia have some weak spots… right? Or do we just have a weak spot for some of Australia?

Star duo Israel Folau and David Pocock are set to play in the clash against Scotland despite sustaining injuries in the match against Wales (oh, rugby is a dangerous sport, isn’t it?). But we’ll tell you what, if Folau was in need of some tender love and care we’re sure there would be a line as long as Australia itself of caring people offering a hand (or two).

David Pocock and Israel Folau - davidpocock/Instagram

David Pocock and Israel Folau – davidpocock/Instagram

Scotland

Scotland are the little team with the big brave hearts. With many star players putting in fantastic performances so far, it’s hard to pick out our favourites (but boy, did we enjoy trying)! Firstly, and most importantly, is Sean Lamont (Sean La Mount?). Sean won his 100th cap last weekend against Samoa and is now the second most-capped Scotsman of all time. He is unstoppable. No matter how much you want to, you can’t hold him down.

Then we have the ever lovely Sam Hidalgo-Clyne… usually we would argue that scrum halfs are not the most attractive on the team as the generally smaller and slighter, but Sam the man has given us something to think about. With such excellent skills as picking up the ball and throwing it wide, or putting the ball into the scrum Sam really does bring something special to Scotland. We only wish he would use his excellent handling skills elsewhere and bring something special to us…

Sean Lamont sflamont/Instagram

Sean Lamont – sflamont/Instagram

Who do you think will come out on top? We’re hoping for the men in blue and tartan but maybe that’s optimistic…

Le Bleu V All Black

France

No one wants France to win.

New Zealand

The reigning world champions have dominated the world competition for decades – holding the record number of points scored at a staggering 2012, including 272 tries. Wow. The All Blacks may be the favourites to win, but are they also the favourites elsewhere? Yes. The answer is yes. For two reasons:

  1. Sonny Bill Williams. This man literally lights up the room. With a cheeky smile and a badass tattoo sleeve Sonny Bill has it all. He is as hot as the sun and makes the ladies blush so red they look sun burnt… or Sonny burnt. Ouchy!
  2. Dan Carter. Literally the greatest thing that has ever happened to world rugby. And he will leave us soon. The sport, that is. He will remain forever in our hearts.
Sonny Bill Williams and Dan Carter - world.rugby/Instagtram

Sonny Bill Williams and Dan Carter – world.rugby/Instagtram

They’re the world champions for a reason, they strike fear in the hearts of all their opponents, and there is no doubt who will be entering the semi-finals from this match.

The Wolfhounds V The Pumas

While Ireland are suffering the loss of not one, not two but three and potentially four of their first team players, not all hope is lost. After suffering a devastating hamstring injury in last week’s game against France, O’Connell ends his international rugby career as one of Ireland’s longest-serving players, spanning a whopping 13 years and 250 days. As tactic planning and team re-building is happening behind the scenes, tributes to Paul O’Connell have been flooding in. So let’s take a moment to do the same.

Despite the heart-breaking loss of O’Connell and O’Mahony, Ireland (and let’s face it, everybody else) are still holding on to hope that Sexton will be fit to play this weekend. The question is whether his legs are fit enough… what do you think?

Jonny Sexton and Paul O’Connell - world.rugby/Instagram

Jonny Sexton and Paul O’Connell – world.rugby/Instagram

Yup. Definitely fit enough. …maybe just one more look to double check.

Jonny Sexton - world.rugby/Instagram

Jonny Sexton – world.rugby/Instagram

Ireland’s fly-half is pinned as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, in the game at the moment, and resting on those glorious shoulders are the hopes and dreams of Ireland rugby fans. So, ladies and gents, we must pray for a miracle.

Argentina

In the last RWC, Argentina made it to the quarterfinals where they were knocked out by New Zealand. In 2007 they had made it the semi-finals winning the bronze final 34-10 against France. This year’s team will be hoping to repeat that success in the quarters and go all the way. How do you fancy their chances?

Scrum half Tomas Cubelli is the perfect demonstration of Shakespeare’s famous line ‘though [he] be but little [he] is fierce.’ If he can school the All Blacks what can’t he do? (we’d like him to be our teacher).

Tomas Cubelli - world.rugby/Instagram

Tomas Cubelli – world.rugby/Instagram

In the final battle of the brave here at Wowcher, we’re all hoping Ireland will come out winners and we’re finding ourselves prompted to perform a rendition of Ireeeeland, Ireeeland together standing tall. Our money is on the men in green!

So that’s it, folks. With a weekend of tries, thighs, scrums and bums why wouldn’t you spend it down the pub watching rugby? Whether you’re nurturing your grief through pseudo-supporting Wales, or you’re standing shoulder to shoulder with the Ireland fans, or maybe even your money is on the All Blacks, this weekend is sure to be simply divine!

For those of you who didn’t get to see any live legs at the RWC grab tickets for some Rugby Union action at Saracens vs Harlequins with our trymendous deal.