Formed 2004 ... Herts 7s U14 Runners-up 2005 ... North Herts U14 team, Herts Youth Games 2005 runners-up (coached by Letchworth)... Herts Superteams U14 Runners-up 2005 ... Herts SuperTeams "Fairplay" winners 2006 ... Rochford 10s U17 Champions 2006 ... East Midlands 10s U17 Runners-up 2007 ... East Midlands 10s U17 "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... National 10s U17 5th place and "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... Herts 7s U17 Plate runners-up 2007 ... National 7s U17 Plate winners 2007 ... RFU "President's XV" Award winners 2007 ... Herts Superteams winners 2007 ... Midlands 10s U18 Runners-up 2008 ... National 10s U18 4th place 2008 ... North Herts U11 team, Herts Youth Games 2008 runners-up (coached by Letchworth girls) ... London and SE 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2008 ... Herts 7s U18s runners-up 2008 ... National 7s U18s quarter-finalists 2008 ... Gloucester City 10s U18 Bowl runner-up (6th) 2009 ... Worthing 10s U18 Plate runner-up 2009 ... National 7s U18 Plate winners 2009... Worthing 10s U15 Plate winners 2010... Worthing 10s U18 Shield winners 2010... Herts 7s U15 and U18 Bowl runners-up 2010... National 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2010...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

World Cup: Into the final furlong

Its semi-final day tomorrow - years of preparation, and now one match from the final. In fact there are three sets of "semi-finals" - the other eight teams have not gone home - and some of the most interesting match-ups are in the four games you will probably not hear about, and certainly won't see on television.

Though the action at The Stoop doesn't start until 6pm, the first of these "other" semi-finals start at 2pm with games where the main incentive is to avoid the tournament's last place. South Africa begin against Kazakhstan, a draw that should see the wooden spoonists from 2002 safely avoid that indignity. Sweden v Wales, on the other hand, is much more interesting - a team that is performing better than expected against the one that is seriously underperforming. Wales beat Sweden comfortably warming up for the tournament - tomorrow it should be a bit closer.

These games will be followed by Canada v Scotland and USA v Ireland, playing for 5th place. While Scotland will be relieved to be in this section, the other three teams will be disappointed as all three hoped to be in the final four - indeed Canada and Ireland both began their last round of games with a real expectation that they would be competing for a place in the final tomorrow. Both of these games are repeats of earlier pool games, and while the result of Canada's game should be the same, USA v Ireland is a different thing entirely. Though Ireland won last time, and probably start as narrow favourities, USA have a lot to prove.

So we come to the main semi-finals. New Zealand and France play first at 6pm. Close game? Well, the bookmakers have New Zealand at an amazing 500-1 favourites to win - astonishing odds for a one-off game between the world's 1st and 3rd ranked teams! They also see New Zealand winning by at least 39 points - they are probably right. As for England v Australia (8pm), its far closer than that - but a comfortable England win is odds-on (6-1 on, apparently).

Some great pictures (like the one above) from the pool games have appeared on the BBC's website... BBC Surrey that is (see here). Pity the main BBC Sports website isn't as good.

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