David Leggat on sport

David Leggat is a Herald sport writer

David Leggat: Rugby World Cup outcomes blowin' in the wind

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Bob Dylan: 'When you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose'. Photo / Supplied
Bob Dylan: 'When you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose'. Photo / Supplied

As that noted rugby observer Bob Dylan once put it: "When you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose."

It's not clear how many of the French team are Dylan fans, but they are likely to be searching for inspiration before facing England at Eden Park tonight.

Not that France possess nothing in a rugby sense. Far from it. It's that they have yet to show what heights they can reach.

"The whole point of rugby is that it is, first and foremost, a state of mind, a spirit," said charismatic French captain of the late 1970s Jean-Pierre Rives. He was in charge for the famous Bastille Day win, also at Eden Park, 32 years ago. So get the mind right, have the spirits soaring, nothing to lose and all things are possible. Blend the ingredients tonight or pack your bags, mes amis.

Dylan also sits squarely in Argentina's corner too, as no one gives them the remotest chance against the All Blacks at the same time, same place tomorrow night.

The Pumas must "dare mighty things ... to win glorious triumphs", as former American President Theodore Roosevelt put it.

The most intriguing of the four games are in Wellington.

Wales might have a slight edge against Ireland, if not with the TAB. They do not fear being expansive, are confident and back themselves.

Ireland's resounding win over the Wallabies shook the cup, the reverberations of which may still be felt in the capital tomorrow night when Australia take on South Africa in a quarter-final they dared not envisage six weeks ago.

A Japanese proverb, "Fall seven times, stand up eight" might do for the Celts in a game which holds the promise of being desperately tight.

The Springboks, even shorn of ageing hardman Bakkies Botha, appeal as most likely to (ultimately) succeed, alongside the hosts.

They have a singlemindedness about them, so step forward Henry Ford, industrialist and carmaker: "Obstacles are those frightening things that become visible when we take our eyes off our goals."

Which leaves us with the Wallabies. Bumped over by the Irish, banged about by injuries, which had their No 8 start one game on the right wing, and now up against the Boks.

But their record against those opponents isn't bad. So for baseball legend Yogi Berra that must mean ... "It ain't over, till it's over."

Seven of the last eight (minus Argentina) could yet win the title with their various ways. A belting weekend ahead.

- NZ Herald

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