ON AIR: Overnight Talk

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Martin Devlin previews All Blacks v Ireland and Japan v South Africa

Author
Martin Devlin ,
Publish Date
Fri, 18 Oct 2019, 12:49PM

Martin Devlin previews All Blacks v Ireland and Japan v South Africa

Author
Martin Devlin ,
Publish Date
Fri, 18 Oct 2019, 12:49PM

Yesterday, we looked at the two earlier RWC quarter finals boldly predicting victories for England over Australia (not really that bold I do acknowledge!) and an upset of sorts for France over Wales.

Today it's the later games starting with the 4th and final match on Sunday night.

Japan vs South Africa, Tokyo Stadium, 11.15pm NZT.

Time to stick the neck out folks and do something that goes against every grain of every fibre of every rugby watching experience I've ever had, and call a victory for the hosts Japan over the Springboks.

Get ready for the biggest single boilover the tournament's ever seen with the Brave Blossoms going one better than even their coach Jamie Joseph predicted powering their way into a semifinal vs fellow surprise package France.

Now before you jump down my throat yelling "what possible reason have you got for saying this", I admit I have none.

No real rugby playing reasons at all, so won't waste either my words or your reading time outlining any. I just have this funny feeling that the story isn't about to end just yet.

And like the 2002 FIFA WC that saw co-hosts South Korea turn the tournament upside down by making the semis, I've got a sneaking suspicion Japan can emulate that achievement and replicate a similar success.

The Japanese are playing with house money here they have absolutely nothing to lose, and with a raucous home crowd and country behind them plus all the pressure on South Africa, I have a sneaking feeling that the fairytale might have one more chapter to tell. Japan in a thriller 12-

All Blacks vs Ireland, Sat night, Tokyo, 11.15pm NZT

Very aware of the (so-called) Devlin curse, this fabricated exaggerated much talked about fallacy where every team I touch turns to turd, I'm a little reluctant to publicly say here what I truly WANT to happen so perhaps should stick more to what I genuinely believe than what I actually wish for.

The ABs are perfectly poised to avenge last year's loss in Dublin against an Irish side that's failed to perform anywhere near those giddy heights since. An unconvincing 6-Nations was followed by a mostly muddling build-up to this World Cup culminating in that shock pool match loss to Japan.

Since then they've done exactly what's expected, winning their other matches relatively comfortably,  without ever looking like the potential winners of this tournament.

The fact they've never won a knock-out match at any RWC might be easily dismissed as just another WC stat but I believe it's worthy of a mention because it highlights a team and country that's always come up short when the pressure is fully applied. And there is no sterner test than playing us in this 1/4-final.

The All Blacks preparation has been nigh on perfect. We have an injury-free squad primed with everything to prove.

Ireland will come at us with exactly what we'd expect, box kicks and plenty of them, that offside/rush defence they favour, pick & go and as physical as they can make it.

The whole of our season, the last 2/3 seasons has been geared for this and then hopefully the next two matches to follow. Have faith folks. We are the world's best team for a reason. In Shag and Fozzie we trust. ABs easy 13+ world beaters in the process. 

ON AIR: Overnight Talk

12AM - 5AM