And our poor players do strut and fret their hour upon the stage, and then they are no more.
The big problem, suggested by the Georgia game and confirmed agaunst France, is that the forwards are not getting enough possession - even from lineouts. Without possession you can't win. Even with the bits we got we could do little against a devastating French defence. The French attack was limited but they had enough territory to thrive on the scoreboard thanks to the pedantic home-town referee. I suspect that this Irish pack will be mauled by the Argentinians and we will lose (narrowly) to them - maybe 15-9. This will consign us to the dustbin and the French to a quarter-final against the All-Blacks in Cardiff. Not what the IRB had planned - France away from home mon dieu.
Elsewhere it still loooks like a NZ - SA final. France don't have enough firepower to trouble the All-Blacks, and Australia will fail up front. I still worry about the NZ second-row but suspect that they will get enough possession to ensure that NZ's greater fire power will prevail. My players of the tournament so far are the fiercesome SA lock Victor Matfield - New Zealand beware, and the Argentinian out-half Juan Martin Hernandez - Ireland beware.