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Reviewing the situation.

As Fagin said and sung in Oliver! I am reviewing the situation as we approach the business end of the competition. Unless there are some extraordinary surprises like Fiji beating Wales and Canada the Boks , the final eight look like Japan, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, England, France, Wales and Australia.

The two best teams I have seen in the competition are New Zealand and England whom I expect to be watching in the final in Yokahama.

As for England, without wishing injury on a player, especially one so obviously targeted, I’m going to be controversial and say England would be a better team without Owen Farrell. The problem is he is not a centre but a fly half playing out of position to accommodate him in the team. I would prefer to see Henry Slade alongside Tuilagi: the rapier and the broadsword. Also his kicking was poor against Argentina.

As for the All Blacks, they got off to a wobbly start v Namibia. Steve Hansen gave them the proverbial rocket at half time and they ran amok in the second half.

The return of Brodie Retallick, for my money the best player on the planet, will make a huge difference. England play an expansive game under Eddie Jones – the team is full of ball carriers and runners – but I cannot see the All Blacks giving them the latitude to express themselves as did 14 men Argentina.

Every side will have to be mindful of the referee and TMO which is picking up every misdemeanour. Just as well it was not around in my day!

About Granite Grant Logan

‘Granite’ Grant Logan is covering the Rugby World Cup in Japan 2019 for us. Grant was a no holds barred lock for Hawkes Bay who took no quarter and expected none. Unfortunately his appearances in the All Black jersey were limited by the pre-eminence of Frank Oliver and Andy Haden. After hanging up his size 14 boots he became a highly respected coach and analyst. More Posts