James McQuarrie

A collection of random links and thoughts curated by James McQuarrie

If you only watch one rugby match of this year’s World Cup watch this one

If you follow World rugby you’ll have been following along with all the fun and drama of the pool stages in this year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

But with all the games being played in the wee hours of the morning UK time if you’re more of a casual fan you may have shown no more than a passing interest, keeping up to date with developments on the pitch via online match reports or TV highlights. Or, thanks to a select few England players, you may have been more interested in the off the pitch activity than the games themselves.

That’s all about to change. This Saturday at 06:00 UK time Wales will take on Ireland in the first of the quarter finals of this year’s competition. If you are a hardcore rugby fan you will understand that with both Wales and Ireland playing some amazing, on-form rugby at the moment, this single game is certainly the most exciting prospect of the competition so far, and could prove to be one of the most epic games in the sport’s history.

If you’re not a hard core rugby fan, if you’ve only showed passing interest in the sport or the competition up until now, this is the game that will engage you, delight you and convert you.

This is the game to get everyone you know up early to watch. Don’t set Sky plus, don’t wait for the highlights, don’t miss the live broadcast.

This game will set the benchmark for the rest of the World Cup. If I was a betting man, I’d put good money on the winner of this match making the final.

I’m hoping it will be Wales. I’m confident that Wales have the skill, the depth in numbers and the belief to win. I’m also aware that Ireland have beaten Australia, won their pool and have the experience that Wales is lacking with their young team.

As a Wales fan, I’ve no doubt that Wales can win. But if Ireland take the game and knock Wales out of the competition, I’ll support them in the next round, the final, and hope to see them lift the Webb Ellis Cup. It would be a grand farewell for Ireland’s great elder statesmen of rugby.

But for now: COME ON WALES!