Having just unbuckled ourselves from underneath the car against Oz, we can finally get on with implementing our grand plan ... d'oh!
(One should never pass up the opportunity to use the Simpsons as a metaphor. )
I see from comments in a couple of other threads that some posters share my slight sense of unease with all the gushing talk of "Ireland's easier path to the final". While I am still riding the wave of optimism from the win over Oz - and indeed the manner of that win - I think there is a little bit too much focus on "who we'll probably face in the quarter final". Time to cool the jets a little, boys and girls. It's not that I'm looking to play Cassandra here, but the notion that the Russian game is a formality could come back to bite us. Yes, I do expect us to win, but few hard-hitting crunch tackles on key players (a la Tuilagi on Wally) and our prospects of progressing in the tournament would be severely dented. Then even if we do make it through the Russian game unscathed, the real obstacle is yet to come. Italy of course pose a far bigger threat, particularly considering (a) the narrowness of our victory over them at this year's 6N, (b) not just the scoreline in that game, but the nature of both their and our performances, and (c) the fact that they managed to beat France, something we've failed to do three times to date just this year. Mallet has openly stated that they are gunning for us, and we should expect and prepare for them to put it up to us just as ferociously as we put it up to the Wallabies.
I'm not taking away from anything we did at the weekend or trying to pour cold water on our ambitions for the tournament. But much as the Australian team, press and fans have earned some justifiable criticism for underestimating and disrespecting their opponents in advance of their pool game, we could easily find ourselves in a similar state of hubristic misery unless heads are kept level, assumptions are avoided and all opposition are taken seriously. Otherwise we just won't get to kill Bart.