Stu Wilson tempting fate

2003-11-12 21:32

Sydney - Former All Black wing Stu Wilson has tempted fate by stating in a column in the Sydney Morning Herald that there is no way that Australia will be able to prevent New Zealand from progressing to the final of Rugby World Cup 2003.

Wilson's prediction has a deja vu ring to it, since many rugby supporters on both sides of the Tasman Sea will remember that former All Black coach John Hart predicted that his team would beat France in the World Cup semi-finals four years ago. The French ran the All Blacks off their feet to go through to meet the Aussies - and Hart was out of a job.

Wilson believes the All Blacks are their own worst enemies: "The Wallabies can't beat the All Blacks (on Saturday). New Zealand can only beat themselves."

He says the high expectations of the Australian rugby public and criticism from the media are putting George Gregan's team under almost unbearable pressure.

Wilson is obviously convinced of an All Black victory, since he predicts that the New Zealanders will win by at least 13 points.

However, former Wallaby number eight Toutai Kefu believes the Australians can upset the All Blacks by implementing a three-pronged strategy.

He says the Wallabies must target the All Blacks in the lineouts; the New Zealand back-three (Mils Muliaina, Joe Rokocoko and Doug Howlett) must be unnerved with clever kicks; and flyhalf Carlos Spencer must be tested in defence.

The reference to Spencer, in particular, will upset Wilson, who says in his column that he can't believe there are still people in Australia who believe Spencer is a liability in the All Black jersey.

Kefu says: "I firmly believe he (Spencer) is vulnerable in defence, and we must attack in his channel, using big ball-carriers."