Posted by: Gerry | October 22, 2007

Signing Off

Well that’s it then for another four years. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, as the deluge subsides and the waters fall short, we see the dreary steeples of the Magners League once again.

It was a great World Cup for some. For South Africa, of course, who won it, having won seven games out of seven. They were by no means my favourite team, but it would be mean-spirited of me not to congratulate them on their win. For England, who completely defied the odds and somehow managed to find spirit and cohesion, even though their world was collapsing around them. For Argentina, who conquered the Pool of Death and dazzled us with some scintillating rugby. For Fiji, who showed that Pacific Island rugby can compete on the world stage, even if their small pool of players gets plundered by New Zealand and Australia.

For others it was not so good. The Webb Ellis should have been on an Air New Zealand flight to Auckland today, but once again, the All Blacks choked. Today, they suffered the final indignity of having their place as the top-ranked team in the world taken from them by the newly-crowned world champions. The next World Cup will be in New Zealand, so there will be even more pressure on them next time around.

France probably thought that they should have been the ones to win, given that they were the hosts. But the opening night loss to the Pumas hobbled them, and even though they managed to put the All Blacks away, they succumbed to the old foe from across Le Manche.

Wales got turfed out of a group in which they were expected to comfortably finish as runners-up. But Fiji thought differently, and with a stunning 38-34 win over the Welsh, they booked a quarter-final berth for themselves.

And of course, Ireland, who just didn’t show up. We were in the toughest group of the tournament, and at the start of the competition, Ireland, France and Argentina were in the top six in the IRB rankings. One of the three had to blink, and unfortunately it was us. Now, there is no shame in losing against either France or Argentina, but what disappointed was the manner in which we lost those games, allied with the completely unconvincing performances against Namibia and Georgia. There is also the annoyance felt in Irish rugby circles that this World Cup campaign is just going to be written off as a “blip” and things will carry on as normal.

So we look forward to the Six Nations, which gets underway in just over fourteen weeks. Can Ireland get it together in time, or will the ennui of the World Cup linger into the spring?

OK, that’s my lot. Even if the World Cup was an unsatisfactory experience for me as an Irishman, this blog went some way to make up for it. The Fear of God was a collaborative effort from Day One, and I reckon it would not have lasted the pace if I had set it up as a solo effort. I would like to thank all my fellow writers – The Swiss Job, John Cav, Rambling Man, Fence, Munstermad, and of course Flirty for their contributions over the last ten weeks or so. Also thanks to all who took the time to leave comments, even those who reckoned we were talking through our arses. And of course, all who sent traffic our way, not least the BBC Rugby blog which probably accounted for about 95% of the hits that we got.

I intend to canvass opinion amongst this fine team of scribes to see if there is the desire or the inclination to continue The Fear of God post-RWC. If the consensus is positive, then I will post a link here to the new home.

Otherwise, see you all in New Zealand in 2011!




  1. To quote Vinnie Jones, it’s been emotional chaps! I really enjoyed the world cup in a masochistic sort of way. Ireland under-performed but there was plenty of entertainment along the way. SA deserved their victory but I feel England missed a great opportunity.

    Thanks to Gerry, the driving force behind the FOG blog and the rest of the team. Also thanks to the BBC for linking to us and everyone else for commenting and making it worthwhile.

  2. Keep it up! There are plenty of topics to keep talking about – who’s the next Irish coach? Jake White please? Magners League? Heineken Cup? And Six nations is barely 5 months away. Besides…you can just edit the subtitle of the blog to “Following Ireland’s misfortunes” and you’re current 😉

  3. question. which was your dream team?
    make a post about it, please!

  4. Hey Guys, please keep it up I still visit nightly – I can’t believe I just said that. I would miss checking in to see what the word was!!

    Just one thing, anybody know where that pretend Irish ref lives with the dodgy French name? I just want to send him a rule book with the crossing laws highlighted!

    See you at Twickers!


  5. Tús maith = leath na h’oibre.

    Keep it up lads for goodness sake. It’s been terrific – and I have a feeling we will all need a place / shoulder to cry on over the next few seasons!

    Best matches = Wales vs. Fiji and the third place playoff (the Argies were magnificent)

    Worst – The Final – best bit was when John Pierre Rives’ little fella threw a strop and JP dropped the cup!

    Abientot !!

  6. nice one gerry – great idea for a blog – perhaps a new one with regard to irish sport in general ? plenty of blog fodder there …

  7. Yes please do keep it up, loved checking in after all the big games during wc. Great blog! Great tournament, even if we decided to forget how to play for the duration. No point in complaining about being in the group of death if we’ve given up before it all starts… And the ab’s whining about not having enough hard games puts paid to our complaints of the opposite.
    Still, have we got any tours lined up downunder in the summer or any ab autumn internationals? need to get back on the horse soon methinks. empty months ahead…

  8. Nice one Gerry, was a super read all WC even outperforming the Rugby by times.

    Definitely keep it going, there are HEC, ML and 6 nations to be keeping up with and a little bit of hard-nosed opinion is always helpful.

    Wud love to see you keep going, well done lads.

  9. I must say I had a blast writing the (relatively few) posts that I did, and I would certainly be up for continuing The Fear Of God in whatever guise is seen fit… There is certainly enough to be talked about in these confusing times for Irish rugby!

    Thanks to Gerry for setting the whole thing up, me fellow contributors, and everybody who commented over the competition… They done good 🙂

  10. C´mon Gerry, there is a lot coming and I must admit I got used to check the blog daily, don´t quit now!!!

  11. Agreed! I’m rugby-starved here in the US. We’ve got the Barbarians match coming up against the Boks. (Yes it’s an anachronism, but there’s still a little bit of a romantic in me to think it’s somewhat compelling). And hmmm…who’s the Baa-Baas coach? And what of the Magners League..? Just give us something!

  12. Sorry, folks! I WILL get round to getting the new version of The Fear of God going soon. I have been very busy with work these last few weeks, and I’m away this weekend.

    Keep the feed in your RSS reader!!

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