Rogby World Cup: France impress Simon Burns in early stages

English referee Wayne Barnes
English referee Wayne Barnes
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Gosport & Fareham’s coach coordinator Simon Burns gives his take on the opening week of the World Cup.

I think this four-try bonus point is really changing attitudes of teams.

France normally suck the life out of their opponents but they are now trying to play some good stuff.

The first two games (Italy and Romania) haven’t really tested them but that’s why I fancy them because of the way they ease themselves into the competition.

They look good – I think they will be challenged when they get into the latter stages, which I expect them to do.

But once you do get to the latter stages it is just a one-off game as Japan have already proved.

I was listening to the radio when they said ‘where were you on that day?’

I was lucky enough to get tickets and I was there!

It was an amazing game, however South Africa thought it was going to be a piece of cake.

With 20 minutes to go they knew Japan were in the game and they tried to force it.

It didn’t pay off for them.

It was amazing – this is what has been good about the World Cup.

Looking at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday night, it was like you were looking at Paris because there were so many French supporters there.

That’s what the World Cup gives you.

Going back to the Japan game, all of a sudden everybody became Japense we were singing for them.

A football stadium is a good arena for raising the roof – it was electric.

A final point from me is the growing potential for my tip France to play tournament favourites New Zealand in the knockout stages.

Wayne Barnes, the English referee, was the most-hated man in New Zealand in 2007 when he officiated their surprise quarter-final loss to the French.

They got revenge in the final last time out but it goes to show anybody can beat anybody on their day – which has been the theme of the tournament so far.