Wednesday, October 2, 2019

2019 Rugby World Cup - Midpoint of the Pools

We’ve reached the midpoint in 2019 Rugby World Cup pool play and here’s what’s what:

                Pool A
                                - host nation, Japan, have the lead after a comfortable opening round win over Russia and a bit of history versus the Irish; with fixtures v Samoa on the upcoming RugbyDay and a finisher against Scotland for the tournament’s group play finale, Brave Blossoms could top the group should they close out winners, or fall through the gap in the unlikely event of a brace of losses; this pool is now Japan’s to lose;

                                - near chaser Ireland will earn a bonus point v Russia tomorrow and then close with Samoa on the 12th; Men in Green could very well return to take the group should Japan stumble, though that’s unlikely at this stage as Japan’s blossoming better than brave just now; Joe Schmidt won’t be happy, but Ireland should emerge from the waters and into the quarterfinals;

                                - Scotland are 50-50 right now and need to finish strong with a probable bonus-point v the Bear next Wednesday and a must-win by a lot as well as deny Japan any points at all fixture at the end of group play; last match v Japan will be determinant;

                                - Manu Samoa are now required to win out against current numbers 1 & 2 in the pool should they hope for joy at the end of pool play; they’re capable, but it’s a big ask... however, should Samoa win their last pair of fixtures v Japan on the upcoming RugbyDay and then v Ireland the following Saturday, Pool A will be thrown into a tizzy, you can bet!

                                - Russia were always going to have a difficult time and they haven’t disappointed in that regard; their pool mates have counted games against as bonus-points since the pools were announced; still, there’s always room for stunning upset and that’s what Russia will look to exact in their last pair of actions.

                Pool B

                                - Italy front the group right now, yet are unlikely to advance further as their last two are against probable emergents, New Zealand and South Africa; however, the Azzurri have beaten Springboks before and should they manage happiness at the end of ’80 on Friday-the-upcomer v SA, that’ll be a rock n’ rolla’ of the highest order, though one should not bet on it; ready to make history, Azzurri?

                                - New Zealand will be top swimmer after closing out their pool campaign v Namibia this Friday and Italy on Friday, the 11th; maybe not, but one might be safe putting one’s partner’s wedding ring on those outcomes being favorable the Kiwi; All Blacks will win the pool;

                                - South Africa know what they have to do in order to keep playing after a week on Saturday and one might expect them to do it v Italy this Friday and then Canada on Tuesday, the 8th; it’s Italy or naught for ‘Boks;

                                - Namibia will play against likely 2019 RWC champs, New Zealand, upcoming the Friday, and then their RWC final will be versus Canada on Saturday, the 12th;

                                - Canada battle determined, yet not desperate just now, South Africa next Tuesday, then their 2019 RWC final v Namibia on the 12th should be a lively contest.

                Pool C 

                                - England riding at the head of the column now after dispatching the lower end of the table, but only just; Men of the Rose face Argentina this upcoming RugbyDay and then finish against France, never an easy mark for the English, on the following Saturday; 50-50 on whether they take the pool;

                                - France outlasted the Pumas to open their account, then got the fiver past Eagles to be close-breathing on the nape of the England neck right now; Les Bleus will get after Tonga this Sunday, and then close with England on the 12th; outcome v England will determine their placement and movement;

                                - Argentina came critically close to France at the RWC outset and then won well against Tonga; Pumas RWC depends on a favorable result Sunday v frontrunning England... should that occur, the pool becomes any of the current top three nation’s happenstance; win or sin for South Americans from here on in;

                                - Tonga  have had a rough go thus far and will look to trip France this Sunday and then close out with victory over USA on Saturday, the 12th;

                                - USA dropped their initial brace v the headboys in the pool presently, but should Eagles turn out pristinely v Argentina next Tuesday and then finish with victory over Tonga on the last Saturday of pool play, they’ll have likely earned an automatic bid to the big show in 2023.

                Pool D 
                                - Wales have taken down the opposition in the first two matches well, but at what cost? Attrition, which has already bitten the Dragon pre-RWC has gotten after the Welsh 10 and 15 slots; they’ll test Fiji on Wednesday next and then close against Uruguay on Sunday, the 13th; Wales are likely to place first in the pool;
                                - Australia obviously unhappy with the result v current pool leaders, but they’ve Uruguay this Friday and Georgia a week on Friday, so the Wallaby future is firmly in the grasp on those continental dwellers; expect Aussie to be number 2 from this group on the 13th;

                                - it would not be outside the range of possibilities for Georgia to place second in the pool, but they’ll need to do something they’ve never done before and that’s beat Australia after defeating Fiji on the upcoming Tuesday, no mean feat;

                                - Uruguay did the business on Fiji and were up and coming before the wakeup v Georgia last outing; they’ll do well if see even a losing bonus point in their last pair of fixtures v Oz this Friday and Wales on the 12th;

                                - Fiji are unlikely in last right now and will be chafing to change that up; with Georgia tonight and Wales next Wednesday, it won’t be easy;

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