Thursday, 19 September 2019

Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool Predictions

With the Rugby World Cup 2019 very nearly upon us, here is my attempt at predicting what might unfold in the coming weeks during the pool stages in Japan.

Believe me, I do appreciate that a few of the predictions below are somewhat left-field in their nature and that some of you may think I’ve lost the plot entirely.

It would have been easy, however, for me just to have gone down the predictable route, but this would have ignored the fact that this World Cup is somewhat unprecedented, both in terms of its location in a second-tier rugby nation and the conditions, both meteorological and cultural, that the teams will face. Rightly or wrongly I am therefore convinced there will be more than one upset along the way. 

And so…

Pool A - Ireland/ Scotland/ Japan/ Samoa/ Russia 

A year ago this would have been dead easy to call with Ireland the world’s in-form team. This year nothing is certain. I have a gut feeling that hosts Japan will shock the world and make the quarters, so one of Ireland or Scotland will miss out. From what I’ve seen over the last month or so, shockingly I think it might just be Ireland. Samoa to finish 4th and Russia a very distant 5th.

Pool B - New Zealand/ South Africa/ Italy/ Canada/ Namibia 

The easiest to call in terms of the top two – New Zealand and South Africa – and there’s a very good chance these two will meet again in the final. It will be tight but I fancy the Springboks to shade the pool game vs the All Blacks and top the pool. And I can't see past Italy for 3rd, Canada 4th, Namibia 5th.

Pool C – England/ France/ Argentina/ USA/ Tonga 

England really should top Pool C but could feasibly slip up against France and/or Argentina. Tonga will have one big surprise in them whilst the USA are ever-improving and could also cause an upset against one of the big boys. And so, with not much confidence at all, England and Argentina to go through, France 3rd, USA 4th, Tonga 5th.

Pool D – Wales/ Australia/ Fiji/ Georgia/ Uruguay 

Again, from the evidence of the last few weeks I can see Australia beating Wales in their pool game, leaving the Welsh to try to avoid a banana-skin in the shape of Fiji to ensure they go through to the quarter finals. It couldn’t happen, could it? What the heck – in for a penny - I’m going for Australia and Fiji to go through, with Wales 3rd, Georgia 4th and Uruguay 5th.

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