#RWC2015 – Now it gets serious

After 40 matches, 2,020 points, and 231 tries, the group stages of the 2015 Rugby World Cup are over.

And the serious business of the knock-out stages are here.

 

As with most major sporting tournaments, I try to offer an informed guess / prediction as to how it will pan out. Normally with varying results.

Nothing serious, just a bit of fun , and certainly with no money being involved.

So, here’s what I pencilled down before the tournament for the outcomes of Pool stages and what actually transpired (and for once, I wasn’t that far off)

Pool A           

KQ pre-tournament prediction:

Pool Winner:            Australia          Runners-up:    England

Actual finish

Pool Winner:            Australia          Runners-up:    Wales

Everyone knew the proverbial ‘pool of death’ would be close, but as it was Australia breezed to top spot whilst England, well, defeat to Wales was not only a big surprise to many (or was it?) and left them too much to do.

Stuart Lancaster - to stay to or to go?

Stuart Lancaster – not so cheerful now though

The hopes and expectations of a nation were extinguished on that and the following Saturday night nightmare at Twickenham  against the Australians as the hosts left their own party early, becoming the first team to depart a RWC tournament in the group stages.


 

Pool B

KQ pre-tournament prediction

Pool Winner:            South Africa    Runners-up:    Scotland

Actual finish

Pool Winner:            South Africa    Runners-up:    Scotland

South Africa recovered from their surprise defeat to Japan in their opening game to run out quite comfortable winners of Pool B.

Scotland for their part probably knew in their own minds that the games against Japan and Samoa would decide their progress, and they prevailed…just!

Ironically South Africa’s defeat to the Japanese has looked to have worked in their favour as they seemed to have got stronger and stronger game by game since.

Coming good at the right time?


 

Pool C

KQ pre-tournament prediction

Pool Winner:            New Zealand   Runners-up:    Argentina

Actual finish

Pool Winner:            New Zealand   Runners-up:    Argentina

Pool C pretty much ran to form with the All Blacks winning all four of their group matches without really extending themselves, with Argentina doing enough against the rest to progress as runners-up.

Georgia and Namibia can take credit for probably one of the most exciting group matches of the tournament (behind the Japanese’s effort v the Proteas), with the Georgian’s third spot finish ensuring they will compete in Japan in 2019.

The All Blacks, my pre-tournament favourites to win, still have a bit to work and touch up on as they go into the quarter-finals against France – their proverbial bogey team at this stage of the previous competitions when they have met each other.


 

Group D

KQ pre-tournament prediction

Pool Winner:            France                         Runners-up:    Ireland

Actual finish

Pool Winner:            Ireland             Runners-up:    France

Correct teams, just different positions on the table, largely thanks to Ireland’s great win over the French in their last Pool game.

Italy’s continued improvement could not quite see them challenge the top two, with Romania and Canada never likely to be in contention.

 

So, with those eight teams going through, here’s how they line-up this weekend.

South Africa and Wales kick off proceedings at Twickenham on Saturday, before reigning world champions New Zealand take on France at the Millennium Stadium.

Twickenham - Field of Broken Dreams

Twickenham – Field of Broken Dreams for England and for 2 others this weekend

Argentina and Ireland then get Sunday’s action underway back in the Welsh capital, followed by Australia v Scotland at Twickenham.

My predictions from that lot?

South Africa to beat Wales

New Zealand to overcome their bogey team (of previous quarter and semi-finals) France

Ireland to just edge Argentina

Australia to go into the last four at the expense of Scotland

Let’s see if I’m right come Monday morning!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s