Let the Real Games Begin!

Written by leon. Posted in Rugby World Cup 2011, Rugby World Cup 2011 News

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Published on October 02, 2011 with No Comments

So the pool stages of the Rugby World Cup are officially over and the real competition can start now. The minnow sides had their time to shine but sadly it was all for nothing with the top eight sides on the World rankings managing to either fly or scrape their way to the business end of the competition.

In Pool A we had the All Blacks flying through looking invincible on their way to stack up the maximum of 20 points. They got the 4 try bonus point in each game. They have however paid the price, with star player Dan Carter officially out of the tournament and captain McCaw struggling with a foot injury placing him in doubt every time he gets onto the field. France had a shock loss to Tonga but managed to scrape through because of the Islander’s previous loss to Canada. Tonga looked like a strong side the whole tournament and we hope they can retain this form after the World Cup.

Pool B saw a very unfortunate Scotland being eliminated in the Pool stages for the first time in World Cup history. They have only themselves to blame though, leaking last minute tries to both Argentina and England to lose those games. Pool B definitely was the closest matched group with very few between the top 3 sides and Georgia giving a good performance hinting that they could be the future of European rugby. England are also in injury trouble with Johnny Wilkinson in doubt for the quarter finals.

Pool C saw the biggest upset of the tournament with Ireland beating Australia. Ireland also initially struggled against Italy as predicted in this blog but when Italian powerhouse tighthead was substituted the Italian pack’s dominance was neatralised and Ireland recorded an easy victory in the end. Australia have suffered some injuries as well, but star forwards Pocock and Moore are back in the mix and will add a lot to the rest of their campaign.

Pool D saw South Africa struggling to the top with both Wales and Samoa having significantly better performances than previous years. Wales look like the best northern hemisphere side in the competition with a good balance of youth and experience, while Samoa probably would have qualified had they played in some of the weaker pools. Fiji on the other hand completely lost the form that saw them through to the quarter finals four years ago. South Africa’s cause got a huge knock with star player Frans Steyn picking up a serious shoulder injury that ruled him out for the rest of the tournament.

So going into the quarter finals we will see the draw split up in northern and southern hemisphere “conferences”. On the one side we have Wales taking on Ireland and England taking on France. And on the other South Africa taking on Australia and New Zealand taking on Argentina. Personally I think we’ll see the winner of Ireland and Wales progressing to the final, with England and France failing to impress thus far. I’ll put my money on Wales as they have really looked better and better after each game.

On the other side I think its a toss up in the game between Australia and South Africa. The teams play vastly different games and the one that manages to force their style on the opposition will make the grade. Australia have to be favorites after beating South Africa home and away in this year’s Tri Nations but on the other hand the Springboks know how to win playoff rugby. New Zealand should be too strong for the Pumas but without general Carter and maybe missing captain McCaw they will have it all to play for in the semi final against one of their southern hemisphere rivals. Their complete dominance of the tournament is starting to fade right on cue.

As a blindly optimistic Springbok supporter I think we’ll see South Africa edging the Wallabies and then the All Blacks will have a monstrous choke in the semi’s to setup a South Africa vs Wales final. Hold on folks because its going to be a bumpy ride to the final in three weeks time!

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