The RWC so far:
The 2011 Rugby World Cup is well and truly starting to heat up with all teams now having played two games.
The tournament has already provided us with an upset last weekend when the might of the Irish were too hungry and toppled the Wallabies 15-6 in Auckland.
The loss places Australia in a nervous position and sets-up a quarter-final clash against reigning Web Ellis champions,South Africa. The Australian’s will need Italy to defeat Ireland in the last match of the pool C to have any chance as going through to the tournament’s next stage as the top ranked team in the pool.
Over in pool D,South Africa was pushed to the wire against Wales in the opening game for the two nations.
The Boks were trailing by six with only 16 minutes remaining but managed to come from behind to take the points. The talking point from the match was the kick that was not awarded in the first half.
The defending champions will go through as the number one-seeded pool D team and are likely to meet Australia.
On Saturday night we see the world’s number one take on number five when New Zealand plays France in Auckland. It is expected to be an All-Blacks win, but a tightly fought contest is guaranteed.
The pool to watch is B. England,ScotlandandArgentina.Englandshould go through to the next stage unscathed; that leaves the Scots and Pumas to fight it out for second spot. I am predicting Argentina to win the battle when the two take to the pitch this weekend.
What to watch for:
Pool A:New Zealand versus France on Saturday night. Both have two wins. The All-Blacks are expected to triumph but you never know when the pressure is applied. Will they choke? Which French line-up will run onto the field? We will have to wait and see.
A game that I am particularly interested in watching is Argentina versus Scotland, Saturday September 25 in Wellington.
This is the match which Australia will be dressed in the Azzurri –IrelandversusItaly, Sunday October 2 in Dunedin. If the Italians secure the win,Australia may head into the next round as the top seed and avoid a clash with the Boks. Aside from that element, this game should be a close one and errors will need to be kept to a minimum.
If Ireland defeats Italy,Australia will come up against South Africa on Sunday October 9 at Eden Park.
If all goes to plan,New Zealand will line-up against Scotland or Argentina in QF4 with the winner most likely playing Australia or South Africa.
On the other side of the finals we will see Ireland or France and England or Argentina. They are the key nations who will fight it out for supremacy.
The big three tri-nations competitors and powerhouses of world rugby remain favourites to take out the tournament and claim ‘Bill’ for the next four years.
It is definitely hotting up and the best is still to come.