In this “blink and you miss it” tournament we are reaching the half way point! We have had some good close matches so far and here are my predictions for this round.
First here is a link to my review of the round 1 action.
How did your round 1 predictions go?
3 from 3, I thought there were no upsets but listening to several “experts” there was some surprise at the Japan result.
Fiji v Samoa
The win at the weekend lifted Fiji into the top 10 ranked nations in the world. Samoa are still above them in 7th but the gap is only 0.7!
Yup I don’t understand what that means either.
Anyway onto the prediction, last weekend Fiji fought back from a poor start to take the game showing great spirit over their Island neighbours. For Samoa it was the opposite with them going out to a big lead in the first half and then not getting any points in the second. They did hold on for the win however to back up their good performance against the All Blacks. Travel could have been a factor for Samoa and this time they have the shorter trip. I’m going with a tight win for Samoa who have won the last 3 games these sides have played.
Samoa by 5
Canada v Tonga
Both these sides lost in the first round but in contrasting fashion. Canada couldn’t break down Japan who fronted up physically. They only got two penalties and lost by the largest margin. Tonga on the other hand were leading and let Fiji back in with their poor goal kicking being at least partially to blame. Tonga will be much more physical than Japan if not as organised as they have spent much less time together. So if Canada can cope with the physicality they may get more joy but I can’t see them overcoming the Islanders even with their long journey. As Canada have won the last two games between these sides (after losing the first 5) I do think again that it will be close.
Tonga by 5
USA v Japan
Japan were a well organised side and the time they had together in the Asian 5 Nations will have helped. Eddie Jones has done a good job with the side and has an eye for details. In November for example they extended their trip to get a feel for the English culture including a trip to the seaside in Brighton. Clearly everything for them is about the World Cup and as these two face each other there later in the year expect a fierce battle.
The USA did come back well against Samoa but they had been delayed by 48 hrs in their trip to the states and must have thought the game was won. These aren’t things that will worry the Japanese and if they can front up physically again will win by a couple of scores.
Japan by 10
I’m running a The Rugby Championship and Pacific Nations Cup prediction leagues on SuperBru if you want to have some fun trying to predict the results. Also starting soon I have leagues for the Currie Cup, ITM Cup and NRC. Click on any of the names to join in.