The Rugby World Cup has started with a BANG. Hopefully the rest of the tournament can live up to this standard. Here are my predictions for week 2.
First here is a link to my review of week 1.
How did the week 1 predictions go?
6 from 8, I was expecting the upsets to start in week 2.
Scotland v Japan
Scotland will now be very aware of the dangers that Japan pose them. With only wins over Italy this year their performances have been better than their results. Normally you would expect them to have the upper hand in the scrum but Japan have proved to be much more improved in that area. They will be fresh though where as Japan have a 4 day turnaround. Japan need to not only recover from their exertions but also come down from the high of beating South Africa. In some ways having this game straight afterwards might help them move on but also the pre-tournament goal of quarter finals will help keep them grounded. If they can perform at the same level then they can definitely beat Scotland. I feel that they can go back to back but it’s going to be close.
Japan by 5
Australia v Fiji
Fiji are another side that has a quick turnaround. After putting in a battling but fruitless performance against England they have to front up against the Wallabies. They will put in another bone crunching game but their handling will have to improve. Australia will also like an open game and so will be playing into Fiji hands. The Wallabies may also be rusty as we have seen from many of the tier 1 sides in the opening weekend. However I think that Australia will be less rusty than Fiji will be fatigued.
Australia by 20
France v Romania
France are the last team with a quick turnaround. In the first game their pack showed their strength and the built a lead with the boot before their handling clicked. With games in their group going as predicted there is no need for racking up points. Romania have done well qualifying for the tournament and whilst Georgia and Japan have shown that lower sides can do well the gap here will be too big. I think I’m being conservative with 25 points and this could blow out to many more.
France by 25
New Zealand v Namibia
Namibia are the last team to play in this tournament. Starting against the best team in the world who have had a run out to remove the rust is about as hard as it can get. New Zealand stuttered in the first half against Argentina and dominated in the second half but their handling let them down. Against Namibia the fringe players will get their chance and again 30 points might be on the low side.
New Zealand by 30
Argentina v Georgia
This is going to be the great battle of the scrums, I have said a few times on Twitter that I’d like someone to put together a highlights reel of the Georgia scrums. Whilst Georgia might get a slight upper hand in the scrums the Pumas backs are far more dangerous. Add into that Georgia have only to beat Namibia to meet their pre-tournament goal and I think they will find it hard. So I’m backing a narrow victory for Argentina who will be aiming for quarter finals or better even if they have been poor this year.
Argentina by 3
Italy v Canada
Italy never looked like challenging France in their opening game but did better than Canada. Canada have been concentrating on 7s and that has been to the detriment of their 15s. Italy are nowhere near as dangerous as Ireland but they will be able to win this one comfortably.
Italy by 10
South Africa v Samoa
South Africa looked tired in their opening game and it has to be seen how much they can raise themselves. There will be many proud players who are hurting and it will be interesting to see how many are given the opportunity to play against Samoa. Samoa will now know that South Africa are beatable. Not only that but it might take a win over South Africa to now qualify for the knockout rounds. They did what they needed against the USA but it was a physical game so we will see how much that lookout of them. In the end I’m expecting a reaction from the Boks and for them to win by a couple of scores.
South Africa by 10
England v Wales
This second week is full of intriguing games and this one was picked as such months ago. Both sides registered TBP wins in their opening games. England’s performance was underwhelming but maybe we have to realise that their playing style is no longer froward dominance. It’s more about getting their outside backs a glimmer of a chance and then looking for magic. Wales will be the powerful side that we have seen over several years. The question though is how much have injuries taken out of them? They’ll lack Halfpenny’s range with goal kicks and be down to their 3rd choose outside centre. This is one that can go either way but at home I feel England will get the victory.
Note: It’s been pointed out that Allen wasn’t the 2nd choice At outside centre but that Williams is.
England by 7
Australia v Uruguay
Australia have a quick turn around to Uruguay. As we saw against Wales, Uruguay will try hard and keep going but will lack the class to stop Australia. So I’m expecting a 60+ point margin.
Australia by 60
Scotland v USA
Scotland also have a quick turnaround before facing the USA. Obviously I don’t know how they will go against Japan and that could have a bearing on this game. The USA have already shown is that they are physical but lack the skills to worry top teams. So as long as Scotland can front up then they should have enough to win this one by a couple of scores. Scotland knew that this was going to be the challenge of this group, outside of Japan and that has shown in their selection.
Scotland by 10
Ireland v Romania
Romania are the final team with the quick turnaround and they have to face Ireland after France. They weren’t going to have a chance anyway and this just makes it harder. Ireland will be able to either rest their key players or work on combinations. Either way they know that it’s the game against France that matters not points difference or anything. Even so I think it will be another half century score.
Ireland by 50
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