We are heading into the 3rd week of an exciting Rugby World Cup. Things calmed down a little bit on the upsets from last week so here is how I see week 3 going.
How did your predictions go last week?
9 from 11, I thought that Japan could back up and England would win at home.
Tonga v Namibia
Tonga have had a rough start to this Rugby World Cup and this is their big opportunity to get a win on the board. Namibia have won a lot of fans with their fighting spirit and I think they will do that again. However the gulf in class will show and Tonga will come away with a comfortable win.
Tonga by 35
Wales v Fiji
Do Wales have any fit backs left? Clearly that’s an exaggeration but they are missing a lot of players now. They will be on a high after that big win over England and will have to get themselves back down for this clash with Fiji. Fiji will be playing for reputation as the chances of them progressing now are effectively over with their two losses. There is history between these side and that should ground Wales but also give Fiji belief that they can get their big win. Personally I seeing as being tight but with Wales pulling away to win it.
Wales by 7
France v Canada
This is one of the more one sided contested of the round. France will win it at a canter. Canada to be fair have been better that I thought they were going to be but the gulf in class is just too big.
France by 40
New Zealand v Georgia
Another contest that is going to be one sided. Georgia were one of the hero teams from the first weekend but their target is third in the group. To do that they have to beat Namibia and this game is irrelevant. They will be looking forward to playing the best team in the world but might rest up a couple of players for that more important game.
New Zealand by 30
Samoa v Japan
This is one of the big games in what I called the Hidden Pool of Death. Samoa had a tough time against South Africa but are still very much in the running for qualification. Japan with that win over the Boks are also still in the 4 horse race. Samoa are very much favourites but I’m going for an upset now that Japan have had a bigger rest between games.
Japan by 5
South Africa v Scotland
South Africa bounced back strongly against Samoa and will be fully aware that they can’t afford another loss. Scotland have been going well especially in the second half of games. South Africa though shouldn’t fade in the second half like a short turnaround Japan or the USA. So I think South Africa will win by a couple of scores.
South Africa by 20
England v Australia
Australia have been looking comfortable so far in this Rugby World Cup. This will be their first true test and there has been a long media war about pack strengths purely for this game. England need to pick themselves up from that loss against Wales which they led for mich of the game. England lost that game by losing their heads and maybe I’m going with my heart rather than head with a slim home victory.
England by 5
Argentina v Tonga
I was worried about Argentina coming into this tournament. They have proved me wrong with some good back play married to their scrum. Tonga on the other hand have had a rough opening game but should have a win under their belt by their game. I feel however that the Pumas scrum will provide the platform they need to win this game.
Argentina by 10
Ireland v Italy
Ireland have been quietly going about their business with comfortable wins. Italy have been disappointing but will be a step up for Ireland. So I’m expecting this to be a good growth curve for Ireland and a comfortable win.
Ireland by 20