The big weekend is nearly here, the Rugby World Cup final is only a few days away. There is also the small matter of the Bronze Final on Friday, a game that no one wants to play in but still goes ahead. I have been bringing you my predictions throughout the tournament and competing with Rugby4Cast and RugbyVision. They are 2 sites that run algorithmic predictions and they are competing with me in my open SuperBru league.
You can help to fuel DrivingMaul by buying me a coffee over on the right of the page
Watch the #RugbyChat show, every Tuesday night at 8pm (NZ time), where we will talk about the hot topics in rugby. Let’s be honest there’s nothing hotter than the Rugby World Cup at the moment.
As with Super Rugby I’ll be testing my predictions in DrivingMaul v the Bookie. Check out how I did against the TAB in the Semi Finals.
Bronze Final – New Zealand v Wales – New Zealand by 15
It’s going to be be really interesting how each team approaches this game. Do they put out their first string team and treat it like a Rugby World Cup knockout game? Or do they make changes and give the fringe players a runout?
I have seen people suggest that it be a kind of exhibition game in that retiring players and fringe players get a run out. I can’t see that being how the All Blacks approach this game. They will probably give the retiring players a runout but with the whole attitude of “leaving the jersey in a better place”, they won’t treat it as an exhibition.
The players who lost to Ireland in Chicago are very aware that they were part of the first ever losing All Blacks side to lose to Ireland. These players won’t want to be the first to lose to Wales since 1953.
For the Welsh players there will also be the history side of it fueling them. Many of these players have beaten the All Blacks even if it was in the red of the British & Irish Lions rather than Wales. To add an All Blacks scalp in the Welsh jersey would make them legends even if it is the Bronze final.
With that record as it is between these two sides it’s hard to see anything other than a New Zealand victory.
RWC Final – England v South Africa – England by 7
It’s funny that both sides scored 19 points to win their semi-final. Yet the second game was seen as much more boring. It’s not the style but the result that matters at the end of the day.
The Springboks have bullied their way to the final. Not allowing either Japan or Wales to get over the gainline. We saw the Japanese pack tire in the second half and a similar thing happened to Wales but much less so. I think we have seen enough of this English pack to suggest South Africa won’t be able to do the same thing.
If you take away that bullying side to the Springboks then there isn’t much else. They certainly have the players to play some exciting rugby but have they been coached to do so?
I think that England have just shown more in attack even if they haven’t managed to execute that well. Tries were left out there on the pitch against New Zealand and I’m not sure that they can afford to do that again this weekend. However I still think that they have the better coach and plays in the locker to win this game.
My only concern is that Eddie Jones said they had been preparing two and a half years for that semi final v the All Blacks. Does that mean only a week’s preparation for the final? At least they have had 1 more day rest than South Africa and that might be crucial at the end of a tough tournament.
DrivingMaul v the Bots!
Don’t want to miss out? Then sign-up for the DrivingMaul newsletter that comes out every Thursday with links to all the best posts and videos.