Riddle me this: Rugby World Cup reviews – pool D

11 08 2007

France 07So last in the series of previews, The Riddler looks at the Group of Death, Group D.

Who will he choose? The gallant Irish? The ferocious Argentinians? The suave French? Read on, and find out…

Rugby World Cup reviews – pool D

France
Viva le Francais! Despite never winning the event the French have an excellent record at the World Cup make the final twice and semi twice in five attempts. Along with the All Blacks, they also have the honour of never losing a pool game at the world cup. That record will be severely tested here, but with a home crowd cheering them on they should squeak over the line in the pool of death. Aside from the All Blacks – who have ravaged the French in France in recent years, they boast a very smart home record. They also have Ireland’s number. Argentina however might be their biggest challenge as recent clashes between these two have been very tough encounters. Should they top the group they should make it all the way to the final. They will be looking at Scotland/Italy in the quarters and South Africa in the semis: all at home. In the final with the home crowd behind them they can’t be under-estimated and they have what appears the best chance of rolling the All Blacks based on the fact they are at home. However if they end up in second place it’s a quarter final clash on a neutral venue against the All Blacks. Third place and the locals will lynch them. All three are easily plausible outcomes.

Ireland
They boast a strong squad but the prospect of playing France in France is not one they would be looking for. The French and France have proven to be a graveyard for the Irish. However it is not just the French they must overcome. They must beat Argentina too who beat them 2-0 in a recent test series. They have a lot of class across the field and can easily win this group, but by the same token they can just as easily finish third. Second place is not much better either with a quarter final against the All Blacks as a reward for finishing second.

Argentina
The puma’s have been going great of late. They boast impressive recent records against both Ireland and France. If you based your tips on form, then they would start the favourite this group. Their scrum is their main weapon, and although France and Ireland boast strong packs, Argentina should have the edge here. Like the other two they can just as easily win this group as finish third.

Georgia
They should beat Namibia but they will be cannon fodder for the top three. With three closely matched rivals in this group and the potential of points difference separating them, they might be in for a few hidings.

Namibia
Looking at who they must face in their group they could be the first side in World Cup history to give up 500 points in a tournament.

Riddler?  One-eyed All Black fan!Prediction
Easily the hardest group to select. Has been dubbed the pool of death and rightfully so. Three classy side in France, Ireland & Argentina battle this out. The winner gets a nice run to the final, the runner up faces the All Blacks and the third place getter going home. Given any of these three would more than likely qualify in any of the other three groups, it is a shame to see one go so early while the like of Scotland, Italy or Wales progress. Given the record of France at the World Cup, and the fact they have home ground advantage they get the tip to top this group. Argentina gets the nod for second for me. They have done nothing wrong in the lead up and Ireland to finish third. Georgia should get fourth while Namibia will be destroyed in last spot.

France 4 wins
Argentina 3 wins
Ireland 2 wins
Georgia 1 win
Namibia 0 wins

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12 responses

11 08 2007
Italy » Blog Archive » Italy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[…] So last in the series of previews, The Riddler looks at the Group of Death, Group D. Who will he choose? The gallant Irish? The ferocious Argentinians? The suave French? Read on, and find out… Rugby World Cup reviews – pool D France Despite never… …more […]

11 08 2007
Jimbo

WOW!!

Argies have actually done alright against these guys since 2000. Everyone knows Ireland/Argentina are neck-and-neck, and looking at the stats each team has evenly won 3 of 6 since 2000. 3 of Argentina’s wins were at home, whereas Ireland have beaten the Pumas in neutral ground at the RWC in Australia in 2003.

Argentina have, however, fared particularly well against Les Bleus in recent times. They have played France 5 times since 2000 (starting in 2002), and have won FOUR of these five clashes! This includes 3 at home and one away in France in 2004. The last time the two met was in Paris in 2006 and the Frogs won an incredibly tight one 27-26. Seems like the Argies could be Frances bogie team!

Ireland vs France is a different story, with France winning 6 of 10 clashes since 2000 and the last 5 since the Rugby World Cup of ’03. Ireland was competitive between 2000 and 2003, but have had little success over Les Bleus since then. It does seem as if France has Irelands number, and looking at the statistics the Puma’s seem odds on favourites for the pool. The cup is in France, however, and the frogs will likely step up at such a big event on hom soil. Whether the competitive Irish team of the past few seasons shows up or not will be the difference, and the same goes for Los Pumas.

Interesting stats when you take a closer look, very interesting…

11 08 2007
Jimbo

PS Don love the one-eyed Pirate pic. Great work. Riddler is definitely less one-eyed when writing something a little more formal, but we all know he’s still the Pirate of the south, and also known as Cyclops!

Good work though Rids, cheers.

11 08 2007
mandate

Go France.. beat those all blacks again for us..LOL

12 08 2007
GT

The World Cup victors won’t be coming from this pool …

…. they will be ‘the also played’ in pool D.

14 08 2007
kip

I think you have got this pool wrong.

The Irish have an indifferent record v the Pumas but that’s largely because they sent second string teams across there.

The Irish have a very strong squad who are very confident with each other. I believe that Ireland will top the pool winning all games. I really am worried about France after their performance against England which was not very impressive at all.

I believe that Argentina could pip them into second spot but either way they will meet the ABs in the quarters.

The outcome of this is by no means certain.

kip

14 08 2007
Eric

By far the most intriguing group. France, Argentina, and Ireland will make for some good fight, while Georgia and Namibia will provide the laughs.

I will take the Namibians over Georgia. The Georgian National Team just this week lost to a second-division Georgian rugby outfit who had just be relegated the previous season!!!!!!! They lost three tries to nil!!! That’s right, you heard that correctly. The national team got spanked by a league 2 home outfit.

I look for someone to put up triple digits against Georgia.

16 08 2007
Jimbo

Kip, how could you be disappointed about France??? They beat England at home at Fort Twickers!!!

Teams win and you’re disappointed, but England lose constantly and you’re doing great!!!!

Seriously dude, you’re backwards!

21 08 2007
Jerry

I agree with kip, Ireland’s record against Argentina counts for nothing. The Irish teams fielded in the last two games in Argentina were 2nd string players, many of whom have not made the final squad. Although these teams have previously been very evenly matched, the pumas do not have the flair and talent of the Irish back line…arguably the best in the world. If they can stay free from injury Ireland could go all the way to the final. France will be strong at home. They also have a impressive squad with much depth and will beat the pumas. The game against the Irish is difficult to call but the Irish will be looking for retribution after that defeat in croke park which lost them the 6 nations in feb. My prediction is Ireland to top the group, France second.

21 08 2007
The Riddler

The Irish arguably the best in the world in backlines???

Do you know how ridiculous a comment that is. They come nowhere close to the All Black backline. The Aussie backline is superior to theirs as well. They are maybe three or four in the world but a long way off the skill, flair and composure of the All Black backline who rate an easy number one as far as backlines go.

22 08 2007
Jerry

Gordan Darcy and Brian O driscoll in centre are an incredibly effective pairing. they are not massive guys but they are both at their peak and have been playing together for years with Leinster & Ire. It will be their moments of pure genious that will win games.O’Driscoll and D’Arcy are clearly the stars, but as well as the threat they pose as individuals they also have value as decoys, drawing the attention of defenders away from wingers Shane Horgan and Denis Hickie, Geordan Murphy, or Brian Carney. The half back set up of Peter Stringer and Ronan O gara can be creaky but if they click right can be extremely effective. they also have been playing together for about a decade. O’Gara’s talent as a place kicker is also only second to Carter. Dont get me wrong I belive NZ are the best team in the world. But this does not make me think they’ll win it. How often have they been in this position and stuffed it up. Ireland are doing their business and coming along without any fanfare. We’l just have to wait & c

21 09 2007
The Riddler

And the laughs keep coming. Hey Jerry, can you tell me how the ‘worlds best backline’ fared against the powerhouses of world rugby in Namibia and Georgia? Kiss goodbye to that Irish dream. France will torch them tonight

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