The Ankle Tap: First weekend of Rugby World Cup matches!

7 09 2007

GOTCHA!So the Rugby World Cup is merely 11 odd hours away from beginning… excited as all hell here. And despite the IRB’s bone-headedness over media (latest update on that can be found over at Epic Carnival here!), it is shaping up to be one helluvan event…

First round of matches – let’s have a look at the first weekend’s matches: generally speaking this weekend promises to be a fairly one-sided affair. Every match other than the opener looks cut & dried.

  1. September 7th – First game, the hosts France take on Argentina, in Saint-Denis. The Argies have been in fine fettle recently, but France-on-French-soil won’t be dissuaded. I’ll tip the Les Bleus to take it, but in relatively tight contest: less than 10 points in the margin.
  2. September 8th – Italy face the might of the All Blacks in Marseille. The Italians will be glad to get this one behind them, so they can focus on the possibility of qualifying for the quarters. I look for the ABs to put their stamp on this tournament & beat a much-improved Azzurri side by 24+.
  3. September 8th – Not a question of who will win, but of ‘how much’ will the Wallabies win by. The Brave Blossoms of Japan will certainly need all the bravery they can muster against Australia. The Wallabies will be looking to show everyone what they’re capable of, and it could not get any worse for Japan. This could be a record score, as injuries and schedule are keeping Nippon from even fielding the best they could muster. Wallabies will win, and then some. Look for records to possibly tumble as Australia brings home the green & gold, to a tune of 100+ points.
  4. Webb Ellis TrophySeptember 8th – The first game in what will be a torrid month for the US of A when they meet an English team desperate to prove that they are worthy defenders of the Webb Ellis trophy. England come into this tournament much-maligned, and no-where moreso than in their own country. The American Eagles are out of their depth in France, and will lose this game by in excess of 40 points.
  5. September 9th – Wales look to Canada to open their ledger. Canada field a useful team, but the semi-pro/amateur outfit are facing several weight divisions upwards when they take on Wales. Wales hasn’t had a brilliant year, but they always threaten. Wales will defeat Canada, and there’ll be about 35 points in the margin.
  6. September 9th – Paris will be treated to a hard-hitting game when Samoa take on South Africa. The Springboks have one of the best packs in the world, and the Island Nation of Samoa have the reputation of being one of the hardest tackling sides… The ‘Boks will win this one, and it will be no small margin… but they will sure as hell know they’ve played a game. South Africa to win by around 30.
  7. September 9th – Scotland take on Portugal in the city of St-Etienne. The Scots should fancy themselves as making the QFs this year, and it will be a good battle for second place between them & Italy. Neither will come close to troubling the All Blacks, but both know that & will battle for the second slot. Portugal won’t trouble Scotland… who will run out winners by 28 points, maybe more.
  8. September 9th – On the Bordeaux, Ireland will give Namibia nightmares. The Irish are in a tough pool, and a very good team will be sent home after pool-play. Will it be Ireland or Argentina? Could the French be mere spectators after Pool D finishes? France 07Whoever the loser in that is, they will count themselves unlucky to watch when teams like Wales, and either Italy or Scotland move on. Still, in this game the Irish will run out winners, and likely to the tune of 40+ points.

A lot of lager looks to be consumed this weekend…

Game on.

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7 responses

7 09 2007
Brock Samson

Yup, international rugby: fun to watch, not so much fun to bet on. The chances of someone pulling an App State? Not that great.

7 09 2007
withmalice

Brooooock!

Yup… very, very unlikely anyone’s going to do that. Still… there’s always the chance of the All Blacks choking (Kiwis are doing the same as they read this): they’ve obliged us for the past two RWCs… 😉

8 09 2007
TryTime5280

I think you are underestimating the Eagles. Yes, they will get stomped by both England and the Springboks, but should do well against Samoa and will beat Tonga. They played well against Munster (should’ve won), albeit a “B” side Munster. But it was a Munster side with a few internationals. Federico Pucciariello has been capped in the Pumas front row and Anthony Foley was stronghold No. 8 for the Irish. They both played. The Eagles aren’t gonna win it all but I think they will at least win one game, maybe two.

8 09 2007
Mark Logsdon

Staying within 40 of ENG, especially if they could actually score a try, would be a good outing for USA. They have no chance of defeating Samoa, and I don’t think they can beat Tonga, either. The spirit is willing, but … Losing to a 2nd-team club side says it all. [I support USA rugby, financially and by participation since 1963 as a player, ref, youth coach, and team admninistrator – but we have, at best, been treading water with respect to international standards.]

I would be surprised if Canada can actually beat Wales (as woeful as they have been the last 6 months or so), but they may be able to do a fair bit better than lose by 35 points. They are a fit and well-disciplined team, well-coached and capable of playing within themselves. Of the semi-pro teams in the tournament, they are as good as any and better than most. Certainly far stronger than USA.

8 09 2007
Extra P.

I don’t know if you are over- or under- valuing the Eagles, but I do know that, for the first time in my life, I know who they are. So you should definitely be feeling some pride on that score.

8 09 2007
withmalice

Trytime… just looking from the outside, I’ve seen no reason to believe that the US Eagles have improved that much, that they will beat either Samoa, or Tonga. If they had another weak team in their pool, maybe. But not this year.

And Extra P… I am glad! 😉

8 09 2007
The Ankle Tap: France defeated! « With Malice…

[…] Note: I got the margin right (by under 10), but the side wrong – in my Ankle Tap Tips! […]

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