England, Wales to be avoided in RWC draw

By Jim Morton,


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    The Wallabies will be hoping to avoid rising England and faltering Six Nations champions Wales when the 2015 Rugby World Cup draw is held early Tuesday morning (AEDT).

    Australia pulled off grinding and somewhat fortunate wins over the English and Welsh in the past three weeks – to guarantee a top pool seeding – but want neither nation drawn alongside them in three years time.

    All will be revealed when the International Rugby Board holds its pool allocation draw at 2am in London, the scene of the next RWC final.

    Ranked No.3 in the world, the Wallabies are in band one on the IRB rankings with defending champions New Zealand, South Africa and France also to be top seeds.

    Despite England’s dominant 38-21 victory over the All Blacks on the weekend, the hosts remain the game’s fifth-ranked nation and stand out as the strongest second-band team, ahead of Ireland, Samoa and Argentina.

    With home support and a young, attacking team, Stuart Lancaster’s men are tipped to be a major contender and 2003 World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward rightly says none of the top sides want to meet them in pool play.

    “It makes the draw fascinating, given England have just demolished New Zealand,” Woodward told the BBC.

    “That one result will make the southern hemisphere teams sit up and say for once ‘we want to keep away from England’.”

    Sidelined Wallabies captain James Horwill stressed home ground advantage would make England a more dangerous prospect.

    “When any team plays at home in a World Cup that’s an advantage for them … you saw that last time with New Zealand,” he told AAP.

    While the Wallabies won’t fear Wales, whoever draws them will automatically find themselves in the “pool of death” as three leading nations will be fighting for two quarter-final spots.

    The Red Dragons went unbeaten through the Six Nations just eight months ago but have slipped to ninth in the world on the back of seven straight losses.

    Four of those have come in tight matches against Australia, including two heart-breaking last-gasp defeats with Mike Harris kicking truly in Melbourne and Kurtley Beale scoring with 23 seconds left in Cardiff.

    “It shows there isn’t much difference between the top nations – they were very close to making the World Cup final last year,” Horwill said.

    “Things haven’t fallen their way this year and it also shows you can’t read too much into (World Cup) form this far out.”

    Italy, Tonga and Scotland round out band three with Wales, while minnow qualifiers will complete the 20-strong field which is divided into four pools of five.

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    The Crowd Says (64)

    • December 3rd 2012 @ 3:02pm
      formeropenside said | December 3rd 2012 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

      So if we end up in a pool with Wales and England, we have Robbie to thank?

      • December 5th 2012 @ 3:40am
        kingplaymaker said | December 5th 2012 @ 3:40am | ! Report

        Silly comment: if Australia had lost to Wales they wouldn’t have them in their pool, so had Deans done worse the Wallabies would have had a better draw.

    • Roar Guru

      December 3rd 2012 @ 4:11pm
      Argyle said | December 3rd 2012 @ 4:11pm | ! Report

      Rising England? You beat the All Blacks – well done but seriously do that consistently until RWC 2015 then I’ll be concerned. We beat them as well in 2011 and we have not exactly set the world on fire since. Great win England but not a great series.

      • December 3rd 2012 @ 4:51pm
        Louis said | December 3rd 2012 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

        They destroyed them.

        • Roar Guru

          December 3rd 2012 @ 9:18pm
          Argyle said | December 3rd 2012 @ 9:18pm | ! Report

          Once – don’t forget Australia and South Africa beat them in the weeks preceding. Now you need to win about 7 or 8 games to win a RWC tournament. I will wait and see. New Zealand are champions due to their consistency. If England can repeat that week in week outthen sure but they have done it once in three weeks.

      • December 3rd 2012 @ 4:54pm
        Will Sinclair said | December 3rd 2012 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

        The Poms are at home, and traditionally the hosts do very well at the RWC.

        Hopefully they’ll draw the All Blacks!

        England v New Zealand at Twickenham to open the RWC 2015 is mouth watering.

      • December 4th 2012 @ 3:55am
        Ben.S said | December 4th 2012 @ 3:55am | ! Report

        Drawn in SA, won away in France, Italy, Scotland and thrashed Ireland and NZ at Twickenham. Given this is the least experienced side currently playing Test rugby, I think the argument is sustainable that England are on a rise. Not to mention the fact that a number of the current squad have memories of winning away in Australia and thrashing the Wallabies at Twickenham. I can see where you’re coming from, but there’s a distinct gulf between the response of the Kiwi Roarers and the Australian Roarers to the result on the weekend.

        • Roar Guru

          December 4th 2012 @ 10:18pm
          Corne Van Vuuren said | December 4th 2012 @ 10:18pm | ! Report

          Ben, you are absolutely right, but there are positives and negatives to be considered.

          Firstly don’t only look at the positives, if you do that you are only fooling yourself. along with those achievements were also 3 losses to SA, a loss to Wales and a loss to australia.

          What england got right this weekend was having the collective defence working, on attack they managed to dominate the breakdown with sheer physicality and numbers.

          they also at last managed to have enough patience and recognised when to go wide.

          But alas, one top class perfmormance doesn’t a season make.

          • December 5th 2012 @ 3:25am
            Ben.S said | December 5th 2012 @ 3:25am | ! Report

            I’ve critiqued England on endless threads over the past few weeks, nor am I suggesting one game makes a season hence absolutely everything I’ve said below your comment, but Australia got smashed in SA and France and England drew in SA, lost by a small amount, and beat France away. They lost to Wales at Twickenham due to a freak try from Scott Williams and every other loss has been basically very close. This has been IMO a underperforming England side, and the youngest and least experienced in Test rugby and yet it’s had a comparatively good season with performances that Australia and SA haven’t got close to. I imagine that’s why the naysayers are not Kiwi Roarers.

      • December 4th 2012 @ 4:39am
        Viscount Crouchback said | December 4th 2012 @ 4:39am | ! Report

        Churlish in the extreme. It was the All Blacks’ second heaviest defeat EVER! And by a team with 208 caps!

        • December 4th 2012 @ 7:33am
          Riccardo said | December 4th 2012 @ 7:33am | ! Report

          “Churlish” IS probably a little extreme Viscount.

          England do need to demonstrate more consistency off the back of their outstanding victory in the weekend.

          England are a young squad with talent spread across the park. They are well coached and we know they are extremely well resourced. This combined with the home “advantage” makes them a tough proposition already but with 2 years of growth and consistent performances they would indeed be worthy frontrunners.

          For what it’s worth I agree with Ben in that England are a team on the rise but that can only be borne out by consistent perfomances, particularly against the SANZAR nations.

          • December 4th 2012 @ 11:47am
            Ben.S said | December 4th 2012 @ 11:47am | ! Report

            Only England in 2003 and NZ under Henry have ever displayed anything approaching big consistency, so in that sense it’s ridiculous even mentioning consistency when a side like France made the final in 2011 and England in 2007. Especially at this stage in the WC cycle too. I think we’d all agree that there isn’t much between any of the sides from 2-10 ATM.

            I missed the England v Australia game and so didn’t comment on it, and in the circumstances I’m not going to be running all over the threads this week spouting hyperbole. Needless to say since England’s season began in the 6N they have had some very good performances against France, Ireland and NZ, and to draw a game in SA was no mean feat either. I’ve also been highly critical of England under Lancaster, but I don’t think Australia have had one standout performance this season, and SA only has their result against the Wallabies in SA. Neither side has really impressed, and I don’t think at this juncture either side could have come near putting in a performance like that against NZ, so I do think some of the comments are a little wide of the mark. That performance was the sort of game Robbie Deans would dream about his side putting in against the ABs.

            Anyway, at the moment it’s a one off but the results prior to the NZ Test could have gone either way, so there are positives there. Equally there is a lot to work on, and this 6N will be a big Test for the England side. I’m still not sold on the balance of the midfield, and I don’t know if Brown is the answer at 11. BUT the WC is years away, so I personally don’t think there’s much significance in what we’ve seen over the past few weeks.

            • December 4th 2012 @ 12:12pm
              Riccardo said | December 4th 2012 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

              “I think we’d all agree that there isn’t much between any of the sides from 2-10 ATM”. Should read “…1-10…”

              I think the All Blacks have come back to the pack based on the performances on this tour, Ben.

              My comments regarding consistency simply refer to this developing English side mate; they need to and will notch up more wins. They have seen what they are capable of and as a pretty young group will want more.

              You’re right that the RWC is a long way away but it is in your back yard or at least at home for most of this playing group but to make too much of recent results in this regard would be premature.

              What are your concerns about the midfield? I thought Tuilagi and Barritt (whose brave words were borne out by the way) were outstanding. Swapping them around?

              Brown made more metres, beat more All Blacks, made more off-loads, and missed less tackles than Ashton, although Ashton dotted down (his theatrics annoy me more than even Thomson’s Sena impression).

              • December 4th 2012 @ 10:06pm
                Ben.S said | December 4th 2012 @ 10:06pm | ! Report

                I wouldn’t put NZ there on one performance. Everybody has an off-day.The one thing I will say is (and I’m not looking for a medal here), but I did voice concerns a while back that the NZ tight five would start to become vulnerable as key players age, and that Messam wouldn’t always have it his own way due to his size. That’s why I thought it was ridiculous bringing Thomson on tour. I thought he needs to find a bigger alternative to Messam (as well as he has played this year) like Shields, for example. That aside, NZ are still clearly the side to beat, and IMO by some stretch.

                I don’t think there is enough creativity in the midfield. Barritt is probably what I’d describe as the ultimate team man, but I still think he’s a club player elevated above his station. Lancaster has referred to a second playmaker on numerous occasions, but has never really touched on the idea. There’s a lad called Billy Twelvetrees I’d like to see play 12, either that or shift Tuilagi to 12 and play Jon Joseph at 13. Bit more pace then.

                Brown had an excellent game, and he is incredibly competitive, but against SA we had no width as he kept coming in from his wing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play wing for his club, and long-term I’d like to see a genuine 11 (bit like Mark Cueto) on the wing, or failing that a player like Christian Wade or even league convert Kyle Eastmond. Two players with footwork – just a different sort of challenge to defenders.

    • December 3rd 2012 @ 4:55pm
      Will Sinclair said | December 3rd 2012 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

      Who DO you want to draw then?

      I’d argue Argentina and Tonga would be perfect for the Wallabies.

      • December 3rd 2012 @ 6:02pm
        nickoldschool said | December 3rd 2012 @ 6:02pm | ! Report

        Its expected to get a tough opponent from 5-8 but not from 9-12. Wales is still by far the worse draw for any top 8 team. Italy, Tonga or Scotland any day.

    • December 3rd 2012 @ 6:22pm
      Offiah said | December 3rd 2012 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

      Considering our winning streak against Wales,bring them on! Just not with England please!

    • December 3rd 2012 @ 8:40pm
      Sam said | December 3rd 2012 @ 8:40pm | ! Report

      fingers crossed we dont get England in our pool that would be scary but we do have a good world cup record
      in the UK so who knows.As with With world rankings i dont think it would have made much of a difference to Wales
      or Argentina prospects because either way they could have still have been drawn in the same pools whether theyd been
      in seed 2 or seed 3 same with Scotland and Italy.Samoas golden opportunitie would be France and Tonga in the same draw.
      No disrespect to NH teams but to really open a few doors for them youd need SA or AUS in seed 2.And this would create
      huge opportunity just imagine this.


      Then if you had the pool A winner v Runner up pool B then it gets interesting.But either way its gonna be an interesting world cup
      anyway and any pool were in will be tough i dont like to underestimate any team in the Top 12 weve what Samoa did against SA
      in the world cup and in the autumn series.And Ireland against Australia so who knows what will happen in 2015.Cant wait to see
      the draw later.

      • December 3rd 2012 @ 9:35pm
        Jerry said | December 3rd 2012 @ 9:35pm | ! Report

        That draw can’t happen, Sam.

        Your pool A has 2 teams from the top band (NZ & SA) and your pool D has none.

        Also, your pool B has 2 teams from the 2nd band (Samoa & Ireland) while your pool D has two teams from the 3rd band (Wales & Tonga).

        • December 4th 2012 @ 2:45am
          Sam said | December 4th 2012 @ 2:45am | ! Report

          i know it cant

    • December 3rd 2012 @ 9:56pm
      Justin2 said | December 3rd 2012 @ 9:56pm | ! Report

      Love to see Deans face with Samoa, Scotland and Ireland! Not possible but geez it’d be funny!!!