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There is no argument, the Wallabies must win Pool A

The Bledisloe Cup will be great this year. (Photo: Tim Anger)
Expert
19th August, 2015
60
2854 Reads

Tomorrow Michael Cheika will name his Wallaby squad for the Rugby World Cup.

It will be the toughest campaign of his fledgling eight-Test career which has included wins over Wales, South Africa, Argentina and the All Blacks for a 50 per cent record.

Toughest because the third-ranked Wallabies have been drawn in the ‘Pool of Death’ with England (4), Wales (6), Fiji (9) and Uruguay, ranked 19.

That is four countries ranked in the top 10, while the three other pools hold no more than two teams that are in the top 10.

Pool B – South Africa (5), Samoa (11), Scotland (12), Japan (15), and the USA (16).

Pool C – All Blacks (1), Argentina (8), Tonga (16), Georgia (13), and Namibia (20).

Pool D – Ireland (2), France (7), Italy (14), Romania (17), and Canada (18).

There are three alternatives facing the Wallabies.

Top Pool A and the men in gold are likely to have the easier draw at the business end playing Samoa in the quarters, the Boks in the semis, and the All Blacks in the final.

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Finish second in the pool games, and a far bigger ‘Kiss of Death’ awaits, likely to be the Boks in the quarters, the All Blacks in the semis, and Ireland in the final.

Finish third, and the Wallabies will be on the first plane home.

So the alternatives are crystal clear, the Wallabies must head Pool A. They are lucky the draw is in their favour.

They play Fiji in the first game at Millennium Stadium on Wednesday, September 23, with Uruguay next at Elland Road in Leeds on Sunday September 27. Then the two toughest with England and Wales, both at Twickenham on successive Saturdays – October 3 and 10.

Fiji couldn’t be a better starting point, now that they are coached by John McKee.

He made his name by coaching Eastwood to their first Shute Shield premiership in 1999 beating Sydney Uni 34-17, and since then has been successful overseas in France, Ireland and England. McKee returned home to coach the Central Coast Rays to a 20-12 grand final victory over the Melbourne Rebels in the one-off Australian Rugby Championship.

Last year McKee was appointed head coach of Fiji and in his first game beat Italy 25-14, Fiji’s first win over a Tier One nation since downing Wales 38-34 at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

More recently, McKee coached Fiji to win the Pacific Nations Cup, beating Tonga 30-22, Japan 27-22, with a 30-all draw against Samoa.

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In the decider, Fiji beat Samoa 38-29 scoring five tries to three, so don’t sell Fiji short, even though they are better Sevens players than 80-minute internationals.

Here’s how I see the quarter finals if the Wallabies win Pool A:

QF1 – South Africa and England.
QF2 – All Blacks and France.
QF3 – Ireland and Argentina.
QF4 – Wallabies and Samoa.

SF1 – South Africa and All Blacks.
SF2 – Wallabies and Ireland.

If the Wallabies finish second in Pool A:

QF1 – South Africa and Wallabies.
QF2 – All Blacks and France.
QF3 – Ireland and Argentina.
QF4 – England and Samoa.

SF1 – Wallabies and All Blacks.
SF2 – Ireland and England.

Repeating, there’s no argument, the Wallabies must win Pool A.

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