How Pool D is shaping up 18 months out from the RWC

Blaise McKee Roar Rookie

By Blaise McKee, Blaise McKee is a Roar Rookie

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    With international rugby being well and truly underway for the year, many teams and supporters alike are beginning to look towards Japan.

    With the Wallabies drawing Wales, Georgia, Fiji and Uruguay in Pool D we take a look at the pool and how each country is building for the World Cup.

    Australia
    The Wallabies were ranked as the highest team in the pool (at the time of drawing) and are favourites to top the pool.

    Their form as of late has been mixed, with a disappointing 2017 and a promising start to 2018 with a huge game this Saturday to decide the series against Ireland.

    A huge plus for the Australians is the quality games they will get in the lead up to the World Cup. While the constant losing to the All Blacks is tough to watch, it does give Michael Cheika’s men the chance to Test themselves against the world’s best and is a much better warm up than the majority of their Pool D opponents will receive.

    The Wallabies face possibly their biggest game first up against the ever-improving Fijians who are a tough side to face first up in a major tournament.

    Michael Cheika laughing

    Australia’s head coach Michael Cheika (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    Wales
    The Welsh are now ranked third in the world (above the Wallabies) and are having a great June series, easily accounting for the Argentineans in their two tests. They also had an impressive Six Nations campaign and are shaping up very well on the road to the world cup.

    They, like the Wallabies, will face quality opposition constantly in the lead up to Japan and are looking like they will challenge the Wallabies to top Pool D.

    An advantage the Welsh hold over the Aussies is their domestic scene. The Welsh clubs have been very competitive in the Pro 14 and this has resulted in better results for the national side.

    Georgia
    The final side to qualify automatically for the 2015 World Cup, the Lelos will not be overlooked. They play a super physical game with great forwards and a super set-piece.

    They started June with a close win against Tonga before being blown away by a second half scoring frenzy by the Fijians last week in Suva.

    Despite the loss, the positives were there as the Georgians held possession well in the first half and went to half time in the lead. They now leave the Pacific for Japan where they will play the hosts in a one-off Test.

    The Georgians definitely provide a tough Test especially if they are allowed to play the way they like.

    Mamuka Gorgodze

    Georgia continue to improve. (AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOIS)

    Fiji
    The Flying Fijians won their World Cup preview against Georgia last week and secured their fourth consecutive Pacific Nations Cup in the process.

    Many of their players have tormented the European club scene for a few years now and Fiji will be hoping that these players can make an impact on the international stage as well. The Fijians will not be taken lightly and are a definite smokey to go deep in the tournament.

    Uruguay
    The Uruguayans have qualified for their second consecutive World Cup after also featuring in the 2015 version.

    They will most likely struggle against their higher profile opponents but will be looking to create a huge upset and have some quality players who feature mainly in the French club rugby scene.

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    The Crowd Says (21)

    • June 19th 2018 @ 8:04am
      Fionn said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:04am | ! Report

      I think it may end up being a more difficult group than the ‘Pool of Death’ in 2015 judging by England’s form then šŸ˜› and the fact that Wales are playing some good rugby, Fiji are very dangerous and Georgia are massively improved. Easy to slip up.

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 2:30pm
        taylorman said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

        I agree, Georgia and Fiji represent the two next bests outside of both the 6N and RCH. With Wales waaaaay waaaaaaay overdue a win over Oz, this could be messy.

    • Roar Guru

      June 19th 2018 @ 8:20am
      Harry Jones said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:20am | ! Report

      Australia should win this Pool. Anything less will be an upset. But jeez! It will be a painfully physical group. Depth will be crucial in the pack and midfield.

      • June 19th 2018 @ 7:31pm
        Dan said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:31pm | ! Report

        Wow, win saturday and I’ll agree with you.

    • June 19th 2018 @ 8:48am
      Brizvegas said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:48am | ! Report

      Agree Harry given the physicality of the Fijian and Georgian teams the depth or replacement factors will be quite important

    • June 19th 2018 @ 9:51am
      Daveski said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:51am | ! Report

      Georgia also have a good crop of young players coming through and probably could have given us a decent run in the U20s this year if we’d met up.

      I think we’all handle Fiji unless a Tuisova-Radradra-Nadolo backline somehow get sufficient ball. I think we’ll beat Wales and Uruguay shouldn’t be much different a score line to 2015 but Georgia strikes as the banana-skin game.

    • June 19th 2018 @ 12:34pm
      RUSerious said | June 19th 2018 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

      I think this is the perfect draw for Australia. A testing start against Fiji that Australia should win even if they haven’t hit top gear, a massive game that Australia will need to be at their best for v Wales, and then one walk over for the reserves v Uruguay, followed by a decent work out v Georgia. Their last game is on a Friday so they will likely have an extra days rest over their quarter final opponents too. It’s the Goldilocks draw – not too hard, not too soft.

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 2:32pm
        taylorman said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

        I wouldnt go that far, at all. This has upsets written all over it.

    • June 19th 2018 @ 12:47pm
      Bob wire said | June 19th 2018 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

      Aye Harry, depth across the entire paddock required methinks..

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