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Rugby World Cup tipping Week 1: unprepared

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Expert
18th September, 2019
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I know this little rugby carnival has been coming for some time, but my goodness this has come up quick!

Are you really ready for this? I mean really ready? I’m not.

I’ve still not got a proper handle on the pools. I’ve got only a loose grip on who plays who once the knockout stage starts. I know who I think and who I hope can make the semi-finals, but it’s entirely possible that some of it isn’t mathematically possible.

And I can’t think of any better way to get across things for the RWC than to start tipping again!

When you think about it, the unknown is probably what makes a RWC something we all just love. Tours are long gone, and so this tournament – along with British and Irish Lions tours, probably – is effectively one of the last links back to the amateur game. We probably won’t plan to watch every game, but I bet we all end up watching so much more than we expected to.

For the Cup, the panel will tip in Thursday to Wednesday blocks, which means that we’ll be tipping on subsequent games a week ahead based on form from games that are yet to be played. And that might sound difficult, and I’ll thank you on the panel’s behalf for thinking that it will be difficult, before reminding everyone of how we tip based on games that have been played.

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My thanks once again to the panel for throwing themselves into this over the next two months. It’s Digger’s honour, based on alphabetical order of the three Rugby Championship leaders.

Enjoy the Rugby World Cup. This is the best time to be a rugby fan.

Digger
Tips: Japan, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, Italy, Ireland, England, Wales, Samoa, Fiji

Alright then, let’s go people! Finally we can get stuck into another Cup and there is a number of tasty match-ups to look forward to.

Most eyes will be on the nominated leading contenders and how they look first up especially with New Zealand and South Africa battling each other in a result the balance of the competition will be taking note of. And it’s bound to set a tone for the balance of the tournament. An ‘upset’ here will really set a cat among the pigeons as I believe both sides would be still good enough to win the competition despite losing their opening game.

The Irish, too, will be feeling some pressure to start their campaign in good fashion, seeking to justify their heavyweight status in this tournament against their Celtic Six Nation rivals, Scotland. It really is a dangerous game for the Irish as it is for the Wallabies against Fiji. It can be hard to hit the ground running and previous tournaments have shown that an upset in the early rounds is quite likely.

Let’s get this party started!

Harry
Tips: Japan, Australia, Argentina, South Africa, Italy, Ireland, England, Wales, Samoa, Fiji

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Having swapped my pool tickets for seats at the final, I will watch the slippery set pieces on the telly, as the tourney gets going.

Apparently, Frans Malherbe lost five kilograms in the warmup match with Japan, and Duane Vermeulen lost three kilos in one practice, so the weather is a story, and Yokohama will be rainy this weekend.

Will Owen Franks be missed? Can Malcolm Marx hit a barn? How important is Brodie Retallick at line out?

Bongi Mbonambi and Pieter-Steph du Toit celebrate

(Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Will the French be fit? Will the Argies reveal they’ve been scrumming poorly on purpose? Will Fiji shock the Wallaby world? Can Russia keep the scores under a hundred?

Australia, Argentina, and the Boks in last-minute nail-biters. The Scots denied controversially. The pace fast, but the scores low.

Geoff
Tips: Japan, Australia, France, New Zealand, Italy, Ireland, England, Wales, Samoa, Fiji

With World Cup anticipation and prediction fatigue having taken hold, it will feel like a relief to finally be able to talk about the actual rugby.

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And what a prospect that is, an avalanche, no make that a tsunami, no make that an Owen Farrell shoulder charge of action we have in store for us over the first week!

I’ll be taking in three matches – the hosts opening the tournament against Russia, and then two belters, New Zealand against South Africa, then Ireland versus Scotland.

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And if that’s not enough to keep the head from spinning off, we finally get to see if all of the fear around Fiji smacking the Wallabies out of the pool actually comes to fruition or not.

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I say not, but I’m expecting a lot of fun to be had over the 80 minutes finding out.

Who wins and loses the Pool B heavyweight contest will matter less in three weeks’ time. But on Saturday night it will feel like it matters plenty. The ABs to squeak home.

Brett
Tips: Japan, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, Italy, Ireland, England, Wales, Samoa, Fiji

The first week of a RWC might just be my favourite, because even in the worst-case scenario, dreams can only be slightly dented, not completely extinguished. First week losers can still be second-round giant killers.

So what am I looking forward to this week?

Well, despite being thoroughly unprepared, I am genuinely excited about watching Japan and Russia from Tokyo. It will just be the milestone we reach that finally signals the four-year wait is over.

France and Argentina could be anything. New Zealand and South Africa will be incredible. Italy and Namibia could be an early-tournament highlight, and Ireland-Scotland will decide some early Home Nations bragging rights.

Obviously, Australia up against Fiji will be massive. Massive. There’s so much expectation on both sides, and there’s no doubt this game will define the tournament for each country.

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The Wallabies celebrate.

(Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

I’m still not ready for the Rugby World Cup. But I’m so excited it’s here.

Nobes
Tips: Japan, Australia, Argentina, South Africa, Italy, Ireland, England, Wales, Samoa, Fiji

Finally, the World Cup has arrived, and in my opinion, it can become one of the most entertaining in terms of results.

There are matches of the first round that could well be final or quarter-final matches. That is the case of the game played by New Zealand and South Africa that could well be seeing each other again in the last game of the tournament for the Webb Ellis trophy.

The match between France and Argentina could be perfectly round of 16 with the tournament in another format, and it is a shame that it is not the last game of the pool, since the result will practically determine the pass to the quarter-finals or the plane ticket to go home earlier.

Ireland and a toned Scotland will see their faces again where the result is important to establish their positions facing their chances of confrontation in quarters. It is important to highlight other matches where teams will face each other for non-qualifying but very valid positions for their ranking and the future World Cup in France in 2023.

Week 1 Digger Harry Geoff Brett Nobes Crowd
JPN vs RUS JPN JPN JPN JPN JPN JPN
AUS vs FIJ AUS AUS AUS AUS AUS AUS
FRA vs ARG ARG ARG FRA ARG ARG FRA
NZL vs RSA NZL RSA NZL NZL RSA NZL
ITA vs NAM ITA ITA ITA ITA ITA ITA
IRE vs SCO IRE IRE IRE IRE IRE IRE
ENG vs TGA ENG ENG ENG ENG ENG ENG
WAL vs GEO WAL WAL WAL WAL WAL WAL
RUS vs SAM SAM SAM SAM SAM SAM SAM
FIJ vs URU FIJ FIJ FIJ FIJ FIJ FIJ

NOTE: The above tipping form will enter your predictions for our Rugby World Cup tipping comp, as well as your Crowd tips. You’ll be able to submit your tips for Wales vs Georgia, Russia vs Samoa and Fiji vs Uruguay on Monday. Check back then for an updated tipping table.

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