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Rugby World Cup tipping Week 2: into the grind

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Expert
25th September, 2019
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One week down, and we’ve already seen some brilliant rugby. The quadrennial Rugby World Cup has always served up a buffet of quality rugby and the first week of this current edition has well and truly lived up to that expectation.

But now that the second week is here, teams need to quickly bump any last remaining marbles into their holes.

Because with the first game out of the way, subsequent games now become must-win for first-week losers – and for the first-week winners, they can set up the rest of their pool stage campaign.

Fiji’s shock loss to Uruguay on Wednesday, on top of the first-game loss to Australia, means they are in a really delicate spot. They cannot get into the grind of the tournament quicker now. Their RWC ambitions depend on it.

LAST WEEK and OVERALL: Geoff and The Crowd 9, Digger and Brett 8, Harry and Nobes 7.

Geoff
Tips: Italy, England, Argentina, Ireland, South Africa, Georgia, Australia, Scotland, France, New Zealand

While everybody is sweating on an upset result, I doubt there’ll be one this week. There is simply too much at stake for the big players to stumble at this stage, and the gulf in conditioning and skills execution at pace between the top and bottom sides is noticeable.

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That means that the real point of focus this week is on the Wallabies’ match against Wales in Tokyo. Wales did a lot of things well against Georgia, they have a nice balance between back and forward, and their defensive line is steely. The Wallabies also did a lot of things well against Fiji, granted that most of it was compressed into 30-minute period at the end.

I like the Wallabies’ set piece, and as long as they keep their heads about them and kick their goals, then I think their quick game will trouble Wales enough to take the points.

The other eye-catcher is Fiji’s giant-slayer Uruguay against Georgia. Can the South Americans snare an unprecedented second pool victory, or will the scrum-loving pie-makers grind them down? Georgia by a smidge.

Digger
Tips: Italy, England, Argentina, Ireland, South Africa, Georgia, Australia, Scotland, France, New Zealand

Well, after a cracking opening weekend let’s hope the quality continues into this next phase and naturally most eyes will be anticipating the big clash between Wales and the Wallabies, the big test for both these sides in their pool.

I have certainly flipped between the two, as the opening half from the Wallabies against Fiji gave me some concern in the amount of time it took them to adapt, and Wales will certainly take advantage of such headless chook strategy.

Samu Kerevi goes for a run

(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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But I saw enough at the end to feel more confident that they can get it done, along with having the tougher first-up match against Fiji than Wales encountered against Georgia.

While I have picked my ancestors against Samoa again, I do not do so confidently. Surely the Jocks cannot be as lethargic again and I am sure they will bounce back strongly against a quality Samoan side.

I am also looking forward to Georgia taking on Uruguay this weekend, in a match I am sure will entertain and I am eager to get my first look at Uruguay and see what they are up to against a tough Georgian team.

Brett
Tips: Italy, England, Argentina, Ireland, South Africa, Uruguay, Australia, Scotland, France, New Zealand

Honestly, the first week was so good. Everything I hoped and everything I remembered from previous Rugby World Cups. Some great games, some brilliant tries, and it took until the final game of the first block, but we bloody got that upset!

In this second week, I’ll be intrigued to see how the next-tier countries get on. Can Canada push Italy tonight? How far can the USA take it to England? Do Tonga have it in them to topple Argentina? What will a raucous home crowd do for Japan against Ireland?

Fiji’s loss to Uruguay probably takes a bit of pressure off Australia and Wales, because the Fijian’s chances of progressing have now been seriously dented. But both countries will be looking to make the needed improvements from their respective first-up wins.

The Wallabies will first need to manufacture a winger (because they didn’t pick another one) after Reece Hodge was sensationally suspended for three matches for his high shot on Fijian flanker Peceli Yato. Wales will be looking for the same sort of fast start they produced against Georgia, also knowing that was how Fiji put the Wallabies on the back foot. It promises a wonderful contest.

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And that just leaves Georgia-Uruguay. I’m all in. If Los Teros can turn on that same performance that toppled Fiji, then why can’t they push Georgia as well? That’s this week sewn up nicely.

Harry
Tips: Italy, England, Argentina, Ireland, South Africa, Georgia, Wales, Scotland, France, New Zealand

So now we see the 2019 All Blacks game plan for the wet, fast fields of Japan.

Seven true footballers on the field in the back line at all times, and an aerial game to out-Bok the Boks, and find space beyond the umbrella.

This round will go to form.

Justin Tipuric in action for Wales

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Wales will frustrate the Wallabies’ attack, and do just enough to take the cake. I fear for Scottish fortunes in this Cup – they look about to break. The wounded Boks will be watching the ominous Irish.

The star of the tournament thus far is the Land of the Rising Sun.

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Nobes
Tips: Italy, England, Argentina, Ireland, South Africa, Georgia, Australia, Scotland, France, New Zealand

Some teams are already facing difficult paths to get to the quarter-finals, such as Argentina, who after losing to France must now not only topple England but pick up bonus points elsewhere.

That won’t be easy in their match against Tonga, since the English only snatched their bonus against the Tongans at the death.

The Wallabies will not have it easy against Wales either, who were very solid in the opening against Georgia.

Let’s also hope the refereeing can be fixed quickly so we can move on without any complaints.

Week 2 Digger Harry Geoff Brett Nobes Crowd
ITA vs CAN ITA ITA ITA ITA ITA ITA
ENG vs USA ENG ENG ENG ENG ENG ENG
ARG vs TGA ARG ARG ARG ARG ARG ARG
JPN vs IRE IRE IRE IRE IRE IRE IRE
RSA vs NAM RSA RSA RSA RSA RSA RSA
GEO vs URU GEO GEO GEO URU GEO GEO
AUS vs WAL AUS WAL AUS AUS AUS WAL
SCO vs SAM SCO SCO SCO SCO SCO SCO
FRA vs USA FRA FRA FRA FRA FRA FRA
NZL vs CAN NZL NZL NZL NZL NZL NZL
Last week 8 7 9 8 7 9
Total score 8 7 9 8 7 9
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