Approximately 25 years to the day that the All Blacks attributed food poisoning to their Rugby World Cup loss, Super Rugby has something else to digest.
The Rugby World Cup is right into the swing of things now, with every team having now taken to the field.
Here’s how each team is tracking with two weekends of play in the books.
1. New Zealand
Last week: 1
This week’s result: N/A
The All Blacks’ second match of the campaign is tonight against Canada, so they haven’t had a chance to build on their first-up win over the Boks. Still, they’re one from one having played their toughest pool game, and remain the frontrunners.
Last week: 2
This week’s result: Defeated Australia 29-25
Wales’ first half against the Wallabies was an excellent display of well-executed rugby. The second half left a bit to be desired, but the defence was still miserly. The win puts them on the more favourable side of the draw, too.
Last week: 4
This week’s result: Defeated USA 45-7
England move up a place in the rankings courtesy of a clinical, if expected, win over the USA. They’re yet to be properly tested – we’re going to learn a lot more about Eddie Jones’ side in their next two fixtures against Argentina and France.
Last week: 11
This week’s result: Defeated Ireland 19-12
Another World Cup, another massive upset for Japan. Their win over group favourites Ireland has thrown Pool A wide open and given the Brave Blossoms full control over their own destiny. Could we see a quarter-final clash against the side they shocked in the last tournament?
5. South Africa
Last week: 6
This week’s result: Defeated Namibia 57-3
The Springboks trotted out a second-string side and duly became the first side to crack the half-century this World Cup. It was at the expense of Namibia though, so there’s not a whole lot to read from the performance.
Last week: 5
This week’s result: N/A
Like New Zealand, France have been made to wait until this evening for their second game of the tournament. Based on what we saw against Argentina a couple of weekends ago, they’ll have no trouble in dispatching the USA.
Last week: 13
This week’s result: Defeated Samoa 34-0
A much-improved performance from Scotland, who bounced back from their try-less defeat to Ireland with a bonus-point win over Samoa in tough conditions. Their quarter-final hopes weren’t helped by Japan’s upset win, but they still have their fate under their own control.
Last week: 3
This week’s result: Defeated by Japan 19-12
Whoa boy. Ireland were meek against the hosts, stumbling to a seven-point loss despite scoring the first two tries of the game. Johnny Sexton sitting this one out has only raised further questions about the side’s reliance on their main playmaker. They’ll now need results to go their way to avoid a quarter-final against New Zealand.
Last week: 9
This week’s result: Defeated Canada 48-7
There were no troubles for Italy in dispatching Canada, Connor O’Shea’s side cracking the 40-point mark for the second consecutive game. Their two tough assignments are still to come, with South Africa on Friday and New Zealand to finish the pool stage.
Last week: 7
This week’s result: Defeated by Wales 29-25
For the second game in a row, the Wallabies started far too slowly, losing their clash with Wales in the first half (and at the selection table). They’ll need to make further changes to the halves – hardly ideal – but the second-half performance showed that their likely quarter-final against England won’t be unwinnable.
Last week: 8
This week’s result: Defeated Tonga 28-12
A strange second match for Los Pumas. They raced to a 28-0 lead inside the first half-hour against Tonga, only to go scoreless for the rest of the match as their opponents had the better of the play. Serious concerns remain around their attack, and they don’t look a quarter-final side right now. England await on Saturday in a must-win clash.
Last week: 16
This week’s result: Defeated Uruguay 33-7
After an honest performance against Wales, Georgia followed it up with a solid win over Uruguay. They won’t make the knockout stage, but can cement third place and qualification for 2023 with a win over Fiji.
Last week: N/A
This week’s results: Defeated Fiji 30-27, defeated by Georgia 33-7
What a win for Uruguay! Their victory over Fiji was the first proper upset of the tournament, and was just a wonderful moment for the South Americans. That was quickly followed by a loss to Georgia, but it was always going to be tough to cope with such a quick turnaround.
Last week: N/A
This week’s results: Defeated Russia 34-9, defeated by Scotland 34-0
The first half of Samoa’s campaign was as unconvincing as anyone could have imagined as they gave up two yellow cards and a half-time deficit to Russia. The second half got back on script, only for Scotland to consign them to the first scoreless performance of the tournament in their following game.
Last week: 14
This week’s result: Defeated by Argentina 28-12
Tonga will feel slightly hard done following their loss to Argentina. The Pacific nation probably had the better of the play for longer than their opponents, but were nonetheless made to pay for a sloppy opening which cost them the game.
Last week: 15
This week’s result: Defeated by Samoa 34-9
Much like in their tournament opener, Russia gave an honest account of themselves early on against Samoa and threatened to pull off an upset, only to fall away as the game went on.
Last week: 10
This week’s result: Defeated by Uruguay 30-27
After impressing against Australia in their opener, Fiji clearly weren’t prepared for Uruguay so soon after. They made mass changes to their starting XV and were caught out by Los Teros. Having been fancied as a sneaky chance of making the knockout stage by some, Fiji now have a tough task ahead of them to avoid finishing last in Pool D.
Last week: 12
This week’s result: Defeated by South Africa 57-3
Poor Namibia. The World Cup’s perennial whipping boys were handed yet another shellacking, the Springboks putting 57 on them. Still, they’re a chance of breaking their duck when they play Canada later on in the tournament.
Last week: N/A
This week’s result: Defeated by England 45-7
An opening match against England was always going to end poorly. The Eagles were unable to deal with England’s superiority at the scrum and lineout, and were duly handed a heavy defeat.
Last week: N/A
This week’s result: Defeated by Italy 48-7
A rough start for Canada, who were touched up by Italy last Thursday. It doesn’t get any easier, either, with a fresh All Blacks waiting tonight.