There have been many complaints about the IRB’s scheduling of matches – it’s bad for the smaller nations, some people cry. Well not for me, I like it – 6 matches, the big guns are coming out to play again and it’s the weekend!
France versus Ireland is the main talking point – could the hosts (second favourites at one stage) be sent all the way home before the knockout stages? Read Justin’s preview here, and have a look at some amusing posts on the Irish rugby blog.
Saturday will see England’s chariot (minus the wheels which came off against South Africa) wobble down to Nantes to take on Samoa. Although they could still go through if they lose and then beat Tonga, it is a must-win fixture to redeem some semblance of pride. They will welcome Jonny back with open arms and hope that he can conjure something in attack – just a penalty will be better than last week.
South Africa play Tonga and are likely to continue their stroll through Pool A opposition, whilst Argentina ought to be too strong for Namibia, who were destroyed by France last week.
Australia then play Fiji on Sunday in what should be a relatively straightforward win for the Wallabies after they overcame Wales last week. They won’t take the Fijians too lightly, but win that game and they’ll win the group and avoid the Springboks in the quarter-finals.
The Scots will be hoping that home advantage counts for a lot as they take on the fearsome All Blacks at Murrayfield, and will be encouraged by their midweek performance against Romania. Unfortunately, although it would probably be the biggest upset in World Cup history, I just can’t see it happening.
What do you think? Could there be a big surprise this weekend?