RWC 2019: Day 2 Update

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Australia 39-21 Fiji
This game sort of went as expected, with Fiji bringing ferocious aggression and dragging the Wallabies into a frantic, fast-paced broken game. It took Australia an hour to take control, keeping it a bit tighter and scoring twice through rolling mauls, before pulling clear nearer the end.

Wales will need to take the Fijians very seriously, and with a similar sort of effort from Fiji, they could well turn over the Welsh again.

France 23-21 Argentina
This was a great Test match, and the first really tricky match to predict. The French raced to a first-half lead and looked unstoppable, before losing control, making errors and allowing Argentina to close the gap.

In fact, the Pumas took the lead with 10 minutes to go, but a Camille Lopez dropped goal restored the 2-point advantage for France and they just about held on for a win – although a long-range penalty from Emiliano Boffelli could have snatched it for Argentina.

Both sides looked threatening with ball-in-hand, but they also both fell off a number of tackles and drifted in and out of the game at certain periods. Both will be very tough to beat for England.

New Zealand 23-13 South Africa
This fixture lived up to its billing, and was played at a very high intensity throughout. The Boks started strongly and put the All Blacks under sustained pressure, forcing several handling errors and it was unusual to see New Zealand looking slightly clueless in the face of such brutal defence.

But then after 20 minutes, they took control, scoring two quick tries through George Bridge and Scott Barrett, and going into the break with a 14-point lead, it was always looking like too much to ask for South Africa.

The Springboks fought valiantly, but it was never going to be enough. Cheslin Kolbe and Sevu Reece made notable contributions, whilst I enjoyed Beauden Barrett’s performance at full-back.

The officiating has been poor so far, but Jerome Garces had an off-game here, seemingly ignoring the offside line, missing a huge offside intervention from the Springboks, and he seemed particularly lenient on New Zealand at the breakdown.

What other talking points have there been so far? How have you enjoyed the opening matches?

Day 3 Preview

Italy v Namibia, 06.15
Sunday’s schedule starts with an easier pick, with the Azzurri expected to win this one comfortably. Namibia have been beaten twice by Russia in the last 12 months, and have only had a couple of warm-up games against the Kings in South Africa, whilst Italy will surely be better-prepared having played four international matches in the tournament build-up. There’s heavy rain forecast again, and whilst that might keep the score a little tighter, it could also expose inferior skill levels.

I’ve actually reined in my Superbru pick to Italy by 23 on the basis that Italy hardly ever thrash anyone, and I’ve got Namibia +31 on the handicap.

Italy: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Edoardo Padovani, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Maxime Mbandà, 6 Braam Steyn, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Tiziano Pasquali, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Nicola Quaglio
Replacements: 16 Oliviero Fabiani, 17 Simone Ferrari, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Dean Budd, 20 Jake Polledri, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Matteo Minozzi

Namibia: 15 Johan Tromp, 14 Chad Plato, 13 Justin Newman, 12 Darryl De La Harpe, 11 JC Greyling, 10 Cliven Loubser, 9 Damian Stevens, 8 Janco Venter, 7 Wian Conradie, 6 Rohan Kitshoff, 5 Tjiuee Uanivi (c), 4 PJ Van Lill, 3 Johannes Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Andre Rademeyer
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 AJ De Klerk, 18 Nelius Theron, 19 Johan Retief, 20 Max Katjijeko, 21 Eugene Jantjies, 22 Helarius Axasman Kisting, 23 Lesley Klim

Italy by 23

Ireland v Scotland
It wasn’t long ago that Ireland were being talked up as potential world champions, but now many people doubt that they’ll make it to their first ever semi-final. They haven’t become a bad side overnight though, and they are clear favourites for this match and subsequently to win the group. They have had the best of recent meetings between the teams – even in an underwhelming Six Nations campaign, Ireland still won at Murrayfield, and on neutral ground I think they’ll win fairly comfortably this weekend.

They have a couple of notable injury absentees in the form of Robbie Henshaw, Keith Earls and Rob Kearney, but even without these experienced players, they should be able to exert enough control to win the game.

I have Ireland by 16 on Superbru and I’ve bet on Ireland -8.

Ireland: 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Jack Carty, 23 Chris Farrell

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Stuart McInally (c), 1 Allan Dell
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Ali Price, 22 Chris Harris, 23 Darcy Graham

England v Tonga
It’s a strong England team for this one as expected, and it should be a fairly straightforward England win, but since our experience in 2015, there shouldn’t be any complacency amongst fans! Nevertheless, there’s power and pace everywhere in the team, and the main objective will be a bonus point win and for everyone to make it through unscathed.

It’s likely to be a physical encounter, and there might be an edge to it with some players of Pacific Island decent featuring in the England side. But if England stick to their gameplan, using big ball-carriers to deliver front-foot ball to George Ford and Owen Farrell, we should see the wide men like Jonny May and Anthony Watson running free.

It struck me that not long ago we were crying out for Elliot Daly to be given a chance at full-back when Eddie Jones was vehemently sticking to Mike Brown, and now that Daly is the incumbent in the 15 jersey, we want to see Anthony Watson there. Daly could well be tested today, and there should be some counter-attacking opportunities, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes.

I’ve picked England by 48 on Superbru, which could be a little on the long side, but if England get their attack going, it really ought to be a long day for Tonga. I’m doubling down by betting on England -44.

England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Dan Cole, 19 George Kruis, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Jonathan Joseph

Tonga: 15 David Halaifonua, 14 Atieli Pakalani, 13 Siale Piutau (c), 12 Cooper Vuna, 11 Viliami Lolohea, 10 Kurt Morath, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Zane Kapeli, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Halaleva Fifita, 4 Sam Lousi, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Sosefo Sakalia, 1 Siegfried ‘Fisiihoi
Replacements: 16 Siua Maile, 17 Latu Talakai, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Dan Faleafa, 20 Nasi Manu, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 James Faiva, 23 Nafi Tu’itavake

Let us know your predictions for tomorrow.

7 thoughts on “RWC 2019: Day 2 Update

  1. Both NZ and Aus scored tries with passes in the build up that were borderline forward, or flat at best, and yet neither were reviewed. Both came at pivotal moments in the games and completely changed the momentum. If I were Fijian or a Saffa I would have been screaming for a review.

    1. HRF. Looked at NZ’s 2 tries again. Which 1 was fwd? Bridge’s or Barret’s? Ref missed a few other things, like an A Smith knock on, I thought. Also a ‘cert’ try following Mounga’s break when the Saffa tacked him high, then didn’t release in the tackle. After that the AB 1/2 was subject to early interference with a 2, 3 man overlap! Pen try, or what?! Maybe they have different rules in Houston?

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  2. Pretty sure the rules are the same. The fwd pass was the first NZ try, from the winger back inside on the halfway line. Looking again it’s still forward even with momentum of the passer. Game changing decision – the others were after that. The Mounga break tackle and strip should have been a yellow if it was a penalty. Still, as long as there’s no repeat poor decisions for Ireland and Scotland tonight, then it won’t matter.

    1. Didn’t notice; from 1/2 way?! Maybe it evened out with the AB pen try being disallowed? Odd coincidence that fwd passes only occurred with the 2 Australasian sides? Matter to whom BTW?

  3. And thats what the RWC is all about! Knock out style rugby across all three matches and i thoroughly enjoyed them all! Defo think Fiji could cause Wales some issues. Pocock is a freak…how long has he been out of top level rugby games? Looked like never been away. Also on commentary said he has what 70+ caps and has missed something like 5 years of rugby with injuries! Anyway i will climb out of his a… now. France look dangerous and playing with confidence but still sceptical to falling asleep as seen in second half. England will need to put points on them early i feel to quash their confidence and momentum.

    NZ v SA wow what a test match. Agree with DP not given penalty try levelled out the (potential) forward pass. Like many i guess I am thinking we could have seen a dummy run of the final, both teams looked solid. I think a mention needs to go to Muanga’s try saving tackle on Kolby! I thought Kolby had skinned him and then wow Muanga put on his Icarus sandals and caught him like a cheetah having antelope for breakfast! Still i am not a kiwi but if i was I would rather see Barrett at 10. He can turn a game in the blink of an eye and I just feel NZ need him with hands on ball more and less from deep. DP??

    1. Prev inclined to agree re B Barrett at 15 DMaul. Now? Less sure. Esp with his MotM award. Along with Mounga, gives NZ 2nd attack option & RM kicks goals. Have to hope Hansen knows what he’s doing.. & keeps the oppo guessing? Also agree about Mounga’s stopping Kolby. Harder to tackle than a greasy pig! NZ must start better. Dominate the loose. When they did after the 1st 1/4, they created. Lost it again for a while, 2nd 1/2, then regathered. Pollard kicked too much after SA conceded 17. Played into NZ’s hands a bit. Hansen seeking quick ball with width in hi tempo game. 2 7’s, fly1/2’s facilitate this? Also chucked ALL his reserves into the fray?! Relatively less onerous path to & in 1/4er’s now? Then Retallick due back.

  4. SA v NZ was cracker, feel SA made a few too many mistakes going forward. That Pollard miss resulted in a 10 point swing just minutes later. But a great game and well done NZ.

    Scots currently getting hammered by the Irish, which I find rather surprising. Thought it would be a bit closer!

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