France 33-9 USA
France were given a bit of a fright by the USA as they left it very late to put the result beyond doubt. On 64 minutes, AJ MacGinty knocked over his third penalty to make the score 12-9 to France, and for a moment it looked as though we might be treated to another huge upset.
But then France got their act together, scoring three tries in the last ten minutes to secure the bonus-point win as expected.
Whilst it wasn’t France’s first-choice lineup, the performance was generally very poor, with lots of errors and little cohesion in attack. There didn’t seem to be much that would concern John Mitchell as England’s defence coach ahead of their crucial meeting in 10 days’ time.
Perhaps they were keeping everything in reserve, given the limited opposition in front of them, as they did all that was required to get the win and the 5 points on the table.
What did you think of the French performance?
New Zealand 63-0 Canada
The All Blacks were in ruthless form as they smashed Canada in the second match of the day. All three Barrett brothers scored tries, and it was also notable that Richie Mo’unga knocked over every single conversion.
It’s the highest score of the tournament so far, and further confirmation that New Zealand is the team to beat.
What was also notable was that there were so few handling errors for most of the match, although a few crept in towards the end. It wasn’t raining, but we’ve heard all the about the humidity and greasy conditions, and some sides have been looking like the U10 B team throwing around a wet octopus. Not the All Blacks though, whose basic skill levels are significantly higher than everyone else.
Day 12 Preview
Georgia v Fiji
Fiji currently sit bottom of Pool D, despite their pre-tournament ambition of qualifying for the knockout stages. That surprise defeat to Uruguay has left them all but out of the tournament, and Georgia will have their eye on third place and automatic qualification for France 2023.
I’m expecting a much better performance from Fiji, and they can’t be as poor and disinterested as they looked last week, whilst Georgia could struggle with such a short turnaround time between their matches.
I have picked Fiji by 13 on Superbru, and I have Fiji -7 on the handicap.
Ireland v Russia
There is barely time for Ireland to lick their wounds before they are back in action, and that could be a blessing. Johnny Sexton starts at fly-half, whilst the rest of the team is mostly the second string players but they’ll be easily good enough to beat Russia.
Russia’s attack has been very limited so far, scoring just 19 points in total against Japan and Samoa, and Ireland shouldn’t give them many opportunities. You’d think Ireland’s attack should be capable of scoring at least 8 or 9 tries, letting out a bit of frustration against the Russians.
I have Ireland by 48 for this one.