Week two of the Rugby World Cup was a dramatic one with some teams falling off the pace while others started to come right. The All Blacks are all but assured of a quarter final berth, but their SANZAR rivals, Australia and South Africa, are still in real danger of not qualifying for the knock out rounds.
After one of the most trying weeks in South Africa’s rugby history the men in green and gold bounced back with a proper thumping of Samoa last Saturday. The 46 – 6 victory went a long way to quiet Bok dissenters both home and abroad. However, the victory did come at a cost: Both captain Jean De Villiers and vice-captain Victor Matfield picked up injuries. De Villiers is out for the rest of the Rugby World Cup while the rangy lock’s further participation in the tournament is still in doubt.
The two-time world champions face a fired-up Scottish side on Saturday. A loss for the Springboks will likely prevent them from progressing in the tournament, while a win will virtually ensure their qualification. With a rugby mad public back home demanding nothing less than a semi-final finish, it will be interesting to see if the team can handle the pressure and make it through this test.
The All Black juggernaut rumbles on. It’s hard to imagine this side coming unstuck against any team in the competition. Last week’s laboured win over Namibia aside, New Zealand appear to be ramping up nicely toward the business end of the competition. With virtually no injuries to speak of, coach Steve Hansen can pick and choose from his 31-man squad as he pleases.
Friday sees minnows Georgia try and put the brakes on the men in black, and, while no one expects a repeat of Japan versus South Africa, the Georgians will definitely not go quietly into the night. That being said, the Kiwis will likely bag the full five points on offer; at this point it seems that the only thing we don’t know is by how much the Rugby World Cup holders will win by.
This weekend is all about England vs. Australia. After two (mostly) convincing wins, Michael Cheika’s chargers are looking good. The hosts, however, are still reeling from their loss to Wales last Saturday and will need to win to have a chance of qualifying for the Quarter Finals.
The Wallabies were drawn in a tough pool but with each game they’ve played – and with each game Wales and England play – they look more and more likely to finish at the top of their pool. Having said that, Cheika will be hoping that the selfish and reckless individualism that crept into their match against Uruguay last Sunday will be a thing of the past, as it will cost them dearly against more formidable opponents.
We hope you’re showing your colours and supporting you’re team as the World Cup heats up. It so happens that our 20th birthday coincides with the tournament, and to celebrate we’re giving one lucky expat a return trip back home from the UK. All you have to do to enter is take a picture showing your support for your team (and country).
Check out the competition page by clicking the banner below:
For more in depth analysis, check out TNT’s coverage of the global showpiece below:
|Springboks savage Samoa|
|Australia vs England preview|
|Could this be the end for England?|
|Burgess benched ahead of Wallabie test
|Wallabies lose players due to injuries|