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RWC 15 - Pool A - Australia, England, Wales, Fiji, Uruguay

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Post by Pot Hale Tue 8 Sep - 2:44

RWC 15 - Pool A - Australia, England, Wales, Fiji, Uruguay Autral10 RWC 15 - Pool A - Australia, England, Wales, Fiji, Uruguay Englan11 RWC 15 - Pool A - Australia, England, Wales, Fiji, Uruguay Fiji10 RWC 15 - Pool A - Australia, England, Wales, Fiji, Uruguay Urugua10 RWC 15 - Pool A - Australia, England, Wales, Fiji, Uruguay Wales10
The pool with the highest rankers and most arguments.

Teams

Australia (2) [9/1]
England (4) [5/1]
Wales (5) [25/1]
Fiji (9) [1500/1]
Uruguay (19) [10,000/1]

Fixtures

18 Sep England v Fiji
20 Sep Wales v Uruguay
23 Sep Australia v Fiji
26 Sep England v Wales
27 Sep Australia v Uruguay
1 Oct Wales v Fiji
3 Oct England v Australia
6 Oct Fiji v Uruguay
10 Oct Australia v Wales
10 Oct England v Uruguay


Wales suffering two key player losses - will they try even harder?    Will they now have to score more/some tries?
England are now the second coming or coming second - depending on your point of view.
Australia have a scrum - apparently - so all is well with the world.

This pool could see one loss each for the three top teams - or is that four?   Fiji, currently ranked ninth in the world, might determine who emerges from this pool, including themselves.

The Aussies are on the up.  So are England sitting as the highest ranked NH team for the start of the tournament.

Wales will beg to differ with Gatland leading the mind games into the first of the pool matches.

It's too close to call, so everybody else can have their say instead.


Last edited by Pot Hale on Thu 17 Sep - 0:45; edited 3 times in total
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Post by George Carlin Tue 8 Sep - 7:18

Great threads, Pot - thanks for putting these up.

News for this pool has to be dominated by the newly announced loss of Halfpenny and the potential loss of Webb. How much will this affect the feeling in the Welsh camp generally?
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Post by Icu Tue 8 Sep - 7:26

Commiserations to the Welsh supporters. I'm a fan of Halfpenny. Quality player. I wish we had a kicker like him.

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Post by Wi11 Tue 8 Sep - 11:20

Yeah I'm sorry to see these injuries even as an England fan. This might be the best team Wales have sent to a WC and it would be sad to see them scuppered by injuries (having already been done by the draw, although that's kind of your own fault...)

As for the pool in general, it is ludicrously good. Just check those rankings! Gonna be very very exciting.

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Post by George Carlin Tue 8 Sep - 11:34

For discussion purposes, I think that it's well worth posting this footage from July again:


Just how good is this Fijian side really?
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Post by rainbow-warrior Tue 8 Sep - 12:30

Halfpenny despite being a gut wrenching loss to Wales it is not all doom and gloom. Williams at fullback shows more attacking skills and has proved more than once he is up to the task. Dan Biggar is also a quality kicker, sure I am not so confident when Dan kicks as I am when Leigh does, but he has an extremely high %.

Webb is a sad loss if he is out we have to wait. Phillips I have no trouble with to be honest and when he uses his head can be a game winner.
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Post by TightHEAD Tue 8 Sep - 12:39

Can see Fiji beating Wales now to be honest.

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Post by Scottrf Tue 8 Sep - 12:42

George Carlin wrote:Just how good is this Fijian side really?
Shipping an average of around 20 points to Pacific Island teams wont get you out of this group. No matter their flair in attacking.

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Post by BamBam Tue 8 Sep - 12:45

TightHEAD wrote:Can see Fiji beating Wales now to be honest.


I can't, Wales still will dominate them up front and that will be that

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Post by Exiledinborders Tue 8 Sep - 13:26

BamBam wrote:
TightHEAD wrote:Can see Fiji beating Wales now to be honest.


I can't, Wales still will dominate them up front and that will be that
I agree. Fiji have had a series of wins recently but they have all been against teams that England, Wales and Australia expect to beat - Samoa, Japan, Canada etc..

It is a pity that three of the better teams are in the same group. Having said that the team the wins the group should have a relatively easy route to the final avoiding NZ and SA.

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Post by No9 Tue 8 Sep - 13:48

Ok, I know this was 2007 and all Welshmen know what Fiji did to Wales in that World Cup Doh

But here's a reminder of what Fiji bring to Rugby World Cups... and any country who don't pay them the respect they deserve, deserve to be shown a lesson.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHd9A1WpXOs

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Post by donglewood Tue 8 Sep - 14:38

It will depend what kind of space you give them.

They are suspect around the ruck and through the middle.

But if the game opens up make no mistake they've got the pace and size to burn you.

Wales will need to keep it tight and hope for a stubborn unfit pedant of a referee. Who've they got with the r*** alarm?

Oh John Lacey. Job done then.

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Post by beshocked Tue 8 Sep - 16:14

Exileinborders the problem is that Wales have lost to Japan and Samoa in recent years....

Probably the most vulnerable. Admittedly with a full strength Welsh team they should be fine but Wales do not have good strength in depth - I know I've said it many times but it's relevant.

Wales will need to not lose any more players because each absentee hits them harder than Australia and England with theirs.


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Post by rodders Tue 8 Sep - 16:39

Wales will tank Fiji but I think they'll come up short against England and Australia.

Wallabies to win the group I think.

Their pack will surprise people and Pocock is in the form of his life - goal kicking might be their undoing but if the pitches are fast they will be serious contenders.
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Post by Luckless Pedestrian Tue 8 Sep - 16:44

Good point about the pitches, Rodders. The weather we get over the next few weeks could have an impact on things. If the knockout games are played on muddy pitches in hammering rain, then sides with big packs will be in pole position. France, perhaps?

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Post by rodders Tue 8 Sep - 16:51

I think things will tighten up come the last 4 anyway and it comes down to place kicking and packs.

I'm not sure there is a standout pack though - Australia and Argentina probably shaded things in the RC.

In the NH France look powerful but I don't see any side dominating the others up front in the top 8.

Sides with pace will standout in the pool though I'd say.
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Post by Luckless Pedestrian Tue 8 Sep - 16:58

Parra's usually on song with his kicking.

But this isn't the thread for discussing them.

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Post by Biltong Tue 8 Sep - 17:16

How much pressure will the English team have on them, surely expectations are high in England?

They will probably have a few nerves around the Wales match, and by the time they meet Australia they will be tense.

The Aussies are a confident bunch and will play with exhuberance, something that can add onto the English pressure?
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Post by Luckless Pedestrian Tue 8 Sep - 17:21

I've said for a while that it'll be interesting to see how England deal with the pressure of being hosts. Will they thrive on it, or will it be too much of a burden?

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Post by englandglory4ever Tue 8 Sep - 21:12

I'm confident that the England players can handle any pressure after last week. That Ireland game was much more 'must win' for England than it was for Ireland. Had England lost the media would still be red hot now with calls for SL to be sacked, etc. What I saw was a steely game face on every player with no sign of nerves. They went out there to do a job and for the most part they did it in style. I think they will be just fine in the mental area and will go from strength to strength.

Watching Fiji v Samoa both sides look very poor in defence compared to a top 5 side. On that evidence England should win at a canter. Fingers Crossed


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Post by LondonTiger Tue 8 Sep - 21:15

Biltong wrote:How much pressure will the English team have on them, surely expectations are high in England?

Expectations are not high, and there is very little press atm. Soccer still dominant.

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Post by blackcanelion Tue 8 Sep - 22:31

Go Fiji. Looking forward to seeing Australia and Fiji in the knockout rounds.

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Post by Icu Wed 9 Sep - 6:45

blackcanelion wrote:Go Fiji. Looking forward to seeing Australia and Fiji in the knockout rounds.

I would love to see Fiji go through. Visited there quite a few times over the years and aside from being among the friendliest people you could ever meet, I've never come across a group of people who love rugby more than the Fijians. Every Saturday at midday the place almost comes to a standstill as the local rugby comps start. Was last there just before the Flying Fijians played the Maori in July. The place was buzzing. If i couldn't be at the RWC in person, my ideal place to watch it would be in Fiji with the Fijians.

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Post by Fanster Wed 9 Sep - 8:01

Interestingly, despite Fiji's recent victories they still look suspect up front, their set peice isn't great, and they still don't have a 10 to run the show correctly, or put vital points on the board.

No offence to Fiji but Wales England or Australia would have to play well below par to be beaten by them.

Which brings Wales forward as favourites, especially without the out that 1/2p's 50 yard + kicking records provides. Wales are capable of losing that game, however Phillips may be a safer more reliable option v Fiji.

I would suggest however, Fiji going into these 3 games with no pressure whatsoever will give them a slight confidence to play a wider and slightly riskier game, and there is no better platform than opening the tournament against the hosts, at the hosts home of rugby etc...

England will be well aware that a soft start will allow Fiji points, and the one place you do not want to be is chasing when playing Fiji. I'd go as far to say that that opening 20 minutes will decide Englands RWC. Lets not pretend England are huge favourites, they are slight favourites over Wales, but on form I have Australia now as the team to beat, whereas I considered England pre warm ups, and on the opening day English fans will watch that first 20 minutes from behinmd their fingers!

If Fiji are going to turn 1 of the 3 over, I think it's first up, not much changes for them after a loss, they still head to the next as underdogs and so on, however they will know early points at Twickenham means a totally different England as opposed to England scoring early.

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Post by rodders Wed 9 Sep - 8:35

Biltong wrote:How much pressure will the English team have on them, surely expectations are high in England?

I think there is huge pressure and unlike some of the above posters I don't think they looked too confident on Saturday at all - when Ireland (amazingly after the start) pulled it back to 15-13 they started to make all sorts of mistakes and only when Ireland fell away in the last 10 minutes and Farrell nailed a couple of penalties to see them home did they settle again.

The relief at the whistle, for essentially a friendly, says a lot about the pressure they are under which will be 10 fold when the pool games start.

I think if they don't start strongly the pressure will mount - the media slaughtered them for the 5 point loss in Paris.
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Post by LondonTiger Wed 9 Sep - 8:41

rodders wrote:The media slaughtered them for the 5 point loss in Paris.

Only if you turned about 8 pages into the papers.

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Post by rodders Wed 9 Sep - 8:51

LondonTiger wrote:
rodders wrote:The media slaughtered them for the 5 point loss in Paris.

Only if you turned about 8 pages into the papers.

Or switched on your iphone.
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Post by LondonTiger Wed 9 Sep - 8:59

How is that any different for any team - if you go looking for info on your phone you will find it.

Sure England probably feel under some pressure playing at home, but then that is also offset by familiar surroundings. With rugby being a minority sport these guys can however walk down the street without anyone knowing who they are. Pick an english person at random and ask them to name an england rugby player, odds are the first name would be Jonny Wilkinson.

Probably more pressure on Wales, who are basing themselves in Wales, playing a number of games at home and have a much higher profile on the streets of Cardiff.

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Post by Fanster Wed 9 Sep - 9:00

LondonTiger wrote:How is that any different for any team - if you go looking for info on your phone you will find it.

Sure England probably feel under some pressure playing at home, but then that is also offset by familiar surroundings. With rugby being a minority sport these guys can however walk down the street without anyone knowing who they are. Pick an english person at random and ask them to name an england rugby player, odds are the first name would be Jonny Wilkinson.

Probably more pressure on Wales, who are basing themselves in Wales, playing a number of games at home and have a much higher profile on the streets of Cardiff.

That is as optimistic as it gets...

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Post by munkian Wed 9 Sep - 9:08

No9 wrote:Ok, I know this was 2007 and all Welshmen know what Fiji did to Wales in that World Cup Doh

But here's a reminder of what Fiji bring to Rugby World Cups... and any country who don't pay them the respect they deserve, deserve to be shown a lesson.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHd9A1WpXOs

Do people have some kind of memory block from 2011 when we beat them 66-0 ? With a much younger, inexperienced team ? Away ?

Justaskin'....
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Post by LondonTiger Wed 9 Sep - 9:12

If any of the "big 3" need reminding that the game with Fiji is not a guaranteed walkover, they need look no further back than November 2014.

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Post by rodders Wed 9 Sep - 9:12

LondonTiger wrote:How is that any different for any team - if you go looking for info on your phone you will find it.

Sure England probably feel under some pressure playing at home, but then that is also offset by familiar surroundings. With rugby being a minority sport these guys can however walk down the street without anyone knowing who they are. Pick an english person at random and ask them to name an england rugby player, odds are the first name would be Jonny Wilkinson.

Probably more pressure on Wales, who are basing themselves in Wales, playing a number of games at home and have a much higher profile on the streets of Cardiff.

It might surprise you but I don't go looking for what the critics think of England - in fact I try and avoid it but its pretty hard when every major news site and app, as well as social media is littered with articles about the rwc and specifically England - you must be under a rock if you can go through a day without an article on Englands rwc chances.

From what I see expectation is pretty low in Wales -  I think it was anyway given the group but with the injuries to Webb and Halfpenny, on top of Davies and Lee I'd say they are the top side 8 with least expectation and pressure.
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Post by LondonTiger Wed 9 Sep - 9:17

I am living under a rock then as I see quite a small amount really. I only follow 2 things on Twitter (Leicester, Yorkshire Cricket), read the Times and the BBC website.

Top rugby Stories on BBC yesterday were Wales injuries and Jonnny Wilkinson.
today it is Wales, Andy Goode and Victor Matfield.

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Post by Fanster Wed 9 Sep - 9:19

munkian wrote:
No9 wrote:Ok, I know this was 2007 and all Welshmen know what Fiji did to Wales in that World Cup Doh

But here's a reminder of what Fiji bring to Rugby World Cups... and any country who don't pay them the respect they deserve, deserve to be shown a lesson.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHd9A1WpXOs

Do people have some kind of memory block from 2011 when we beat them 66-0 ? With a much younger, inexperienced team ? Away ?

Justaskin'....

Hardly fair on Fiji, they were without double figure first choice players for that RWC, which devalued the entire tournament in my eyes!!

The biggest tragedy of that RWC, and of this one is that the media will not put pressure on the clubs holding world class players back from competing!!!


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Post by LondonTiger Wed 9 Sep - 9:21

Which World Class players are being prevented from playing by clubs?

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Post by rodders Wed 9 Sep - 9:22

http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/rugby-union/34174579

Pretty obvious who the side with the pressure is to me.
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Post by LondonTiger Wed 9 Sep - 9:28

rodders wrote:http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/rugby-union/34174579

Pretty obvious who the side with the pressure is to me.

To you, but not to stupid little me. Looks like that article is trying to heap pressure in Ireland.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 9 Sep - 9:33

Not sure there is too much pressure overall on this England team for anyone who actually follows rugby. Maybe the casual observer who thinks SCW is still in charge. Most people are saying we can win it but we're not favourites. Where there is a bit of pressure is the fact that one of Wales, Aus or England are going out early; again understanding that this sort of group doesn't happen often also adds some understanding of how good the team who drops out actually is.

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Post by George Carlin Wed 9 Sep - 9:35

Fanster wrote:
munkian wrote:
No9 wrote:Ok, I know this was 2007 and all Welshmen know what Fiji did to Wales in that World Cup Doh

But here's a reminder of what Fiji bring to Rugby World Cups... and any country who don't pay them the respect they deserve, deserve to be shown a lesson.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHd9A1WpXOs

Do people have some kind of memory block from 2011 when we beat them 66-0 ? With a much younger, inexperienced team ? Away ?

Justaskin'....

Hardly fair on Fiji, they were without double figure first choice players for that RWC, which devalued the entire tournament in my eyes!!

The biggest tragedy of that RWC, and of this one is that the media will not put pressure on the clubs holding world class players back from competing!!!
Are we all just ignoring the most recent game that the sides played as a more likely suggestion of how things will go?:


Or was the refereeing so bad that this cannot be indicative of anything.

The highlights make the game look good but I watched the match and it seemed to last for 9 hours.
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Post by Fanster Wed 9 Sep - 9:37

LondonTiger wrote:Which World Class players are being prevented from playing by clubs?

You want me to name them?

Off the top of my head...

Flip van De Merwe - decided to go to France

Rod Ortega - Uraguay captain decided money is more important

Ben Mowen - France is more fun than a RWC

Census Johnstone - Resigned with a view to retire

Probably the highest name cases, is Samu Manoa allowed to play for the USA, never followed that through?

OK maybe world class was the wrong word, but a Fijiian team losing its captian, vice and 9 other professional players is going to get pounded, how would Scotland, Wales or Ireland cope with losing 11 squad players?


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Post by Fanster Wed 9 Sep - 9:39

No 7&1/2 wrote:Not sure there is too much pressure overall on this England team for anyone who actually follows rugby. Maybe the casual observer who thinks SCW is still in charge. Most people are saying we can win it but we're not favourites. Where there is a bit of pressure is the fact that one of Wales, Aus or England are going out early; again understanding that this sort of group doesn't happen often also adds some understanding of how good the team who drops out actually is.

Totally disagree, after Englands horror show 4 years ago the pressure to do well is massive! I agree most people think theres a chance, but an outside chance of winning it, there is equally the same chance England might be the first ever host to not qualify from their group, and with the animosity worldwide against the England team generally most people would enjoy seeing that.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 9 Sep - 9:43

Yes, as I've said there is a possibility that any of 3 big teams can go out and the fact that people who actually know about rugby would accept it's not going to be a huge shock to see anyone go out. You may enjoy seeing England go out because of whatever but Wales and Aus ain't going to be sat there thinking the pressure's off because we're not going to get a kicking ourselves.

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Post by BamBam Wed 9 Sep - 9:54

Fanster wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:Which World Class players are being prevented from playing by clubs?

You want me to name them?

Off the top of my head...

Flip van De Merwe - decided to go to France

Rod Ortega - Uraguay captain decided money is more important

Ben Mowen - France is more fun than a RWC

Census Johnstone - Resigned with a view to retire

Probably the highest name cases, is Samu Manoa allowed to play for the USA, never followed that through?

OK maybe world class was the wrong word, but a Fijiian team losing its captian, vice and 9 other professional players is going to get pounded, how would Scotland, Wales or Ireland cope with losing 11 squad players?


Didn't Flip come back in to the squad, then just wasn't selected?!

And Manoa is named in the US squad, so I assume he's playing!

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian Wed 9 Sep - 9:58

Fanster wrote:With the animosity worldwide against the England team generally most people would enjoy seeing that.

Speak for yourself.

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Post by LondonTiger Wed 9 Sep - 10:01

So, of the five names mentioned two were available for their countries (one selected), one (Mowen) was ineligible for selection by Australias criteria, one stated he wanted to spend the summer/autumn with his heavily pregnant wife and one is a player so far past his best was unlikely to be selected so retired from international rugby to maximise earning power. (Sounds like Adam Jones does it not?)

fiji have, afaik, selected the strongest squad they could.

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Post by Biltong Wed 9 Sep - 10:03

BamBam wrote:
Fanster wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:Which World Class players are being prevented from playing by clubs?

You want me to name them?

Off the top of my head...

Flip van De Merwe - decided to go to France

Rod Ortega - Uraguay captain decided money is more important

Ben Mowen - France is more fun than a RWC

Census Johnstone - Resigned with a view to retire

Probably the highest name cases, is Samu Manoa allowed to play for the USA, never followed that through?

OK maybe world class was the wrong word, but a Fijiian team losing its captian, vice and 9 other professional players is going to get pounded, how would Scotland, Wales or Ireland cope with losing 11 squad players?


Didn't Flip come back in to the squad, then just wasn't selected?!

And Manoa is named in the US squad, so I assume he's playing!

Flip withdrew from the squad, whether it was due to his French club, I don't know
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Post by Jimpy Wed 9 Sep - 10:04

LondonTiger wrote:
Biltong wrote:How much pressure will the English team have on them, surely expectations are high in England?

Expectations are not high, and there is very little press atm. Soccer still dominant.

Seconded. Most realistic English supporters feel that this WC is two years too early for this team. We're only too aware of the wonky line-out and creaking scrum. Having said that, England are at home and have a good side, with strength in depth. If England clear their group (and they should), then a WC final is a possibility, but I doubt most will 'expect' it, although it would be a bonus. From the home nations I'd say the pressure is more on the likes of Ireland to cement their NH credentials, and Wales to prove that losing a couple of key players in a tough group hasn't derailed their tournament before it has begun.


Last edited by Jimpy on Wed 9 Sep - 10:10; edited 1 time in total

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Post by LondonTiger Wed 9 Sep - 10:08

I am not saying there is no pressure on England and the squad. I just feel that unlike New Zealand in 2011 that pressure is almost entirely self created rather than from the outside. New Zealand were (and are) a much better team than england but the all encompassing pressure of playing a home WC as favourites in the only truly rugby mad country almost caused them to suffocate.

Biggest pressure for Tom Youngs has been trying to find someone to organise the harvesting on his farm rather than journos or Internet Warriors being mean about him.

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Post by Jimpy Wed 9 Sep - 10:09

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:
Fanster wrote:With the animosity worldwide against the England team generally most people would enjoy seeing that.

Speak for yourself.
Might be a few others too, but you can be sure the 'animosity' is pretty much confined to Wales.

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Post by George Carlin Wed 9 Sep - 10:10

Bloody hell. Apart from the All Blacks, does ANY other international side feel ready for this tournament?
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