New Zealand looked everything the favorite as they beat Portugal 108-13, even with many second tier players playing and some out of position.
Neither Jonny Wilkinson nor his replacement Olly Barkley played as England lost the first clash of the titans to South Africa 36-0. It certainly does not look like the defending champs belong in the ranks with New Zealand, Australia or South Africa. It is likely that England’s match with Tonga (winner of their first two matches are current 2nd in pool A behind South Africa) will determine if they even get through to the quarters this go round.
The US Eagles again played well, but did not win, falling to Tonga 25-15. There next opportunity for a win comes against the team from Samoa on September 26.
As for suprises, the Pumas of Argentina are 2-0 after their opening surprise win over France and win at Georgia. Argentina is now ranked 4th in the IRB rankings. The team from Fiji, currently ranked 12 in the world, is also 2-0, but has games remaining with Australia and Wales in Pool B.
There are a couple of matches during the week, but the fun really gets started again next Friday, with France vs. Ireland, and many other matches Sat. and Sun.
Word is out now that Wilkinson has been activated for England’s Sept 22 match against Samoa. Let the drop kicks fly!!!!