Rugby World Cup 3rd Weekend
With five mostly blowout matches and one surprisingly close one with South Africa besting Tonga only 30-25, the Rugby World Cup setup five great matches for next weekend to decide who moves on to the next round.
Australia, winner of pool B, will play the winner of Tonga vs. England (Sep. 28). Tonga is playing well, but it is hard to bet against the English side when Jonny Wilkinson seems to be playing injury free. Wilkinson scored 24 points with 3 conversions, 4 penalty kicks and 2 drop goals, and also setup tries and overall played extremely well. He moved to second on the RWC Overall Points standing, with 206 to Gavin Hastings of Scotland’s leading 227. Wilkinson has an excellent chance to break the record in next weekend’s match with Tonga.
South Africa, winner of Pool A, will play the winner of Wales vs. Fiji (Sept. 29) which will determine the runner-up in Pool B. I’m picking Wales to win this one, as they played Australia very tough, while the Fijians were pummeled 55-12 today by the Aussies.
New Zealand, which beat Scotland 40-0, has Pool C sewn up, and the runner-up will be decided by Scotland vs. Italy in Lyon September 29, a match my friend Gordon invited me to, but, alas, traveling from Houston to Lyon for a weekend match is not as easy or as cheap as I want it to be! I’ll be rooting for Scotland with you Gordon, have a pint or two for me!
Pool D is still undecided with the Pumas from Argentina in the lead with 14 points, followed by France with 10 and Ireland with 9. Argentina and Ireland play on the 30th, with France playing Georgia on the same day (once again, for my fellow Yanks, not Georgia with Atlanta but former USSR Georgia, got it?). If I’m doing the math right, Ireland’s only way through it to beat Argentina by a bushel of points and get the bonus point for scoring 4 tries in the match, thus tying them with Argentina and getting them through on the head to head.
So, my predictions for the quarterfinal matches (take them for what they are worth!):
South Africa vs. Wales
Australia vs. England
New Zealand vs. France
Agentina vs. Scotland