Wow I have survived the pool stages and we only have weekend rugby from now on. It really is the pointy end of the Rugby World Cup with only 8 games to go! I will be bringing you my predictions throughout the tournament and I will be competing with Rugby4Cast and RugbyVision. They are 2 sites that run algorithmic predictions and they are competing with me in my open SuperBru league.
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Watch the #RugbyChat show, every Tuesday night at 8pm (NZ time), where we will talk about the hot topics in rugby. Let’s be honest there’s nothing hotter than the Rugby World Cup at the moment.
As with Super Rugby I’ll be testing my predictions in DrivingMaul v the Bookie. Check out how much I won from the TAB in week 4.
England v Australia – England by 10
The last time that the Wallabies beat England was at the Rugby World Cup in 2015. Yup 4 years ago when they went all the way to the final. Since then they have lost 6 games on the trot.
The problem for Australia is that England are the worst possible matchup. Powerful pack, strong defence and good kicking game. You have to think that England’s plan will be simple. Get a lead and grind down the smaller (but maybe more mobile) pack. With Eddie though you never know, he’s such a good tournament coach.
New Zealand v Ireland – Ireland by 3
Oh dear I’m going out on a limb on this one. Ireland have beaten the All Blacks in 2 out of 3 games over this Rugby World Cup cycle. They have done it in a way that others haven’t as well by targeting the All Blacks best players.
Have the All Blacks been keeping somethings in the locker? Yes, this is what the last 4 years has all been about. The next 3 games are what the All Blacks have been building up for and we have seen that since the Tonga game (pre-Rugby World Cup) New Zealand have been looking like a Championship side. Before that there were jitters including a draw with the Springboks and losing to the Wallabies. But those games didn’t matter.
However Ireland are the 1 team that I feel might have the All Blacks ticket. We will see on Saturday, it will be a massive upset but it’s the one I’m backing in the quarter finals.
Wales v France – Wales by 10
“Which France will turn up?” is such a cliche but the answer is probably the one that loses to Wales on a regular basis over the last few years.
We have seen the game from France that can beat Wales, we saw it in the opening half against Argentina. The problem is that it was only a half. France don’t appear to have an 80 minute game in them. We have also had the typical off-pitch fun and games with the captain falling out with the coaches apparently. Player mutiny here we come….
The next few games are what Gatland has been building towards for the last 12 years. Wales do have key players missing through injury but Gatland has been all about the knockout stages at this Rugby World Cup. Well when he hasn’t been away with the Lions. But remember the Lions is all about 3 games too and he has been successful with them.
Japan v South Africa – South Africa by 10
I’m not sure if this is the best or the worst side for Japan to face? They know they can do it, they did 4 years ago. However revenge is a dish best served cold. We say that in Cardiff in 2015 where New Zealand ran rampant against France to avenge 2007.
I don’t think that you can read too much into the Rugby World Cup warm-up game. The Springboks deliberately kicked the ball to test their defence. Jamie Joseph will have kept a lot of things back in the locker. But they are going to have to change their tactics. Playing close like they did against Scotland will not work against the Springboks.
This is really going to be a contrast of styles as John and I discussed after the Japan v Scotland game. I just think that South Africa will be too powerful and motivated by that Brighton Miracle.
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