The SA Rugby magazine team identify what they would love to see come out of the final weekend of pool matches.
Jon Cardinelli (chief writer) wants Japan to top Pool A via a win versus Scotland.
After the disappointment of the England-France and New Zealand-Italy matches being called off due to typhoon Hagibis, I’d prefer to see Japan getting the chance to beat Scotland and topping Pool A after four wins.
While they’ve already proved that they belong at the top table, another win against a top-tier nation will serve as further evidence that the win against Ireland was no fluke.
Craig Lewis (editor) hopes to see a cracking game between Scotland and Japan on Sunday.
Although there has been some criticism over the predictability of most matches during the pool phase, there can be no complaints about just how festive and passionate the support has been at this World Cup.
So far, the Japanese people have made this a very special event, but unfortunately a weather phenomenon has put a real dampener on the final matches of the round-robin phase.
Already two games have been called off due to typhoon Hagibis, and it would be seriously disappointing if the highly anticipated clash between Scotland and Japan also has to be called off.
This is the headline fixture for this weekend, and was shaping up to be a thrilling battle. I’ll be praying to the weather gods that we can at least see a game take place, and the most deserving side booking their place in the playoffs.
Mariette Adams (staff writer) wants to see Gary Gold’s USA Eagles finish on a high.
With everything else that has been going on at this World Cup, the USA Eagles have been underperforming despite coming into the tournament with great expectation.
They’ve been consistent for the past two years, a period during which they picked up prize wins against Samoa and Scotland. But the Eagles have gone off the boil at the World Cup, suffering three heavy defeats in three games to date. Admittedly, those losses have come against tier-one nations England, France and Argentina, all of whom were expected to overcome the Eagles’ challenge.
But the USA’s performances in those games left much to be desired. They have leaked 19 tries and scored just four and conceded 125 points and scored just 33.
They play Tonga in their last pool game and with nothing at stake for either side, I hope – for coaches Gold and Jaque Fourie’s sake – the Eagles come out firing against the Pacific Islanders in order to secure their first win in the tournament to avoid finishing bottom of the pool.
Dylan Jack (staff writer) hopes Namibia cap their tournament with a win.
Namibia were competitive in their opener against Italy, but were simply outclassed against both the All Blacks and Springboks. In both games, Namibia’s backline play was enterprising, but their forwards were overpowered and could not provide the consistency of possession that they needed.
Despite this, Namibia have a real chance of getting their first-ever World Cup win when they face Canada in Kamaishi on Sunday. Canada have been very disappointing in this tournament. Their passiveness on defence will give Namibia an opportunity to find gaps and set their speedsters like Chad Plato loose.
A win would not only mean so much to Namibia as a rugby team, but also to the country itself, who have been glued to their TV sets over the last month.
John Goliath (senior contributor) hopes the weather doesn’t influence remaining pool matches.
It will be a real shame if the final group matches are abandoned because of typhoon Hagibis, especially the big clash between Scotland and Japan.
It’s the sort of match that grips both the home supporters and the neutrals. The match would be a nice appetizer ahead of the quarter-finals.
It will also give us an idea of how strong Japan really are following their shock win over Ireland. Both teams prefer to keep ball in hand, which would make for a nice change to what we have seen from the bigger teams so far in the tournament.
It would also be nice to see Namibia gun for their first-ever World Cup win. This is the match they have been targeting all along and they do deserve to get something out of this tournament.
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