The Rugby World Cup in Japan has been going for a couple of weeks now and we have already seen some incredible matches, one giant upset and some of the more established sides struggling to assert themselves in the group. However, we have also seen some of the big boys cruise through their games so far and looking set for a place in the quarterfinals.
In this article, we are going to give you a quick recap on how things stand in each group, the key games remaining and who we see as qualifying from each group (two teams from each group quality), along with some of our tips for who to back to reach the quarterfinals and who should win the tournament outright.
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Let’s now take a look at how the group stage is going with a look at each of the four groups.
All teams have played three games, apart from those marked with an asterisk* who have played two.
- Japan – 14
- Ireland – 11
- Scotland* – 5
- Samoa – 5
- Russia – 0
- Scotland v Russia (Wed 9th October)
- Ireland v Samoa (Sat 12th October)
- Japan v Scotland (Sun 13th October)
There are essentially just two big group stage games left in the tournament, England v France on Saturday and then on Sunday Japan v Scotland. The Scots loss to Ireland in their opening game means that they now need to win both their last two games and while they will beat Russia, beating a Japan side who are unbeaten after a stunning win over Ireland, could be a tall order.
Despite that loss to Japan, the Irish should qualify with a win over Samoa and if they get a bonus point, as expected that would ensure that they finish second at least in the group. It would then all be on the outcome of the Japan v Scotland game to decide the other positions, a Japan win would send them through as top seed likely to face South Africa, a Japan defeat would see Ireland top the group and face South Africa and leave the Scots facing the All Blacks.
- New Zealand – 14
- South Africa – 10
- Italy – 10
- Canada* – 0
- Namibia – 0
- South Africa v Canada (Tue 8th October)
- New Zealand v Italy (Sat 12th October)
- Namibia v Canada (Sun 13th October)
There is an incredibly unlikely scenario where Italy beat New Zealand with a bonus point win and South Africa beat Canada with a bonus point to knock out the All Blacks, but I am willing to bet that this does not happen. South Africa will qualify by beating Canada and New Zealand will defeat Italy easily to win the group.
The two southern hemisphere teams will then go on to face the two teams that finish in the top two positions of Group A, which could well see Japan taking on South Africa while the New Zealanders could face most likely the Irish, or the Scots or the Japanese depending on how results go.
- England – 15
- France – 13
- Argentina – 6
- Tonga – 1
- USA* – 0
- Argentina v USA (Wed 9th October)
- England v France (Sat 12th October)
- USA v Tonga (Sun 13th October)
This group is all but decided with both England and France confirmed as having made it through into the knockout phase oe the tournament. England lead the way thanks to two bonus points which means they can win or draw against the French to finish top of the group and will likely face Australia in the quarterfinals.
If the French finish second, they’ll likely face the Welsh in what should be a very interesting encounter.
- Australia – 11
- Wales* – 9
- Fiji – 7
- Georgia – 5
- Uruguay – 4
- Wales v Fiji (Wed 9th October)
- Australia v Georgia (Friday 11th October)
- Wales v Uruguay (Sun 13th October)
This has been a group of shocks with Uruguay defeating Fiji and Wales getting the better of Australia which means that the Welsh are in pole position in this group and if they can beat Fiji and Uruguay in their last two games, they will finish top and likely avoid a quarterfinal against either England or France.
Australia will confirm a place in the next phase with a win over Georgia, but that loss to Wales leaves them facing a potentially difficult quarterfinal tie most likely against England, but it could also be France, should they beat the Three Lions on Saturday.
Who has looked strongest so far?
There’s no doubt the best quality game of the tournament so far was New Zealand’s win over South Africa and the All Blacks have been the team that have played the best and most consistent rugby, if anything cementing their place as the favourites to win the tournament again.
As for their main rivals, it looks like being England, Wales and South Africa for that honour. England are unbeaten and seem to be picking up a head of steam, the Welsh will be buoyed by their fine win over Australia (who beat New Zealand recently) while South Africa will want to gain revenge for that Group Stage loss in the knockout phase over the All Blacks.
For me though, you can’t really look past New Zealand to win this one and as they are still better than even money with bet365 at 11/10, I still feel this is a great value bet.