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VULCANS PREDICT: THE 2019 RUGBY WORLD CUP part 2

Following some feedback from the predictions of resident Welsh man Dan Giles, some other Vulcans wanted to weigh in on what is going to happen over the next few weeks in the Rugby World Cup 2019. Mark Morgan tells us his opinions and a less celtic opinion piece.

The 2019 edition of the Rugby World Cup certainly has all the key ingredients to make this instalment not only one of the most unpredictable but also one of the best tournaments in the sports history. From being hosted by an emerging nation on the sports world stage, not to mention one of the most welcoming and enthusiastic around, to the fact that form and  slight falls from grace have teased us that maybe, just maybe, we can look past the mighty All Blacks! Here are a few things I think may happen during the coming weeks.

Pool A

Ireland – Enter the tournament with the tag of #1 in the rankings (for what merit that actually brings) but can’t see the Irish having a noticeable impact on proceeding when the medals are handed out this time around. If Sexton plays well maybe they’ll upset the odds but it’s an ask. They have been helped by the draw and they should deal with the group easily. I think they’ll be looking at a 100% record in their pool but they’ll run up against either the Kiwis or Springboks as their reward and can’t see them repeating their heroics of 2018. 

Prediction~  Quarters Key Man ~ Jonathon Sexton

Japan – First (probably not last) controversial call…..I have a sneaky suspicion the Blossoms could sneak 2nd in pool A! Home advantage obviously effects my thoughts on this, but Japan are a team that have only failed to reach the knock outs once in their time, Scotland don’t travel well to say the least, they only finished 2 points off Scotland last time around and the conditions are going to be difficult for people not used to playing in them. Once out of the pool their demise will be swift but it’ll be fun whilst it lasts!

Prediction ~  Quarters Key Man ~ Michael Leitch

Scotland – Battling France for the title of most unpredictable team out there nowadays, and that’s not a bad place to be in terms of their evolution. They have some of the most exciting backs in the Northern hemisphere but lack brute strength and know how when it boils down to getting over the line. More than capable of proving me wrong and ousting the hosts on their day, but I think for the before mentioned reasons it will just be too much of a task for them. I do hope that whatever they achieve this time round is not effected by a horrendous ref call like last time round; even the scots don’t deserve that!

Prediction ~ Group Key Man ~ Stuart Hogg

Samoa – Possible a sleeping giant of world rugby in one sense. If they could call on the players who ply their trade for other nations and actually get a body in place that will offer them support and not hindrance they could become competitive. Their sheer physicality will make playing them a nightmare and if they can control their discipline (unlikely) they could cause an upset just due to their brutality, but I wouldn’t bet on it, what I would put my money on is yellow and red cards to be plentiful with the new laws during their stay in Japan.

Prediction ~ Group

Russia – Shouldn’t be here…….nothing much more to add. Recently lost to a less than top quality Jersey team. Be interesting to see them and Samoa go at it!

Prediction ~ Group

Pool B

South Africa – Hardest group to call the winners of in my opinion. I also think the winners come from this pool! The Springbok really have come to the boil just at the right time, and when they get it right as a nation I think there is no one that can touch them, these guys are just bred for the game. The downside is that they are ahead of schedule and may be lacking in experience, but they have no weaknesses. The All Blacks have not been able to find a way to beat them in their last 2 meetings but will still be their biggest contenders, even if they lose to New Zealand in the pool and still see South Africa going all the way.

Prediction – Winner Key Man ~ De Klerk

New Zealand – Still the team to beat just due to their dominance of the last decade. Nobody would be surprised if they won it again, but there have been chinks and the rest of the teams have caught up with their game. One of their strengths in Barrett being the world class playmaker he is could also be one of their weaknesses, his goal kicking does not match the level of the rest of his game( he’s only human right!?). The finalists come from this pool for me, pool winners and runners up don’t come up against other title contenders until the semi’s and this ‘easier’ start to the tournament will see them fresh.

Prediction ~ Runner Up Key Man ~ Beauden Barrett

Italy – A nice and easy finish in 3rd place for Italy will come at the expense of 2 black eyes from their run ins with the two giants. They will see off the minnows but offer little more. Always bring a decent pack but are generally lacking when it comes to opening anyone up. Will need to ensure their kicking is top notch to survive and perform at this world cup.

Prediction ~ Group Key Man ~ Tommasso Allan

Canada – Once a team that threatened to be the next to enter the world stage as competitive, but much like the crystal maze, it’s just gone backwards since the 90’s!! Last to qualify and lost all warm up games but should beat Namibia.

Prediction ~ Group

Namibia – Will get beat heavily at this world cup, nothing much more to say. The distance between the top teams and the minnows is scary and something that in the coming decades needs to hopefully improve. My call for this pool with the All Blacks and Springbok mixing with the Canadians and Namibians, a triple figure win!

Prediction ~ Group

Pool C

England – The pool of death it’s been labelled……..supposedly……..I’d argue against this to a degree. Yeah if France turn up they are great, but will they!? And even if they’re great are they still good enough to beat this England team who although aren’t where they wanted to be at this stage when they targeted the world cup are a genuine threat to any teams hoping to win the trophy. Argentina poses a real threat. England’s strength is in their attack and their matches could be the most exciting and open to watch because of this, they should go for teams and have some of the best ball carriers around. They’ll be hoping to see their knack of imploding in games in the rear view mirror; if they put that behind them and keep the Vunipolas fit they have a shout at the business end.  Swing loooow…….

Prediction ~ Semis Key man ~ Johnny May

Argentina – I think the Pumas will finish 2nd in the pool but are tough to call. They have been on a downward slide this last year or so but there are signs that’s halting, and may also not be a true reflection, they have lost in the last year to New Zealand, South Africa and Australia and not by much. This shouldn’t be sniffed at! Their match with France will obviously be key but wouldn’t be overwhelmed if they caused a huge upset with England either. I don’t see them reaching the heights of 2015 again but I see them laying down a bit of a marker and proving they are still a team to be noted.

Prediction ~ Quarters Key Man ~  Set Pieces

France – A team on the way down for a long while now, could this be the year they turn it around. Forever touted as the mavericks of the game they are always dangerous but rarely dominate games. Even after previously stating I think the danger in this pool has been slightly over egged I’m sat here thinking how easily the French would enjoy nothing more than tripping up the English. The last time we decided France were a spent force and on their way out of the members club that is tier 1, they reached the final and arguably should have won it so let’s not get too carried away with how this is a straight race of nerve between the Red Rose and the Pumas, maybe the Cock will crow once more!!

Prediction ~ Group Key Man ~ Guilhem Guirado

Tonga – A less scary Samoa…but only just….they shouldn’t cause any real damage to the big 3 but they may leave a bloody nose or two along the way. The points that get put on Tonga could well effect what happens to the finish of this pool.

Prediction ~ Group

USA – A flashier version of Canada but much less liked! They’ll lose!

Prediction ~ Group

Pool D

Wales – Pool D is almost the forgotten pool, but contains a team with genuine hopes of achieving greatness in Wales. Wales grind out results and are more predictable now without Anscombe, but being solid is what wins world cups whether you like it or not. This is the last hurrah for a few of their squad and come into it with a good mix of experience. Australia are their only real threat depending which team turn up and the big debate is almost do they actually want to top this pool with some people thinking the runner up gets the better run. Best defence in the world.

Prediction ~ Semis Key Man ~ Jonathon Davies

Australia – Tough to predict…they come off the most horrendous run in their history losing 14 in 18, then beat the All Blacks, then get smashed to zip in the return game. This will be the true measure of whether the Wallabies have done their age old trick of not being good until it actually matters. They’ll be happy to beat the minnows of the group and come through to face England; they could also be a great place to put your money on a tier 2 beating a tier 1 if they revert back to being rubbish!

Prediction ~ Quarters Key Man ~ James O’Connor

Fiji The team everyone loves and wishes their team played a bit more like! If only they could transfer their success in 7’s into the 15’s we’d have something interesting to talk about. If Australia aren’t at it they could be the tier 2 to win money on.

Predictions ~ Group

Georgia – Possibly the next team to enter the world stage and follow in Argentina’s footsteps, will hope to build on that and have respectable results.

Prediction ~ Group

Uruguay ~ I don’t know much about them to be honest…I’m expecting a poor version of Argentina!?

Prediction ~ Group

 

Do you agree with Mark? Let us know on social media using #VulcansPredict