QUARTER QUALIFICATION

With just five days remaining before the group stage ends, it’s worth looking ahead to what the probable quarter final match-ups will be.

Pool A is definitely the most interesting of the groups. Assuming Ireland defeat Samoa, they are guaranteed qualification. Whether that be in first or second place depends on if Scotland beat Japan in their final match.

In order to advance themselves, Scotland need to pull off a minor miracle by first securing a bonus point win against Russia, then four days later defeat Japan either by more than seven points or whilst scoring four tries or more. If the bonus point is not secured against Russia, they would have to do both of the above.

Japan will top the group with a win, but finish second with a narrow defeat to Scotland. With a partisan crowd and tired Scottish legs, I predict a Japan win, meaning the group will finish with Japan in first and Ireland second.

Pool B is far more straightforward. Considering the minimal resistance put up by Italy against South Africa, it is hard to see them getting anything from their game against the All Blacks. That would leave New Zealand first and South Africa second.

In Pool C, England and France are already both guaranteed a place in the last eight, and the winner of their game on the weekend will determine who is first and who second. England have barely broken sweat so far, whereas France have been pushed close twice by Tonga and Argentina. An England win looks probable.

In Pool D, Fiji have a chance to throw a spanner in the Wales’ works today, but if they fail to do so Wales are looking likely pool winners. Even if Fiji do pull off a shock, they would be unlikely to qualify due to their loss against Uruguay. Wales would have to lose to Uruguay and/or Australia would have to lose to Georgia to let them back into the picture. Therefore, I’m going with Wales first and Australia second.

If those are the results, the quarter finals would be:

Saturday
England vs Australia
New Zealand vs Ireland

Sunday
Wales vs France
Japan vs South Africa

Tasty.

Yesterday’s Match
South Africa 66-7 Canada (Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe)

Today’s Matches
Argentina vs USA (1345 JST) (Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Kumagaya)
Scotland vs Russia (1615 JST) (Shizuoka Ecopa Stadium, Shizuoka)
Wales vs Fiji (1845 JST) (Oita Stadium, Oita)

Expression of the day
先の事など誰にも予想できない ? (saki no koto nado dare ni mo yosou dekinai)
Which means…
(You can never tell what will happen.)

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