If anybody forecast the World Cup then the question as to what indicators there are of the team strength stemming from the warm up games.
* The major European team showed remarkable strength in games against Italy - but nobody really think that Irtaly is a major contender to won the WC - so nothing can be learned from those games.
* Scotland lost badly against France in Nice and then went on to beat France in Edinburgh in a narrow win.
* Wales lost against England at Twickenham, then beat England at home and then lost against Ireland at home
* England's situation has been mentioned as to the Wales matches - but they wiped the floor with the Irish
* Ireland lost the match badly against England - but managed to beat Wales today.
* France - already mentioned,
Wales for the week was the no 1 Nation in World Rugby, but lost the plot against the Irish - so they will drop down the rankings again -I believe.
In respect of the SH teams the position is quite clear stemming from the RC and the warm-up games. In the RC the situation was as follows:-
* South Africa is the Champions this year - with two big wins against Australia and Argentina and a draw against the All Blacks
* New Zealand lost against Australia, beat Argentina and drew against South Africa ending up third on the RC log.
* Australia beat Argentina and New Zealand, but lost badly against SA.
* Argentina showed some fighting spirit against Australia and New Zealand.
In what can be regarded as warm-up games New Zealand thrashed Australia in the Bledislow Cup Match, and even though SA played some players not even in the WC squad - ended up winning the game against Argentina,So what have we learnt from the above? I believe nothing much I am afraid:-
* Even though England lost the away game against Wales, I think that England is the strongest European nation.
Wales and Ireland lacked consistency and there is nothing much shown on their warm-up games.
* France - still depends on which French team turned up to play.
South Africa and New Zealand seem to be real contenders I the ace to win the WC.
We will see on Friday what the Springboks do against the Japan warm-up game, Hope there is not another Ja[an disaster awaiting them like happened in 2015.