What did we learn about the WC warm-up games played thus far?

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Aug 31, 2019, 19:42

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.         


Aug 31, 2019, 20:03

The gap between Ireland, England and Wales is small. Three powerful NH sides that on their day can beat anyone. The Irish were their own worst enemy against England, committing ten errors in the first ten minutes alone. These can be corrected. 

The RC was harder to gauge. Australia were on their first test of experimentation against the Boks. They beat us in the air, and exposed our defence, which stood at 77%. The Aussies improved as the competition progressed and have their formula for the RWC. New Zealand thrashed Australia, yet weren't convincing elsewhere.

The away statistics for the SH sides is very interesting. New Zealand have won over 70% of their away tests in their last ten tests, South Africa are at 50% and Australia are at 28%. So, in spite of New Zealand's creaky showings, they are the best SH team on foreign soil. Something to think about going forward.  

Aug 31, 2019, 23:46

"We" have not learnt much. 

Actually, there has been much that could be learnt.

1.) The Boks are playing better than last year. Both defence and attack have improved. They are contenders, whereas this time last year they were not. Rassie has learnt who his best XV is, and also the bench, and fringe squad players. 

2.) The All Blacks have a few players that are either now too old or out of form. Their last Bledisloe match featured a few new players, that are in better form. They will enter the world cup with new combinations that may need more time to gel. They are contenders, but not certain favourites unlike like the last 12 years- or how the bookies would have seen them even 1 year ago.  

3) England appears to have gotten their form back from 2 years ago. Perhaps not as good yet, but like the Boks they seem like a team on the up. England must surely be the Northern Hemispheres best bet of winning the tournament, despite Wales being ranked as the top team in the world

4.) Ireland and Wales are topsy-turvey. Both should be better in the world cup, than current form suggests. They are both contenders, or at the very least a banana peal for the All Blacks, Boks or England.

Sep 01, 2019, 02:21

Wrong Muck.....Wales never lost to Ireland 'away'. They lost at home.

Sep 01, 2019, 08:03

Did the change - sorry about the mistake.  Thanks for your gentleman-like correction. 

Sep 01, 2019, 08:03

Did the change - sorry about the mistake.  Thanks for your gentleman-like correction. 

Still only the correction - nothing about the topic ??????????

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