South Africa’s 49 – 3 thrashing of Italy in a game with plenty of incidents, sets the scene for an exciting weekend of rugby. Although the Springboks went into the game as favourites, the sheer scale of the victory was enough for South Africa to regain their 4th placed position in the rankings and move above Wales for the 3rd time since the tournament began.
The ranking contest between these two nations is becoming the most hotly contested battle of the World Cup so far. Italy lost ranking score following their defeat, but they managed to hold onto their 12th place position for the time being.
This weekend is highlighted by the clash of the two first tier nations of England and Argentina in Pool C. The match is surrounded by some other juicy encounters as places in the quarter finals are up for grabs.
Saturday 5th October
Australia (ranked 6th) vs Uruguay (ranked 17th)
Australia’s World Cup has been slightly below par from a ranking point of view, but they still remain one of a group of favourites to win the competition. Uruguay’s surprise victory over Fiji, set up this match with the possibility for Uruguay to qualify for the quarter finals themselves, if they win this game and their following game against Wales. Uruguay’s 33-7 loss to Georgia hints that lightening might not strike twice in the same place, and this game against Australia will be a much bigger test than their first two games. That said, you can’t help but admire the application and determination Uruguay have brought to this World Cup.
(rank based victory predictions: Australia 94%, Uruguay 6%)
England (ranked 2nd) vs Argentina (ranked 9th)
Following comfortable victories over Tonga and USA in their first two encounters of the Rugby World Cup, England now face their first serious test in the form of fellow tier 1 nation Argentina. Argentina have performed respectably in this tournament so far, only narrowly losing to France and then comfortably defeating Tonga. These results added to their ranking score, but the fact remains that they will likely have to win this match if they want any hope of qualifying for the quarter finals. For England to be victorious, they will likely have to weather a do or die approach Argentina may bring to the game before they can take full advantage of their superior ranking strength.
(rank based victory predictions: England 80%, Argentina 20%)
Japan (ranked 11th) vs Samoa (ranked 14th)
The hosts Japan will be looking to follow up their surprise 19-12 defeat of Ireland with another victory. This time they are the favourites and they will be looking to avoid an upset. Samoa have been disappointing so far this tournament, with their rank score falling since the onset, although they remain quite capable of causing an upset in the most competitively balanced match of the weekend.
(rank based victory predictions: Japan 69%, Samoa 31%)
Sunday 6th October
New Zealand (ranked 1st) vs Namibia (ranked 20th)
This match sees the highest ranked nation of the World Cup (New Zealand) face the lowest ranked (Namibia). Unsurprisingly, the probability of Namibia winning is the lowest for any team in the any match in the World Cup. Since New Zealand are so heavily touted to win, they will need to make sure they do so in style. Namibia on the other hand, will be aiming to limit the score where possible to stand any hope of improving their ranking score.
(rank based victory predictions: New Zealand 99%, Namibia 1%)
France (ranked 8th) vs Tonga (ranked 16th)
After victories over Argentina and USA, France find themselves in a position where a victory may put them into the quarterfinals. France have not looked overly convincing in their performances so far, but their victory over USA was by a high enough margin to benefit their ranking score. They will be hoping for another comfortable margin of victory against a Tongan side searching to cause disruption and gain their first victory in the Pool.
(rank based victory predictions: France 89%, Tonga 11%)