In typical British style, we will mostly be talking about the weather today!!
With the typhoon set to land near Yokohama this weekend, Rugby World Cup organisers have cancelled both the Pool C clash – England vs France & the Pool B match – New Zealand vs Italy. Ireland vs Samoa is scheduled to go ahead on Saturday safely South West of the typhoon’s path. Which, (if any), of Sunday games go ahead will need to be reviewed on Sunday morning, after the damage from the typhoon has been assessed.
Saturday’s games and non- games
New Zealand (ranked 1st) vs Italy (ranked 12th)
Pool B on the other hand, could have offered an upset were the game to go ahead. Mathematically, if Italy managed to beat New Zealand, score 4 tries for the bonus point and hold a greater than 7 point difference, they would have taken the five points and knocked New Zealand out of the cup.
Whilst we will never know if Italy were going to produce some magic, based on our rankings this isn’t a likely outcome of this match, as we had them at only a 6% chance of coming out on top, let alone, by such a convincing margin. New Zealand have been firmly top of the rankings throughout the tournament, with Italy languishing in 12th.
(would be ranking based outcome prediction: New Zealand 94%, Italy 6%)
England (ranked 2nd) vs France (ranked 8th)
Pool C was already decided in terms of who would go through to the quarter finals, but the cancellation leaves a lot of fans disappointed and making alternative plans for their weekend entertainment, not least me who now has to do the local park run! The only aspect that wasn’t certain was who would top the Pool.
Our rankings placed England in 2nd position and France in 8th, meaning that whilst we expected a tough game, we would have predicted a 75% chance of England coming out on top. That would leave them top of the table to take on Australia or Wales in the quarterfinals. Wales currently top pool D, and the remaining games look set to be wins for both the leaders, so we expect England to face Australia in the next round.
(would be ranking based outcome prediction: England 75%, France 25%)
Ireland (ranked 3rd) vs Samoa (ranked 13th)
This match has avoided the typhoon and will go ahead tomorrow as planned. Both teams are expected to be strong in this final pool match but the rankings have Ireland significantly ahead of Samoa. Ireland need to win this match and score 4 tries to ensure their place in the quarter finals. We have them heavily touted as favourites to win the match, but whether they can do so by such a large margin remains an unknown. Another current unknown is whether Japan will face Scotland in another Pool decider on the following day, but regardless, this game serves as an intriguing prospect in the climax of Pool A.
(ranking based victory prediction: Ireland 93%, Samoa 7%)
Sunday’s Possible Games
Namibia (ranked 20th) vs Canada (ranked 18th)
Namibia are no strangers to competing in the World Cup, but to date have not won a single match. They are looking to upset Canada and take the win on this occasion. Canada are favourites, but Namibia have definitely showed heart in this tournament, which could make this an intriguing encounter between two of the lowest ranked nations in the tournament.
(ranking based victory prediction: Namibia 33%, Canada 67%)
USA (ranked 14th) vs Tonga (ranked 16th)
Both teams have lost each of their pool matches, but Tonga will take some comfort as well as a losing bonus point by taking France to the wire. USA’s world cup has not gone to plan so far with higher than expected losses against all their group C opponents. USA will be looking to redeem themselves somewhat with a victory over Tonga and they go into this match as favourites, but only by the slimmest of margins.
(ranking based victory prediction: USA 52%, Tonga 48%)
Wales (ranked 4th) vs Uruguay (ranked 17th)
Wales may well need a victory to seal the 1st place in Pool D and they will be hoping they get the chance to do so. Wales are heavy favourites to win this match and they will be looking to achieve exactly that to set-up a quarter final with France and hold onto their 4th place in the rankings.
(ranking based victory prediction: Wales 95%, Uruguay 5%)
Japan (ranked 11th) vs Scotland (ranked 7th)
With this game currently hanging in the balance, this is definitely one that players and fans alike do not want to be cancelled. Scotland are currently 3rd in Pool A and a healthy win against Japan would take them through to the quarter final.
The rankings predict that in theory, Scotland should have the edge over Japan in this game, that, along with the need for a win to avoid going home should bolster their determination. Japan on the other hand have proved strong throughout the tournament, providing some upset to Ireland along the way. The benefit of being host nation would also give the team a boost.
This looks set to be one of greatest deciders of the tournament, so we are hopeful it will go ahead safely. Typhoon Haggis, as the Scots have renamed it, could be the biggest upset of the whole tournament, given that Scotland could go out of the tournament on the back of a scoreless draw.
Scotland to win based on the rankings although will this be by a big enough margin to allow them to progress to the quarter finals or will Japan with perhaps help from its harsh environment have other plans?
(ranking based outcome prediction: Japan 27%, Scotland 73%)