After getting all but one prediction right about the boring Cricket world cup earlier this year, there is some pressure on me to get things right about the Rugby World Cup. But, unlike easily predictable Cricket, Rugby is more variable and hence earns the title ‘exciting’. So, these predictions are going to be somewhat unreliable.
There’s not much doubt about pools A & C. The mighty blackness, France, Wallabies and Ireland will go through to the elimination stage from these two pools. The Saffers will take the top spot in Pool D, but there is some contention for the second spot between Wales and Samoa. Do the Samoans have enough to upset Wales? I’m gonna say no.
Now, pool B is wide open with 3 contenders: England, Scotland and Argentina. On paper, these teams are currently ranked by the IRB at 5, 7 and 9 respectively. I bring this up because the Scots were ranked 9 while the Argentinian Pumas were a spot above just 4 months ago. Moreover, the tussle between the Poms and the Pumas (13-9) showed that there is very little to choose between these teams. I’m going to bet on the Pumas to get the better of the Scots.
So, the quarter finals will be: Aus v Wales, Eng v Fra, SA v Ire and NZ v Arg.
The Wallabies, French, Springboks and All Blacks will go through to the next stage.
The grand final will see number 1 and 2 ranked teams face off at Eden Park: Wallabies vs. All Blacks. As the preview showed us, the All Blacks will bring home the Webb Ellis cup.
On a not-so-unrelated note, I will tweeting match updates and thoughts throughout the tourney (allowing for work commitments, baby duties etc.). You can follow them here: http://twitter.com/#!/mithpiya and/or look out for the hash tag: #RWC2011