RWC 2015: Pool A preview

2015-09-15 15:42
Stuart Lancaster (Gallo)

Cape Town - Pool A is the obvious group of death at RWC 2015. Hosts England are in the unenviable position of being grouped alongside two-time champions Australia and northern hemisphere rivals Wales. Fiji are the other side in the pool capable of causing an upset, but considering the strength of their opponents it is almost impossible to see the islanders progressing to the quarter-finals.



World ranking – 2

Best WC – Winners (1991, 1999)

The Wallabies have experienced a resurgence under coach Michael Cheika, who has been in charge for just 9 Test matches. But this year’s win over the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship will have given them a massive lift ahead of the tournament. The Wallabies have struggled since the 2011 showpiece, but timing is everything when it comes to World Cups and there is a real feeling that they could go the distance this year.


World ranking – 4

Best WC – Winners (2003)

The pressure of being the host nation will probably do England more good than bad. They are a side that tends to turn up at World Cups, yet their form in the build-up to the tournament has hardly been that of a champion side. The jury is still very much out on coach Stuart Lancaster, who has been vocal on his belief in this team’s ability to be crowned world champions.


World ranking – 5

Best WC – 3rd (1987)

It is quite unfathomable that three of the world’s top five ranked sides find themselves in the same pool, but that is the reality that is hurting Wales’ World Cup chances. Their only loss at this year’s Six Nations was at home to England, and it is that fixture at Twickenham on September 26 that has the potential to make or break their tournament. They may not be favoured, but the Welsh have more than enough reason to believe. The loss of Leigh Halfpenny could prove crucial.


World ranking – 9

Best WC – QFs (1987, 2007)

Always considered a side with the potential to cause an upset, this group will probably be a bridge too far for Fiji. That said, they will be eyeing the tournament opener against England on Friday night knowing that they have absolutely nothing to lose.


World ranking – 19

Best WC – Pool stages (1999, 2003)

The South Americans make their first appearance at the tournament for 12 years. That will have to be considered a success by itself, because they are likely to lose all of their matches in 2015. They will look at the Fiji match as their best chance of going home with a win.

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