Dan Carter (Getty)
Cape Town - Pool C at RWC 2015 looks pretty clear-cut in terms of who
will progress to the quarter-finals. Defending champions and tournament
favourites New Zealand will have their only real test in the group stages when
they meet Argentina on Sunday. Tonga, Georgia and Namibia are the other sides
in the pool, but it is hard to see them causing any upsets.
RWC 2015: Pool A preview
RWC 2015: Pool B preview
RWC 2015: Fixtures
World ranking – 1
Best WC – Winners (1987, 2011)
The All Blacks are the obvious and overwhelming favourites to
win the pool and are also expected to go the distance in the tournament. They
are losing a number of key players at the end of the competition, and that
group will be more motivated than ever to end their international careers on a
high. If the All Blacks win their group, as expected, a quarter-final against
either Ireland or France awaits … which could be a banana peel game.
World ranking – 8
Best WC – 3rd (2007)
The Pumas have a good draw. Even if they lose to the All
Blacks in their first game, they should move through the remainder of their matches
unscathed and secure second place in the group. They will be boosted by their
showing in the Rugby Championship this year after they comprehensively outplayed
the Springboks in Durban, and will approach their match against the All Blacks
knowing that they have the capability to cause an upset.
World ranking – 11
Best WC –Pool stages (1987, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011)
The islanders have only missed one World Cup, but have never
progressed out of the group stages. They will be eyeing their clash against
Argentina in Leicester on October 4 as a way of making that happen. A win there
would more than likely be enough to secure a historic quarter-final appearance,
presuming they get past Namibia and Georgia.
World ranking – 16
Best WC – Pool stages (2003, 2007, 2011)
In their fourth straight showing at the tournament, Georgia
are unlikely to ruffle any feathers. They are simply surrounded by too much
quality to realistically contend for a place in the playoffs. The match against
Namibia will be considered a must-win, and they will fancy their chances
against Tonga too. Two wins would make this their most successful World Cup
World ranking – 20
Best WC – Pool stages (1999, 2003, 2007, 2011)
The Africans have finished bottom of their pool in all four
of their previous World Cups and have lost all 15 matches along the way. So a
World Cup win in 2015 would surely be considered a step in the right direction.
Their clash against Georgia on October 7 will probably be their best shot.