RWC 2015: Pool D preview

2015-09-18 11:39
Frederic Michalak (Getty)

Pool D is an intriguing one, with half of the Six Nations contenders grouped together in the form of Ireland, France and Italy.

RWC 2015: Pool A preview

RWC 2015: Pool B preview

RWC 2015: Pool C preview

RWC 2015: Fixtures

IRELAND

World ranking – 6

Best WC – QFs (1987, 1991, 1995, 2003, 2011)

Remarkably, Ireland have appeared in five World Cup quarter-finals without ever progressing to the last four. They should have no trouble moving into to the knockouts in 2015, where a date with either New Zealand or Argentina is most likely. The Irish are considered the tournament’s dark horses by many. Could this be their year?

FRANCE

World ranking – 7

Best WC – Runners-up (1987, 1999, 2011)

The French are always a factor at Rugby World Cups, and if they finish second in their group then a tasty quarter-final against the All Blacks is on the cards. Their form over the last year has not been anywhere near title-contending standards, but they will take heart from wins over England and Scotland in their last two internationals.

ITALY

World ranking – 14

Best WC – Pool stages (1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011)

Is this the year that the Italians can finally get out of the pool stages? Their lowly world ranking - which puts them behind the likes of Tonga, Samoa and Japan – suggests not. They will have to beat either Ireland or France to progress and shouldn’t have any problems getting past Canada and Romania.

CANADA

World ranking – 18

Best WC – QFs (1991)

When South Africans think of Canada at the Rugby World Cup images of James Dalton come to mind. Back then Canada were actually considered a combative force in world rugby, and they proved that by making it to the quarter-finals in 1991. But they have struggled to build on that momentum since then. They will back themselves against Italy, but will struggle to challenge France and Ireland.

ROMANIA

World ranking – 17

Best WC – Pool stages (1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011)

Romania have been ever-present at the tournament, and have actually won a few matches along the way. But they are yet to move past out of group stages, and will not threaten to do so in 2015. 

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