RWC 2007 Predictions 1 – Pool D
Well, hopefully you have all joined a 2007 RWC pool by now because I am really anxious to take your money ☺. However, to be a fair sportsman, let me start my RWC predictions with a quick look at Pool D. I chose to look at Pool D first because the RWC opener is a Pool D match, and this pool has the potential for an upset like Pool C (Pools A and B look pretty predictable, but I digress).
Pool D consists of the following teams:
- France, 3rd place in the IRB World Rankings
- Ireland, 5th place
- Argentina, 6th place
- Georgia, 17th place
- Namibia, 25th place
Let’s start at the bottom. Namibia or ‘the Welwitschias’ is the only the second African nation to ever appear in the RWC after first qualifying for the 1999 competition. The team has never won a RWC match and suffered a 142-0 crushing vs. Australia in the 2003 RWC. Their efforts lately have been sporadic at best, and little doubt remains that they will be at the bottom of Pool D.
The next obvious victim in this pool is Georgia who have only played in one RWC (2003). Although praised at that time for some good play vs. South Africa, it is likely they only win they will get at RWC 2007 will be against Namibia on September 26.
This just leaves Les Bleus (France), Los Pumas (Argentina) and the Irish to square off for the top 2 positions and advance to the Quarter Finals. At home, the two best teams on the planet are France and New Zealand, so I have a hard time believing that Ireland or Argentina will upset the highest ranked team in Europe. Look for France to come out undefeated on top of the Pool.
Now, the barn burner… Ireland or Argentina. They square off as the last and deciding match of the pool. I know there are a lot of Irish fans around the world, but my money is on Argentina.
Historically, Los Pumas have been strong and they showed a lot of spirit in RWC 2003. They tool a bit of a nosedive about 18 months ago (slipping to 9th place) but have since regained their 6th place spot just behind 5th-ranked Ireland. ARG v IRE is always an exciting match with each team taking one win in past RWC clashes; Argentina in 1999, Ireland in 2003. But, after a triumphant defeat of an inexperienced English side at Twickenham in 2006, a European sweep in May/June of Ireland (2 wins in 2 Tests) and Italy this past spring and Scrumhalf Agustin Pichot returning to captain the team in his 4th RWC appearance, I think the South Americans are ready to explode and start their push towards a spot in the finals in Aukland in 2011. Viva La Revolucion!