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First round exit for Ireland not really an upset

Tue, Jul 31, 2007, Posted by   print

2007 World Cup, Test Rugby

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!

Pool D analysis, 2007 RWC

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20 Responses to “First round exit for Ireland not really an upset”

  1. Kevin F says:

    Argentina over Ireland? You must be a Canadian. Ireland over france is more like it.

  2. Shags says:

    Although Argentina beat Ireland in two test matches recently, I am still going with Ireland. In fact, I think they may have a good shot at being the winners of Pool D. Looking at the schedule and if Ireland does not under estimate its first two opponents, Ireland can build momentum up toward their match with France and then with Argentina.

    All teams in this bracket have to be focused on winning the pool because 2nd place will more than likely have the fortune of playing the All Blacks in the Quarter Finals. These will be “must watch matches” in the qualifying rounds.

  3. Yue-Houng says:

    France vs. Argentina since the 1999 world cup:

    Date Home Away
    Saturday 15th June 2002 Arg 28 Fra 27
    Saturday 14th June 2003 Arg 10 Fra 6
    Friday 20th June 2003 Arg 33 Fra 32
    Saturday 20th November 2004 Fra 14 Arg 24
    Saturday 25th November 2006 Fra 27 Arg 26

    Argentina is 4-1 against France in the past 5 years and 1-1 in France. To dismiss the possibility of France losing in the round robin stages is quite possibly foolish. It is noteworthy, however, that Ireland is only 5-4 against Argentina and haven’t beaten the French since 2001, so maybe you’re right. Ultimately, though, no matter how the pool turns out, I wouldn’t be surprised.

  4. Vic says:

    Well, I never said my story wasn’t foolish… :)

    But there is a perfect storm brewing for ARG, can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.

  5. Josh says:

    First off Vic, proof read your dribble before you post it (paragraph #5).

    All of the past matches between Ireland, France and Argentina are all good and fine, but as they say in other pro sports, the playoffs or in this case the World Cup, are anyones game. What really makes a difference is experience, which that advantage goes to France and Ireland. Look at the schedule of games for Pool D. Ireland gets to warm up against Georgia and Namibia before playing France while Argentina has to open against France, in France at the ceremonial opener.

    Let’s not forget the last minute defeat Ireland suffered against France in the last 6 Nations. My money’s on Ireland, they’ve been playing better than ever and they have the best backline in the world and the best back in the world (no Vic, it’s not Mortlock).

  6. Vic says:

    C’mon Josh, Doug Howlett is a better back than Brian O’Driscoll, or were u talking about Peter Stringer?

  7. Yue-Houng says:

    doug howlett? are you kidding me?

  8. Vic says:

    well, kidding Josh…he’s such a Brian O’Driscoll fan-boy, it makes u wonder ;)

  9. Josh says:

    For real, Doug Howlett!!?? I was talking about O’Driscoll of course then man who gets the ball to Stringer and my knight in green shinning armor.

  10. bob aka 'Einhorn's a Man!' says:

    you guys have too much time on your hands.

  11. Josh says:

    Suck it Vic, Ireland’s got Malcolm O’Kelly back now playing second row! Argentina’s going down!

  12. DC says:

    its just the tired old line that most people are throwing out, as if its some kind of magical prediction, yes argentina could trouble anyone on a good day big wow,
    when ireland played in argentina it was an entire( meaning not one single first XV PLAYER) team composed of some has beens given a last chance, some decent second string/3rd string players it has no baring what so ever on the RWC match
    ireland for me have more world class players over either france or argentina and if they preform to their potential then the sky is the limit, but if they dont they will go out so over to you lads

    eueriio abú

  13. Vic says:

    Ireland loses to Scotland (August 11 at Murrayfield) adds pressure to the ‘favorite’ Pool D runners-up (Ireland). Man that pool is going to be interesting.

  14. Nibber Jammies says:

    Argentina over Ireland?…….Why not just go for Namibia to win it all? As for world rankings, take footy (the real version) as an example. The USA is only 2 places below England. Any England under-12 girls team could take the best that the colonials have to offer. Don’t read too much into rankings. Argentinian perfect storm indeed……

  15. Vic says:

    Well, if you mean that England suck at ‘footie’, I guess you won’t hear an argument from me ;)

  16. Alan says:

    I guess you are due some mea culpas (mea culpae?) from a number of your commenters.

    A small correction regarding Namibia, which is the FOURTH African country to play in the Rugby World Cup. The following African teams have played in the RWC finals (in order):

    Zimbabwe (’87, ’91)
    South Africa (’95 ->)*
    Ivory Coast (’95)
    Namibia (’99 ->)

    *South Africa played the opening match of 1995, so they come before Ivory Coast by a few days.

  17. Vic says:

    Ahhh yes, I wasn’t including RSA as African, quite dumb of me. :)

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