Two teams will most certainly dominate the fourth and final pool at this year’s World Cup tournament. The Wallabies on the one hand have shown signs of being the dangerous team they usually are during these tournaments whilst the Welsh won the Six Nations tournament earlier this year and even topped the world rankings a couple of weeks ago. Fiji will provide some entertaining rugby and Georgia will be out to prove a point as a rising European rugby nation, whilst Uruguay are in for some tough days at the office.
Team analysis and predictions:
It has been a tough couple of seasons for coach Michael Cheika as Australia have in general, not lived up to the expectations usually associated with the men from down-under. Their recent victory over the All Blacks though, would have given them some much needed confidence going into this year’s competition. The Wallabies have been making a habit of peaking at the right time when it comes to World Cup years and this year is no exception.
The two-time winners have changed the dynamics of Pool D, which until recently would have undoubtedly been topped by Wales. The Wallabies are always tough to beat and will feature around the final stages of the competition again this year. Their match-up against Wales will be an epic battle and the Wallabies might fall short by the smallest of margins. They will go on to dispose of other Pool opposition, Fiji, Georgia and Uruguay with relative ease.
Six nations champions, Wales, go into this year’s tournament as favourites to top Pool D. This will ensure a somewhat easier path to a possible semi-final berth as they would avoid England in the quarter-finals. The Welsh have unfortunately in previous World Cups failed to capitalise on good form, balanced squads and favourable draws as the vulnerability of Northern Hemisphere nations has been evident in knockout phase performances for the Dragons. They will be focused on shaking off this problem this time around, but will face some very stiff competition from the Wallabies. The Welshmen should top Pool D at the conclusion of the group phases and would hope to carry some sort of momentum into the knockout phase. Fiji will also prove a difficult prospect and the Welsh will probably scrape past with a hardfought victory. Georgia and Uruguay on the other hand, should not pose to much of a threat for the men in red.
This year’s tournament should prove to be more of the same for Fiji as they try and outrun the rest of the pool. Their enterprising style of play, based on their success on the sevens scene, makes them a dangerous and opportunistic team who will relentlessly punish errors with a counter-attacking ability second to none.
That being said, the Fijians lack an all-round game strong enough to outplay the best in the world. Though they possess the ability to cause a major upset, it is highly unlikely that they would be able to do it on more than one occasion. Based on this, unless all the stars align on the given day, the Fijians will struggle to be competitive with Wales and Australia and with a Georgian team out to prove a point, will probably fall short to the Europeans as well. They should, however, turn out comfortable victors in their game against Uruguay.
Labelled as the next big thing in world rugby, Georgia have gradually built themselves up to be a respected team on the European circuit. Though the expectation is not for Georgia to reach the knockout phase of this year’s World Cup, they will be a team to watch in terms of their performances in the bigger games against Australia and Wales. Recent results against Scotland in terms of point difference is not a true reflection of what the Georgians are capable of as they possess a strong pack of forwards that should prove to be competitive in the set phases and at ruck time. They will eye Fiji and Uruguay as opportunities to register wins and will put on respectable performances against the Wallabies and Wales.
Uruguay enter this year’s World Cup facing an uphill battle to be competitive in their respective pool matches. The focus for the Uruguayans will be to keep the margins as low as possible against the two top tier teams and to upset the apple cart against their lower ranked opponents. A respectable showing in the Americas cup earlier this year saw them beat the likes of Canada and they will try and take some of that confidence into this year’s competition. They will have little to no resistance against top tier teams Australia and Wales and could face big margin losses against Fiji and Georgia if they are not at the top of their game.
Final Pool B Table Prediction:
Australia vs Wales 29 September 2019; Tokyo
Fiji vs Georgia 03 October 2019; Higashiosaka City
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