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Northern vs Southern hemisphere

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The most exciting Rugby World Cup group stages ever. The Pool phase was full of upsets, great tries and lots of controversy from the scheduling to the incompetence and different interpretations the referees are employing in the games. The role of the TMO has been frustrating and in most cases poor. How are the television officials missing incidents like that of Sean O’Brien and David Pocock’s? Talk of angles and retaliation being the chief defendant for both players. Had those incidents been spotted the outcome of their games could have been very different. Have to laud Japan who are unfortunate to have missed out on the quarter-finals, the thought, had the Japanese had an extra day or two to prepare after that Springbok game would easily have finished top of this group as they faced a fresh Scotland after they slayed the springbok in a high intensity match. The tier 2 sides manage to excite and have indeed closed the gap on the tier 1 nations. Hoping the World Rugby will work to continue to improve their level of rugby. 
The Quarter-finals are almost here and the match-ups are going to feature 7 out 8 teams we all pretty much expected. The big surprise will be the missing in action of hosts England who will be undergoing a review this week. My best wishes go out to Stuart Lancaster. Every clash is a battle between the northern hemisphere and their southern nemesis’. Who will come out on top? 

The Welsh would have been the side hoped for by Springbok supporters but recent clashes highlight it will be a tough game. Wales has one of the most impressive lock duo in the tournament, they also have breakdown prowess which could be a threat for their counterparts. South Africa will need to select a side which will be able to compete and with a fully fit squad will be interesting to see who the Springbok coach will opt for at hooker, tight head and number five lock. A clash of two back lines that are bulk, but lack creativity. This will be an arm-wrestle. 

France taking on New Zealand will be romantic. 2007 will be re-enacted and it will be even more fitting should Wayne Barnes be appointed the official for that match.France are in the exact same position. Poor, written off and absolutely headed for their second World Cup loss but can they prove the myth right? Can they do one over the All Blacks again? New Zealand have been out the blocks slowly but in glimpses shown some serious quality and also lots of uncharacteristic errors. Saturday Steve Hansen will need his charges to step it up or step out. A magician’s touch will decide this. 

Scotland are the least favorite to win this World Cup.They are facing the side that has been impressive during this pool stage. What will benefit Australia s they were in play off mode from game one and have shown a high level of commitment which has meant a 16/16 win record in the UK during the World Cups. Australia’s defining moment could be the valiant defense in the 7 minute cameo they were down to 13 men and held against Wales. Kane Douglas and Bernard Foley have been the unsung heroes in this squad for me. Left an impact on this World Cup.

Ireland have been placed as one of the World Cup favorites and they are surely showing this on the park. With an injury to O’Mahony, O’Connell and possibly Sexton their depth will be tested but the introduction of Ian Henderson, Dave Toner and Ian Madigan will make up for what they have lost. Brushed aside and forgotten are the Argentinians who have been playing flowing, fast and exciting rugby. Will they may be able to contain the brute excellence of this Irish side? They have the capable general in Nicolas Sanchez, a pack that can hunt and sprinkles of x-factor in their squad. Look no further than Santiago Cordero.

Will there be a two round mini Rugby Championship come semi-final time or will the Northern hemisphere sides show that the gap has indeed closed?

 

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How do the teams rank in terms of attack, defense, tackles and points scored? We have a look at them down there. 

Defensive:

 

Top teams on defense

Wallabies and Ireland conceded just 35 points each. The lowest in the group phases.

Wallabies, Wales and Ireland each conceded just two tries in their four games.

The defensive abilities of Wales and Australia more impressive considering such a difficult group.

South Africa are fifth on 56 points conceded.

 

Top tacklers

 

  1. Michael Leitch (JAP) 51
  2. Francesco Minto (ITA) 50
  3. Santiago Vilasenca (URU) 50
  4. Lodewyk de jager (SA) 50
  5. Torsten van Jaarsveld (NAM) 50

 

Tackle success (%)

 

  1. Ireland 91.6
  2. South Africa 90.6
  3. Scotland 89.4
  4. All Blacks 89.3
  5. France 88.1

 

NB- Australia (6) has a 87.8 % and Wales (8) 87 % success yet are among the best defensive sides in the World Cup. Ireland have shown their high levels of not just accuracy but commitment, organization and will be pleased to know Sean O’Brien will be clear to play against Argentina. Imagine he was a South African or an Islander?

 

Ruck success (%)

 

  1. Ireland 97
  2. Japan 97
  3. Argentina 97
  4. South Africa 97
  5. All Blacks, USA & Tonga 96

 

Attack

 

Carries:

 

Michael Leitch (JAP) 50

Schalk Burger (SA) 44

Sean O’Brien (IRE) 43

 

Defenders beaten :

 

Damian de Allende (SA) 18

Mike Brown (ENG) 17

Nemani Nadolo (FJI) & Nehe Milner-Skudder (NZ) 16

Top points scorers : 

Players

Greig Laidlaw 60

Ayumu Goromaru 58

Bernard Foley 56

Nicholas Sanchez 51

 

Teams:

Argentina 179

South Africa 176

New Zealand 174

Australia 141

Top Try scorers :

 

Bryan Habana (SA) 5

Julian Savea (NZ) 5

Nehe Milner-Skudder (NZ) 4

 

Turnovers :

 

David Pocock (AUS) 10

Leone Nakarawa (FJI) 9

Thierry Dusatoir (FRA) 8

 

Teams :

 

  1. Fiji – 41
  2. Wales – 38

3.Georgia – 36

 

South Africa 26 & New Zealand 27 & Australia 29

 

Lineout stolen :

 

Dean Mumm (AUS) 4

Geoff Parling (ENG) 3

Peter O’Mahony (IRE) 3

 

Lineout success (%)

 

  1. Ireland 98.2 – won 45
  2. South Africa 96.5- won 49
  3. Wales 95.6 – won 60
  4. All Blacks 94.6 – won 50
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4 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting. Its well known that Joe Schmidt leaves no stone unturned when it comes to technique coaching rucks, clean-outs and the likes. Good to see them top some other stats as well. They are bloody hard working team and are getting some just rewards.

  2. BC, as impressed as you are by the Wallabies, I wonder? The normally neutral Greg Growden describes them as “the most impressive team at RWC”. I am not so sure. Their continued flirting with actual and potential suspensions and cards is going to surely catch up with them at some time?

    Yes, introduction of two good Islander blood props in Scott Sio and Sekope Kepu and the Argentinian scrum doctor improved their scrumming against Fiji, England and Uruguay. Something was not right in that first 20 mins v Wales and other stronger scrumming sides like the Boks, AB’s and Argentinians will have taken notice as will they rate their chances in the lineouts where Aus were only at 78% success v Wales. As good as their defence might have been with 13 men having kept out the Welsh who seemed to lack creativity to get through them, they cannot win RWC without setpiece dominance, backed up by discipline. On that point, if something happens to the in-form Genia, that over-hyped Phipps will lose it for them and they will be wishing they had selected the more deserving Nick White at scrumhalf.

  3. Ireland plays Leprechauns with the physiques of Popeye.
    Were they a steak I’d definitely send it back.

    Wish they got a go at Puffy instead of the Argie-Darlings…..I will miss them & Maradona of course *good*

  4. @out wide: Agree discipline at 4 yellow cards at the moment is the biggest worry. Its not good enough and could haunt them. Phibbs is a loyalty pick and could lose them this thing. Will be interesting but their path allows them to survive at least until the potential Ire or Arg clash.

    @Americano: @Cheetah Glory: Joe is brilliant and Ireland are showing it. I do worry that Argies are written off already. Could they shock their counterparts? RWCs are never straight forward. We will see. I pick the Argies to push them all the way. SOB suspension could contribute.

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