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Thread: RWC 2023 Bold & Controversial Predictions

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    RWC 2023 Bold & Controversial Predictions

    So, admittedly as a reaction to being sick of reading all the armchair experts pontificating about the Wallabies, I thought this might be a good place to look at the wider RWC Tournament. Keep in mind that a RWC is unlike a regular season, it is a Tournament with consecutive matches against a wide ranging skill set of opposition.

    As per the heading, let's hear your bold and controversial predictions!

    I will throw in the following two (I am suffering a little de ja vu as to if this was going around about a year ago when I dropped in anonymously, apologies if it similar!)-

    1. The "best team in the World" may not make it beyond the Quarter Finals

    So, similar to the scenario around the Wallabies doing a Bradbury to make it to the Semi's or even Final, there is an argument around another All Blacks choke or Host demise. Hear me out.

    Pool A
    New Zealand and France open the Tournament with what should be a spectacular match, we all know the reasons why, it'll be like two bulls going at it. There will likely be a couple of casualties. However, from there both have relatively easy (in terms of results) fixtures against Italy, Namibia and Uruguay. They will, however, not be easy matches physically and quite likely injuries will occur in less structured and "big bodied" opposition. Inevitably the respective Coaches will have to make compromises around playing their stars after the opening match, balancing continuity with exposure. This is the true nature and variability of Tournament play. Additionally, what preparation benefit for the Finals comes from another +90-0 over Namibia, +40-5 over Uruguay or +25-9 over Italy? So, following the narrative, New Zealand and France reach the Quarter Finals in 3rd gear and a bit over confident and under done.

    Pool B
    Meanwhile, joint Pool favourites Ireland (Romania & Tonga) and South Africa (Scotland & Romania) get to warm up with hard but expected to win rounds. They will need to be fully focused and picking near full capacity Squads each match ahead of the major 3rd Round meeting. After their fixture Ireland finish with Scotland (a known and respected opponent) and South Africa v Tonga (as we all know a roughy but damn hard hitting and deserving of respect). Yes, as per Pool A, there could easily be injuries, however, both teams will be under no false allusions as to where the Tournament is at.

    Quarter Finals 4/2-
    You can choose your own Pool placings, but fairly comfortable that New Zealand or France will play Ireland or South Africa.
    Without rehashing the above argument, I would add that around about now the pressure of a Home RWC will be starting to mount on France, particularly if they did go down to NZ in Round 1. Whatever the combination of opponents, these will be two scintillating fixtures and the common school of thought would be one of the four would go on to win Bill. However, there will also be two high profile hopefuls that will exit. It is quite feasible that South Africa or Ireland could beat New Zealand at a neutral ground. It is quite feasible that France could implode under the pressure to perform.

    My tip-
    Ireland d New Zealand
    South Africa d France


    2. Wallabies "Bradbury MkII"

    Yes, there are many Australian fans in hysterics about the standard of the Wallabies at this point. It would be easy to go down that path, but to seriously suggest, under normal playing circumstances that the Wallabies can't at least reach the Quarter finals is pretty dumb. Yes, there are avenues for that to happen (injuries, Red Cards, rain), but it isn't the likely scenario in a World Cup environment.

    If you follow the progression of matches it is the ideal scenario given the short lead in for Coach Jones & the Squad.
    More than likely they will have a similar result this weekend in Dunedin, so be it. The Bledisloe is gone and there are bigger fish to fry.
    Likewise, a win against France in the friendly (is there ever such a thing?) would be desirable, but counts for little if the Squad is engaged with Eddies Plan.

    Round 1- v Georgia
    A great opening fixture with little fanfare against a hard hitting and respected opposition. I love Georgia for the traditional approaches they have to this great code, but there is no upset here. The only potential risk is of key injuries.

    Round 2- v Fiji
    A suitable step up in the progression against a largely known and well respected opposition. We know their style, their strengths and their weaknesses. It will be hard, it will be energy sapping and it will be an ideal winning preparation for Wales.

    Round 3- v Wales
    Clearly the Match of the Pool for the Wallabies and for Wales. A long term foe that are not at their finest in 2023. They will be better, as will all teams, in the RWC than leading in, but Australia should be Evens or better for the result. Wales will have faced a fresh Fiji (Round 1) and the junior Portugal (Round 2) in a mixed lead up to Round 3.

    Round 4- v Portugal
    Portugal are plucky bastards and awesome to watch. They believe they can be #1 and play with that confidence. Unfortunately the reality is that might be a decade or four away. Following Wales, regardless of result, the Wallabies get a live training environment to work out any glitches. I would expect this to be the 1st XV for the rest of the journey allowing for any injuries or exposed selections against Wales.

    For mine-
    Pool C
    1. Australia
    2. Wales (Though delighted if Fiji make it)

    Meanwhile, without the same level of description of fixtures, I'd say whoever wins the first match (England v Argentina) will win the Pool, with the loser going on to be second. I believe being the first match will ultimately favour England, so-
    Pool D
    1. England
    2. Argentina (A Tournament too soon for Japan)

    Quarter Final 1/3
    Following the script, we will see-
    QF1- Australia v Argentina
    QF3- England v Wales

    Given the aforementioned hysterics currently prevailing, I would rate this as a pass mark for the Wallabies.
    Not great, but beating many expectations.

    I believe from there we will see them progress.

    Who knows, there is a pathway for Australia to celebrate a second Bradbury.

    Dare to dream, dare to support!

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    Best of the Rest-

    I believe these will be the "cracking match" for each Pool from those who have no realistic chance of challenging in the Finals-

    Pool A Italy v Uruguay

    Pool B Tonga v Romania

    Pool C Fiji v Georgia

    Pool D Japan v Samoa

    The clash of styles from different Regions and rare contests makes them intriguing and "must watch" for me!

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    The pools cross between C and D in the quarter finals, but then the semi-finals reverse again. There is no collocation where we play England in a semi. Our semi cam only be against someone from Pool A or B (NZ, France, RSA, Ireland). On the basis of recent form, we should top our pool and we should beat Argentina in a quarter (we can't get shitter, can we?). That likely has us come up against Ireland. Given their history of choking, it could be France or NZ instead. One advantage we have is that teams often perform poorly at World Cups following epic wins (think France 2007, England 2019, Argentina 2015). Our side of the draw benefits from some epic quarters on the other side. Kitchen sinks will be thrown.

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    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
    The pools cross between C and D in the quarter finals, but then the semi-finals reverse again. There is no collocation where we play England in a semi. Our semi cam only be against someone from Pool A or B (NZ, France, RSA, Ireland). On the basis of recent form, we should top our pool and we should beat Argentina in a quarter (we can't get shitter, can we?). That likely has us come up against Ireland. Given their history of choking, it could be France or NZ instead. One advantage we have is that teams often perform poorly at World Cups following epic wins (think France 2007, England 2019, Argentina 2015). Our side of the draw benefits from some epic quarters on the other side. Kitchen sinks will be thrown.
    Well... I'll need to revisit some of that then haha!
    A total misread on the numbering of the QFs... maybe I do need those specs. Will stand by what's written up to that point though.

    Updated- Having had my day off for the month, unfortunately I don't have time for a re-write but have edited sufficiently to carry the point...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    So, admittedly as a reaction to being sick of reading all the armchair experts pontificating about the Wallabies...
    For clarification, I was referring to social media and comments in online articles, not TWF...

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    Ireland have never made a World Cup semi final and my prediction is that will continue.

    I would love to see them and France get through though

    As for a couple of upsets, Fiji will beat wales and Japan will draw with Argentina

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    I'd like us to play one good game against one good team. We lacked that in 2019 and we're consistently shithouse.

    We had three in 2015 (England, Wales, Argentina).

    One good game against one good team would see us in the semis. I remember how many players we lost early in the 2015- make the finals and who knows what might happen.

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    Bold prediction, we'll have a completely different Front Row to what we want.

    I reckon the press has cruelled New Zealand's chances as well. In recent history the All Blacks have been the best team at "tapering" into the World Cup, making sure that they're at peak at exactly the right moment. This year they're throwing everything at every match because Fossie is under so much pressure. Look for them to return to their choking ways.

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    C'mon the

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