by Alain Chivilò
Exciting, balanced, tough first phase of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. Confirmed but also unexpected outcomes and performances. The Nations have prepared themselves as best they can for a very long Championship, because the sport of Rugby requires its time between one match and the next.
Four Pools – A, B, C, D, with at least three teams (four in D) still likely to progress to the final knockout phase.
Special deliveries were exchanged among the various teams. France, the home nation and South Africa have already demonstrated their worth in the game but, there are 24 days left until the final. Wales, England, Ireland and New Zealand are taking part as main actors to. The prediction already in the group phase cannot afford to exclude any national team, until the match is actually played on the field.
One day before the latest sporting and competitive battles, only England and Wales have already qualified for the Quarter Finals. For the others, one more game.
As special delivery, let’s see the state of Rugby one day before the first of eight (Data and Source by Rugby WC 2023) considering the automatic qualification for the 2027 edition of the World Cup.
Pool A: Namibia out of quarter-finals and automatic qualification to Rugby World Cup 2027. France already in RWC 2027. The places for the quarter-finals and 2027 are still open.
Opening a special mention to Italy, the performance in the previous matches had almost made think about a qualification through a victory against New Zealand, a team that had not presented itself at the best in the debut against France, recalling the last match of the pool vs the hosts. The previous victories gave play and determination to the Azzurri, leading the group for several days. Against the All Blacks, in a match full of tries, Italy dissolved almost immediately, unable to counter the Blacks on a physical and tactical level. France now remains in an impossible prediction, underlining different and opposing qualities between the two teams. It seems like the last one-way matchup but, everything could be possible between Cousins.
France will top Pool A if they avoid defeat against Italy.
Two losing bonus points would also be enough for France to top Pool A providing Italy do not get a try-bonus point in victory (15 points to 14). France will finish ahead of New Zealand on the head-to-head rule if both end up on 15 points.
A bonus-point win for New Zealand will secure qualification for the quarter-finals. Even if France, Italy and New Zealand all finish on 15 points, the All Blacks have the better points difference (+133 to France’s +125 and Italy -14). Italy would then qualify in second ahead of France on the head-to-head rule.
Uruguay must beat New Zealand with a try-bonus point, and by at least 80 points, and will need France to defeat Italy in order to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Uruguay must beat New Zealand with a try-bonus point, prevent the All Blacks from taking any bonus point and hope Italy get something out of their game with France to finish third on the head-to-head rule with New Zealand to secure qualification for RWC 2027.
A point will confirm Italy’s qualification for RWC 2027.
Pool B: Tonga and Romania out from the quarter-finals and automatic 2027. Automaticly to next World Cup South Africa, Scotland and Ireland. The road to the quarter-final are to be decided.
Scotland must beat Ireland and deny the Irish a bonus point to finish second on the head-to-head rule with South Africa topping the pool.
If Ireland get a bonus point and Scotland do not, Ireland will top the pool on the head-to-head rule from South Africa.
A Scotland bonus-point win without Ireland getting anything from the game will see them qualify in second place behind South Africa. The Springboks would finish top on the head-to-head rule.
If Scotland win and both teams get a bonus point, then they join South Africa on 15 points and points difference will determine top spot in Pool B.
Scotland must win by 21 points or more to claim top spot ahead of South Africa (South Africa +117, Ireland +122 and Scotland +97). Ireland would then qualify as runners-up on the head-to-head rule, having beaten South Africa. If Scotland do not win by such a margin, then South Africa will finish top on points difference and Scotland second on the head-to-head rule.
Ireland will guarantee top spot if they secure two points from their match against Scotland.
Pool C: Georgia and Portugal out from the quarter-finals and Rugby World Cup 2027. Instead Wales, Australia and Fiji are in 2027. Wales in the quarter-finals so one place between Australia and Fiji.
Wales need one point against Georgia to guarantee top spot in Pool C.
Fiji need one point against Portugal to confirm second place on the head-to-head rule having already beaten Australia.
If Fiji get nothing from the match, Australia will qualify for the quarter-finals as runners-up.
Pool D: Chile out from 2027 and quarter-final. England already in the 2027 edition, meanwhile Argentina, Japan and Samoa will play for the automatic qualification. England is in the Quarter-Finals.
Winner of Japan v Argentina will qualify for quarter-finals as runner-up.
A draw could be enough to secure second place for Japan or Argentina, depending on whether one or both secure a try-bonus point and Samoa’s result against England.
If both get try-scoring bonus points in a draw, Argentina will finish second on points difference (+46 to +18).
If the match ends in a draw, Japan must be the only team to get a try-scoring bonus point to finish second.
If neither get a bonus point in the draw, Samoa must beat England by 29 points and get a try-bonus point to have the best points difference of the three teams to finish second (+47). Argentina would then finish third on points difference from Japan to qualify for RWC 2027.
There is a lot to decide and check. If you want, you can still get passionate about the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
©AC, NDSL, AM, Alain Chivilo