Three games. Three should be big victories. Argentina should have far too much talent for Tonga to contend with. Ireland should beat Japan with relative ease. And the Springboks have made a host of changes as they should absolutely put Nambia to the sword. The Pumas desperately need a win to stay within a chance of advancing past the group stages of the World Cup. And what better side for them to come up against then the one that was just whooped by 33 points and scored only a solitary penalty goal. Ireland just smashed Scotland and are raring up for another big, big performance. And South Africa have made 13 changes to their side that narrowly lost to the All Blacks. But giving rest to their troops is crucial and no matter what they should put a cricket like score on Nambia. Three sides will go home very, very disappointed from these matches. Whilst the other three will be simply frothing at the mouth with what awaits them.
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Argentina vs Tonga
Venue: Hanazono Rugby Stadium | Start: 2:45PM (AEST)
Argentina’s opening game of the World Cup was a tightly contested 23-21 defeat to France. Again a game in which the Argentine’s couldn’t quite over come a top tier nation. The Pumas had just the two tries, but defensively they kept the French to only two as well. And Argentina were killer with the ball as they had 58% possession throughout the match. And they won nine turnovers and 13 lineouts as well. And they gave away only five penalty’s. France gave away 15. This was an unlucky effort for the Pumas not to win with. Of the field for the Pumas, Matías Moroni was earlier issued with a Citing Commissioner Warning (CCW). It was from an act of hair pulling against France. It will remain on his permanent record throughout the World Cup. At the time of writing, England are on five points and France on four. The Pumas desperately need a win here to help close the gap in their group.
As for Tonga, they weren’t able to do much damage in their cup opening 32 point loss to England. Their solitary points came through a Takulua penalty goal in the 14th minute. That made it 3-all, but then England proceeded to run away with the match after that. The Tongan’s actually owned 53% of the ball throughout the match. And they made less tackles then the opposition as well, 121 vs 128. Going to injury news, Kurt Morath was hurt against England and is currently awaiting on medical advice as to whether or not he needs surgery on his throat. Tuitavake was also hurt in the game against the English. His replacement will be Fosita. Neither of these two injuries point to a very positive result against the Pumas. So expect Argentina to run away with it in the end.
Japan vs Ireland
Venue: Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa | Start: 5:15PM (AEST)
They conceded a try inside the games opening five minutes against Russia. However after that it was all one way traffic as they comfortably beat the Bears 30-10. Kotaro Matsushima bagged three for Japan in the 20 point victory. The possession was split evenly at 50% each. However, in the first half the Japanese romped with the ball as they owned 61% of it. They also scored the four tries to one and missed just the 21 tackles, in comparison to Russia’s 48. They also won 96 rucks and 13 lineouts, both significantly better numbers then what their opponents had. And in a light hearted of field report, Japan listen to the Backstreet Boys to get themselves pumped up pre-game. I guess you could say that they really do want it that way, no pun intended. Yamanaka confirmed this by saying Hai! (Yes) … Backstreet Boys”.
Ireland turned it on as they thrashed Scotland 27 points to three in their opening pool game. Ireland talked the talk and walked the walk as they got their World Cup campaign of to a simply sensational start. They missed just the eight tackles and gave away only eight penalties as well. They also dominated possession in the first half owning 68% of the ball to Scotland’s 32%. They’ve primed themselves for another high point scoring effort vs Japan. Jonny Sexton didn’t train on Tuesday in what could be a potential pull out for Ireland’s second game. But skills coach Richie Murphy put those fears to bed by stating, “We expect him to train fully on Thursday”. While both Bundee Aki and Peter O’Mahony have passed their head injury checks and are back to training as per normal. They are both available for selection vs Japan. And finally Robbie Henshaw is continuing to recover from his hamstring injury.
South Africa vs Nambia
Venue: City of Toyota Stadium | Start: 7:45PM (AEST)
South Africa weren’t quite able to get it done against the All Blacks as they went down 23-13. Pollard scored most of the Springboks points in what was a relatively low-scoring affair. South Africa owned 53% of the ball in both the 1st half and the 2nd half. And they kept the All Blacks to only two tries as well. The Springboks beat 28 defenders and made seven clean breaks. They will absolutely pummel Nambia in this match, there’s no two other ways about it. 13 Changes have been made in what will be a vastly different side against Nambia, compared to the one that versed New Zealand. Schalk Brits will both captain and start for the Springboks. S’bu Nkosi comes in to replace Cheslin Kolbe. Kolbe will feature of the bench for this match. Warrick Gelant has been named to start, as has Hershel Jantjies. Elton will partner him in the halves. And these are only some of the changes made to the Springboks side. Players starting, resting or coming of the pine, it’s all being changed for South Africa. They might start a little bit slow against Nambia, but expect them to eventually click into gear and rack up a huge score line.
Nambia put in a decent, first up solid effort as they went down to Italy, 47-22. They scored a try within the games opening five minutes through Damian Stevens and they performed well against their much more fancied opposition. Nambia actually split the possession at 50% all with Italy in the 1st half. However, in the 2nd they had only 34%. Nambia managed to make only seven clean breaks and they turned the ball over 15 times. They can evidently score points, however, as we saw against Italy, the opposition sides can change their attacking tune and go on huge runs against Nambia ala Italy. Whenever, not if, the Springboks do that, that’ll be when the score line gets a bit out of hand. Eugene Jantjies broke history when he played against Italy. He became the first Nambia player to represent his country at four different World Cups. He did it in 07, 11, 15 and now 19. And making this feat more incredible then it already is, is that at one stage during his career, he almost quit due to financial and physical demands from playing the beloved oval ball shaped game. What an amazing story and take a bow Eugene!