Australia 67 USA 5
After the surprise loss to Ireland last week, Australia bounced back with a comfortable victory over the USA but their run of bad luck continued with yet more injuries. As it stands Digby Ioane, David Pocock, Anthony Faingaa, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Pat McCabe, Wycliff Palu and Rob Horne are all carrying injuries. What the hell. Pocock and Ioane are easily the most painful losses to the squad but the cumulative effect of the rest of the injuries is a huge disruption and setback for a team that is desperately struggling for continuity. As it stands, the performance by the Wallabies in the opening three games have rather cruelly expose their numerous shortcomings – we don’t have a decent kicker (in fact, we probably have some uncommonly bad ones), our hookers can’t seem to thrown in a lineout ball straight and our forwards aren’t delivering in the goods in neither attack nor defence. Without the forwards stringing several phases together and driving forward, the options for Genia and Cooper are hugely limited. It’ll take a minor miracle to win the World Cup based on the current form. Eddie Jones has the right idea. Robbie Deans needs to get on the phone and give Reds coach Ewen McKenzie a call for some pointers.
New Zealand 37 France 13
The All Blacks continue to be in ominous form this tournament. They made short work of France who traditionally give them problems on the World Cup stage. This time around, it was effectively over as a contest after twenty minutes. As with the Tonga game, they took the foot off the pedal in the second half so the scoreline probably flatters the French if anything. The commentary team cited a rather extraordinary statistic during the game – that the All Blacks are the only team to not be losing at any stage during their World Cup Campaign. They have always scored first and gone on to win by a comfortable margin. Don’t expect the All Blacks to work up a sweat until the semi finals when they play the winner of the Springboks vs the Wallabies. Who the hell can stop these guys?
Argentina 13 Scotland 12
It’s been kind of a shit tournament for ALL the teams I’m supporting in this competition if I’ll be honest. Australia, Scotland and Japan haven’t won any of their key encounters so far. Australia flubbed against Ireland. Japan capitulated to Tonga. Scotland…well, they managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by outplaying Argentina and leading the match until the final five minutes at which stage they let the Argies over for a try. I believe this to be some sort of karmic retribution for the success of my beloved Queensland Reds and Brisbane Roar from earlier in the year. If we’re going to win two grand finals and have a twenty eight game undefeated streak, the trade-off seems to be that some of the other teams I support will have to suffer in return.
Scotland must beat England next week to have any sort of hope of qualifying for the quarter finals. If they fail to do so, it will be the first time in the history of the Rugby World Cup that Scotland have failed to advance into the knockout stage.