So how will the 2007 rugby world cup go?
It is time to work out the result... can I nail it this far out?
No doubt I will relook at this in the future.
Pool A includes England, South Africa, Samoa, USA, Tonga. Clearly England and South Africa will go through probably South Africa topping the pool. I like the look of the South Africans from what is happening in the Super 14.
Pool B includes Australia, Wales, Fiji, Canada, Japan. Australia will surely go through number 1 with Wales nos 2.
Pool C includes New Zealand, Scotland, Italy, Romania, Repechage 1 with NZ going through number one ahead of Scotland.
Pool D includes France, Ireland, Argentina, Georgia, Namibia. I think France will go through nos 1 (just) with Ireland nos 2 (wouldn't be surprised if it was reversed and Argentina threw in a surprise).
So the quarter finals will look something like this:
6 October:QF1: Australia vs England: Australia should take this one out but England will be a tough assignment and could win.
6 October: QF2: New Zealand vs Ireland: NZ should take this one too but again Ireland (or perhaps France/Argentina) will be a great challenge.
7 October:QF3: South Africa vs Wales: South Africa should romp home here.
7 October: QF4: France vs Scotland: France should win this easily. Or Ireland if things are reversed.
Then the Semi's will go like this
13 October:SF1: Australia vs NZ: I would expect NZ to win this but remember NZ have never beaten the Australians at a World Cup and this will be a one-off! Anything could happen.
14 October:SF2: South Africa v France: I actually think SA will win this. Time will tell, but I think they are on the rise.
Play off for 3rd.
19 October: Australia vs France. This will be won by the French who will be feeling terrible about losing the semi and will seek to make amends for their home fans. If they play NZ in this one it will be a terrible caning for the French because yet again the AB's will have blown it and will take it out on them! It won't save them from horrendous criticism if this occurs!
20 October: NZ vs South Africa: If this is the final it will be tumultuous, aggressive and incredibly close. I think the South Africans will be formidable if they get there and it will be anyones game. I do believe unless terrible injury intervenes (or food poisoning etc), NZ will win this one.
Here's hoping anyway!
From a NZ point of view this will be a huge challenge. To beat Ireland/France then Australia then South Africa/England in successive weeks is a huge challenge! If NZers think they have the cup in the bag, get real; this will be a gigantic challenge and it is anyone's cup!
So that's how I see it. What you think?