EDITORIAL: World Focus on Pool A

Never before have Fiji been placed in a tougher pool than at the 2015 Rugby World Cup which starts next month in England. The onus is on our 31 men
23 Aug 2015 10:39
EDITORIAL: World Focus on Pool A

Never before have Fiji been placed in a tougher pool than at the 2015 Rugby World Cup which starts next month in England.

The onus is on our 31 men named last Friday to rise to the occasion as there’s no getting away from Pool A.

Pool A, which includes Australia, England, Wales and Uruguay, will determine the shape and mood of the Rugby World Cup.

It’s really unusual to have four teams in the top 10   in the same pool knowing that two of the heavyweights will lose out even before the knockout round starts.

Currently Australia are ranked 3rd in the world, England 4th and Wales 6th and Fiji 9th .

Pool A is unbelievably harder and more competitive than the other three groups.

For example, the All Blacks find themselves in Pool C with the 8th ranked Argentina, the 10th-ranked Tonga, 13th ranked Georgia and the 20th ranked Namibia

The determining factor in the make-up of Pool A was Wales being ranked 9th in 2012, England 5th and Australia 3rd.

The draw separated teams ranked one to four – putting each of them in a different pool; then one team ranked five to eight was put in each pool, with the same process for teams ranked 9 to 12.

Even World Rugby never envisaged an impossible situation to group England, Wales, Fiji and Australia in one pool based on their current rankings.

World Rugby hopes England and Wales will qualify since they are the co-hosts of the World Cup.

But Australia and Fiji will not allow Northern Hemisphere teams to dominate the pool.

No one can predict the make-up of the quarterfinals with any confidence because it’s just too hard to be sure what’s going to happen in Pool A.

England will no doubt feel enormous pressure right from the opening game against Fiji on September 19. The burden to perform to expectation could cripple them.

And there is considerable motivation to top the pool. The quarterfinal draw sees Pool A paired with Pool B – the group that contains South Africa, Samoa and Scotland.

Finish second in Pool A and the chances are high that team will be playing the Springboks in the last eight – another monumentally tough game.

Top Pool A and a quarterfinal against Samoa or Scotland is on the cards with – probably – Ireland, France or Argentina waiting in the semifinal.

Vodafone Flying Fijians head coach John McKee is confident his men will rise to the challenge.

“Pool A is a very challenging pool and I’ve every confidence the team will rise to the challenge and bring their best game to every match at the World Cup.”

He has named a strong and experienced squad which includes;

* Four survivors of the 2007 RWC in Akapusi Qera, Netani Talei, Gabriele Lovobalavu and Sunia Koto;

* 9 survivors from the 2011 RWC in Tuapati Talemaitoga, Viliame Veikoso, Campese Ma’afu, Malakai Ravulo, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Masi Matadigo, Nemia Kenatale, Vereniki Goneva and Kini Murimurivalu.

The Flying Fijians will present their itatau to President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau this Friday before they fly out on August 31. They will definitely get the traditional blessing from Government House on Fiji’s behalf. They know the challenge ahead and they have been trained to rise to the challenge.

The Flying Fijians could set the mood and the tone of the 2015 RWC starting with England at Twickenham on September 19.






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