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Favourites to win? Could this be one of the most open World Cups for a long time?

Umaga's Witness

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it wouldn't be all that bonkers to rest some players in a semifinal I reckon - especially if you are NZ, sa, france, or Ireland. Just to ensure you can maintain intensity - mostly a mental/emotional thing.
 

BPM

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Looking at the draw I’ve got the QFs as being:
France (Winner A) v Ireland (2nd B)
South Africa (Winner B) v New Zealand (2nd A)
Australia (Winner C) v Argentina (2nd D)
England (Winner D) v Wales (2nd C)

I think the semis will be
France v England
South Africa v Australia

I’ve still got the Springboks reaching the final and I think they’ll meet France. In which case I would back the Boks to win because I think they would handle the occasion better.
I could go along with that.

From an England POV, the sequence of fixtures might come in to play.

We have Argentina, Japan, Chile and then Samoa. We have the hardest games first up and while I don’t want to dismiss the threat from Argentina or Japan, I would expect us to win both. If it plays out that way, we could potentially rest our frontline players from 17th September when we play Japan to 14/15th October when the QFs take place.

Now that could to either way … on the one hand it could be perfect preparation for three hard games. On the other, we might lose some sharpness. Wales and Australia play each other in the penultimate group game so might be in a different place physically.
 

RedruthRFC

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From an England POV, the sequence of fixtures might come in to play.

We have Argentina, Japan, Chile and then Samoa. We have the hardest games first up and while I don’t want to dismiss the threat from Argentina or Japan, I would expect us to win both. If it plays out that way, we could potentially rest our frontline players from 17th September when we play Japan to 14/15th October when the QFs take place.
That's an interesting point. I'd say that any coach would pick England's lot rather than having the big games spread out across the pool / back stacked. It's a no-brainer to rest as many of the starting 23 as possible against Chilli, against Samoa, my gut reaction was to rest key players to avoid the risk of injury, but I could also see merit in starting with a strong side and taking them off when the game is put to bed, or even stacking the bench with key players as an insurance policy.
 

BPM

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Yeah. I agree, but almost a month between Japan and a QF is a long time for us to to creep in so I’d probably favour using the Samoa game as a bit of a refresher.
 

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