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RWC 2023 Qualifying

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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That does put more jeopardy on making it out of the pools for tier1 but doesn't help tier 2/3 that much. They need to be part of the main tournament and have a more decent chance of making the knockout rounds themselves.

eg.
Pool A: Australia; Scotland; Samoa; Portugal
Pool B: South Africa; Fiji; Italy; Russia
Pool C: England; Georgia; Tonga; Canada
Pool D: France; Japan; Uruguay; Namibia
Pool E: Ireland; Wales; USA; Romania
Pool F: New Zealand; Argentina; Spain; Chile

Six pools of four, top 2 per pool plus four best 3rd place finishers qualify for the KOs. That doesn't increase the current length of the tournament (you'll still have to play 7 games to win it) and guarantees tier 1 v tier 2/3 KO games.

eg. Last 16:
France v Chile
Fiji v Scotland
Australia v Argentina
South Africa v Samoa
Ireland v Italy
Japan v Georgia
New Zealand v Uruguay
England v Wales

Some of those will still be walkovers but as you can see, the chances for meaningful upsets and tier 2 teams in the QFs increases. Something tells me this is the biggest reason tier 1 doesn't want a 24 team tournament with this kind of format.
Its interesting to see groups laid out like that. In only 3 of them is the top 2 nailed on, then with BPs, the race for the four best placed 3rds would add interest. Personally, I'd happily swap out one extra round of group games for the spectacle of a round of 16. And it would overcome the major issue of uneven amount of days between games.

Before your post I was pretty comfortable with 20 teams. The main barrier to 24 is that this would potentially increase the voting rights of 4 unions, which might challenge the status quo.
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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Some US Eagles will at least get a run out against Uruguay and Pumas A teams prior to the RWCQ. Some other potential Eagles will apparent play in SA at the same time. Better than nothing as preparation but surely it'd make sense to keep all potential Eagles in the same camp?

 

die_mole

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the SA side is the national side with only MLR players and maybe a couple reinforcements
the side facing Uruguay and Pumas A is a true A side.
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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US losing heavily to Uruguay XV, Argentina XVs and Cheetahs (SA Pumas this weekend). But Lusitanos are not looking great either compared to last year. I'm not really learning anything in advance of the RWCQ showdown.
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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die_mole

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We are just missing ***i (who is pretty much done with the national team) and the saracens hooker who is injured. Gold is just sitting the rest of our good players for some reason.
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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Seeing the way Chile handled Romania for the last 60mins today (albeit losing) makes me think Chile > Portugal and I'm really doubting my pick of Portugal given the US had that tie against Chile in the palm of their hand at 21-0 up in the second leg.
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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We are just missing ***i (who is pretty much done with the national team) and the saracens hooker who is injured. Gold is just sitting the rest of our good players for some reason.
Apologies, i was just assuming they'd pick any French based players, but apparently not.

 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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As expected, comprehensive wins for the US and Portugal versus Kenya and Hong Kong respectively.
 

die_mole

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Hong Kong looked better than expected. Kenya looked rough and once we could complete our passes we could run right through them. Portugal actually had to set up a structure and not just pass the ball down the line. I don’t think we’ll learn much from the first two rounds but props to Hong Kong for showing up the way they have.
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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In sure World Rugby will issue highlights of these critical matches... any day now. :p
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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An early finish from work for me on Friday with an apparent 1530hrs UTC/GMT kickoff for the RWC qualifying decider between Portugal and the US.

Apparently you get the stream if you register at the link below.

 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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Some real inexperience for the Eagles.

FIRST NAME CLUB CAPS
1. David Ainu'u Toulouse (FRA) 19
2. Kapeli Pifeleti Saracens (ENG) 9
3. Paul Mullen Utah Warriors 29
4. Greg Peterson Newcastle Falcons (ENG) 38
5. Cam Dolan NOLA Gold 62
6. Viliami Helu Rugby ATL 2
7. Cory Daniel Old Glory DC 2
8. Jamason Fa'anana-Schultz Old Glory DC 8
9. Ruben De Haas Saracens (ENG) 27
10. AJ MacGinty (C) Bristol Bears 34
11. Nate Augspurger San Diego Legion 35
12. Paul Lasike Utah Warriors 21
13. Bryce Campbell MLR 43
14. Christian Dyer Houston SaberCats 10
15. Mitch Wilson New England Free Jacks 2

Reserves
16. Mikey Sosene-Feagai Agen (FRA) 8
17. Jack Iscaro Old Glory DC 1
18. Nate Sylvia San Diego Legion 2
19. Benjamin Bonasso Rugby New York 4
20. Tesimoni Tonga'uiha NOLA Gold 5
21. Chirs Mattina MLR Yet to debut
22. Luke Carty MLR 10
23. Tavite Lopeti Seattle Seawolves 7
 

die_mole

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yeah he seems to have gone for a much less experienced bench. Chance and fawsitt are surprise omissions. Brache needed to be dropped.
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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Forecast for 29 degrees Celsius at kickoff, which I think will favour Portugal.

Preview below.


I pick Portugal by 6 points, but if they are behind or less than 7 points ahead after 60mins I'll be picking a US win at that point. Not due to bench strength but because I have Portugal down as a kind of Tier2 Scotland. Nice flowing play that evaporates in the big moments.
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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Handling has been awful. It's hot but it's low humidity. They should all be doing better than this. Several missed penalties that were not difficult. Pure nerves.

13-9 to Portugal with 25mins to go. Coin flip
 

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