Snack Media will be spending the next six months in the run-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup taking you through the tournament, the teams and even the terms of one of the world’s most popular sports. Our fourth blog looks at Pool C.
Pool C is shaping up to be this year’s ‘Pool of Death’ at the World Cup, and a group where one of rugby’s elite will miss out on a quarter-final berth.
Winners in 2003, and two-time runners-up England will be pitted against three-time runners-up France, and Argentina, who have made two of the last three semi-finals.
England were in a very similar pool in 2015, with both Australia and Wales, where they notoriously became the first host nation to fail to qualify for the knockout stages; they will be desperate for history not to repeat itself.
What makes this pool so fascinating is how hard it is to predict. France have not been a threat on the world stage over the past few years, but they are historically very dangerous and erratic at World Cups. They were nothing short of a shambles in the 2011 pool stages, but only agonisingly lost to the All Blacks in the final. This is an example of how they cannot be written off.
Likewise, Argentina’s modest tenth place in the world rankings is deceiving, as they are always a threat when it comes to World Cups. They have beaten France twice in their last three meetings and will be confident going into that match.
Neither Tonga or the USA will be pushovers in this group either. The Tongans famously beat France in 2011 tournament, and are one of the most physically imposing teams in the world. The USA are also an emerging nation, and their success in the rugby sevens circuit is a reflection of their progress.
This is an incredibly hard pool to call, and while England are favourites to go through due to their success over the past four years, an upset is a possibility.