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The Deep End of The Pool . . . Who Needs What To Make Rugby World Cup Quarter-Finals

Wales were the first nation to reach the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup, but sadly there are no medals for this.

What it maybe does give them, however, is time to size up their potential opponents and take a wide view of who else might still be left standing in the knockout stages.

When they sit down for Sunday lunch this week, as well as tucking into their Coq au vin avec les champignons, the Welsh boys can feast on Argentina v Japan on the TV.

Whoever wins that game will be laying in wait for Wales in the quarter-final, provided Wales get at least a losing bonus point in their match against Georgia on Saturday.

Like Wales, England have sealed their places in the knockout stages, but the other six spots are still up for grabs.

The final pool stage matches of the tournament will be played between Thursday and Sunday with all to play for across the four groups.

Head-to-head records will separate teams who are level on points in the first instance, while if three sides finish even then points difference is used to select the top team, before it reverts to head-to-head for the two remaining nations.

These are the permutations across the pools.


France 13 points, New Zealand 10, Italy 10, Uruguay 5, Namibia 0

It is possible the top three teams finish level, which would favour New Zealand to go through on points difference and Italy to advance past France on head-to-head.

Any sort of win for Italy over France should be enough, unless the latter pick up two bonus points (one for losing by seven points and the other for scoring four tries).

The most likely scenario is New Zealand beat Uruguay on Thursday and finish second, with France defeating Italy a day later to top the pool. A draw would also be good enough for the hosts.


South Africa 15 points, Ireland 14, Scotland 10, Tonga 0, Romania 0

You’ll have heard all the conspiracy theories around the group, so let’s spell it out.

If Scotland beat Ireland by 21 points or more in their final fixture in Paris on Saturday, and the Irish earn a bonus-point, then those two will advance and knock out defending champions South Africa, who have played all their fixtures.

If Ireland get two points from the game, they will advance as group winners with the Springboks in second.

A win by eight points or more with no Irish bonus point will see Scotland go through on head-to-head and Andy Farrell’s world number one side ousted from the tournament.

That would put the Scottish cat among the Irish pigeons, make no mistake.


Wales 14 points, Australia 11, Fiji 10, Georgia 3, Portugal 2

Wales have already qualified for the quarter-finals and will top the pool even in defeat with a bonus point against Georgia.

Fiji need just a point from their clash with Portugal on Sunday to finish second, which will see Australia, who have played all their matches, exit the World Cup in the pool stages for the first time.

Aw, look, Eddie, mate . . . see you next time.


England 14 points, Argentina 9, Japan 9, Samoa 6, Chile 0

England have secured top spot in the pool, leaving a winner-takes-all shootout between Argentina and Japan in Nantes on Sunday for second place.

Argentina have a superior points difference. However, if Japan take a bonus point for four tries scored in a draw, and Argentina do not, they will advance.

Samoa have the slimmest of chances. They must hope for a draw in Nantes, beat England by 29 points or more and gain a bonus point to advance on points difference with all three teams on 11 points.

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