laborious success, confirmed status, big eight in sight

It's today

Three games are scheduled on Sunday. With a shock on the menu: Ireland against Scotland, in Yokohama at 9:45. It's almost the final before the time of group A. If the two European teams offer totally different playing styles – very millimeter for the Irish, more unbridled for the Scots – they have one thing in common: they enter this World Cup without much certainty.

Ireland, which had a radiant 2018 year (a Grand Slam in the Six Nations Tournament, a home win against New Zealand) and became the first nation in the world, had a start to the year 2019 more complicated. Detached by Wales in the world rankings, she finished only third in the Six Nations Tournament. She was also swept 57-15 by England in preparation game of the World Cup.

The team coached by Joe Schmidt, however, advances in favor against Scotland. Gregor Townsend, the Scottish coach, has certainly built a very experienced team, with players like Greg Laidlaw, Finn Russell, Stuart Hogg. But the Scots, in four confrontations against the Irish since the last World Cup, have dropped them once – and it was in February 2017. And in their preparation match, especially against France, they did not offer a face necessarily very serene.

The loser of this shock is likely to finish second in this group in which also evolve Japan, Russia and Samoa. He could cross in the quarterfinals All Blacks, if they finish at the top of their group (the B).

It was yesterday

Gaël Fickou scored the first try of the France team against Argentina. Christophe Ena / AP

How to summarize this match, which was like a very high risk entry into this World Cup for the France team? "Relieved of the result, but not completely satisfied with the content", decided coach Jacques Brunel.

It is saying little. The Blues have ensured the essential – the victory – to be able to continue to hope to finish in the first two places of their group and to glimpse the quarter-finals. But this success was painstaking, ripped in extremis, after the French presented two radically different faces, in first and second half: dominators for forty minutes, they were jostled and exceeded then, before narrowly recovering .

Read also Rugby World Cup 2019: a successful start, but complicated, for the XV of France

"France has never had a hold on the match in the second half but we are very proud of the first half because we have been clinically effective", especially wanted to retain the captain, Guilhem Guirado. The XV of France had already displayed this alternative mode of operation, especially during the Six Nations Tournament at the beginning of the year (against Wales for example).

The difference is that, there, the Blues ended up winning. "This second half will help us to work because we have many, many points of improvement"warned Jefferson Poirot, left pillar and vice-captain. It was a little the same thing that was done this winter …

New Zealand has already taken an option on first place in Group B.
New Zealand has already taken an option on first place in Group B. ODD ANDERSEN / AFP

In this highly-engaged and fast-paced game, which had a run-up to the finish, New Zealanders confirmed their status as favorites in the competition. However, the All Blacks, doubles champions of the world title, were manhandled by the Springboks during the first twenty minutes of the match. Before turning the tide with a succession of two tries, then to be shaken again in the second half.

While New Zealand has already taken an option in the first place of a group (B), which also includes Italy, Namibia and Canada, South Africa has also showed that it is well back and that it will be necessary to count on it, after the small hollow that it has known these three last years.

Read also Rugby World Cup: The All Blacks dominate the Springboks in the first shock of the competition

The final score does not fully reflect the face of this match in Pool D. Although they finally won the day, the Australians struggled against the Fijians. Especially in the first period.

"We were in the tough, it took us over an hour to pass in front and win this game eventually", acknowledged the Australian second row Rory Arnold. OHe got back on track little by little without panicking. We insisted on the melee, the mauls, of the game from before in the axis, and when you come back to these things and that it works, you start to dominate, as the second period showed. "

After their start of thundering match, the Fijians, they were a little "short". "We did not keep the distance, we could not finish what we started. We do not win the games by playing sixty minutes ", noted – deploring – John McKee, the coach of Fiji.

Read also Rugby World Cup 2019: the schedule of the 48 matches of the competition

It is said

"A World Cup is like a big eight. Today we are at the top, we look down, everyone is nervous, everyone is excited. And when we go down the first slope, we'll see who vomits and who holds up. And we must hold on, there will be turns, loops, fun, fears. We hope this big eight will be great for us, we have prepared for that. "

Before entering the competition, Sunday against Tonga, is the pictorial description of what is expected of England made by Eddie Jones, the coach of the national team (which had not passed the stage of hens it four years ago at home).

It's seen

Even if the South Africans were ultimately beaten by the New Zealanders, they gave them a little dizzy at times, especially through the breakthroughs of the jumping winger Cheslin Kolbe (that the people of Toulouse know well).

It is expected

Sunday, entering the lawn of Sapporo Stadium, a man should particularly enjoy the moment: Nasi Manu, Tongan. Reaching testicular cancer last year, the 31-year-old has undergone surgery and chemotherapy. The doctors gave him the green light for a return and the coach from Tonga called him for the World Cup.

Rugby World Cup: find all the groups

Group A: all you need to know about Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Russia and Samoa.

Group B: all you need to know about New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Namibia and Canada.

Group C: all you need to know about France, England, Argentina, Tonga and the United States.

Group D: all you need to know about Australia, Wales, Georgia, Fiji and Uruguay.


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