Rugby World Cup Open Thread

by Kieran Healy on September 18, 2015

The competition just kicked off with England v Fiji. (Come on you Pacific Islanders.) I don’t have strong views on who’s likely to win, just the usual quiet self-confidence in the robust predictive value of national stereotypes. More informed commentators than I can weigh in below about the likely outcomes. As always, though, the one constant truth of all sporting competition remains clear and strong: Anyone but England.



Neville Morley 09.18.15 at 7:15 pm

Wales are luring the rest of Pool A into a false sense of security by breaking the legs of their best players before the tournament even starts. They’re either going to provide the entire top ten of the ‘previously unknown player’ awards, or they’re not going to get very far. Boo.

Realistically, the only hope for keeping England out of the quarter-finals is Fiji. Go Fiji!


Chris Bertram 09.18.15 at 8:58 pm

A brilliant performance from the TMO for England there.

I’m thinking “anyone but Australia” from the contenders.


Igor Belanov 09.18.15 at 9:01 pm

Wrong kind of Rugby.


Barry 09.18.15 at 11:38 pm

Kieran: “Anyone but England.”

‘Why would that be?’, asked the American, secure in the knowledge that geography was really just a foreign illusion. ‘Aren’t you basically from England?’


chris y 09.19.15 at 10:41 am

Aren’t you basically from England?

A word to the wise: don’t go telling Irish people that they’re basically from England.


Ronan(rf) 09.19.15 at 11:24 am

I predict it will be won by a small rural country full of sheep and drunks forever in the shadow of it’s belligerent imperial neighbour. New Zealand again so.


Chris Bertram 09.19.15 at 11:59 am

So, today’s games:

Georgia are already beating Tonga 10-3 at h/t. I may tune in in a minute.
Canada v Ireland and S Africa v Japan will be one-way traffic and not worth watching unless you are from one of those places.
So France – Italy will be the one to watch.


Layman 09.19.15 at 1:32 pm

Here in the hinterlands of Arizona, there is no rugby World Cup coverage to be found on Cox cable. Well, to be fair, they offer a premium service which will deliver only the USA matches, for a relatively low fee, which is of course what the USA games are worth. Otherwise, one must switch to a satellite service and buy a special package, or pay some $250+ to stream the games online.

So, starved for rugby here. Post early and often, please!


Layman 09.19.15 at 1:39 pm

Also, too: Go Springboks!


P O'Neill 09.19.15 at 1:59 pm

Pleasantly surprised that the transmission rights overlords haven’t shut down the RTE radio overseas Internet live stream…


Roger 09.19.15 at 2:24 pm

We’re similarly starved for rugby World Cup here in Chicago. So my family and I are decamping to England for a fortnight and seeing England/Australia and USA/South Africa. Anyone for odds on the latter game? The winner of England/Australia will be in nice shape to make a good run. The loser, not so much, I think. But I wouldn’t mind seeing England (born in Cheshire) taking the cup again, if only to have bragging rights over my relatives down under. Maybe USA in two or three lifetimes from now?


Niall McAuley 09.19.15 at 3:32 pm

Nice warm up game for Ireland.


Chris Bertram 09.19.15 at 5:48 pm

@Chris Bertram (who is clearly a fool) wrote above:

“Canada v Ireland and S Africa v Japan will be one-way traffic and not worth watching unless you are from one of those places.”

Japan just stuffed S Africa …..Wow. Just wow.


Garrulous 09.19.15 at 5:52 pm

Japan v South Africa! What an unbelievable game!

I was so skeptical and dismissive of the opening stages. Bloated mess of a tournament, etc. “Five weeks in and it’ll still be Kiribati v Moldova in the Group Q fourth-place play-off, har har” etc.

What a total idiot I was!


derrida derider 09.20.15 at 8:29 am

Can’t see my Wallabies getting far this time – in fact I think this particular team won’t even get past the Poms. It’s our weakest in many years. On top of the Ashes disaster that makes this a long gloomy winter.

My guess is our large rural country full of sheep and drunks will sit back and watch that provincial little one take the Cup this year. In 1899 Kiwis only narrowly voted against federating with Australia. What a missed opportunity – together we’d rule the (rugby) world.


Mark H 09.20.15 at 11:52 am

Wakefield Trinity would beat the lot.


Chris Bertram 09.20.15 at 12:25 pm

Treizeiste trolling!


chris y 09.20.15 at 12:56 pm

I think we can safely say that USA won’t get far on the basis of that performance.


Metatone 09.20.15 at 2:10 pm

Japan vs Scotland & SA vs Samoa suddenly looking very important for Pool B.

Pool A has plenty of intrigue from the beginning.

Pool D looks on course to be calm until Ireland vs France.

Pool C – we could really use a big performance from Argentina to bring some excitement there… however, I don’t hold out much hope.


Metatone 09.20.15 at 3:08 pm

That said, the latest Pool A match (Wales vs Uruguay) looks exactly as we feared it would.
They really need to take points difference out of the group qualification process, it’s not helping.


Eli Rabett 09.20.15 at 10:43 pm


des von bladet 09.21.15 at 6:31 am

Go Mohawks!

(Wait, wut?)


Toby Joyce 09.21.15 at 12:06 pm

derrida derider,

I would not write off any team coached by Michael Cheika. We had him here in Ireland and he propelled a team of serial losers (Leinster) to their first Heineken Cup.

At the moment Australia are under the radar, but they could well explode into life. Playing England brings out the best in them.



TheSophist 09.21.15 at 3:06 pm

Hey, Layman, where in the hinterlands of AZ are you (he asks from the Phoenix/PV border)?

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