Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pool C: Preview

The only worry for New Zealand is still being a little soft by the time they hit the knockout stages. Still the world's best, only Argentina should present something close to a challenge for the All Blacks and that is only likely to end one way.
 
Argentina-Georgia should present an intriguing forward battle, but Los Pumas have a little too much class for Georgia. Tonga will hope to build on the 2011 World Cup where they beat Japan and eventual finalists France.
 
Namibia look unlikely to break their World Cup duck this year.
 
New Zealand
Coach:                  Steve Hansen
Captain:                Richie McCaw
Most Valuable Player: There isn't really any weaknesses in the All Blacks team and by that token it's difficult to pick a best player too. However, Brodie Retallick was World Rugby Player of the Year last year and with his work rate, skill and size it is hard to argue with.
Most Exciting: Whilst there can be no doubt the try scoring record of Julian "The Bus" Savea, Nehe Milner-Skudder is a joy to watch dancing is way to the try line with moves better than 'Footloose.'
 
Argentina
Coach:                  Daniel Hourcade
Captain:                Augustin Creevy
Most Valuable Player: Argentina's set piece is at the heart of all they do and Augustin Creevy is at the heart of the set piece. However, Creevy is also as good in open play as any forward at the tournament.
Most Exciting: Winger Juan Imhoff offers class behind the pack and should just how good he has become by grabbing three tries against the Springboks.
 
Georgia
Coach:                  Milton Haig
Captain:                Levan Datunaahvilli
Most Valuable Player: Mamuka Gorgodze - the man they nicknamed Gorgodzilla - is Georgia's talisman. Coach Milton Haig said of the Toulon forward, "when he plays well, we play well."
Most Exciting: Centre Merab Sharikadze is a former player for Hartpury College now plying is trade in France. A fine prospect who will get is chance to grow his already burgeoning reputation.
 
Tonga
Coach:                  Mana 'Otai
Captain:                Nili Latu
Most Valuable Player: Newcastle Falcons' Sonatane Takulua is a nippy scrum half with a history at Auckland Blues and with Tonga's 7s team. If he can get the backs working they could get two wins and possibly challenge Argentina.
Most Exciting: Explosive winger Fetu'u Vainikolo's will hope to add to the two World Cup tries he scored in 2011. He has played for Highlanders, Connacht and Exeter and heads to France after the World Cup.
 
Namibia
Coach:                  Phil Davies
Captain:                Jacques Burger
Most Valuable Player:  Saracens backrow Jacques Burger plays like a man with three lungs and an extra pair of legs. I was voted among the best players of 2011 despite having injections to his injured knees.
Most Exciting: Keep an eye on Chrysander Botha. Performances in the Currie Cup and Super Rugby attracted Exeter's eye, but a leg break as stalled his career at Sandy Park.

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