Rugby World Cup 2023: What to look out for in second week of fixtures

7 min read
0 0
Read Time:7 Minute, 1 Second

Week two preview
The second round of World Cup matches begins on Thursday with hosts France facing Uruguay in Lille

The first week of the Rugby World Cup delivered plenty of skill, drama and talking points.

After three rest days that have allowed everyone to catch their breath, the tournament resumes on Thursday when France take on Uruguay in the first of eight matches across four days.

New Zealand are hoping to recover from their opening loss to the hosts, while England, Ireland and Wales will bid to move a step closer to the quarter-finals after winning their first pool games.


Fixture: France v Uruguay (Pool A, Lille, 20:00 BST, BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra & BBC Sport website and app)

Background: France will be heavy favourites when they face Uruguay in their next game in Pool A, despite making 12 changes to the side that beat New Zealand.

The hosts began their campaign with an impressive 27-13 win over the All Blacks on the opening night in Paris.

Uruguay did not play in the first round of fixtures and are yet to get underway in France. The South American side are ranked 17th in the world and will be appearing at their fifth World Cup.

They have won only three of their previous 15 matches at Rugby World Cups and are yet to make it past the pool phase.

What to look out for: Young France wing Louis Bielle-Biarrey is the player to watch.

The fleet-footed 20-year-old marked his Test debut with a try in the recent warm-up win over Scotland and, born in June 2003, he is set to become the youngest player to represent France at the World Cup.

Graphic of France penalty count v New Zealand


Fixture: New Zealand v Namibia (Pool A, Toulouse, 20:00 BST, BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra & BBC Sport website and app)

Background: Perennial World Cup heavyweights New Zealand will be looking for their first win of the tournament against Namibia.

The All Blacks will reach 50 wins in World Cups if they beat Namibia, who have lost all 23 World Cup games since their debut in 1999.

Defeat by France was New Zealand’s first in any World Cup pool-stage match. A second against Namibia, who began their campaign with a 52-8 defeat by Italy, is unlikely.

The All Blacks beat Namibia 71-9 at the 2019 World Cup.

What to look out for: New Zealand lock Sam Whitelock will join Richie McCaw as the All Blacks’ most-capped player.

The 34-year-old will move level with former captain McCaw on his 148th Test appearance.

Graphic of New Zealand's tally of match victories at Rugby World Cups


Fixture: Samoa v Chile (Pool D, Bordeaux, 14:00 BST, BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra & BBC Sport website and app)

Background: Samoa will make their first appearance of this World Cup, while tournament debutants Chile will want to respond after losing to Japan 42-12 in their opening game.

Samoa have not made the quarter-finals of the World Cup since 1995 and are not expected to reach the last eight in France.

They will be favourites to beat Chile but still have Pool D heavyweights Argentina and England yet to play.

What to look out for: Samoa will perform their pre-match Siva Tau dance for the first time at France 2023.

Fixture: Wales v Portugal (Pool C, Nice, 16:45 BST, BBC Radio Wales, Radio 5 Sports Extra & BBC Sport website and app)

Background: Wales have made 13 changes to the side that beat Fiji 32-26 in their first game in Pool C.

Co-captain and hooker Dewi Lake will lead the side after returning from a knee injury which ruled him out of the opener with Fiji, while fly-half Gareth Anscombe will make his first Test appearance since November 2022.

Wales will be favourites to make it consecutive wins at the start of their campaign against a Portugal side who will make their first appearance at only their second World Cup.

Portugal lost all four pool games in the 2007 World Cup the last time it was staged in France, scoring 38 points and conceding 209.

What to look out for: Expect Wales to show plenty of attacking intent.

Head coach Warren Gatland says the team he has picked to face Portugal have a chance to “put down their own marker” in the tournament.

“This is an opportunity now for this matchday 23,” said Gatland. “I’ve said it before, but there’s some great competition within the squad which is what we want to see.”

Fixture: Ireland v Tonga (Pool B, Nantes, 20:00 BST, BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra & BBC Sport website and app)

Background: World number one side Ireland cruised to a thumping 82-8 win over Romania to begin their tournament.

Ireland will be expected to extend their winning run to 15 matches against the Pacific Islanders but Tonga, who are yet to play a pool game in France, will pose a greater threat than Romania.

A change in rugby’s international eligibility rules in 2021 means Tonga are able to call on a star-studded line-up as they pursue a first World Cup quarter-final.

Tonga’s class of 2023 includes former All Blacks George Moala, Vaea Fifita, Malakai Fekitoa, Charles Piutau and Augustine Pulu, while ex-Wallabies lock Adam Coleman is also in the 33-man squad.

What to look out for: Tonga will perform their traditional Sipi Tau before the game in Nantes.

Graphic of metres made by Ireland v Romania


Fixture: South Africa v Romania (Pool B, Bordeaux, 14:00 BST, BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra & BBC Sport website and app)

Background: Defending champions South Africa saw off a spirited Scotland side with an 18-3 win in their opening game in the ‘Pool of Death’.

The Springboks are among the favourites to win the tournament and become the most successful nation in World Cup history with four titles.

Romania have appeared at every World Cup but are not expected to add to their six previous tournament wins against the Boks.

Their finest moment at this event remains the biggest comeback in World Cup history as they overturned a 15-point deficit to beat Canada 17-15 in England eight years ago.

What to look out for: The Manie Libbok no-look kick/pass. The Springbok fly-half picked out wing Kurt-Lee Arendse, who did not have to break stride, for one of the tries of the opening round in the win over Scotland.

Fixture: Australia v Fiji (Pool C, Saint-Etienne, 16:45 BST, BBC Sport website and app)

Background: Fiji came so close to beating Wales on Sunday, but an unmarked Semi Radradra knocked the ball on with the tryline at his mercy in the final minute.

The Pacific Islanders are favoured by many to reach the quarter-finals, but need to beat Australia to have any realistic chance of reaching the knockout stages.

Australia picked up the first win of head coach Eddie Jones’ second spell in charge with a 35-15 win over Georgia in their opening game.

Victory for the Wallabies will almost certainly seal a place in the last eight.

What to look out for: Aussie wing Mark Nawaqanitawase is the man to watch. The youngster opened his try-scoring account in the win over Georgia and is set to threaten Fiji with his balanced running and potent finishing.

Fixture: England v Japan (Pool D, Nice, 20:00 BST, BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Sport website and app)

Background: England lifted the gloom surrounding the team with a professional performance in their opening round 27-10 win over Argentina.

George Ford kicked all 27 points as the 14 men of England came from behind to beat the Pumas and put one foot in the quarter-finals.

Japan impressed on home soil as they reached a first quarter-final in 2019, four years after springing one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history as they beat South Africa in 2015.

The Brave Blossoms beat debutants Chile in their opening game but England will be expected to claim victory in Nice.

What to look out for: Billy Vunipola is expected to return to the side after serving a suspension for his red card against Ireland in the summer warm-ups. The number eight will be keen to carry hard and cement his place in the side.

Graphic of George Ford points total for England v ArgentinaWatch on iPlayer bannerWatch on iPlayer footer

Source link

0 %
0 %
0 %
0 %
0 %
0 %

You May Also Like

More From Author

Average Rating

5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *