Tonga vs Georgia | Sep 19 | Kingsholm, Gloucester
New Zealand vs Argentina | Sep 20 | Wembley Stadium, London
New Zealand vs Namibia | Sep 24 | Queen Elizabeth Park, London
Argentina vs Georgia | Sep 25 | Kingsholm, Gloucester
Tonga vs Namibia | Sep 29 | Sandy Park, Exeter
New Zealand vs Georgia | Oct 2 | Millenium Stadium, Cardiff
Argentina vs Tonga | Oct 4 | Leicester City Stadium, Leicester
Namibia vs Georgia | Oct 7 | Sandy Park, Exeter
New Zealand vs Tonga | Oct 7 | St James Park, Newcastle
Argentina vs Namibia | Oct 11 | Leicester City Stadium, Leicester
New Zealand - They'll enter the World Cup as firm favourites, but we've all seen too many World Cup failures to truly go all in on the All Blacks in England. The All Blacks definitely have the best squad and it's pretty difficult to pinpoint a weakness or two that could be exploited by opposing teams, but that's always been the case in World Cups; somehow the All Blacks just find a way to lose when it matters.
There's no other way to look at the All Blacks besides them being the giant, they are the best team in the world from the only country that is balls deep in World Cup fever. We'll see a bunch of greats bow out of the black jersey which sets up a nice little storyline to follow because we're going to get clear evidence whether Richie McCaw and Dan Carter still have it. I'm going to say that they do on recent form, but the World Cup is a different beast and you can bet that the likes of South Africa, Australia, France and England will be keeping a close eye on their pool games to find ways to nullify their impact.
Pool C sucks, let's keep it all the way real here because both Argentina and Tonga could have 20 plus points put on them by the All Blacks. This will however allow Shag to rotate his players which will be a double-edged sword because it will give us an opportunity to see guys like Sam Cane, Victor Vito, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Beauden Barrett start games but go round mentioning the word rotation in New Zealand and you will be frowned upon. I guess that's where I sit with the All Blacks during pool-play because it's going to be fun to watch the rest and rotation balance play out. Other than that, you might as well tune out during pool-play because the All Blacks will stroll through a shit Pool C.
Argentina And Tonga - This is where my interest will sit and on the 4th of October we will see possibly the game of Pool C between Argentina and Tonga. Argentina have the edge here as they are more well-rounded than Tonga but Argentina's ability to serve up utter trash could also be a factor. There's that volatile Latin nature that could see Argentina make rash decisions which could work against them, but I suspect that their volatility will encourage them to try and pull off one of the most epic upsets in World Cup history against the All Blacks.
Both Tonga and Argentina will be physically imposing up front, but the Tongans lack the skill and control of their Samoan rivals. I'm leaning towards Argentina to move into the quarter-finals due to that fact but don't sleep on the game between these two teams because Tonga will sniff an upset and could pull it off.
Namibia And Georgia - These two teams sit solely in the 'let's see how strong World Rugby is' category. So just enjoy watching two rugby minnows playing at a World Cup because the presence of smaller nations is what makes World Cups so damn awesome.
Stay Up To Watch...
Ma'a Nonu (NZ)
Lasha Malaguradze (Geo)
Jacques Burger (Nam)
Nicolas Sahchez (Arg)
Marcelo Bosch (Arg)
David Halaifonua (Tonga)
Mamuka Gorgodze (Geo)