Ireland are no pushovers and one expects them to arrive in New Zealand full of vigour and determination to pull off a historic win. This rings true with all 3 SANZAR teams. How will the players handle the quick transition from Super Rugby into the international arena? New Zealand are expected to do this quite comfortably. They are no certainties to win easily but they will win.
Prediction: New Zealand will win but by no big margin.
M2: Australia v Wales
Well we saw what a dire performance Australia gave against Scotland on Tuesday. What an absolute disgrace and Robbie Deans has transformed a dangerous team into a laughing stock after one match. They had 90% possession. I’m sorry but that is unforgivable. Granted the game came three days after Super Rugby but to play like that, and lose to Scotland is not good enough. This is the Grand Slam champions this time. The Aussies will battle.
Prediction: Wales to send Australia further into trouble.
M3: South Africa v England
Heyneke Meyer and his merry men have plenty to prove. Much has been made of his interesting choices but what has been done has been done and it is time for the players to do the talking on the field. It’s amazing how a mere week ago before the squad was named that everybody was saying England will suffer a whitewash defeat. Now many are changing their tunes. I’m not. Any decent Bok team is good enough to beat England.
Prediction: It may not be pretty but Boks to win.
M4: Argentina v Italy
This arguably starts the most important era for Argentina because of their participation in the new Four-Nations Tournament. They should be too good for Italy who are struggling.
Prediction: Argentina by more than 12.
M5: Fiji v Samoa
At the World Cup Samoa beat Fiji 27-7. This competition has been open to date with both teams unbeaten. Fiji have been slightly better and an open contest is expected.
Prediction: Leaning towards Samoa.