Rugby World Cup nears knockout stages

Sports writer Aiman Fariz Zaqwan Bin Akmal Hizam discusses recent rugby news.
The fourth round of the World Cup has come to an end, and the competition finds itself on the cusp of the knockout stages. While teams are busy preparing for their upcoming battles on the field, fans are on the edge of their seats as certain teams face dire situations to move on in the competition.
In Group A, Uruguay triumphed in a tight 36-26 match against Namibia, while New Zealand showed no mercy defeating Italy 96-17. France currently tops the group with 13 points, having won all three of their matches. New Zealand and Italy follow in second and third place, respectively, each accumulating 10 points from their performances thus far. Namibia finds itself exiting the tournament pointless after four matches.
France will take on Italy next, and they only need a draw to secure a spot in the quarterfinals, earning themselves two bonus points. Meanwhile, New Zealand is focused on securing a win against Uruguay with a bonus point by scoring four or more tries. As for Uruguay, they must defeat New Zealand with an 80-point difference.
In Group B, no team can breathe a sigh of relief yet. In this match week, Scotland displayed their prowess with a 84-0 victory over Romania, while the reigning champions South Africa reaffirmed their dominance, securing a 49-18 win against Tonga.
The current standings paint an intriguing picture. South Africa leads the group with 15 points, having completed all four matches. Ireland follows closely with 14 points, while Scotland holds the third spot with 10 points.
The final round of matches will witness a fierce showdown between Scotland and Ireland, who will battle to claim a spot in the quarterfinals. Ireland only needs to secure a draw to advance to the knockout stages. Scotland has to gain a victory with at least an eight-point difference to block Ireland from adding a bonus point to their standing record. Surprisingly, even South Africa finds itself not entirely immune to an early exit. The most captivating scenario unfolds if Scotland secures a bonus-point win while Ireland simultaneously earns a bonus point. In this scenario, the margin of victory becomes the deciding factor. If Scotland wins by a margin of one to four points, both Ireland and South Africa will secure their spots in the knockout stages. Yet, should Scotland emerge victorious by six to 19 points, it would be South Africa and Scotland advancing. The ultimate twist arrives if Scotland clinches a victory by 21 points or more, which will push them to the top of the group and secure their progression alongside Ireland.
In Group C, Wales has already cemented their position in the quarterfinals, leaving a fierce battle for the second spot between Fiji and Australia. Fiji secured a hard-fought 17-12 victory over Georgia, setting the stage for an intense competition. Meanwhile, Australia concluded their group-stage matches with a convincing 34-14 win against Portugal.
Australia currently stands in second place with 11 points, while Fiji is close behind with 10 points and a game in hand. Fiji’s upcoming encounter with Portugal in their final group stage match will require at least a draw to ensure their progression to the knockout stages.
In Group D, Japan secured a hard-fought 28-22 victory over Samoa, while Argentina won 59-5 over Chile. England has already stamped their ticket to the next stage, leading the group after their win against Chile. However, three teams are still harboring hopes of progressing further in the tournament.
The upcoming round will witness a crucial clash between Argentina and former host Japan. Both teams currently occupy the second and third positions in the group, each with nine points. Japan needs a win, while Argentina needs at least a draw, as they have a better points difference than Japan. However, Samoa could also qualify for the knockout stages if they can beat England by 29 points or more with a bonus point, and if Japan drew against Argentina.
With the competition now reaching a fever pitch, fans eagerly anticipate the unfolding of these dramatic scenarios in each group and the subsequent revelation of which teams will ascend to the knockout stages.

Post Author: Aiman Akmal Hizam