In Pool B the Americas 2 qualifier will face South Africa, Samoa, Scotland and Asia 1, likely Japan. In theory wins over Samoa and the Asian qualifier can therefore be said to be more realistic that the task facing Canada. But, perhaps it is not such a difference after all. With the exception of Canada the Pool D participants are to be entirely European. France, Ireland and Italy all pre-qualified based on their performances in New Zealand 2011 while the Europe 2 qualifier, likely Romania, will join them. In November, despite losing against Fiji, Romania showed tremendous improvement to defeat Tonga and Canada while Georgia defeated Canada and Samoa but lost against the USA.
Italy, on the other hand, is a different example altogether. The Italian side was disappointing in 2013 as despite defeating both France and Ireland in the Six Nations in Rome the central Europeans were poor thereafter in losing the eight of the nine other tests. The one victory in November came against Fiji and it show cased everything that it wrong with Italian rugby - too many veteran players and a lack of quality backs with wing being of grave concern. Rugby World Cup 2015 rivals Canada, in contrast, are enjoying success in the same position as a result of Rugby Sevens and a greatly improved domestic tournament in recent years. During the 2012 test between the countries in Toronto the host nation had the better of play in the backs but was unable to withstand the power of the Italian pack.
2013 showcased an improved pack and for Rugby World Cup 2015 the signs are that Canada will have its best forward pack at Rugby World Cups since 1999. Jamie Cudmore and Jebb Sinclair have being joined by Tyler Ardron at the top level in Europe while Jason Marshall and Hubert Buydens are both professional props while another professional, back-rower Aaron Carpenter is a strong chance at moving to hooker. With there being other established and respected forwards Italy is going to face a much improved Canadian pack in 2015. Also improved is the backline, with the wingers being particularly of note and there being sufficient reason to suggest that Canada has better stock and supply than Italy outwide. The leading five Italian players in contention to be starting wingers against Canada at Rugby World Cup 2015 are arguably Tommasco Benvenuti, Tommaso Iannone, Leonardo Sarto, Giovanbattista Venditti and Luke McLean.
|DTH van der Merwe breaks clear|
against Japan in RWC 2011
|Hassler scores for the Ospreys|
|Phil Mackenzie scored the match |
winner against Tonga in RWC 2011