Saturday, June 28, 2014

Rugby World Cup 2015: Argentina's African Opponent Remains Unknown

twendeporini-kenya-sevens-rugby-team
Photo Deste Abajo Rugby
Qualifying matches for Rugby World Cup 2015 took place earlier today in Oceania and Africa, removing one of the remaining three vacant places for the tournament and casting doubt on who will claim the final regional spot. Countries set to face Argentina, and possibly Uruguay, were involved in games at Churchill Park in Lautoka, Fiji and Mahamasina Stadium in Antananarivo, Madagascar. In the process the eighteenth of twenty countries was confirmed for England 2015 and the confirmation of the nineteenth participant is now also close to being confirmed. Argentine referee Francisco Pastrana was an assistant for both matches in Madagascar. 


Fiji confirmed itself as Oceania 1 by defeating the Cook Islands 108-6. The result means Fiji will play in the opening fixture of Rugby World Cup 2015 against England at the home of English rugby, Twickenham. It will, however, also play at the home of Welsh rugby, the Millennium Stadium and also take on the Wallabies.

The quality of teams awaiting Fiji is arguably greater than in any previous Rugby World Cup. Fiji will be up against three Tier One sides and have an unfriendly match schedule. In addition to playing in London and Cardiff the Fijians are to be the first team in the pool to play all four pool matches. The schedule given to Fiji is such that it will rest periods of just four days between firstly facing England and Australia and secondly the Play-Off Winner and England. 

Fiji could be joined by Uruguay as the Final Place Play-Off Winner. Uruguay will take-on Hong Kong and, if successful, advance to the Final Place Play-Off against the winner of Russia v Africa 2. The team to be Africa 2 remains uncertain after a day of shock upset results in Antananarivo in which the four time Rugby World Cup participants, Namibia, and the host nation were both defeated.

In theory Africa 2 ought to be Madagascar with Namibia being Africa 1 but this possibility appears to be distant after the first of three rounds of the Division 1A final of the Africa Cup were completed earlier today in Madagascar. In the opening of two matches Kenya completed a come from behind victory to topple Namibia 29-22 while Zimbabwe was far too strong in defeating Madagascar 57-22.

The results do not mean elimination for either Namibia or Madagascar but they do mean that both need to win their two remaining fixtures and also need to hope that either or both or Kenya and Zimbabwe do not win again. The second round is to be played on Wednesday with Namibia v Zimbabwe being following by Madagascar v Kenya. Round three will then take place on Sunday July 6 with Madagascar v Namibia and Kenya v Zimbabwe. 

The runner-up will be the side which faces Russia in repercharge while the winner will be confirmed as Africa 1 and qualify directly for Rugby World Cup 2015 as in Pool C. That team is to face New Zealand, Tonga, Georgia and Argentina and also have a less than ideal match schedule which will require matches against the All Blacks and Tonga with just a four day turn-around followed by matches against Georgia and Argentina  with a similar lack of adequate rest days.

1
Zimbabwe
5
2
Kenya
5
3
Namibia
1
4
Madagascar
0

2 comments:

  1. this article is very misleading. Zimbabwe won 57-22 not 37 -22. again

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ''In the opening of two matches Kenya completed a come from behind victory to topple Namibia 29-22 while Zimbabwe was far too strong in defeating Madagascar 57-22.''

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