RWC: Three quarter final places to be decided in three games

Despite the constant and very irritating complaint that the month of pool games has been a total waste of time the final weekend of games does include some fine opportunities for Northern Hemisphere teams to be bowled out. Unfortunately that does include Wales.

So far the Quarter Finals are adorned with the usual suspects of the All Blacks (NZ), Australia and South Africa, all comfortably through ... too comfortably for the All Blacks according to lot of people.

However the following games are not to be missed - the rest you can watch if you're interested but I shan't bother and that might even include the All Black/Romania game (10pm, Saturday) if I am in any way tired.

Pool A: England v Tonga (6:30am, Saturday)
This could be a fairly rough and tumble game with the chance that the current World Cup holders leave before the Quarters. Tonga, however, will have to be on their top game and play for 80 minutes as England have looked just that little bit better each game and despite reports I believe are able to handle the pressure. This will probably be England's game of the competition but won't rank in any future "World Cup 2007 Greatest Moments" DVD.

Mike prediction: England by a comfortable but small margin much to the annoyance of a lot of people.

Pool B: Wales v Fiji (4am, Sunday)
Crickey ... um, hmm ... I think the Welsh boys will have too much skill, crowd noise and guts to let this go past them IF they don't have a shocker of a start (see Australia game). If they can contain the Fijians in the first 20-30 minutes, play their own game and score a few handy tries then this could even be a romp. If.

Mike prediction: Wales by a small something, sighs of relief all round.

Pool D: Ireland v Argentina (4am, Monday)
This has all the potential of being a walk over or the closest game going (barring Canada/Japan) with it being a roller-coaster of a ride. I am glad I'm not a supporter of either side as the stress would do me in ... which doesn't set me up well for the Quarter Finals and beyond.
Argentina will play a solid, consistent and dominating game with the Irish desperately trying to break through the sky-blue defence - if the Irish get some lucky breaks, some touches of actual team work and manage to hold onto the ball then they have a chance.

Mike prediction: Argentina by quite some which will kick off an Irish implosion of tabloid proportions.


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