Will Cook writes for the University of Nottingham’s Impact:
New Zealand, France, Tonga, Canada, Japan.
This pool is all about the hosts and favourites, New Zealand and their perennial saboteurs, France. The All Blacks are clear favourites for the title, despite their latter displays in the Tri Nations. The question still remains though as to whether New Zealand can perform well when in a tight game, something they have failed to do so on previous occasions, most notably against France in Cardiff four years ago. A problem exacerbated in front of an expectant home crowd.
France meanwhile, must overcome their chronic inconsistency- on their day they are world beaters, but lose to New Zealand in the pool stage and they are likely to face England in the Quarter-finals…
Favourites: New Zealand.
Look for an upset from Tonga.
Full article here.
And Ben Tyson gives his perspective for the University of Exeter’s X Media Online:
With New Zealand vs. Tonga kicking off bright and early on Friday morning followed by six solid weeks of rugby, here is your Pool guide to the Rugby World Cup 2011, who to look out for, and what the experts think.
New Zealand, France, Tonga, Canada, Japan
As strong favourites for the tournament, the All Black juggernaut s a very hard one to stop when in full-stride. With Richie McCaw and Dan Carter at the helm, a great mixture of youth and experience, the home advantage and the haunting memories of 2007, you just know the Kiwis will give everything. In France and Tonga, however, they will face opponents unwilling to roll over, and hunting for a tournament-defining upset. The French under Marc Lievremont can produce brilliant displays of attacking rugby if they get the possession from their forwards, and the Tongans will relish ruffling the feathers of any “big” side (as they did with South Africa in 2007, narrowly losing 25-20).
Full story here.