Late Breaking Changes to the Interconnectivity Diagram

I deliberately left the last update as late as I could so that no changes would fall through the cracks.  So, of course, after I post it, I find out that Italy have had to replace Andrea Masi with Michele Visentin.

The diagram now looks like this

Afterfirstroundgroupb

Samoa are still the national team closest to the centre, but the club team closest to the centre is now either Agen or Aurillac.  It’s probably Aurillac but it’s very close.

Italy have now had to replace three of their players, making them the second most affected team at the World Cup.

gerte

Rugby Union World Cup Interconnectivity Diagram After The First Round of Group Games

I’ve swapped out the poor, unfortunate Yoann Huget and Cory Allen for their replacements.  It doesn’t do much to the overall shape of the diagram, with Samoa still the country nearest the middle and either Toulon or Agen the club sides nearest the middle.

Wales are definitely the most injury prone side in this competition so far, with Tyler Morgan the fourth player they have had to call up.

4 Things From The First Round of Rugby World Cup Matches

1 – These Minnows Aren’t As Minnowy As Expected

This is not a complaint.  With the exception of Canada (sorry my Canadian friends), all of the smaller teams turned up and made themselves known.

2 – World Rugby Might Be Useful For Something

I don’t like being nice about the IRB as was, but the improvement in the Tier 2 nations suggests that their plan to improve them might have been a good thing.

3 – I Don’t Think That South African Result Was A Fluke, In Either Direction

Japan have always been a good team, that have lost because of lack of size not lack of skill.  Possibly the new scrum rules are enabling them to use that skill in a way they couldn’t before.  If they can fully recover in time for the Scotland match, that could be interesting.

On the other side, I don’t think that was a South African side playing below their abilities.  Especially when you consider the results in this year’s Four Nations (I am calling it The Rugby Championship over my cold dead body).  Could it be that this South African team have just turned up too old to this World Cup?

4 – South Africa Were Not The Only “Big” Nation To Look A Little Creaky

Sure, they remembered they were the might All Blacks and went on to win, but New Zealand looked very rocky in patches against Argentina.  South Africa had amassed 851 caps before the game, but this is dwarfed by the 1,013 caps the New Zealand starting XV had.  In a sport as physically draining as rugby union, all those games are going to start to tell eventually, even if you’re as deeply professional as New Zealand are about pre- and post-match conditioning and recovery.