Diagram Update and Four More Things To Think About From The Group Stages

Afterthirdroundgroup

The Italian team had to sub out two more players, making them almost as injury-prone as Wales.  Samoa are still the central national team, with Agen the central club team.
I stand by what I said in the last 4 Things post despite South Africa’s recovery.  Because Japan really are that good and Samoa are being inexplicably bad.
1 – I discovered I care more about Fiji missing out on automatic qualification than about England going out.
It strikes me as unfair that an improving Fiji team (who have been awesome) are going to have a harder time qualifying for the next World Cup because the IRB are incompetent.
2 – England, and the English press, are living down to expectations now they’re out
In particular, blaming someone who wasn’t even on the pitch for either of the collapsing parts of the Wales and Australia games.  I don’t like being right about them turning on Sam Burgess but I said this was going to happen.
3 – Ireland’s fixture list is probably as good as it could have been 
Their match order has been Canada, Romania, Italy and then France, easiest to hardest, giving them a chance to work their way into the competition.  Given the Italy game, this is probably a good thing, since they need to beat France to avoid New Zealand.  Avoiding New Zealand is important.
4 – The turn-around time for the minor nations really is ridiculous.
Poor Uruguay, who are made up mostly of amateurs, had to face Fiji on Tuesday, and then have to play England on Saturday.  That’s 4 days.  It’s like they’re trying to make it more difficult for the smaller teams.
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