RWC 2015: Pool C profile

Nov 7 • General News, International, Sevens World Series, World Rugby • 2032 Views • Comments Off on RWC 2015: Pool C profile

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Given their five-year status as the world’s number one ranked team, New Zealand will probably go into next year’s Rugby World Cup as overwhelming favourites to lift the Webb Ellis Cup and in doing so become the first nation to win the tournament three times.

Both previous victories came on home soil, though, and the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup experience in the northern hemisphere, when it comes to the business end of a tournament in particular, has not exactly been covered in glory.

With a win ratio of 86 per cent, the defending champions share the same tournament record as fellow two-time champions South Africa. They have lost just six of their 43 matches played, but four of those defeats have come in the north: Cardiff, twice, Twickenham and Lansdowne Road, Dublin.

New Zealand’s main challenge in Pool C is expected to come from an Argentina side buoyed by their first-ever Rugby Championship victory.

The Pumas have been slowly rebuilding in an attempt to recapture the heights of their third-place finish of 2007, and the first tangible signs of progress were evident in last month’s historic win over Australia, where a fair proportion of the side had come through the newly-established high performance programme.

Tonga, meanwhile, are in relatively unfamiliar territory. They have never previously played Argentina, Georgia or Namibia at a Rugby World Cup. Having shocked France at the last tournament in New Zealand, the Pacific Islanders will fancy their chances of pushing the Pumas all the way in what is likely to be a scrap for second place.

Georgia head to England with the intention of winning two matches, according to head coach Milton Haig, who is nearing his three-year anniversary in charge of the Lelos, while Namibia would probably settle for one win – something they have yet to achieve in 15 attempts.

NEW ZEALAND

RWC head-to-head record
v Argentina: W 46-15, 1987, W 33-10, 2011
v Tonga: W 45-9, 1999, W 91-7 2003, W 41-10
v Georgia: –
v Namibia: –

Other RWC records
Overall Playing Record: Played 43, W 37, D 0. L 6, PF 2,021, PA 561 Win% 86
Finishing Positions: 1987 Winners, 1991 3rd, 1995 Runners-Up, 1999 4th, 2003 4th, 2007 Quarter-Finals, 2011 Winners
Biggest Winning Margin: 128 (145-17 v Japan, 1995)
Most Capped RWC player: Sean Fitzpatrick 17
Top Points: Grant Fox 170
Top Tries: Jonah Lomu 15

Did You Know? Debutant fly half Simon Culhane’s haul of 45 points in the 1995 rout of Japan is the highest number of points scored by an individual in a single match, while wing Marc Ellis’ six tries in the same match is also a RWC record.

ARGENTINA

RWC head-to-head record
v New Zealand: L 15-46, 1987, L 10-33, 2011
v Tonga: –
v Georgia: W 33-3, 2007, W 25-7, 2011
v Namibia: W 67-14, 2003, W 63-3, 2007

Other RWC records
Overall Playing Record: Played 30, W 15, D 0, L 15, PF 742, PA 605, Win% 50
Finishing Positions: 1987 Pool Stages, 1991 Pool Stages, 1995 Pool Stages, 1999 Quarter-Final, 2003 Pool Stages, 2007 3rd, 2011 Quarter-Final
Biggest Winning Margin: 60 (63-3 v Namibia, 2007)
Most Capped RWC player: Mario Ledesma 18
Top Points: Gonzalo Quesada 135
Top Tries: Pablo Bouza, Ignacio Corleto, Felipe Contepomi, Martin Gaitan 4

Did You Know? Agustin Pichot, who captained Argentina to third place at RWC 2007, is now Director of the Argentina Rugby Union High Performance board as well as an IRB Council member, while long-time half back partner Felipe Contepomi, the most capped Puma of them all and a qualified doctor to boot, continues his involvement in rugby through his work on the IRB’s anti-doping advisory panel.

TONGA

RWC head-to-head record
v New Zealand: L 9-45, 1999, L 7-91 2003, L 10-41
v Argentina: –
v Georgia: –
v Namibia: –

Other RWC records
Overall Playing Record: Played 21, W 6, D 0, L 15, PF 335, PA 731, Win% 29
Finishing Positions: 1987 Pool Stages, 1995 Pool Stages, 1999 Pool Stages, 2003, Pool Stages, 2007 Pool Stages, 2011 Pool Stages
Biggest Winning Margin: 18 (29-11 v Ivory Coast, 1995)
Most Capped RWC player: Suka Hufanga, Kisi Pulu, ‘Ifalemi Taukafa 10
Top Points: Pierre Hola 61
Top Tries: Suka Hufanga 3

Did You Know? USA won’t be the only Eagles at RWC 2015. Tonga’s nickname is ʻIkale Tahi, which, translated, means the Sea Eagles.

GEORGIA

RWC head-to-head record
v New Zealand: –
v Argentina: L 3-33, 2007, L 7-25, 2011
v Tonga: –
v Namibia: W 30-0 v Namibia, 2007

Other RWC records
Overall Playing Record: Played 12, W 2, D 0. L 10, PF 144, PA 401, Win% 17
Finishing Positions: 2003 Pool Stages, 2007 Pool Stages, 2011 Pool Stages
Biggest Winning Margin: 30 (30-0 v Namibia, 2007)
Most capped RWC player: Merab Kvirikashvili 12
Top Points: Merab Kvirikashvili 63
Top Tries: 9 players on one try apiece

Did You Know? Georgia’s head coach Milton Haig will realise a personal dream when the Lelos take on his native New Zealand in Cardiff on 2 October. Haig once coached New Zealand Under 21s and joined the Georgia set-up three years ago from Counties Manukau.

NAMIBIA

RWC head-to-head record
v New Zealand: –
v Argentina: L 14-67, 2003, L 3-63, 2007
v Tonga: –
v Georgia: L 0-30, 2007

Other RWC records
Overall Playing Record: Played 15, W 0, D 0, L 15, PF 144, PA 974, Win% 0
Finishing Positions: 1999 Pool Stages, 2003 Pool Stages, 2007 Pool Stages, 2011 Pool Stages
Biggest Win: –
Most Capped RWC player: Hugo Horn 11
Top Points: Theuns Kotze 24
Top Tries: Lean Van Dyk, Theuns Kotze 2

Did You Know? Of the 20 participants at RWC 2015 Namibia are the only team yet to win a match in the tournament’s history.

Courtesy of IRB

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