Powered By Blogger

Thursday, September 7, 2023

RWC 2023 - Year of the DOG

 Ladies and Gents, it's here. The event we've been waiting for. The Rugby World Cup in France.

Rugby Reddit Internet Scholars (we're talkin' 21st century academia baby) are dubbing this one the year of the UNDERDOGS. Teams that have yet to sniff a RWC Final are predicted to shine and break through the boring traditional mold. Who will be barking and groveling for treats (remember, dog theme) come the knock out rounds in October?

Everyone Knows ... Hungry Dogs Run Faster!

For those that don't know (or choose to conveniently forget, I'm looking at you European Rugby fans), only 4 total teams have hoisted the trophy over the years, with 7 wins going to Southern Hemisphere power houses (South Africa 3x (and reigning champs), New Zealand 3x, and Australia 2x) and a measly 1 win going to England in 2003. France has battled and been ridiculously close (losing in 3 finals), and Ireland .... well Ireland have a QF exit hump bigger than Quasimodo's C3-C4 vertebrae (see meme below).

Is this the year for Irish Fans?

But who are the true UnderDogs of the tourney? 

Argentina - the spicy South Americans have the talent, and a massive bone to chew on for the next 8 weeks. They've been battling Southern Hemisphere teams for the last four years and the intense competition has paid off. The Pumas export the majority of their professional players to France anyways, so it will almost feel like a home tournament ... Right?

Wales - the Rugby Reddit Internet Scholars are pissed that the competition pools are picked 2.5 years in advance. Surely the overlords at World Rugby (lookin at you Billy B) knew that the world rankings would shift as the tournament approached, yet here we are. Wales made the 2019 semi-final back in Japan, but their form going into this years tourney is down. No one expects much from a country that punches well above its population weight in Rugby Union, but perhaps now is the time to back a team with a (relatively) clear path to another semi-final appearance.

Fiji - the flying coconuts seem to be the darling of the tournament. Losing their starting flyhalf Caleb Muntz a mere days before the tourney is set to start is certainly a gut punch, but the men in White & Black can turn a game on its head ... in seconds. Their time as the Fijian Drua in Super Rugby Pacific has shown that if World Rugby invests in Pacific Island Countries, the payoff is mighty. A competitive Fiji has always put up some crazy highlight reel team tries, but this year they're sniffing everyone's butthole they cross (again, we're hammering home the dog theme).

Australia - Eddie Jones may be the biggest shit talking dickhead of a coach that test rugby has ever and will ever see. But it's all forgiven if he can neuter their losing ways (0-5 in the tournament buildup), pin their ears back and become junk yard dogs again. They are by far the youngest team in the tournament (perhaps by design ... Eddie's got a rock solid contract from Rugby Australia and would rather compete with young talent ... win or lose). Can the lifeless Wallabies find their form, or will they piss on the porch with the puppies?

If you want to place a relatively safe future bet on teams that could (and should) win it all, ... go with South Africa, France, New Zealand or Ireland. 

But if you want to play with the UnderDogs (and reap the rewards with huge odds), go with Argentina, Wales, Fiji or Australia.

Until then, Rugby PickEm will be giving you a boots on the ground perspective from France. We'll take in the sights, sounds & smells of this rugby rich country as we travel down the west coast for the opening weekend in Bordeaux.

Until then, remember .... Hungry Dogs Run FASTER!


No comments:

Post a Comment