Introducing ExpatDadSG, who will be offering contributions to HoR in the near feature including some “8-0-reviews”.
Here’s a piece which first appeared on his own site and which looks ahead to tonight’s triple-header of playoffs in the Pacific Nations Cup.
FYI the matches are due to be streamed live on the World Rugby site from 7pm Irish time.
[content first appeared on http://expatdadsg.com/]
We have the reached the finals with the teams in the expected order but there have been upsets and very close games on the way. Here are my final predictions.
Tonga v Japan - 7pm Monday Irish time
Japan started well but it’s not all gone well in this tournament. Resting players against the USA as they are facing each other in the Rugby World Cup led to a loss. Then we heard noises of discontent in the squad and they lost their last game as well. So they have stumbled into the 3rd/4th playoff game.
Tonga has backed up a good performance against Fiji with two moral boosting wins but they were against the bottom two teams in this competition. Even so I think they have grown with the extra time together and will come out on top in a tight game against Japan.
Tonga by 3
USA v Canada - 10pm Monday Irish time
The USA gained a physiological advantage for later in the year against Japan but a part from that they have struggled against the pacific island sides. For the 5th/6th playoff game they will face a familiar foe in Canada. Canada have lost all their games and are the lowest world ranking side in the competition so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. It was looking like a really poor competition but they started very well against Samoa and pushed them all the way. That gives them something to build on and I think they will take this game.
Canada by 5
FINAL : Fiji v Samoa - 1am Tuesday Irish time
After the epic 30-30 draw that they played out earlier in the competition surely this game can only be an anticlimax? Unless we see a red card I’m expecting this to be a close game and it’s not in either sides DNA to play to keep it tight. So it should be a good game for the neutrals to watch even if it doesn’t live up to that other game.
Samoa did struggle to put away the USA and Canada by the number of points you would expect. I don’t know if they were complacent especially against Canada where they went behind early. Against Fiji, who have been starting games strongly, they will need to come out of the changing rooms at full throttle.
For Fiji their problem has been more about letting teams back into the game later on. As they have already played 3 games and had some big trips in under 3 weeks will fatigue tell? I don’t know if it’s been concentration or fitness that has been the issue but they will need to play the full 80 minutes. Samoa showed in the last game that they will play until the final whistle and I think that will be enough to edge this one.
Samoa by 1
@ExpatDadSG - I’m an expat dad living in Auckland and cover International, European, Aviva Premiership, Super and LV=Cup Rugby
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