Wales And England Sitting Pretty As The Rest Of The World Scrap It Out

TOULOUSE, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 28: Asaeli Ai Valu of Japan makes a break during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Japan and Samoa at Stadium de Toulouse on September 28, 2023 in Toulouse, France. (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

Wales And England Sitting Pretty As The Rest Of The World Scrap It Out

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By David Williams

Wales and England may have sealed their places in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup, but the other six spots are still up for grabs.

The final pool stage matches of the tournament will be played between Thursday and Sunday with all to play for across the four groups.

Head-to-head records will separate teams who are level on points in the first instance, while if three sides finish even then points difference is used to select the top team, before it reverts to head-to-head for the two remaining nations.

These are the permutations across the pools.


France 13 points, New Zealand 10, Italy 10, Uruguay 5, Namibia 0

It is possible the top three teams finish level, which would favour New Zealand to go through on points difference and Italy to advance past France on head-to-head.

Any sort of win for Italy over France should be enough, unless the latter pick up two bonus points (one for losing by seven points and the other for scoring four tries).

The most likely scenario is New Zealand beat Uruguay on Thursday and finish second, with France defeating Italy a day later to top the pool. A draw would also be good enough for the hosts.


South Africa 15 points, Ireland 14, Scotland 10, Tonga 0, Romania 0

If Scotland beat Ireland by 21 points or more in their final fixture in Paris on Saturday, and the Irish earn a bonus-point, then those two will advance and knock out defending champions South Africa, who have played all their fixtures.

But if Ireland get two points from the game, they will advance as group winners with the Springboks in second.

A win by eight points or more with no Irish bonus point will see Scotland go through on head-to-head and Andy Farrell’s world number one side ousted from the tournament.


Wales 14 points, Australia 11, Fiji 10, Georgia 3, Portugal 2

Wales have already qualified for the quarter-finals and will top the pool even in defeat with a bonus point against Georgia.

Fiji need just a point from their clash with Portugal on Sunday to finish second, which will see Australia, who have played all their matches, exit the World Cup in the pool stages for the first time.


England 14 points, Argentina 9, Japan 9, Samoa 6, Chile 0

England have secured top spot in the pool, leaving a winner-takes-all shootout between Argentina and Japan in Nantes on Sunday for second place.

Argentina have a superior points difference. However, if Japan take a bonus point for four tries scored in a draw, and Argentina do not, they will advance.

Samoa have the slimmest of chances. They must hope for a draw in Nantes, beat England by 29 points or more and gain a bonus point to advance on points difference with all three teams on 11 points.

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