With the pool stages completed, we got in touch with our old friend Sean Maloney of Rugby HQ to get his take on things thus far.
Maloney is in buoyant mood following the Aussies showing in the pool stages. He instances their mincing of the English scrum late in the Twickenham game as his favourite moment of the tournament thus far, not least because off the Australian scrum's past reputation as the 'laughing stock' of world rugby.
It's three years since now the Tri-Nations became the Rugby Championship. Maloney is well used to seeing the Argentinians in action and is surprised that the bookies have made Ireland such heavy favourites, although he would still rather meet Argentina in the semi-final than Ireland.
Assuming Australia get past Scotland (we are at pains to point out that Sean did not regard this as a formality, although some more uncharitable folk might), Maloney pondered who they'd rather get in the semi-finals and the reason why.
From an Aussie perspective, I would be much more wary of our guys playing your guys in the semi-final. I think we'd have a better shot against Argentina. Because we've had their measure quite often a lot in recent times. And we know their game quite well because we've played them so often in the Rugby Championship. You guys are a different kettle of fish. It would probably be more beneficial from Australia's point of view if Argentina bumped Ireland out... It pains me to say it.
I was surprised when I saw some of the betting markets open this morning, and they had Argentina as fairly long outsiders in that game. I was surprised by that because they've been one of the form teams in the tournament. They pushed New Zealand all the way in that opening game. And they really turned the corner when they clobbered South Africa over in South Africa in that closing game of the Rugby Championship. They're a team who play such great knockout footy, they're so awkward, they've got good set-piece, nothing seems to faze them. So I think they're going to ask some big questions this weekend.
He also lamented Paul O'Connell's injury (at the time of recording it hadn't been confirmed that he was out of the World Cup) and said the great man was a big favourite around his parts.
He is mystified by New Zealand's failure to fire so far and, in common with many southern hemisphere commentators, doesn't rule out the prospect of France coming alive and dumping them out next week, while he fancies the Welsh to run South Africa very close.
Later on, he names his three best players of the tournament so far.
I'd go Pocock. Pocock would be in there, no question. Gorgodze from Georgia was exceptional and then I'll throw in another one I know you guys will love watching, Goromaru, the Japanese full back, who kicked them from all over the shop, was dangerous with every touch, and made that unbelievable try saving tackle against Scotland. He was just exceptional.
And who does he fancy to win the World Cup? Two guesses...
Have a listen below:
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