THE FINAL PREPARATIONS HAVE FINISHED AND THE RUGBY WORLD CUP IS LESS THAN TWO WEEKS AWAY. HERE’S A LOOK AT HOW OUR INTERNATIONAL SHARKS AND THEIR HOME COUNTRIES LOOK AHEAD OF THE 2019 TOURNAMENT.
England – Tom Curry, Mark Wilson.
Curry and Wilson have both featured in what has been a successful run of pre-World Cup fixtures with England, with wins against Italy & Ireland, and a win and defeat against Wales.
Tom has been a consistent figure in Eddie Jones’ sides at flanker, playing in 3 out of the 4 fixtures, and hasn’t seen defeat in the warm-ups with England’s only defeat against Wales being the one fixture he wasn’t a part of.
Mark Wilson however has only started in one of England’s friendlies – the most recent victory over Italy at St. James’ Park. Despite being his first start, Wilson looked right at home in the number 7 shirt for England, putting in a man of the match performance with 1 Try, 27 Tackles & 7 Carries. It will be hard to look past the new Sale signing for selection in a couple of weeks time.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) September 6, 2019
England 33-19 Wales – 11 August (W)
Wales 13-6 England – 17 August (L)
England 57-17 Ireland – 24 August (W)
England 37-0 Italy – 6 September (W)
Rugby World Cup 2019 Opening Fixture: England v Tonga – Sunday 22 September
South Africa, Springboks – Faf De Klerk, Lood De Jager.
Eddie Rasmus’ Springboks remain undefeated in their warm-up for the 2019 World Cup. Their only scare in their friendlies came against New Zealand, where after trailing to the All Blacks, a heroic fightback saw them earn a hard-fought draw. A double over Argentina and a significant win over Japan on the 2019 host’s turf has given the Springbok’s a solid foundation to take into their opening World Cup fixture against New Zealand (Sat 21 September).
Well done guys!! Congratulations on a splendid victory and successful campaign. pic.twitter.com/eYYWf4Xiq6
— Springboks (@Springboks) August 10, 2019
Faf has featured in 3 of the past 4 Springbok’s fixtures, including a significant win over Argentina to clinch South Africa’s first Rugby Championship in 10 years. Although Faf hasn’t score any tries in the warm-ups, his explosive off-the-mark acceleration and impressive defensive work hasn’t gone unnoticed on the International stage and could prove to be the edge South Africa need in this year’s World Cup.
We have yet to see Lood De Jager in a Sale Sharks shirt, but the second row giant is already becoming a fan favourite. This sentiment is obviously mirrored by Eddie Rasmus as he’s picked De Jager despite a lengthy spell on the sidelines of the Super Rugby season through injury. He’s only played in one of the pre-World cup warmups for the Springbok’s against Argentina, and there will be a lot of Sharks fans eager to get a first-look at Sale’s new second rower.
Japan 7-41 South Africa – 6 September (W)
South Africa 24-18 Argentina – 17 August (W)
Argentina 13-46 South Africa – 10 August (W)
New Zealand 16-16 South Africa – 27 July (D)
Rugby World Cup 2019 Opening Fixture: New Zealand v South Africa – Saturday 21 September
Russia – Valery Morozov
Russia face Japan in the opening match of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, in what will be their second-ever appearance in the competition after the 2011 tournament (last qualifying under Steve Diamond’s leadership!)
65. Referee Clancy robs the VTB Arena of a classic 40-metre Morozov try! (Ok, it was a VERY “flat” pass, but when it’s a front rower in those open spaces, benefit of the doubt, sir!). That’s the Sale man’s last action of the match as #CON get possession back 14-21 #RUSvCON
— Rugby Union Russia (@russiarugby) September 7, 2019
Morozov has started all of Russia’s previous 4 summer fixtures as the side’s loosehead prop. Although Russia have only registered 1 win in the last 4, they have put in some promising performances against some of the tournament’s tougher sides leading up to the 2019 World Cup. Valery was denied what would surely be the highlight of Russia’s friendlies, with a 40-metre try on the scoreboard ruled out by the referee. However, it’s not the first time Valery has covered ground for glory, check out this video of him powering through 80 metres to get over the whitewash!
Russia 14-42 Connacht – 7 September (L)
Italy 85-15 Russia – 17 August (L)
Canada 20-43 Russia – 16 June (W)
USA 62-13 Russia – 9 June (L)
Rugby World Cup 2019 Opening Fixture: Japan v Russia – Friday 20 September
USA – AJ MacGinty.
The USA’s build up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup has mainly revolved round the Pacific Nations Cup – in which they just lost out to the 2019 Tournament hosts, Japan. But the Eagles bounced back in their final friendly match before the World Cup, with a motivational 20-15 win over Canada which saw them move up a place in the World Rankings to 13.
AJ MacGinty started all 3 of USA’s Pacific Nations Cup games, and stole the show against Samoa when he scored all of USA’s 13 points, winning the game with a fulltime penalty kick, showing that composure we’ve grown accustomed to at Sale. USA have been referred to as the ‘sleeping giant’ heading into Japan, and with MacGinty’s pinpoint boot in your ranks, anything is possible.
HE’S DONE IT!!!! MATCH WINNER by @Aj_MacGinty !!!!!
— USA Rugby (@USARugby) August 3, 2019
USA 20-15 Canada – 7 September (W)
USA 20-34 Japan – 10 August (L)
USA 13-10 Samoa – 3 August (W)
USA 47-19 Canada – 27 July (W)
Rugby World Cup 2019 Opening Fixture: England v USA – Thursday 26 September