With the first round of matches in the book, we already have some idea of how some of the groups are going to turn out. Some suspicions were confirmed, and other predictions were smashed into pieces.
With that in mind, we must now turn our attention to the second round where some teams will have short turnarounds, and others will be appearing fresh.
Scotland V Japan
This has suddenly become a huge crunch match in the context of the group. South Africa appear to be collapsing at the seams and Scotland will consequently fancy their chances. This makes the whole group wide open; but Scotland will be unwise to look beyond the Brave Blossoms, which is unlikely to happen given their stunning win against the Boks.
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However, Scotland will be at full strength whilst the Japanese have a cruelly short turn around after the biggest match of their lives. I imagine they will be spent, emotionally and physically, and Scotland should take this one at a canter.
Australia V Fiji
This is another case of team kicking off their campaign against a recently tested side. Given the Welsh injury issues and England's hit and miss form, Australia will want to stamp their authority on the group with a statement-making performance against the Islanders.
Focus will be put on the Australian scrum which will hope to go well against a pack that gave England issues late on.
Whilst Fiji may have plenty of attacking threats, the Aussies have them in spades. I expect the green and gold to put together one of the best performances of the group stages considering they are Southern Hemisphere Champions.
France V Romania
The Romanians are joint worst odds for this tournament at 5000/1. But we've seen bigger underdog stories already this World Cup. Whilst they will be fielding their most experienced team ever, France have too much strength in depth to see this going any way other than for Les Bleus.
New Zealand V Namibia
The All Blacks may be the ones lumped with a quick turnaround, but they are fielding a complete second team that could launch their own legitimate run to the final. They have little to worry about with the likes of Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, and Sonny Bill Williams playing. Unfortunately for Namibia, this could be the highest score of the World Cup, even with the talismanic Jacques Burger at the helm.
Argentina V Georgia
This is a clash of two enormous packs with one nation just slightly ahead of the curve than the other. Georgia have a lot going for them to make this a contest: they are the long reigning champions of Europe's second tier, they have superstar names dotted in their lineup, and they just beat a formidable Tongan side.
On the other side, Argentina put everything into their effort against the All Blacks less than a week ago. This might be a good candidate for an upset, but the Pumas will be fully motivated in a group that is certainly escapable.
Italy V Canada
Both these sides will be disappointed with their first outings and will be looking to impress here. This is a match they will both be looking to win, and that in itself makes this an intriguing match for spectators.
The Italian pedigree may be too much for the plucky Canadians, but they will be looking to bounce back after a trouncing from the Irish. Neither of these teams look poised to push for second place, but this will be one of the more competitive games of the round.
South Africa V Samoa
Who can predict this one? This depends largely on what South African side turns up on Saturday.
If they are tentative then Samoa have more than enough top flight stars with the experience to make them pay. But if Bismarck Du Plessis and Francois Louw are turning over ball, and De Jager gets on a charge, things could open up for whichever Fly Half they select to unleash their backline firepower.
Every game is now a must-win for South Africa, and it's hard to see anything other than a thunderous come back from their worst loss ever.
England V Wales
This is probably the biggest crunch game of the round between two teams with high expectations in the tournament.
All eyes will be Wales' injury cover who all need to step up to the mark. The battle of the front row will be crucial and both sides have been below par for various reasons in that department. Chris Robshaw will have his work cut out to secure ball from the energetic Justin Tipuric, and there is still plenty of power of pace in the Welsh back division.
However, a slightly more settled England will be confident at home of making a huge step towards making it out of the group. I expect England to win this, but the manner in which they do will be of great interest to the rest of the competing nations.
Australia V Uruguay
Uruguay had an impressive opening few minutes against the Welsh, and Australia will be having their second match in four days. But realistically, this is only going one way. This would be an even bigger shock than the Japan result. Don't count on it.
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