Anticipation is building ahead of the next installment of matches at the Rugby World Cup.
Among the three to be played on Wednesday and Thursday is the tournament’s opening game for Australia.
The Wallabies will take on Fiji at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and it’s shaping up as a family affair with cousins Tevita Kuridrani and Nemani Nadolo on opposite sides of the kickoff.
With Nadolo on the wing for Fiji and Kuridrani one of the key players in Australia’s backline, there is high expectation that both of these two will have an impact on the game.
Despite Australia’s high world ranking and the favouritism with which it enters this contest, Fiji should not be underestimated given its reputation and the performance of its fellow Tier 2 nation Japan on the weekend.
It could even be said that in this particular ‘David and Goliath’ battle there is a much stronger chance of the Pacific champions taking the points, as the difference in physicality is not as marked as with Japan and the Springboks.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has fuelled anticipation for the match with his team selection including the pairing of David Pocock and Michael Hooper plus several World Cup debutantes.
So it remains to be seen if Fiji can stem the tide of Australian expectation and stake a claim of its own to the higher ground or if Michael Cheika’s men have the makings of a new era in Australian rugby as the experts and fans alike are hoping for.
Of course while more upsets, the likes of Japan over South Africa, are not out of the equation, they are unlikely.
Scotland must battle the ‘giant killing’ Blossoms and, given the wave of euphoria following Japan’s opening match, the Scots may be in for a battle of Braveheart proportions.
Romania takes on France in the final match of the day, and will also find this a task which may be beyond it, although the captain Mihai Macovei says his team will not be taking a backward step. This will be the 50th meeting between these two but the teams have not actually played each other for nine years.
In Pool C however, there would seem little chance of a surprise result given the current title holders and the world’s top ranked nation has only to battle with three minnow nations and fellow Rugby Championship opponent Argentina, the latter of which may cause some angst.
Namibia played at both the 2007 and 2011 World Cups and has named a team not without experience. But given it is not even a Tier 2 nation but a Development (Tier 3) nation, it will find the going tough against the might of New Zealand -- albeit a new look All Blacks team -- on Thursday night at Olympic Stadium in London.
Whatever the results, fans will be hoping that the standard and spirit of play equals that witnessed over the opening weekend.Suggest a correction