Journey to Japan - Peter Redman talks the RWC19 draw

Journey to Japan - Peter Redman talks the RWC19 draw

In football, the draws for World Cups are done after the qualifying is done. In rugby, that just wouldn’t be any fun, so we have a draw for RWC2019 where 8 of the 20 teams are unknown!
On Tuesday I wrote this http://rugbyunited.org.uk/content/journey-japan-part-2-draw-peter-redman about my pre-draw feelings, and now the draw has been done I have a feeling of excitement and disappointment.
The excitement that I can soon start planning, tipped by a tinge of disappointment with the draw that England got.
It’s not so much a “Pool of death”, but more that England’s opponents don’t inspire me to do all I can to get tickets, added to the fact the England-premium will be added to the cost.
What this does mean, though, is that like 2015, I’ll be searching for some smaller games which interest me, with a couple of big hitters thrown in.


 
Assuming what I predicted previously for qualifiers goes to plan, these are the sort of games I’ll be looking to:
⦁    In Pool A, Japan are likely to open the tournament against one of the two big European teams. Whether Scotland or Ireland, that will be a fantastic occasion and probably my number one pick.
⦁    Also in Pool A, where the play-off winner could well be Tonga, a matchup between Japan and Tonga would be a lot of fun.
⦁    Finally, in Pool A, the city which hosts Ireland v Scotland will be a lot of fun. And hungover. And drunk dry.
⦁    In Pool B, the big two hitting off will be great but they play each other regularly but what about Namibia, likely to be Africa 1, with a great chance of a win against the Repechage team.
⦁    In Pool C, the involvement of a Pacific Island team (personally hoping for Samoa) would add some spice and a game for them v Argentina could be interesting.
⦁    From an England point of view, I hope Americas 1 are Canada as I’ve never seen England play them!
⦁    My wife is American, so I always look for where they might be – matchups with Pool C or D aren’t great for them as it’s unlikely they’ll beat any of the top 3 seeds, nor a Pacific Islands side. But hey, you never know.
⦁    In Pool D, a clash between Georgia and the Oceania 1 side should make some ground shake.
⦁    Wales’ clashes with those same two sides could be interesting, too. Wales seemed to lose their way during the last 6N and it will be an interesting test versus a Georgian side still angling for a place at Europe’s top table. What price an upset there?

All in all, I reckon I’ve got a good 6-10 top matches I want to go and see. Hopefully, the schedule falls nicely and I can fit them all into a great trip, that will encompass rugby, culture and my family, too!
World Rugby have said they expect to announce the schedule in September, as part of the “two-years-to-go” celebrations.
What does this mean?
For me, it means I’ve got all excited about the draw, I’ve got a plan ready to go… and now I need to wait at least 5 more months!
Thankfully we have qualifying to confuse ourselves and keep ourselves busy. We’re all excited for Sri Lanka v the Philippines this weekend, aren’t we? No? What about Chile v Brazil? No? Just me then…
Here on out, I’ll be blogging every 2/3 weeks with qualifying updates, and anything which I’m planning and plotting, at least until it really starts heating up.