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Rugby World Cup Teams – Pool C
The 2011 Rugby World Cup starts on 9 September until 23 October 2011. The following article outlines the teams that will appear from pool C.
Australia – The Wallabies
Australia are currently second in the IRB World Rankings, they are commonly known as the Wallabies, without doubt they are a team full of history and success. Australia has competed in all six Rugby World Cups, having appeared in the final three times, winning the World Cup on two occasions, in 1991 against England, and in 1999 against France; only South Africa have won the World Cup twice since the inaugural tournament. In the 2007 World Cup Australia exited the competition in the quarter finals, and this significant early round exit has led to many describing it as Australia’s worst ever World Cup performance. The years since then have seen the team rebuild with youth at its core; when the 2011 World Cup starts Australia will be ready with a young and experienced squad. Too many Australians will be potential winners, as they are a team in the southern hemisphere the conditions are favorable, the squad is strong and the crowd support is enough, all factors that the wallabies will feed them. Star player: Matthew Giteau, Head Coach: Robbie Deans
Italy – Azzurri
Italy has competed in all but one Rugby World Cup since the tournament was first held in Australia and New Zealand in 1987; the furthest progress so far is only seen in the quarter finals. In a land of football fandom, rugby still exists in this sports-mad nation; recent strong performances in the Six Nations including Italy’s first competitive win against France have given the Azzurri hope of a very good tournament. In 2011 Six Nations winger Andrea Masi was named player of the tournament, the first time an Italian had won such an award. Italy’s hope of getting out of the group stages depends heavily on getting a result against Ireland or Australia, both on paper with stronger teams that should qualify ahead of them. Having said that the Italian team is going in the right direction, the win against France could be a turning point for the Azzurri and its fans in the end. Star Player: Andrea Masi, Head Coach: Nick Mallett
Russia – The Bears
Russia will compete in their first Rugby World Cup in New Zealand 2011, a long wait for a team that has played the sport since 1936 mainly under the flag of the Soviet Union. However, since March 2010, Russia’s form has improved greatly, coming 18th in the world rankings, above Romania and coming behind the USA. Group C is a very difficult group for Russia to progress from, realistically Russia will aim to beat the United States and not lift the wooden spoon of the group. Like all underdogs the Bears will be an unknown quantity that other teams will do well not to underestimate, something they will hope to take advantage of from kick-off. Star Player: Andrei Ostriko, Head Coach: Nikolay Nerush
United States – The Eagles
The United States has competed in all but one Rugby World Cup since the tournament was first held; only two World cup victories have been marked on this record so far. The United States has a great history of rugby heritage in a country of great sporting diversity but little international success to date. While the US like Russia is a super power, the US rugby team is not, group C will prove extremely difficult for the Eagles to progress from. However, the United States now have players from some of the world’s best leagues, a sign of progression and a growing belief that the Eagles have what it takes to move up a level and start competing against some of the bigger teams established. Star player Chris Wyles, Head coach Eddie O’Sullivan
Ireland – Men in Green
Ireland have competed in every Rugby World Cup since the tournament was first held, progressing to the quarter-finals so far. The 2007 World Cup was one to forget for the Irish, a tough group of death meant that Ireland did not progress from this stage, the first time this had happened to the team. Ireland have since won the 2009 Six Nations Grand Slam, having achieved this feat for the first time since 1948; it’s a huge boost for this rugby mad nation and gives hope of a great World Cup ahead. In current captain Brian O’Driscoll, Ireland’s all-time leader in both tries and appearances, the men in green boast a player who is regarded as one of the best in the world. If the players in the Ireland Rugby shirt click and O’Driscoll stays fit, the Irish should come out of the group stage comfortably; a favorable draw might even see them reach the semi-finals for the first time in their history. Star player Brian O’Driscoll, Head coach Declan Kidney.
The first match of pool C is on 11 September 2011 15:30
Australia v Italy – North Harbor Stadium, Auckland
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