London 2017 Predictions

South Africa has wrapped up the championship but England and Fiji are battling for second. The predictions below weight Hong Kong, Singapore, and Paris more heavily than early tournaments.

Pool A

Is this when the USA gets by South Africa? SA is 6-0 against the Americans but not without some tight encounters. The Blitzboks are back to form, having conceded only seven tries in Paris, while the Eagles struggled defensively with a 36.4% defensive contact failure rate. Kenya looks like they’ve effectively cashed out on 2016-2017 while Wales missed Treharne who may be back for London.

Team Pool Win % Quarter-Final %
South Africa 76 % 95 %
USA 21 % 76 %
Wales 2 % 13 %
Kenya 2 % 16 %

Pool B

Scotland was the surprise of Paris. With George Horne back they have a dynamic playmaker and produced the most meters of any team. Argentina rolled out a young squad who improved quickly and can push for a pool win here. France did a much better job stealing opponent’s possessions and could pull an upset here, especially against a possession heavy Scotland.

Team Pool Win % Quarter-Final %
Scotland 47 % 77 %
Argentina 34 % 70 %
France 18 % 50 %
Russia < 1 % 4 %

Pool C

Oh, Fiji and New Zealand, this will never get old. Fiji’s ill-discipline caught up with them in Paris but they’ll still be slightly favored versus NZ. Canada has the ability to knock NZ out of quarter-finals. Expect a slow game where a break or two by Canada’s big runners could be all they need. Their contact failure rate was the worst of all teams in Paris but fortunately NZ implements a methodical gameplan. Japan need to make the quarter-finals to have a shot at avoiding relegation. That’s a tough proposition.

Team Pool Win % Quarter-Final %
Fiji 55 % 86 %
New Zealand 37 % 82 %
Canada 8 % 31 %
Japan < 1 % < 1 %

Pool D

England have a manageable pool for their home tournament but must also manage their injuries. Mitchell is out and their backup kickers struggle with conversions, but they do get de Carpentier back. Australia had a rough Paris, winning only one of their own kickoffs and having the lowest defensive contact success rate. Samoa improved in Paris but their pool win over Australia was boosted by McNamara’s red card.

Team Pool Win % Quarter-Final %
England 64 % 91 %
Australia 27 % 70 %
Samoa 9 % 38 %
Spain < 1 % < 1 %

Tournament Finish

It’s the usual suspects for tournament favorites with South Africa leading the way. Outside of England likely crossing over with South Africa or the USA, the quarter-finals shouldn’t force a matchup between any of the top teams. This should produce excellent semi-finals and a great final match of the 2016-2017 series.