Singapore 2017 Predictions

Pool A

After winning Hong Kong, Fiji was given a very weak pool that they should cruise through. Canada is also well-placed to make their fourth-straight quarter-final. Russia will have their best shot at a quarter-final all year and if they manage to pull an upset, may shut the door on Japan in the relegation battle.

Team Pool Win % Quarter-Final %
Fiji 89 % > 99 %
Canada 11 % 86 %
Russia < 1 % 13 %
Hong Kong < 1 % 2 %

Pool B

South Africa and England meet again, their sixth match of the year. Though South Africa is trending down from an incredible start to the season, they are still well-favored to beat England. England and France will meet for the first time this season and England are heavy favorites despite a disappointing end to Hong Kong. France’s defense has been on decline and could get pipped by an improving Japan attack.

Team Pool Win % Quarter-Final %
South Africa 78 % > 99 %
England 22 % 92 %
France < 1 % 8 %
Japan < 1 % < 1 %

Pool C

This is our first chaos pool in quite some time. All teams have reasonable shots at the quarter-finals. Australia may go from third in Hong Kong to the Challenge rounds in Singapore. They were outgained in their big wins and the defensive decline may catch up to them. The pool finish won’t matter too much as those advancing should face either South Africa or England, but a South Africa versus Argentina matchup would be the first of the year.

Team Pool Win % Quarter-Final %
Australia 44 % 73 %
Argentina 34 % 65 %
Kenya 15 % 38 %
Samoa 7 % 24 %

Pool D

I’m looking forward to NZ vs the USA as it always seems to be a tight affair. This matchup will go a long way towards determining the pool winner who should get a favorable quarter-final, likely against Canada. Scotland and Wales have very similar profiles; they make few defensive errors, commit few turnovers, force few turnovers, and make a whole lot of passes. Overall this is the toughest pool and no game is a sure thing.

Team Pool Win % Quarter-Final %
New Zealand 54 % 87 %
USA 38 % 78 %
Scotland 4 % 18 %
Wales 4 % 17 %

Tournament Finish

I’m sure I’ll receive a lot of push back on South Africa’s odds considering their roster is still hampered by injuries and they were demolished in the Hong Kong final. Despite the decline, their hopes are buoyed by what should be a manageable pool and potential quarter-final. Meanwhile Fiji will likely face either New Zealand or the USA in their quarter-final. One additional game against a top team, especially in the knockout rounds, significantly alters a team’s chances for first place.