Quick links: Rugby Video | Six Nations Rugby | Premiership Rugby | LV= Cup | Rugby Championship | Heineken Cup Rugby | Pro 12 Rugby | Super Rugby | Currie Cup Rugby | Rugby World Cup
 
 
 
 

Rugby World cup 2011 Pools

Rugby World Cup Pools Overview - Pool A | Pool B | Pool C | Pool D

A glance at the teams competing in the 2011 Rugby World Cup which runs from September 9 to October 23 - Pool C.

Pool C

Australia

IRB ranking (as of Aug 15): 2

World Cup appearances (inc 2011): 7

World Cup best: Winners 1991, 1999

Anyone doubting Australia's credentials needs only to look back at one night in Paris last November when the Wallabies carved up France's best with one of the finest second half displays of rugby that anyone will ever see. Running from deep and at all angles, it was merry mayhem as Drew Mitchell ran in a hat-trick and the Aussies posted 46 points after the break. A slip-up at home to Samoa in July may have been the reminder they needed that they cannot take anyone for granted. On their day, the two-time winners can be awesome and they will rightly go into the tournament as one of the hot favourites with skipper Rocky Elsom looking to emulate the deeds of Nick Farr-Jones and John Eales in lifting the Webb Ellis Cup.

Ireland

IRB ranking: 4

World Cup appearances (inc 2011): 7

World Cup best: Quarter-finals 1987, 1991, 1995, 2003

Perennial underachievers at the World Cup, Ireland's finest moment came in 1991 when Gordon Hamilton's late try almost - but not quite - knocked out Australia, the eventual winners. Since then anxiety seems to have got the better of them, never more so than in 2007 when a side which had just won the Triple Crown struggled to beat Georgia and Namibia and then lost heavily to France and Argentina. They have grown up since then, winning their first Grand Slam in 61 years in 2009 and showing in performances like the 24-8 drilling of England in Dublin in March that they can still play a passionate, high intensity game. Brian O'Driscoll remains the flag bearer for Irish rugby but it is hard see him planting it atop the World Cup summit come October 23.

Italy

IRB ranking: 11

World Cup appearances: 7

World Cup best: Pool stages

The Italians, who have yet to get past the pool stages in seven previous World Cups, have had an odd buildup to New Zealand. They secure the services of one of the most successful coaches in the history of the game who then provides them with an historic first win in the Six Nations over France. The Azzuri still end up with the wooden spoon prompting the federation to axe the coach. Fortunately, Nick Mallett's departure will come after the World Cup and there is no doubt that they are greedily eyeing a first appearance in the last eight. "Our game against Ireland is the last match of the group. Even if we lose to Australia we have the potential to qualify if we beat Ireland," said captain Sergio Parisse. Italy have real talent and they have a canny coach. They could indeed be a surprise quarter-finalist.

Russia

IRB ranking: 19

World Cup appearances: 1

World Cup best: Qualifying 2011

Before writing off Russia as the whipping boys of Group C, it is important to remember that they have already notched up a victory over mighty Australia. Admittedly it was in a sevens tournament in 2006 but it shows that the potential is there in years to come. A 75-3 defeat by Japan last November hardly bodes well but they travelled to England in June for the Churchill Cup where an understrength side was only narrowly beaten by Canada and Italy A. The seeds are certainly being planted. Full-back Vasili Artemiev - an Ireland Under-19 international - has joined Northampton and lock Andrei Ostrikov will be at Sale, the former home of their Welsh team director Kingsley Jones. The potential is there but don't expect too much from Russia's debut on the biggest stage.

USA

IRB ranking: 17

World Cup appearances: 6

World Cup best: Pool stages

Painful to say but the Eagles are in New Zealand to make up the numbers. They will fancy their chances against the Russians but they have done little to suggest over recent years that they will give Australia, Ireland or Italy a real run for their money. Coach Eddie O'Sullivan, who was in charge of Ireland's disastrous 2007 campaign will enjoy locking horns with his former charges and people will pay good money to watch Takudzwa Ngwenya stretching his legs on the wing - the Biarritz flyer produced the try of the 2007 World Cup when he skinned South African speedster Bryan Habana. But the Eagles will struggle once more to escape the shadow of the country's other code of football which will be opening for the new season at the same time as the rugby starts.

 

 
 
Rugby Week Sponsor
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
Rugby World Cup Video Highlights