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Rugby World Cup Teams – Pool C
The 2011 Rugby World Cup runs from 9 September to 23 October 2011. The following article provides an overview of the teams that will feature from Pool C.
Australia – Wallabies
Australia are currently number two in the IRB world rankings, commonly referred to as the Wallabies, they are undoubtedly a team steeped in history and success. Australia has participated in all six Rugby World Cups, appearing in the final three times, winning the World Cup twice, in 1991 against England and in 1999 against France; only South Africa has won the World Cup twice since the inaugural tournament. At the 2007 World Cup, Australia crashed out of the competition at the quarter-final stage, this significant early round exit leading many to label it as Australia’s worst ever World Cup performance. Since then, the team has been rebuilt with youth at its core; at the start of the 2011 World Cup, Australia will be ready with a squad that is young and experienced. Too many Australia will be potential winners as they are a Southern Hemisphere team, the conditions are favourable, the team strong and the crowd support will be plenty, all factors that will fuel the Kangaroos. Star Player: Matthew Giteau, Head Coach: Robbie Deans
Italy – Azzurri
Italy has competed in every Rugby World Cup except one since the tournament was first held in Australia and New Zealand in 1987; so far, the longest progress is only to the quarter-finals. At the heart of football fandom, rugby holds a strong hold in this sports-mad nation; strong recent 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 hopes of progressing from the group stage depend mainly on a result against Ireland or Australia, both stronger teams on paper who should qualify ahead of them. That said, the Italian side are heading in the right direction, a win against France could end up being a watershed moment for the Azzurri and their supporters. Star Player: Andrea Masi, Head Coach: Nick Mallett
Russia – Bears
Russia will take part in their first Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2011, a long wait for a team that has played the sport since 1936 mostly under the USSR flag. Since March 2010, however, Russia’s form has improved significantly, ranking 18th in the world, ahead of Romania and behind the USA. Group C is a very tough group for Russia to progress through, realistically Russia will aim to beat the United States and will not lift the group with a wooden spoon. Like all underdogs, the Bears will be an unknown quantity that other teams will not underestimate, which they will hope to take advantage of when it starts. Star player: Andrei Ostriko, head coach: Nikolay Nerush
United States of America – The Eagles
The United States has participated in all but one Rugby World Cup since the tournament was first held; this record is only marked by two World Cup victories so far. The United States has a fantastic history of rugby heritage in a country of great sporting diversity, but with little international success to date. While the United States, like Russia, is a superpower, the United States rugby team is not, advancing from Group C will be extremely difficult for the Eagles. However, the United States now boasts players from some of the best leagues in the world, a sign of progress and a growing belief that the Eagles have what it takes to step up and compete with some of the more established teams. Star player Chris Wyles, head coach Eddie O’Sullivan
Ireland – Men in Green
Ireland has competed at every Rugby World Cup since the first tournament, only reaching the quarter-finals to date. The 2007 World Cup was one to forget for Ireland, a tough group of death meant that Ireland failed to progress from this stage, a first for the team. Ireland have since won the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2009, achieving the feat for the first time since 1948; it’s a huge boost for this rugby mad nation and gives hope for a great World Cup ahead. In current captain Brian O’Driscoll, who is Ireland’s all-time leader in tries and appearances, the men in green boast a player regarded as one of the best in the world. If the players in an Ireland Rugby shirt click and O’Driscoll stays fit, the Irish should comfortably get out of the group stage; a favorable quarter-final draw may even see them progress to 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 played on September 11, 2011 at 3:30 p.m
Australia vs. Italy – North Harbor Stadium, Auckland
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