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The past RWC provided disappointing outcomes for many teams. For some, expectations were high for quarter and semi final advancement with hopes for a place in the finals. For squads with less lofty ambitions, two or three pool wins would have constituted success.
Here is an arbitrary list ranking the nations by discontent.
Disappointing Results (11)
1.Ireland - The Irish had never made it to the semifinals in the past world cups. The team won the 2014 Six Nations championship albeit on points differential. Last autumn, they defeated Australia 26-23 and South Africa 29-15 in Dublin. They marched through Pool D play 4-0. Then, they met Argentina in the quarterfinals, giving up a quick 14 points in ten minutes. The Irish narrowed the deficit to 23-20 in the second half before Los Pumas rolled up 20 more points to humiliate Ireland 43-20. It's on to "Wait 'til next cup."
2.England - Toughest RWC pool with Wales and Australia but playing in front of the hometown crowd. Led Wales by ten points and lost. The Red Roses never recovered and Australia hammered them out of the tournament. First time the hosts never advanced in world cup competition. A national rugby malaise hangs over the nation that gifted rugby to the world.
3.France - Okay, not the best French team in years. And, historically, the menace to the All Blacks in world cup matches. Went 3-1 in the pool, and advanced to the next round. Result: New Zealand 62 - Les Bleus 13, a significant rout that demonstrated the disparity in team capabilities.
4.Tonga - Most thought Tonga had a good chance to win two games in a pool. However, Georgia proved to be the Pool's C Cinderella fifteen beating Tonga 17-10, and the Europeans ended 2-2.
5.Samoa - In Pool B, the prediction was that the Samoans would beat Japan and the USA, and, perhaps contend with a weak Scotland squad for an upset third victory. Instead, the Japanese won, as did the Scots, leaving Samoa to beat the USA for its only victory.
6.Fiji - Played in the most difficult pool, and other than a thumping by England 33-11 in the opener, did not disgrace themselves against Wales and Australia. A win against a top tier nation eluded them again.
7.Canada - Did not have a good Pacific Nations tournament. Confident they could beat Romania and went ahead by 15-0 in the second half. But Romania came back to win 17-15 and send the Canadians to 0-4.
8.USA - The Eagles had been 0-4 in past RWCs. They beat Japan and Canada in the Pacific Nations Cup so expectations were up. Led Scotland at the half and lost. Then the disappointing whitewash against South Africa, the only shutout of the event. A 0-4 result again and questions about the progress of rugby in America.
9.Uruguay - Entered in the most difficult pool and beaten by big margins against the four, first ten seeds. Managed two tries in the tournament, a small consolation.
10.Namibia - The last nation to qualify. But had close games, only losing to Tonga by a point. For a small nation it was a welcome victory even with a 0-4 outcome.
11.Italy - Won two and lost two. Lost to France and Ireland whom they play in the Six Nations Championship and beat Canada and Romania. Still remain a midland fifteen that needs to improve.