Rugby World Cup - Team by Team Guide
PA Sport
August 10, 2007

Check out PA SPort's team by team guide ahead of this year's Rugby World Cup in France.

ENGLAND
Coach: B Ashton
Key player: J Wilkinson
Past record: 2003 - Winners, 1999 - Quarter-finalists, 1995 - Fourth place,
1991 - Runners-up, 1987 - Quarter-finalists.
Verdict: Will do well to reach the semi-finals.

SCOTLAND
Coach: F Hadden
Key player: S Taylor
Past record: 2003 - Quarter-finalists, 1999 - Quarter-finalists, 1995 -
Quarter-finalists, 1991 - Fourth place, 1987 - Quarter-finalists.
Verdict: Another quarter-final exit beckons.

WALES
Coach: G Jenkins
Key player: J Hook
Past record: 2003 - Quarter-finalists, 1999 - Quarter-finalists, 1995 - Pool
stage, 1991 - Pool stage, 1987 - Third Place.
Verdict: Quarter-finals is both the least and most they can hope for.

IRELAND
Coach: E O'Sullivan
Key player: B O'Driscoll
Past record: 2003 - Quarter-finalists, 1999 - Second round play-off, 1995 -
Quarter-finalists, 1991 - Quarter-finalists, 1987 - Quarter-finalists.
Verdict: Dark horses. Could reach the final.

FRANCE
Coach: B Laporte
Key player: F Michalak
Past record: 2003 - Fourth place, 1999 - Runners-up, 1995 - Third place, 1991
- Quarter-finalists, 1987 - Runners-up.
Verdict: Semi-finals at least. Potential champions.

ITALY
Coach: P Berbizier
Key player: Mauro Bergamasco
Past record: 2003 - Pool stage, 1999 - Pool stage, 1995 - Pool stage, 1991 -
Pool stage, 1987 - Pool stage.
Verdict: Competing with Scotland for quarter-final berth.

NEW ZEALAND
Coach: G Henry
Key player: D Carter
Past record: 2003 - Third place, 1999 - Fourth place, 1995 - Runners-up, 1991
- Third place, 1987 - Winners.
Verdict: Overwhelming favourites. Stronger than ever.

AUSTRALIA
Coach: J Connolly
Key player: S Larkham
Past record: 2003 - Runners-up, 1999 - Winners, 1995 - Quarter-finalists, 1991
- Winners, 1987 - Fourth place.
Verdict: Semi-finals should be their minimum aim.

SOUTH AFRICA
Coach: J White
Key player: B Habana
Past record: 2003 - Quarter-finalists, 1999 - Third place, 1995 - Winners,
1991 - Did not play, 1987 - Did not play.
Verdict: Semi-finals at least. Potential champions.

ARGENTINA
Coach: M Loffreda
Key player: F Contepomi
Past record: 2003 - Pool stage, 1999 - Quarter-finalists, 1995 - Pool stage,
1991 - Pool stage, 1987 - Pool stage.
Verdict: Competing with Ireland for quarter-final spot.

FIJI
Coach: I Tabua
Key player: S Rabeni
Past record: 2003 - Pool stage, 1999 - Second round play-offs, 1995 - Did not
qualify, 1991 - Pool stage, 1987 - Quarter-finalists.
Verdict: Exciting but brittle. Could finish third in pool.

SAMOA
Coach: M Jones
Key player: Alesana Tuilagi
Past record: 2003 - Pool stage, 1999 - Second round play-offs, 1995 -
Quarter-finalists, 1991 - Quarter-finalists, 1987 - Did not play.
Verdict: Physical but limited. Competing with Tonga for third in pool.

TONGA
Coach: Q Fielea
Key player: F Lilo
Past record: 2003 - Pool stage, 1999 - Pool stage, 1995 - Pool stage, 1991 -
Did not qualify, 1987 - Pool stage.
Verdict: Similar to Samoa but not in the same class.

CANADA
Coach: R Suggitt
Key player: M Williams
Past record: 2003 - Pool stage, 1999 - Pool stage, 1995 - Pool stage, 1991 -
Quarter-finalists, 1987 - Pool stage.
Verdict: Victory over Japan is the limit of their ambition.

JAPAN
Coach: J Kirwan
Key player: T Miuchi
Past record: 2003 - Pool stage, 1999 - Pool stage, 1995 - Pool stage, 1991 -
Pool stage, 1987 - Pool stage.
Verdict: Canada clash will be their final.

ROMANIA
Coach: D Santamans
Key player: P Balan
Past record: 2003 - Pool stage, 1999 - Pool stage, 1995 - Pool stage, 1991 -
Pool stage, 1987 - Pool stage.
Verdict: Will aim to finish above Portugal in pool.

UNITED STATES
Coach: P Thorburn
Key player: M Hercus
Past record: 2003 - Pool stage, 1999 - Pool stage, 1995 - Did not qualify,
1991 - Pool stage, 1987 - Pool stage.
Verdict: Anything less than four pool defeats will be a massive achievement.

NAMIBIA
Coach: H Husselman
Key player: K Lensing
Past record: 2003 - Pool stage, 1999 - Pool stage, 1995 - Did not qualify,
1991 - Did not play, 1987 - Did not play.
Verdict: Chance of first ever World Cup win against Georgia.

GEORGIA
Coach: M Cheishvili
Key player: D Zirakashvili
Past record: 2003 - Pool stage, 1999 - Did not qualify, 1995 - Did not
qualify, 1991 - Did not play, 1987 - Did not play.
Verdict: Will view Namibia as their opportunity for a first ever World Cup
victory.

PORTUGAL
Coach: T Morais
Key player: D Mateus
Past record: 2003 - Did not qualify, 1999 - Did not qualify, 1995 - Did not
qualify, 1991 - Did not qualify, 1987 - Did not play.
Verdict: Will need a minor miracle to win a game.

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