RWC 2019 - September Update

September 22 2019

RWC 2019 Japan

Italy and Namibia: What We Learned About Canada's Pool Opponents After First Match

Canada are in a pool with NZ, SA, Italy and Namibia. There's no point analyzing NZ or SA, they're at a different level and the result is almost a foregone conclusion, the only hope is Canada stays in the matches and makes them competitive. The Italy game is a more attainable goal. The bookies had Italy as +22 handicap but how have the bookies been stacking up so far? They had the following odds (actual result in brackets) Japan +39 (+20), Australia +16 (+18), France +1 (+2), NZ +6 (+10), Italy +30 (+25), Ireland +8 (+24), England +40 (+32) - so they haven't been wrong yet. Some scores have been under, some over, there haven't been the big blowouts yet.

First lets look at Italy and what the stats from Namibian game say about them. They have a pretty good flyhalf, critical at this level. Tommaso Allen had 11 points, including a try, he carried for 51 metres - 4th best on the team behind the two wingers and inside centre but he only played 41 minutes. He made 4 line breaks, again top in the game, tied with the winger Mattia Bellini who played 80 minutes. Five of Italy's seven tries came from the backs, one was a penalty try from a scrum and one from the replacement flanker. Both starting centres were productive, the inside centre Morisi had one clean line break and was credited with beating 3 defenders, the outside centre Benvenuti had 2 clean line breaks and beat 2 defenders. The Italian forwards brought the power to the scrum when needed and were awarded one penalty try. They have a good lineout and maul attack, they had a 82% success rate on the lineouts. Even though possession was equal between the two teams most of the game, 63%, was played in the Namibian half. Italy dominated the important team stats, 45 carries over the gainline compared to 26 for Namibia, 22 line breaks compared to 7, 27 defenders beaten compared to 10, 10 missed tackles compared to 27. Canada will be in tough in the match and they'll need to play one of their best games under coach Kingsley Jones to be within striking distance going into the last 10 minutes.

Namibia on the other hand is a game where the bookies have Canada as 6 point favourites. The halfbacks are young, 24 and 22. Unlike Italy's flyhalf, the young Loubser only carried for 18 metres over 80 minutes, he didn't beat any defenders and missed 3 tackles. The two centres Darryl de la Harpe and Justin Newman were overmatched against Italy, they missed 3 and 2 tackles respectively and carried for 22 metres combined. The danger men for Namibia were the wing, Chad Plato, and fullback, Johan Trump. Their scrum half, Damian Stevens, had a lively game and scored one of their tries. The scrum was stable for most of the match but Italy could muster a second push at times and won key battles, including a penalty try. They have a good lineout option with the 6'7" Tijuee Uanivi, they had a 75% success rate at the lineout. Overall Canada should have the advantage in the backs, if they move DTH to the centres and keep Paris and Hassler on the wings they should have ample firepower to cut through the Namibian backline. The Canadian forwards will have to match up with Namibia, provide a stable scrum, and stiffen up their 5 metre and maul defence.

Italy v Namibia Timeline


5 minutes
Damian Stevens #9
ITA 0 - 5 NAM

Cliven Loubser #10
ITA 0 - 7 NAM

10 minutes
ITA 7 - 7 NAM

25 minutes
Tommaso Allan #10
ITA 12 - 7 NAM

Tommaso Allan #10
ITA 14 - 7 NAM

40 minutes
Tito Tebaldi #9
ITA 19 - 7 NAM

Tommaso Allan #10
ITA 21 - 7 NAM


43 minutes
Mattia Bellini #11
ITA 26 - 7 NAM

Tommaso Allan #10
ITA 28 - 7 NAM

46 minutes
Carlo Canna #22 (sub #10)
ITA 33 - 7 NAM

Carlo Canna #22
ITA 35 - 7 NAM

50 minutes
Cliven Loubser #10
ITA 35 - 10 NAM

56 minutes
JC Greyling #11
ITA 35 - 15 NAM

69 minutes
Jake Polledri #20 (flanker)
ITA 40 - 15 NAM

75 minutes
Matteo Minozzi #15
ITA 45 - 15 NAM

Carlo Canna #22
ITA 47 - 15 NAM

78 minutes
Chad Plato #15
ITA 47 - 20 NAM

Cliven Loubser #10
ITA 47 - 22 NAM


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