USA vs France
Wednesday, October 2 at Level-5 Arena
Team USA resumes its Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan on Wednesday morning. It suffered a 45-7 drubbing at the hands of England in its opener, and it is unlikely to bounce back with a win against France. Les Bleus battled to a 23-21 victory over Argentina in their first World Cup match, and they are expected to finish second behind England in Pool C. Yet the USA should be able to give a better account of itself in this match and its margin of defeat could be considerably lower.
USA flanker John Quill has been handed a three-week ban after he was shown a red card for a shoulder charge into the face of England captain Owen Farrell. Hanco Germishuys could be brought in to replace him for this game. Coach Gary Gold is unlikely to make many more changes to the team that lost to England. Blaine Scully, Paul Lasike, Titi Lamositele and AJ MacGinty are all big players for the USA and the onus will be on them to lead the team to a strong performance.
France was sublime in the opening half of its victory over Argentina, and it led 20-3 at the break. However, it looked vulnerable in the second half and its collapse will have alarmed its fans. It went 21-20 down with 11 minutes left on the clock, when Camille Lopez came off the bench to score the winning drop-kick, sparking relief among fans. This French team has regressed considerably in recent years, and it misses the injured Wesley Fofana, but Antoine Dupont is a quality player, Camille Chat is a ball of energy and Damian Penaud is dangerous.
France is down to seventh in the world rankings after an alarming dip in form over the past couple of years. It lost 44-8 to England in the Six Nations earlier this year and it is not considered among the favorites to win the World Cup. It occasionally looks brilliant, but frequently underperforms, and this inconsistency can make France a difficult team to bet on. The USA should fare better than it did against England, as the players will grow into the tournament, and the opposition is not quite as formidable. Les Bleus should win this game, but they might not beat the USA by a huge margin.
Best Tip: USA +26 at 10/11 with Bet365