5 unmissable World Cup pool games

Date published: July 18 2015

As the Rugby World Cup draws ever closer, we take a look at a few games you simply cannot afford to miss during the pool phase.

The long wait is almost over as the anticipation and excitement ahead the biggest event in the history of the sport continues to grow.

Since the pool draw for the tournament was made back in 2012, coaches and players have been plotting and planning to bring their 'A-game' – particularly for the crucial showdowns.

Here are five 'must-see' group games at the Rugby World Cup in England this year…

England v WalesPool A, Twickenham, London – 26 September

This match will set the tone for what is to come in the 'Group of Death' in Pool A. Whoever lands the first blow in this first round bout will have already put one foot in the last eight. The loser, meanwhile, will be left with a long road back in their tussle with the Wallabies.

Samoa v Scotland, Pool B, St. James Park, Newcastle – 10 October
With South Africa expected to win Pool B, Samoa and Scotland will most likely be left to fight it out for second place in the final round of group matches. There will certainly be no room for error in what many predict will be a winner-takes-all encounter between these two for one quarter-final spot.

Australia v England, Pool A, Twickenham, London – 3 October
There is never a dull moment in this heated rivalry and this game is a sure bet to live up to its hype. A win for England could seal their quarter-final passage, while a loss could open the door for either Wales or Australia and leave the hosts sweating (or out if they lost to the Welsh prior).

France v Ireland, Pool D, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff – 11 October
Both sides are tipped to qualify for the knockout stages, but the question is in which order? Assuming they see off the challenge of Italy, Canada and Romania, les Bleus and Ireland will compete for a favourable quarter-final draw. The winner will probably get Argentina, while the loser is set to face off against New Zealand!

Wales v Australia, Pool A, Twickenham, London – 10 October
As both teams will have played England by this stage (and assuming they both have not beaten the hosts), the victor of this tie is likely to make the quarter-finals at the other's expense. Expect an intense, closely-fought, entertaining, high-stakes contest with the outcome being ultimately decisive. For one nation, the World Cup dream will live on. But for the other, it may come to an end.