Former Scotland international Andy Nicol has warned that France and Ireland could be dumped out of the Rugby World Cup at or before the quarterfinals.
Nicol feels that Scotland’s group is indicative of World Rugby’s need to adjust its RWC draw system.
France and Ireland to bomb out of RWC
With Scotland’s current ranking means there will be three teams ranled in the top five in Group B which is the clear pool of death.
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Nicol believes Scotland will be spoiling to cause an upset in the group and the knockout stages.
“I know this will send shivers down the spines of their fans, but given the draw, France and Ireland could conceivably go out in the quarter-finals,” Nicol said in an interview with Rugby Pass.
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“Nothing much has to go wrong for the two teams I see as favourites to not make the last four which would be remarkable.
“We know the draw won’t be made like this again and with Scotland ranked No5 now means their Pool has three teams in the top five. It makes no sense – nor does having five of the world’s top six teams in the same half of the draw.”
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Scotland to step up
Nicol believes that Scotland will not be expected to get out of their group and the pressure will be off.
“We have a tough group but we have a chance – although it is only a chance,” He added.
“You can say it’s a terrible draw for Scotland but I would argue it’s not a great one for Ireland and South Africa because they must be looking at their game with Scotland knowing we have the ability to beat someone at some point. There will be shocks at this World Cup.
“In the 2019 Cup in Japan there was real expectation that Scotland would get out of their pool I am not sure there is the same expectation this time. Scotland have a brutal draw and there is also Tonga with the new guys they have brought into their squad.”
Scotland open their Rugby World Cup campaign against South Africa on Sunday 10 September 2023.