Pool D is aptly named; D for Death. Whilst in most of the other pools three teams have a chance of making the knock-out phase, Pool D is even tougher, and only Namibia would seem to be without a chance of qualifying. The teams in the pool are as follows:
- South Africa
That's a very tough line-up, and the only positive we can see is that whoever qualifies will have had a very solid run-in to the money games, unlike perhaps the Australians.
As defending champions, South Africa shapes up as the team to beat in the pool. Their form though in the last couple of years has been patchy, and we wonder if some of their key forwards are reaching the end of their shelf lives.
We'd rank Samoa next, after their magnificent win against Australia earlier in the year. Even though the Wallabies were below full strength, they weren't just beaten; they were smashed. The Wales vs Samoa clash at Hamilton next Sunday will be a huge game, and there's likely to be a mass migration from South Auckland for the day.
Wales is an enigma; they keep threatening a return to their glory days, but never quite deliver. We'll have a guide to the credentials of this Welsh side after Sunday's match against South Africa in Wellington on Sunday night. Fiji was competitive for long periods against the All Blacks in July, and their match with Samoa in Auckland in two weeks time will be another great Pasifika festival.
This is a tough pool to pick, and it would not surprise if no team emerged from pool play unbeaten. There are going to be some great battles in this Pool of Death.