Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How The Eagles Can Make The RWC Semi-finals

Through two rounds the Eagles have put themselves in a great spot to make the semi-finals of the Women's World Cup. With three pools each pool winner advances to the semi-finals along with the second best team among the three pools. Right now that Eagles sit in that spot. They have 10 points alongside fellow Pool B side England, Pool A leader New Zealand, and Pool C leader France.

The main challengers to the Eagles are Canada, who have 9 points in Pool A, and Ireland, who have 8 points in Pool C. In each pool the top two teams will play each other on the last day which could be big for the Eagles. Here is how things could play out:

The Eagles beat England and control their own destiny. This would be a big upset. England are favorites in the match and the Eagles would do well to hang around.

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The Eagles lose to England but take away two bonus points. This would give them a three point cushion over Canada and would go a long way to helping them get that fourth spot. A lot depends on whether Canada lose to New Zealand and Ireland lose to France. If either of those teams don't hold to script then it can blow the whole scenario up.

The Eagles don't take any points away from England and Canada lose but take away one or two bonus points against New Zealand. If Canada get two bonus points they are through to the next round over the Eagles (assuming Ireland don't catch up). If they take one then they will be level on points with the Eagles and will go through on a superior point differential. They would really have to lose to New Zealand to erase their +115. The Eagles have +55 and Ireland have +12.

There are a bunch of other scenarios since no team of the six contenders has clinched a spot but all in all it comes down to Canada not beating New Zealand and not securing enough bonus points. That's possible given that they only beat Wales 15-0 in their last match. In comparison New Zealand beat Wales 44-12. The Eagles can pick up bonus points if they continue to show improving form.

No matter how it shakes out the final day of pool play on August 17th is going to be a must-watch. For the Eagles making the semi-finals would be a major accomplishment. The team had only one warm-up match prior to the competition and had to basically raise most of their own funds. 

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