Saturday, May 22, 2010

WORLD CUP RUGBY:Asia Saga About to End

Kazakhstan v Korea in Incheon (WCQ Asia R2; Asia5Nations)



Forget about the Asia5Nations. Both these teams are well out of that race. Both have eyes on other targets.

Korea is in the position of facing relegation. Never before has Korea been in this situation. Up until today they have lost to all the other teams in this competition and another loss will mean they possibly play in Asia Nations Division 1 for 2010, being replaced by Sri Lanka. That may not eventuate depending upon what the Asia RU will do with the disbanded Arabian Gulf. Until that decision is made Korea's position is precarious. They must win today to regain some credibility.

Kazakhstan has a special prize within its grasp. Loses to Arabian Gulf and to Hong Kong has meant that the valued 2nd Asia position has slipped from its grasp, a position they held last year. A win with a bonus point for 4 or more tries will be their aim. If they can do that, and hope that Hong Kong doesn't somehow manage a bonus point against Japan, then the second place will be theirs. This game will be a cracker!

Kazakhstan are not the team they were in 2009. I watched the recorded Hong Kong-Kazakhstan game and the boys from Almaty have little more happening in their game plan other than grunting away in the forwards. It was very one dimensional. They will struggle if Korea decides to play an expansive game out wide and use their backs. Another factor will be if their world class loose forward Anton Rudoy will play.

Previous Encounters
02.05.2009 Kazakhstan 30-27 in Almaty (Asia5Nations)
17.05.2008 Korea 40-21 in Seoul (Asia5Nations)
20.10.2003 Korea 45-19 in Seoul (Asia Tournament)

GWC Rugby Rankings
Asia Table-Kazakhstan 3rd, Korea 5th
IRB Rankings-Korea 55.73, Kazakhstan 54.05, Korea being just one place away on the Asia table

Prediction: Korea by 3 points and Hong Kong takes 2nd place and a chance to go the the Rugby World Cup finals.

Teams are not as yet available.
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