So many pairs of eyes are on the battle between South Africa and Ireland at the Rugby World Cup this weekend given it is world No1 versus world No2, and a match many are predicting to be a warm-up for the final.
But I am fascinated by Sunday’s meeting between Wales and Australia. The Wallabies are a wounded beast at the moment having been downed by Fiji last weekend and they could be on the cusp of being knocked out of the tournament should they lose to Wales.
As for Warren Gatland’s men, they are not actually playing that well but have nine points out of 10 and are top of the pool.
Rugby World Cup winners?
And I do think they’ll extend that to three wins from three after their clash with Eddie Jones’s side in Lyon on Sunday.
I will be there to watch, too, and it is set to be an absolute humdinger of a match between two sides desperate for a win for different reasons.
Wales should reach the last eight but an impressive campaign from Fiji could see them join them in the quarters – and both of those sides pose their own threats to England.
But it would be impossible to look at this weekend’s fixtures without mentioning the clash in Paris.
South Africa go into this as favourites, and their bench split of seven forwards and one back has caused a stir.
But I have not seen any other side come close to the Springbok intensity so far at this Rugby World Cup and that is something I can imagine Ireland will struggle to break down.
Go after Sexton
South Africa will go after Johnny Sexton, as any team tries to do, and hope he is hooked off after 60 minutes.
Having beaten Scotland, there is less on South Africa here – they can afford to lose and still be in a solid position to qualify. Ireland still need to play Scotland.
And those Scotland fans will be willing on a South Africa victory, because a Springbok win ensures that Scotland can go into their final match against Ireland with a spot in the quarter-finals on the line, assuming they get bonus point wins over Romania and Tonga.
Every World Cup pool currently has a Six Nations side atop it and that is huge for the northern hemisphere. It will not stay like that, or it is unlikely to anyway, and none of this matters come the knockouts, but it is a solid vote of confidence in the Six Nations and what European rugby is about at the moment.
On that note, England – having played unattractive, boring rugby – are going strong.
This weekend they take on Chile knowing they have a break before their final pool match against Samoa in October.
Rugby World Cup returnees
Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell are set to be involved together in the starting XV and this is very exciting. Farrell needs the game time after his ban and Smith needs to prove himself ahead of a resting George Ford.
England can all but seal their spot in the last eight on Saturday and, given where Steve Borthwick’s side were going into this tournament, that would be most welcome.
It’s moving week in the Rugby World Cup and every one of the home nations has something on the line. It’s exactly the way we want it to be.
Former England Sevens captain Ollie Phillips is cycling from London to Lyon in time for the Wales v Australia game to raise money for Head for Change, a charity aspiring to achieve positive change for brain health in sport. Follow Ollie on Twitter to donate.