Well, what can we glean from the weekend's games? South Africa are getting better and better. England are diabolical. Tonga are just as good as Samoa and France are not as good as Argentina but better than Namibia (and most probably Ireland). Georgia should be feeling mighty proud of themselves, as should the Tongans and the US Eagles. England are no doubt worried about both South Sea Island teams in their pool when they come to face the punch of the Pacific in the next couple of weeks.
Disappointments focus mainly around the 'super 6' of the northern hemisphere with none of them doing much to earn respect thus far into the tournament. (The French thumping of minnow Namibia this morning although an exception, hardly a reason to start lauding Bernard Laporte's men as world beaters....). Scotland is another team that although underrated, will highly likely give the All Blacks a decent game. We hope.
The greatest victory perhaps has been for the minnow teams. Although not causing any upsets, they've played with passion and show why the Rugby World Cup tournament should not be watered down to a 16 team tournament when it is next played out in 2011. Plus, it is great to see these teams strike out every four years when they're otherwise unknown entities to the rest of the rugby world.
Of course, none of this really matters at all. Ireland could come back firing if (and it is a big if) they make it into the quarter finals against (what is looking like now) the All Blacks. The Welsh stuttered against an Australian side that like the South Africans, seem to be purring into peak perfection for the knockout stages.
At this stage, it is very hard to look past the big three of the Southern Hemisphere ripping apart the tournament at the seams. Maybe there is something to be said for the 'powder-puff' Super 14 after all. And central contracting...