In his latest Rugby World Cup tipsheet Simon Mail previews a busy day of World Cup action which is highlighted by hosts Japan's clash against Ireland...
"Japan's last three defeats against Ireland have all been by between 21 and 30 points and the favourites should ultimately clinch a comfortable win."
Irish set for handsome victory over hosts
Japan v Ireland
Live on ITV
Japan make bright start as hosts
Japan launched the World Cup with a 30-10 victory against Russia to give the hosts early momentum. Kotaro Matsushima scored a hat-trick for the Brave Blossoms and Japan will believe they can finish above Scotland and Samoa to reach the quarter-finals for the first time. This will be their toughest pool match against a team they have never beaten.
Ireland impress against Scotland
Ireland are the world's top-ranked team and Joe Schmidt's side produced a dominant performance as they bullied Scotland in their first match. The Irish secured the try bonus point in their 27-3 victory against the feeble Scots. Ireland have never made it beyond the last-eight of the World Cup, but if they can replicate this level they will give themselves a strong chance to secure their best run in the tournament.
Schmidt has made four changes for their second game although it is still a strong lineup to face Japan. Jack Carty comes in at fly-half with Johnny Sexton not risked due to a slight thigh injury. Rob Kearney and Keith Earls return in a dangerous back three, in place of Jordan Larmour and Andrew Conway, while playmaker Joey Carberry is back on the bench after returning to fitness.
Ireland can effectively clinch their quarter-final place with a victory and their superior ability should prove too strong for their opponents. Japan's last three defeats against Ireland have all been by between 21 and 30 points and the favourites should ultimately clinch a comfortable win. Japan's defence is their weakness and it is likely to be exposed by the best team in their group.
Nkosi to run rampant
South Africa v Namibia
Live on ITV
Springboks to rally after opening loss
South Africa were beaten in their opening match but the Springboks played their part in the 23-13 defeat to defending champions New Zealand. After dominating the first quarter of the game, a couple of mistakes proved costly for Rassie Erasmus' side. South Africa still looked potential World Cup contenders and could yet end up facing the All Blacks in a final rematch.
Namibia lost their opener 47-22 against Italy and the lowest ranked team in the competition are likely to face a heavy defeat this weekend. Phil Davies has freshened up his side with ten changes but South Africa should have ample opportunities to run up a big score. In two previous games between them, the Springboks' smallest margin of victory has been 87 points which came eight years ago.
The handicap mark is set at 59 points and South Africa could certainly overcome this if they do not coast home. But Erasmus has rotated his squad significantly and a better bet could be to back S'Busiso Nkosi to score twice. The Springboks wing has scored seven tries in eight Tests, managing to score twice in games against England and Argentina. Nkosi will have plenty of scoring opportunities against Namibia and can cross the line at least twice in a one-sided win.
Tonga can cover the handicap
Argentina v Tonga
Live on ITV
Pumas punished by slow start
Argentina's hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals suffered a major setback after their opening 23-21 defeat to France last weekend. The Pumas paid the price for a slow start as they trailed 20-3 at half-time. Argentina rallied strongly in the second half but missed a late Emiliano Boffelli kick which would have secured a stunning comeback win.
Tonga started the competition with a 35-3 defeat against England in Sapporo. There were occasional moments of promise from Tonga but Toutai Kefu's side were always on the defensive against England. Tonga will expect to be more competitive in this match against a struggling Argentina side on a ten-match losing run.
Argentina defeated Tonga 45-16 in their only meeting at the last World Cup and the Pumas are given a 28-point handicap to cover this weekend. This current side are on a miserable losing run though and Tonga appeal more with a significant head start. Argentina should claim the win but it may not be by a particularly wide margin.
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