Countries competing in Pool D (IRB ranking in brackets):
Pool D (on paper at least) appears to have two clear favourites in Ireland who should qualify reasonably comfortably. However, I think that this will be quite a tight group, as Ireland seem to have had difficulties at the World Cup in the past and then there is the favoured cliche of which French side will turn up. Italy will certainly be waiting in the wings waiting to take full advantage of any slip from them and qualify; they played well against Wales in a recent World Cup warm-up, showing strong defence and out-scored the hosts in tries. I expect France V Italy to be the key match for qualification, with the winners joining Ireland in progressing from the group. For Canada and Romania, the game between them will be important and will decide who will finish fourth.
Predicted final table: