Rugby World Cup Schedule 2015: Updated Fixtures After New Zealand vs. Namibia

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2015

The New Zealand team perform the 'Haka' before the start of the Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Argentina and New Zealand at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Associated Press

There were few surprises to be seen in Thursday's sole Rugby World Cup 2015 encounter as world No. 1 New Zealand romped past Namibia 58-14, but a host of more testing fixtures lie just around the corner.

The All Blacks did well to surpass Argentina in their first outing of the tournament but must still take on Georgia and Tonga before solidifying their place in the quarter-finals.

The rugby community will of course take interest in the reigning champions' journey, but a selection of fiercer ties takes place this weekend, particularly with England hoping to dismiss Wales at Twickenham, London, on Saturday.

Here's a look at the remaining fixtures to come in this year's rugby extravaganza, and we delve into some of this weekend's biggest headlines following New Zealand's comfortable victory over Namibia:

Remaining Rugby World Cup 2015 Fixtures
DateTime (BST)HomeAwayVenue
September 254:45 p.m.ArgentinaGeorgiaKingsholm Stadium, Gloucester
September 262:30 p.m.ItalyCanadaElland Road, Leeds
September 264:45 p.m.South AfricaSamoaVilla Park, Birmingham
September 268 p.m.EnglandWalesTwickenham, London
September 27NoonAustraliaUruguayVilla Park, Birmingham
September 272:30 p.m.ScotlandUSAElland Road, Leeds
September 274:45 p.m.IrelandRomaniaWembley Stadium, London
September 294:45 p.m.TongaNamibiaSandy Park, Exeter
October 18 p.m.FranceCanadaStadium MK, Milton Keynes
October 28 p.m.New ZealandGeorgiaMillennium Stadium, Cardiff
October 32:30 p.m.SamoaJapanStadium MK, Milton Keynes
October 34:45 p.m.South AfricaScotlandSt James' Park, Newcastle
October 38 p.m.EnglandAustraliaTwickenham, London
October 42:30 p.m.ArgentinaTongaLeicester City Stadium, Leicester
October 44:45 p.m.IrelandItalyOlympic Stadium, London
October 64:45 p.m.CanadaRomaniaLeicester City Stadium, Leicester
October 68 p.m.FijiUruguayStadium MK, Milton Keynes
October 74:45 p.m.South AfricaUSAOlympic Stadium, London
October 78 p.m.NamibiaGeorgiaSandy Park, Exeter
October 98 p.m.New ZealandTongaSt James' Park, Newcastle
October 102:30 p.m.SamoaScotlandSt James' Park, Newcastle
October 104:45 p.m.AustraliaWalesTwickenham, London
October 108 p.m.EnglandUruguayManchester City Stadium
October 11NoonArgentinaNamibiaLeicester City Stadium, Leicester
October 112:30 p.m.ItalyRomaniaSandy Park, Exeter
October 114:45 p.m.FranceIrelandMillennium Stadium, Cardiff
October 118 p.m.USAJapanKingsholm Stadium, Gloucester
October 174 p.m.B1A2Twickenham, London
October 178 p.m.C1D2Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
October 181 p.m.D1C2Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
October 184 p.m.A1B2Twickenham, London
October 244 p.m.Winner QF1Winner QF2Twickenham, London
October 254 p.m.Winner QF3Winner QF4Twickenham, London
October 308 p.m.Loser SF1Loser SF2Olympic Stadium, London
October 314 p.m.Winner SF1Winner SF2Twickenham, London

Sam Burgess Watch Enters Overdrive

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Sam Burgess' World Cup dream was realised last Friday when the league convert came on as a substitute during England's opening win over Fiji, but a start against Wales this Saturday is an entirely different point of intrigue.

Injury to standout centre Jonathan Joseph has seen Brad Barritt moved to 13 while Burgess slips into the XV, but ex-England international Will Carling told Breathe Sport he still can't understand the whole situation:

England will have been pleased to hear Wales marvel Jonathan Davies would play no part in the World Cup, and Warren Gatland's side suffered another huge setback after a hamstring injury brought Cory Allen's competition to an end last weekend.

Burgess has done his part to stoke the fires of an already fierce rivalry, teasing the thought of not knowing who Scott Williams was after the Welshman insisted he'd prefer to face "Slammin' Sam" than Joseph, per the Irish Independent's Matt McGeehan:

Who's that?. Oh yes. Okay, yes. 

I don't believe what people say. I believe in Stuart. I believe what he's picked. It's their opinion. I believe in myself. I feel like I've got the respect of my team-mates and the staff here. That's the opinions that really count to me. I'll just wait and see on Saturday.

All the media talk is theatrical enough to add a bit of pre-match spice, but the pair will seek to let their play speak volumes regarding who should be more aware of whom at headquarters come Saturday.

As two terrifically physical, perhaps even defensive players, Burgess and Barritt make for a drastically different combination in Stuart Lancaster's midfield, with the only question now being as to whether they hold the keys to a much-needed win.

Springboks Pressure at All-Time High

Tim Ireland/Associated Press

Rarely have South Africa felt a greater pressure placed upon them than the burden they face this weekend, hoping to put the demons of last Saturday's historic defeat to Japan behind them before taking on Samoa.

The reaction to that loss has been seismic in Springboks circles, with EatSleepRugby reporting that even immortal captain Jean de Villiers hasn't been safe from criticism:

Many thought South Africa would dust off the cobwebs of a winless Rugby Championship to nevertheless trump the Cherry Blossoms, but Samoa will have taken heart from that result, where the impossible suddenly became plausible.

With his side's toughest pool encounter out of the way, Japan coach Eddie Jones has been perfectly candid in claiming he hopes to see the Springboks and Samoa go hammer and tongs against one another at Villa Park, per ESPN: "Samoa in 10 days is key. If we knock them off we will have a fantastic chance. Hopefully South Africa versus Samoa is like a UFC fight, and they rough each other up. What comes around goes around."

Tim Ireland/Associated Press

A second successive defeat for South Africa would mean they risk missing out on the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals for the first time since making their competition debut in 1995.

If the shock fall to Japan wasn't disastrous enough, that outcome would be considered an entirely different tragedy, with the Springboks facing a massive responsibility to ensure they save face against Samoa on Saturday.