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|
|September 25||4:45 p.m.||Argentina||Georgia||Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester|
|September 26||2:30 p.m.||Italy||Canada||Elland Road, Leeds|
|September 26||4:45 p.m.||South Africa||Samoa||Villa Park, Birmingham|
|September 26||8 p.m.||England||Wales||Twickenham, London|
|September 27||Noon||Australia||Uruguay||Villa Park, Birmingham|
|September 27||2:30 p.m.||Scotland||USA||Elland Road, Leeds|
|September 27||4:45 p.m.||Ireland||Romania||Wembley Stadium, London|
|September 29||4:45 p.m.||Tonga||Namibia||Sandy Park, Exeter|
|October 1||8 p.m.||France||Canada||Stadium MK, Milton Keynes|
|October 2||8 p.m.||New Zealand||Georgia||Millennium Stadium, Cardiff|
|October 3||2:30 p.m.||Samoa||Japan||Stadium MK, Milton Keynes|
|October 3||4:45 p.m.||South Africa||Scotland||St James' Park, Newcastle|
|October 3||8 p.m.||England||Australia||Twickenham, London|
|October 4||2:30 p.m.||Argentina||Tonga||Leicester City Stadium, Leicester|
|October 4||4:45 p.m.||Ireland||Italy||Olympic Stadium, London|
|October 6||4:45 p.m.||Canada||Romania||Leicester City Stadium, Leicester|
|October 6||8 p.m.||Fiji||Uruguay||Stadium MK, Milton Keynes|
|October 7||4:45 p.m.||South Africa||USA||Olympic Stadium, London|
|October 7||8 p.m.||Namibia||Georgia||Sandy Park, Exeter|
|October 9||8 p.m.||New Zealand||Tonga||St James' Park, Newcastle|
|October 10||2:30 p.m.||Samoa||Scotland||St James' Park, Newcastle|
|October 10||4:45 p.m.||Australia||Wales||Twickenham, London|
|October 10||8 p.m.||England||Uruguay||Manchester City Stadium|
|October 11||Noon||Argentina||Namibia||Leicester City Stadium, Leicester|
|October 11||2:30 p.m.||Italy||Romania||Sandy Park, Exeter|
|October 11||4:45 p.m.||France||Ireland||Millennium Stadium, Cardiff|
|October 11||8 p.m.||USA||Japan||Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester|
|October 17||4 p.m.||B1||A2||Twickenham, London|
|October 17||8 p.m.||C1||D2||Millennium Stadium, Cardiff|
|October 18||1 p.m.||D1||C2||Millennium Stadium, Cardiff|
|October 18||4 p.m.||A1||B2||Twickenham, London|
|October 24||4 p.m.||Winner QF1||Winner QF2||Twickenham, London|
|October 25||4 p.m.||Winner QF3||Winner QF4||Twickenham, London|
|October 30||8 p.m.||Loser SF1||Loser SF2||Olympic Stadium, London|
|October 31||4 p.m.||Winner SF1||Winner SF2||Twickenham, London|
Sam Burgess Watch Enters Overdrive
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
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."
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.