The pool stage of the Rugby World Cup 2015 has begun to take shape after the first week of competition, with some of the sport's titans coping more capably with the pressure placed upon them.
Hosts England have already tasted defeat at the hands of Wales, and South Africa are no longer considered certainties to top Pool B following their early fall at the hands of Japan.
Thankfully, we have a whole month of the tournament remaining, during which time fans can only hope the 2015 contest continues to live up to the already lofty expectations set in place.
Read on for a breakdown of the tournament's remaining fixture schedule, along with some of the top tournament headlines looking at this weekend's matches and beyond.
|Remaining Rugby World Cup 2015 Schedule|
|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|
|Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool A|
|Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool B|
|Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool C|
|Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D|
Pool of Death's First-Place Booby Prize
It's not an original notion at this advanced stage, but interesting nonetheless, that it may actually be more beneficial for any of England, Australia or Wales to take second place in Pool A rather than win the lot.
It would be entirely cynical to suggest any team would ever throw a match on purpose, but following on from Japan's surprise victory over the Springboks, Ross Harries of BBC Scrum V floated the idea:
It makes some sense due to the fact that Scotland, having claimed 10 points from a possible 10, are positioned to win Pool B and could even still do so if they lost to South Africa at St. James' Park on Saturday.
One would imagine Fiji's hopes of progressing have been dusted off after failing to claim even a point from England or Australia, but Wales may yet consider them a threat after broadcaster Phil Steele praised their addition to Pool A:
The Scots are undoubtedly playing some attractive rugby while we only really saw anything close to the Springboks best in their 46-6 win over Samoa, but one fact remains: Most teams would still rather risk facing Scotland than South Africa.
That's especially the case for England and Wales, who triumph over their northern rivals on nearly an annual basis, but still we're soon to see one rugby giant depart the competition at the first hurdle.
Of course none of the Pool A front-runners might dare meddle in such a risky game of chance, but Pool A's runner-up finish may all of a sudden not look that unappealing.
Scotland's Hopes in the Balance
And a lot of those simmering questions will be answered when Scotland and South Africa meet in their northeast climate this Saturday for a fixture that always looked likely to decide the Pool B victor.
Except now it's Vern Cotter's men who are in the ascendancy, and former Scotland centre talisman Gavin Hastings says his old team need "the game of their lives" if they're to beat the Boks, per Stuff.co.nz:
They can win it, but they've got to play the game of their lives and eliminate the errors. We have seen both against Japan and the USA, that they create opportunities but they've made errors. South Africa will put Scotland under pressure for a full 80 minutes, and it is how they deal with that because they are not going to find enough space.
Scotland have been delightful to watch for periods of the tournament thus far, but one thing that's blighted their efforts is a slow start, with all 10 of their tries thus far having come in the second half.
The squad was hit with the news that Grant Gilchrist had been ruled out of the World Cup this week, but Planet Rugby's Ben Coles believes replacement Blair Cowan always deserved his place in the squad:
Scotland are in a strangely strong position in that they already sit three points ahead of Heyneke Meyer's squad and with superior points difference, meaning even a loss with a bonus point (or two) could keep them at the top this weekend.
But the European hopefuls and their masses of fans have come to expect far more than that now, and with a heavy Scottish following sure to be present in Newcastle, Saturday's showdown could be one for the history books.