If Cambridge colleges were Rugby World Cup nations

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Two of the world’s greatest rugby competitions get under way in less than a month.

The Rugby World Cup kicks off on the 18th September with England playing Fiji at Twickenham. A few weeks later, the Cambridge College Rugby League gets under way with Selwyn vs St John’s amongst the first round of fixtures.

The odds are on St John’s pulling off another draw-me-like-on-of-your-French-girls-hey-look-we-won photos next year

The two competitions obviously have a lot in common, such as their high standard and global following. Parallels are, therefore, easy to draw. And so for each college, we’ve selected an international team that most reflects their ability and ambition.

Division 1

St John’s – New Zealand. The favourites and holders of their respective competitions. Both teams have power up front and dynamism in the backs. If they perform to their full potential, no other teams will come close.

Selwyn – Australia. If anyone is going to stop John’s (AKA New Zealand), it will probably be Straya. They fell short last time out but this season they’ll push the champions all the way.

Jesus – South Africa. These teams have a proud rugby history and never produce bad teams. However recently, they’ve failed to compete with the biggest teams and so are only third-favourites for the title this year.

Jesus take on Caius

Gonville & Caius – France. On their day they can beat anyone. Caius proved this with a 29-22 victory against John’s last year while France were runners up in 2011 edition of the World Cup. They’ll push the best teams all the way but it will need something special for them to win the whole competition.

Downing – Argentina. A highly promising team that has come along a lot in recent years. Nobody will enjoy playing them but the best teams should be able to get past them.

Emmanuel – England. The dark horses. This tournament might be coming a bit too early for these teams as they both have good young sides. However, if the pack perform, they’re capable of beating anyone.

Division 2

Robinson – Ireland. Both of these teams will be nursing their wounds after suffering the respective blows of relegations and one of their icons retiring. They’re still good teams but the quarter-finals/the Division 2 title will be the height of their ambition.

Homerton – Wales.  Another strong team that always finds it tough against the big boys. They’ll have no problem beating the minnows though. Promotion (for Homerton) and getting out of their pool (for Wales) would represent a successful competition for them.

Roberts will start a MPhil at Cambridge after playing for Wales in the World Cup.

Catz – Fiji. A physical middle tier team. Their clash with Homerton/Wales will be close but it will probably be a mid-table finish for these teams.

CCK – Samoa. CCK is the combined team from Clare, Corpus Christi and King’s. Samoa may not have such an eclectic composition but both teams have some excellent players.  Promotion/Quarter-finals might just be out of reach for these teams though.

Girton – Tonga. Both teams are very physical and could cause some problems for some of the more established teams.

Fitzwilliam – Japan. Both teams enjoyed a slice of good fortune last year. Fitz was promoted by one point in 2014/15 while Japan will benefit from a relatively benign World Cup Pool draw. Realistically though both teams will struggle against the stronger teams in their division/pool.

Division 3

Trinity – Italy. Rugby is probably not the forte of Trinity or its Mediterranean equivalent but they have decent teams. Expect them to sweep past the minnows though. Promotion is a realistic goal for Trinity, while Italy will struggle to get out of their pool.

Pembroke – Scotland. Both teams have a proud rugby history but their current crops are struggling. Like Trinity/Italy the minnows shouldn’t pose a problem, with promotion/escaping their pool the main target.

Pembroke will be looking to improve on last year’s poor season.

Trinity Hall – Georgia. These outsiders have threatened to break into the rugby establishment for a while. 2015 may be the year they finally do just that.

Christ’s – Canada. A decent team but they’ll find it hard against some of the more established teams.

Churchill – Uruguay. They’re much better at football.

Sidney Sussex – Namibia. Geographically close to Jesus/South Africa but the similarity ends there.

Queens’ – USA. Just getting a team out is a major achievement for both of these sides. Queens’ struggled to get fifteen players out each week last season. Rugby isn’t even the most popular egg-shaped ball sport in America.

Magdalene – Romania. Both teams have garish kits in what can only be a desperate attempt to hide their own rugby ability.

Hughes Hall/St Edmund’s – Spain. The combined graduate college team may as well not have turned up last season: they failed to win a single game. This makes Spain their perfect counterpart as they didn’t even qualify for the World Cup.

The Tab would like to wish all teams the best of luck in the upcoming season.