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Wednesday
Sep072011

Rugby World Cup Special

The 2011 Rugby World Cup is here at last. This year’s competition will take place in New Zealand, and the hosts are hot favourites for the crown. Here at Frontier, we’re finding it hard to pick a team to support. Our loyalties are divided between all of the fantastic countries that we have projects in. Here’s the low-down on the teams we’re backing:

Key to World Cup form guide 87-07: DNQ= Did not qualify. P=Pool stages. QFPO= Quarter-final play-offs. QF=Quarter-finals. SF=Semi-finals. F=Final. W= Winners
 
New Zealand
Pool: A
Form: W, SF, F, SF, SF, QF
Star player: Dan Carter
Their chances: The bookies favourites have not won the competition since the inaugural competition on home soil 24 years ago. Can they handle the pressure?
Frontier interest: New Zealand features on our Australasia Ethical Conservation Experiences trail, where you could be getting involved in various different hands-on activities such as wildlife surveys of endangered species, installation of conservation fencing to protect vulnerable areas from livestock and feral cats and dogs, the collection of native seeds for re-vegetation and re-forestation projects, and planting trees for habitat restoration.

Argentina
Pool: B
Form: P, P, P, QF, P, SF
Star player: Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe
Their chances: Maybe not as strong as last RWC, but remain a force to be reckoned with.
Frontier interest: Projects focus on skills and development in Argentina. Learn the ins and outs of a career in journalism or improve your language skills in Buenos Aires. Alternatively, help improve the lives of underprivileged children by getting involved in a teaching project.

England
Pool: B
Form: QF, F, SF, QF, W, F
Star player: Chris Ashton
Their chances:  The Six Nations champions have built momentum over last 18 months. If they negotiate a tricky pool without hiccups, have shown they can beat probable knock-out opponents France and Australia. Third straight final a realistic target, though 2015 may be better bet.
Frontier interest: Frontier HQ is in London. Although we don’t run projects here, we do offer some great internships in our various departments, from the press office to research and development team.

Australia
Pool: C
Form: SF, W, QF, W, F, QF
Star player: Quade Cooper
Their chances: Expectations have been raised by their Tri-Nations success but its still a relatively young side. Potential winners but may have to reverse recent history against England to make the final.
Frontier interest: Another element to the Australasia Ethical Conservation Experience. Or maybe you’d prefer to work in a wallaby rescue centre in Queensland, or perhaps earn some money picking fruit in this beautiful country.

Italy
Pool: C
Form: P, P, P, P, P, P
Star player: Martin Castrogiovanni
Their chances: The Azzurri, who have never made the knock-out stages, will be hoping to upset either Australia (unlikely) or Ireland (possible, in their last group match) to make the quarter-finals.
Frontier interest: Our dolphin monitoring and sailing project will see you conducting vital research into the lives and behaviour of these wonderful creatures whilst living on board an historical sailing boat.

South Africa
Pool: D
Form: _, _, W, SF, QF, W
Star player: Fourie du Preez
Their chances: Defending champions are an ageing bunch and lacking in form but their big names look refreshed after a break. With the power at their disposal, would be a surprise if they don't make the semis.
Frontier interest: Take your pick. We have many projects running in this wonderful country, like our exciting Field Guide Course on which you will work closely with the famous Big 5 whilst gaining yourself a qualification. We also run various sports coaching projects, and yes, of course rugby is an option. Whether your interest is development or wildlife, we’re sure you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Fiji
Pool: D
Form: QF, P, DNQ, QFPO, P, QF
Star player: Napolioni Nalaga
Their chances: After reaching the last eight at Wales' expense last time, they will be looking to repeat the feat but have been short of form recently and could easily finish as low as fourth in the pool.
Frontier interest: Options on this paradise island include journalism, teaching, medical experience and sports coaching, and one of our most popular projects, marine conservation.

Namibia
Pool: D
Form: DNQ, DNQ, DNQ, P, P, P
Star player: Jacques Burger
Their chances: As the lowest ranked team in the tournament at 20th, a solitary win would be a major achievement. But in the group of death, four defeats look inevitable.
Frontier interest: Our main focus is wildlife in Namibia; hardly surprising when you consider the astounding wealth of animals in this unique southern African country. In one of these projects you could combine working with these wonderful species with teaching poor children.

We love an underdog here at Frontier, so we’ve decided to get behind Namibia. We hope everyone enjoys the Rugby World Cup 2011.

By Alex Prior

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