On the 18th of September the Rugby World cup kicks off in Twickenham, as all eyes will turn to England. Each team and player, will put everything on the line to reach success in the highly anticipated global event. The top 20 nations are all highly charged and ready for the kick off, and so are ‘The Biggest Sports News’. Here are some key points and my predictions as to what will happen in this years world cup.
No surprises as I am backing New Zealand to lift the Web Ellis cup. The All Blacks are massive favourites for the tournament, with some bookmakers offering as low as even money for them to triumph over the rest. It is hard to see any other team being able to win. Amazingly they have only lost 2 tests since they last lifted the trophy four years ago, and do not look like receiving another loss this time around. As well as their great form, they have a fantastic blend of youth and experience which will prove tough to beat. Twelve of the players in the current squad won four years ago and this includes vastly experienced players such as Richie McCaw, Tony Woodcock and Keven Mealamu to name just a few. As well as this players such as Julian Savea will play in their first world cup, and be eager to go back home as champions. Savea has the potential to be one of the most thrilling stars in the tournament, scoring an impressive 30 tries in 33 tests.
Overall considering their incredibly easy group in Pool C, the tournament should be a relative walk over for the Kiwis. It is not impossible for New Zealand to slip up, but in this case it might as well be.
The Pool of death – Pool A
Any number of results could happen in this group. Realistically out of the five, it has four major contenders being England, Australia, Wales and Fiji. With the unpredictability of sport, a surprise in this group is definitely on the cards. If the form books are to be believed, hosts England will top the group with the Australians qualifying in second place. However, this could easily not be the case.
Wales recent form against Australia and England has not been great and they certainly look weaker without the centre Jonathan Davies. However, if George North and Sam Warburton can overcome their doubters and perform at their best, there is a good chance Wales can qualify. Fiji also look likely to miss out on the knockout rounds, with experts giving them little chance. They turned up in England in bright green trousers, and they will need this brand of bold flair on the pitch to stand any chance. However, their unpredictable nature could certainly effect the group. If they manage to cause an upset against one of the three big teams, it will all get very interesting.
Then we come to Australia and England. The two old rivals do battle to take the poll position in Pool A. Theoretically the hosts should have the edge. Home advantage will be key, and the win over the Aussies in November is surely a great confidence boost. However Australia are far from without a significant threat. Israel Folau is arguably currently the best full back in the game, and David Pocock at flanker will be key if the boys from down under will succeed.
Overall the group is incredibly tight and anything could happen. I do think England and Australia will have enough to qualify through. Predicting who will get the easier run in the latter stages via winning the pool is anyone’s guess, one thing is for sure though, it will be a fascinating watch.
Every sporting event has a star player, who shines slightly brighter than everyone else. These individuals give themselves a place in history when they perform at their best at the biggest stage in Rugby. Here are my top contenders for the player of the tournament.
Julian Savea – already mentioned in this article, the winger has the pace and power to torment defenses and is highly talked about doing exactly the same in England this year. He is favourite to be the leading try scorer of the tournament and with the quality of his team around him, ‘the Bus’ will certainly play enough games to shine in.
George North – Wales’ 23 year old might be young but has amazingly over 50 caps for such a young age. A string of concussions has kept him on the sidelines recently with worries over his health. Welsh fans will be hoping this is a blessing in disguise as the well-rested winger, once again drives head first into the challenge of emerging from Pool A.
Israel Folau – The Australian is one of the most electrifying players in world rugby. Excitement levels immediately rise when the full back receives the ball because spectators know what he is capable of. It is his Rugby world cup debut, but his explosive and dynamic style of play will mean he makes a dramatic impression.
Johnny Sexton – Ireland arguably look twice the side with Sexton in the team. His control and calming nature creates a solid basis for the Irish team. He is most certainly the linchpin of their side and his fitness and form could be vital for Ireland’s chances in this world cup.
Nemani Nadalo – The giant Fijian fullback is another player due to cause havoc in Pool A after being passed as fit for selection. A torn abductor muscle was rumored to potentially keep the player on the sidelines but he has overcome this to be fit and ready for this colossal sporting occasion. If Fiji are to cause an upset they will need to perform in key areas and Nadalo is certainly a major part of that.
So what are your thoughts on the Rugby World Cup? Will New Zealand brandish their reputation as chokers? Who do you think will be the star player of the tournament? Let me know in the comment section below and thanks for reading!