These are the current teams favoured to win the Rugby World Cup 2019
Running from September 20 to November 2, the Rugby World Cup, is upon us. From the 20 nations entering the fray and over 48 matches, who are the favourites to win?
Looking at rankings, predictions, and previous performances, we’ve got together five teams most likely to take home the win.
RWC World Ranking: 5th
Highest RWC Finish: Semi-Finals 1987, 2011
Wales is in pool D, and the team sits alongside Australia, Fiji, Georgia and Uruguay, making it the strongest team in the pool. After winning the Six Nations Grand Slam this year vs. Ireland and winning in the warm-up match against England recently, Wales is warmed up ahead of the World Cup.
Their first match on September 23 ,where they will take on Georgia and will likely pull in a win. It’s the following match on September 29 vs. Australia where it gets interesting. Australia recently won against New Zealand, and drew at home vs. South Africa. The team is faring well against the big teams so Wales vs. Australia will definitely be one to watch.
Alun Wyn Jones, current captain, has been looking very strong ahead of the Georgia match in training. If Wales can keep up its notoriously solid defence game, they could very well have a go at the likes of South Africa and New Zealand. Pulling off a win against New Zealand hasn’t happened for Wales since 1953, but the team is strong in training despite the loss of their top half-fly.
RWC World Ranking: 1st
Highest RWC Finish: Quarter-Finals 1987, 1991, 1995, 2003, 2011, 2015
Placed in Pool A alongside Japan, Scotland, Russia, and Samoa, it’s their first bout against Scotland that will make it an interesting start to their World Cup campaign. Following their final warm-up game against Wales, Ireland clinched a RWC top World rank despite a mixed bag of results in recent times.
During the Six Nations this year, Ireland defeated Scotland 22-13 following an opening-day embarrassment vs. England. The team also lost out to Wales, the winners of the Six Nations. The team has potential though, back in 2018 Ireland made history, taking down the New Zealand All Blacks in a home victory 111 years in the making. They have the ability somewhere in their sinews to make upsets, it’s just a question of if that is channelled properly into game-winning teamplay.
The rallying cry for Ireland is that they have actually beaten all the teams in the World Cup at some point in history. It marks the first World Cup Ireland can strut into with this confidence. They’re fully capable of taking down everyone in their path, they just need to keep their cool if they run into South Africa in quarters and All Blacks in semis.
RWC World Ranking: 3rd
Highest RWC Finish: Winners 2003
Sitting uncomfortably in Pool C, dubbed as “pool of death”, England is seeded first to play Tonga, followed by USA, Argentina and then France before entering the knock-out phase. England have shown themselves as a considerable force to be reckoned with in the very recent past, winning three of their four warm-ups against Wales, Ireland and Italy.
As long as England continue on the track they’re on following warm-ups, they’ll squeeze out of pools on top. Into quarters they’ll go up against the first or second team from Pool D, likely to be Wales or Australia, both of which love to break the hearts of English fans. England have won the last six matches against the Aussies; eight of the last 10; and 10 of the last 12 meetings. Wales and England are tied up on warm-up results.
English rugby players are massive brick walls and with virtually no injuries going into Japan, they have a strong team comprised of shining stars like Owen Farrell and Manu Tuilagi, both players that are very hard to shake. Provided the team can handle the likes of South Africa and New Zealand, they stand a good chance of a winning campaign. England haven’t beaten the All Blacks since 2012 so the team would need to upgrade their power game.
RWC World Ranking: 4th
Highest RWC Finish: Winner 1995, 2007
The two big favourites are in the same pool, Pool B. Great news for fans of nail-biting rugby, this means New Zealand and South Africa will not meet in the knock-outs. South Africa swallowed a record loss to New Zealand back in 2017 but have since won one, drawn one and lost two narrowly. They have the best odds against the All Blacks.
The team is coming hot off a Rugby Championship win this year. If South Africa steal the top spot in pool against New Zealand, they’ll likely face off against England down the line. South Africa may not have outdone themselves in warm-ups but their potential run through the tournament has a lot of close calls, Ireland, Wales, and England, could all make for exciting matches. The team has to prove to its fans why it won the Championships and cruise through the Welsh wall to get another go at New Zealand.
Winning the Cup twice in history is nothing to sneeze at, their team has a great form, it’s young and sprightly and well-balanced. Many people out there are saying, it all comes down to the seeding from New Zealand’s and South Africa’s pool match. If South Africa comes out on top, they have a much simpler path to the finals, likely to face England rather than Wales. It then just comes down to a cool and collected performance like in 1995 and 2007 to come out the champs.
RWC World Ranking: 2nd
Highest RWC Finish: Winners 1987, 2011, 2015
The bookies have New Zealand as the favourite at 11/8 odds. The All Blacks are the absolute favourites in the World Cup.
The defending champs have the aforementioned pool match with South Africa that can go each way, though it leans slightly in the favour of the All Blacks. They won out against the rival in their 27 July warm-ups, posing as a good indicator for the events ahead. But the All Blacks are faltering somewhat, losing to Australia recently, as well as Ireland and only just sneaking past Argentina and England.
Experience from their last two Cup wins could prove crucial, the team has a lot more experience on the big stage than other teams chasing the dream. In many ways, it’ll be another day in the office for the team and they’ll go in with knowledge of how to approach the most important games. All Blacks have won every final they’ve made it to, it’s just about getting to that point.
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