FIVE GEN­UINE CAN­DI­DATES TO WIN RWC

NZ Rugby World Tournament Guide - - THE TOURNAMENT ORACLE -

NEW ZEALAND

Ob­vi­ous. They are the num­ber one ranked team in the world and de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons. They have the nec­es­sary squad depth, the top-line tal­ent, the game­plan, the coach­ing staff and they have a leg­endary cap­tain. It’s just about in the bag.

SOUTH AFRICA

The Boks love a World Cup. They do tour­na­ment play nicely – usu­ally. They have the ap­petite for it be­cause they don’t nat­u­rally en­joy tak­ing risks and could hap­pily kick the ball in the air or put it up their jumpers all day. Have a for­mi­da­ble pack, some backs who can shift and play a bit and a su­per clear un­der­stand­ing of what they are try­ing to do.

AUS­TRALIA

No, not kid­ding. Aus­tralians are blessed with a self­con­fi­dence many other coun­tries aren’t. The nat­u­ral in­cli­na­tion of Aus­tralians is to back them­selves ...un­til they are dead. And even when they are 96 and on their last breath, a typ­i­cal Aus­tralian will back him­self to reach 97. Self belief will serve them well in Eng­land and they have enough qual­ity in their backs to score plenty of tries.

ENG­LAND

A bit like the Spring­boks, Eng­land are suited to tour­na­ments. They will feel the pres­sure as hosts and while that could break them, it could just as easily make them and when they get go­ing, they can be for­mi­da­ble. They are a mas­sively phys­i­cal side who de­fend su­perbly.

IRE­LAND

Be­lieve it – these guys are not the Ire­land of old. This is New Ire­land [ be­low]– fit, strong, well or­gan­ised and with just enough con­fi­dence. They have beaten Eng­land, South Africa and Aus­tralia in the last two years and were 20 sec­onds from adding the All Blacks to that list. They are a sit and wait team – but what­ever works.

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