We take a look at some of the top teams all vying for 2019 Rugby World Cup glory.
2019 Rugby World Cup Favourites
The 2019 Rugby World Cup is unlike any other tournament for a variety of reasons. The fact it is the first edition of the tournament held in Asia is of course the most apparent but it is also the first tournament where there are probably five or so teams with serious chances of taking the trophy home. In past tournaments it was often difficult to name three teams that stood a realistic hope of victory whereas the international to-ing and fro-ing of the top teams winning and losing against one another has meant the 2019 tournament is incredibly open.
Bearing this in mind we have taken a look at five teams we think stand the best chance at glory.
They may have lost to Australia in the Rugby Championship and let a victory slip away against the Springboks, but as per usual with the Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks are the undeniable favourites. Their air of invincibility has been diminished, as shown by the Welsh knocking them off the top spot in the World Rugby rankings earlier this year, but a lot of their players were around four years ago so they know what it takes to win the tournament. It would take a brave person to bet against them.
Arguably, this is the first ever Rugby World Cup in which the Welsh are one of the favourites to win it. They became the world’s top ranked side in 2019 thanks to a Six Nations Grand Slam, an incredible defence and their world class players across the board. The injuries to Taulupe Faletau and Gareth Anscombe cannot be ignored but the Welsh have the firepower to win without them. Their group is no walkover though – they have Australia, Georgia, Fiji and Uruguay in it.
After a dour 2018 Six Nations, Eddie Jones’ men appear to be back on form in the past year or so. During the end of year internationals they beat South Africa and Australia, as well as only losing to the All Blacks by a single point. They put together a reasonably solid 2019 Six Nations and have shown good form in their several tough World Cup warm-up matches. England are a team that can blow their opponents away with speed and power but a suspect defence could be their undoing, especially in a tough group alongside France and Argentina.
Admittedly they have regressed a bit from the form they showed in their 2018 Grand Slam year, but any team that has as many world class players as Ireland do are not to be scoffed at. The most important thing for the Irish and Joe Schmidt to do is to get Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray back to their 2018 form because if they are back at that level, combined with an aggressive and powerful forward pack, then they can beat absolutely anyone. Let’s not forget they have beaten the All Blacks twice in their last there meetings.
The final team we think is a favourite to win it all is South Africa. After a couple of difficult years they are definitely on the up as shown by their recent Rugby Championship victory. Rassie Erasmus clearly knows his best team and given the size and physicality of the pack in particular, the Springboks will be a match for any team in the tournament. But one player who will have to be at his best is Handre Pollard. He runs the side at fly-half and will need to be on top form.
We will also be doing a Rugby World Cup Outsiders piece in the future that will include teams who could shock everyone and go on to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy on the 2nd of November. Stay tuned for that.
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