With the opening weekend of the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan in the history books, and one more match to play in the "first round" on Monday, there have been some spectacular performances by the big teams. However, two performances that should not be overlooked in the opening weekend were those of Argentina and Fiji.
Ireland started their World Cup campaign with an all-round victory over Scotland on Sunday. The Irish were dominant in their 27-3 victory, and looked like a team that has worked hard on the issues that were worrying them leading up to the World Cup.
It was New Zealand's day in the opening pool B encounter against South Africa on Saturday, a match which lived up to a number of expectations leading into it. What started out as an intense contest, worthy of a final, however, turned into a scrappy encounter that South Africa will hope to forget.
The Rugby World Cup kicks off on Friday, and this year promises to be one of the most competitive and exciting tournaments ever. Realistically, any one of four top teams could win it, with other dark horses also capable of pulling off a few big wins. As difficult as it is to predict the World Cup in Japan, let's take a look at it anyway...
We are well into the week of the start of the Rugby World Cup, and every country should be ready for their World Cup campaigns. One country that needs some work ahead of the start of the showcase in Japan is Argentina, who have been less than inspiring over the past two years. Despite making some headway into becoming a real world rugby power after joining the Southern Hemisphere Rugby Championship, they have since taken a few steps backwards in their performances.
A few days away from the start of the greatest rugby showcase in Japan, and many pundits and fans alike have mixed feelings about Ireland's prospects of winning the World Cup. After moving to World No. 1 after defeating Wales in Dublin in their final warm-up match, the Irish should be firm favourites to win. However, many pundits feel that Ireland will fall to their quarter-final curse, while others believe that they do not have the right personnel in the 31-man squad.
Just days away from the start of the Rugby World Cup in Japan, and social media is filled with predictions and support for various countries. One of the most popular teams that have been touted to make the final have been in phenomenal form in 2019, and will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with in Japan. Coached by the masterful Eddie Jones, England look like a well-oiled machine after their Word Cup preparations.
As we draw nearer to the start of the Rugby World Cup in Japan, every rugby supporter has made their predictions as to who will lift the Webb Ellis Cup. Plenty of nations are in the mix as people talk about which team is most likely to win, however one team is noticeably absent from the conversation surrounding potential finalists. This is for good reason.
The biggest event on the Rugby calendar is a few days out, and many supporters are discussing their team's chances in the Rugby World Cup. Throughout all of the discussions, the most common theme is that the All Blacks are the favourites to defend their title, and be the first team to win three Webb Ellis Cups in a row. While it is certain that New Zealand will always be a threat in any tournament, this year's World Cup does not seem to be so easy to give to the All Blacks in the lead up.
As we gear up for the biggest event on the rugby calendar, people all over traditional and social media debate the various teams' chances in Japan, and how each team should stack up throughout the tournament. In the first of a number of previews and profiles of the top teams in this year's World Cup, I look at the Springboks and their form and depth running into the showcase in Japan.