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...
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.
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.
This weekend will see the final preparation matches ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan at the end of September. One of the most influential matches of the weekend will take place in Dublin, as Ireland and Wales will clash in their second match in two weeks; a match which can have great ramifications for the much debated official World Rankings.