The 2015 Rugby World Cup is quickly approaching with the first matches set to erupt this Saturday. We take a look at which sides have the best chance of making it through the pool stages, make the final and which country will take home the Webb Ellis Cup.
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The format of the World Cup involves four pools of five teams and they will play each team in their pool once. The two teams finishing first and second on the ladder will advance to the quarter-finals where it will become a knock out competition.
The “pool of death” has four sides that will have intentions to make it through to the knock out stages of the competition. Australia (2nd), England (4th) and Wales (5th) are all ranked top five in the world and anything other than a quarter-final berth will result in a disappointing campaign. Especially with the Wallabies having never been eliminated during the group stage of the World Cup and with Wales and England sharing the rights to host the event.
Australia have had one of their strongest international years in a long period of time as they won the Rugby Championship which involved beating the All Blacks for the first time since 2011. However, they would then lose the follow up match at Eden Park, New Zealand when they were competing for the Bledisloe Cup.
The scrum of the Green and Gold has been dominant and when David Pocock and Michael Hooper both were on the field at the same time they looked dominant at the breakdown however there was issues with their lineout.
Their attack needs to improve as they were only able to break the New Zealander’s defensive line on the back of individual brilliance and a kick in behind the line. They have a favourable draw as they will play Fiji before Uruguay, which will give them a good idea on where they are at when they take on England and then Wales.
The Red and Whites have defeated the Dragons the last two times these teams met and this should continue into the World Cup as England are set to advance with Australia to the quarter-finals whilst Wales, Fiji and Uruguay will head home early.
- South Africa
A much easier pool for South Africa has them up against only one other side in the top 10 world rugby rankings. However, in the 2011 World Cup, Samoa pushed the Springboks to the limit and it was one try apiece in the match with penalty goals proving the difference. South Africa will still easily progress whilst the second spot is up for grabs between the remaining teams. The United States are a long shot but they proved against Australia in the first half of their recently friendly that they aren’t going to just roll over and they cold cause a few upsets.
It has been 20 years since the last time Samoa reached the quarter-final stage and if they are a chance to make it again they will need to use their intimidation factor to their advantage. Their side is massive and they will be much bigger than their biggest rivals Japan and Scotland.
Japan has never advanced passed the pool stages and this will be their best opportunity. Former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has taken the reigns of The Brave Blossoms and his experience would be helping the side progress, however they won’t have enough to defeat the big Samoans.
- New Zealand
This is the most obvious pool with the All Blacks almost guaranteed to take out the top spot whilst Argentina are likely to progress in second. The only challengers will be Tonga with Georgia and Namibia likely to be embarrassed in their matches as they are just making up the numbers.
Argentina have developed a lot since being involved in the Rugby Championship as they get to play against the top 3 sides – the All Blacks, Wallabies and Springboks every season. The Pumas are only $1.07 to make the quarterfinals, which means there is no value in this pool.
TIP: No Bet
Similar to the previous pool it is obvious the two teams which will progress, however Italy will put up more of a challenge than Tonga with top spot easily up for grabs.
The last two matches played by France and Ireland have resulted in narrow victories for the Irish, however we see it going the other way in the World Cup with the French always providing their best performances on the biggest stage. The 2011 Finalists almost upset the All Blacks in the final as they lost by just a single point.
The All Blacks have never won the Web Ellis Trophy outside of their home soil and, before claiming the trophy four years ago, they had the “chokers” label attached to them as they had suffered shock losses in every World Cup since they won their first title in the inaugural tournament in 1987.
They are short-priced favourites to win the trophy at $2.20 at Sportsbet, which means you are probably better off at going for value with another side. England are at a relatively short price also and the best bet will be going with either the Springboks or Wallabies to upset the defending champions.
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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