Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Exclusive Rugby World Cup preview! Spoiler alert - Ireland are going to win it!


Building for the World Cup’, the most overused  term in world rugby becomes obsolete for the next few weeks, because if it isn’t built by now, it’s too late! Yes, it’s all kicking off on Friday, and this is my take on how it all going to pan out…

Group A

This is the so called ‘group of death’ – boringly, no team will be handed over to the Beefeaters to have their heads chopped off, but it is the hardest group to get out of. I’m putting England though as top of the group – I know Australia, Wales and Fiji are good teams, but the English have home advantage, and a pretty decent team. Then I’m picking Australia to come second -with Leinster old boy Michael Cheika in charge, and a host of talented players, they have a chance of going all the way. Wales picked up some terrible injuries in their last warm up match which has weakened the team, and Fiji, although bursting with talent, are unlikely to put together 4 consistent performances.

Group B
South Africa
United States

The Springboks should top this group, as well as the obligatory monstrous forwards, they have a good few skilled backs these days too, and are hot in contention to win the whole thing. Second place will be between Scotland and Samoa I think . The Samoans are a scary scary team, built like brick lavatories, aggressive and fast. Although Scotland are improving fast, I think it’s a bit early for them, so Samoa to take the second spot, with the rest of teams looking for a win, any kind of win!

Group C
New Zealand

Group C should be fairly straightforward, New Zealand are favourites as ever, although by their standards, winning just 2 of 8 tournaments is a fairly poor return.  Then Argentina should come second, they always seem to raise their game for the World Cup
Group D

And finally, tadaah, Irelands’ group! Ireland have had mixed fortunes in the last few World Cups – in 2007 we were the hot tip, the dark horse, with great players waiting to show their potential. The preparation for the tournament included weeks of treatment in decompression chambers in Poland- but the team couldn’t seem to compress themselves again, struggling past Namibia and Georgia, and not getting out of their group. In 2011 expectations were neither high nor low, after making out of the groups we unexpectedly beat Australia, got pumped up with hope, daring to dream we could all the way… only to come short against Wales. 

But this year, is OUR year! Back to back 6 Nations titles, Joe Schmidt, ‘The Best Coach in the World’ ™, the players, the preparation… just remember to leave space in the bags for the cup lads! Well, a few below par performances in the last few warm up games have tempered that a bit, but seriously, we can do it! The notoriously  unpredictable French ( Croydon is their base in England and their verdict ‘ne pas chic’!) will wrap up the second spot in the pool (if they don’t bet us!)  , so on to the quarters then…

South Africa v Australia – the Springboks by a whisker
New Zealand V France - probably New Zealand…
Ireland v Argentina – Ireland!
England v Samoa – England should do that

And the semis…
South Africa v New Zealand – New Zealand
England v Ireland – Ireland  with a titanic effort

Then Ireland to win the final!  And lads, after being half murdered for your country, don’t worry, we’ll still be disappointed if you lose! Sorry to have spoiled the whole thing now you know the results, but you read it here first!

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