How Will Your Team Fair at the Rugby World Cup 2019?


The countdown to the Rugby World Cup starts right here...

The 2019 Rugby World Cup will be the ninth Rugby World Cup, and is to be held in Japan in the autumn. This will be the first time the tournament is to be held in Asia, and so it is considered a big step in the evolution of rugby union.

The world cups seems to get bigger with every event, and that trend isn't about to change, because Japan 2019 is set to be the biggest and most competitive yet. It is also one of the most open world cups in memory, with ten or eleven teams in contention to win it. 

Here, Green Beans takes a look at all the front runners and their chances of lifting the Webb Ellis trophy in November.  Will the southern hemisphere stranglehold be broken, or are the mighty All Blacks set to clean up for a third straight time?  How will your team fair at this year's rugby world cup, and will we see a new winner?  Here's what we think...

 

Argentina

Best ever world cup result:  Third place  (2007)
Current ranking: 10
Star player:  Nicolas Sanchez
Pool C

What are their chances?  Argentina have developed immensely since the turn of the century, and the Pumas are now considered to be one of the world's best.  Joining the Rugby Championship has also helped develop Argentina into a world force, and successful outings at the 2007 and 2015 world cups proved the doubters that they could indeed compete with the best.

However, Argentina have hit a little slump in recent times, and reaching the semi final heights of their last campaign will be difficult. A tricky group with England, France and Tonga won't make their task any easier.

Our prediction: Pool stage.

Australia

Best ever world cup result:  Champions  (1991, 1999)
Current ranking: 6
Star player:  Bernard Foley
Pool D

What are their chances?  Australia are a bit like the German's at football world cups - they just have this annoying habit of getting it right on the big occasions, regardless of their form going into these tournaments.  That is why this Australian side cannot be written off.

Australian rugby has certainly seen better days, and some of their press are labelling this aide as one of the worst in Australian rugby history.  That does seem rather harsh, but not much is expected from this team, even though they still posses one of the strongest backlines in world rugby.   They won't go down without a fight, but we expect their journey to end against England in the last eight.

Our prediction: Quarter finals.

 England

Best ever world cup result:  Champions  (2003)
Current ranking: 4
Star player:  Owen Farrell
Pool C

What are their chances?  It's difficult to know exactly how well this England team will do at the world cup.  Their form has been patchy of late, and they are lacking a clear identity.  There's no question they have the players to go deep in this tournament, but do they have the right mindset? 

Don't bet against a successful world cup for the English this autumn, but also don't bet against another flop like at the last world cup. England have become the new France in recent times, but that shouldn't stop them negotiating through Pool C, and even past Australia in the quarters. 

Our prediction: Semi finals. 


France

Best ever world cup result:  Runners-up  (1987, 1999, 2011)
Current ranking: 8
Star player: Baptiste Serin
Pool C

What are their chances?  France have always been an oddity in world rugby, and that hasn't changed one bit.  The thing is, they've become more predictably bad than good in recent times, which is rather astonishing when you consider the amount of top quality players they have at their disposal. 

This world cup will be no different to any other for Le Blues - they'll either flop in the first round, or stumble their way to the final.  You just never know!  If they can get their act together and get off to a good start, there's no reason why this French team can't at least make the quarter finals.

Our prediction: Quarter finals.

Ireland

Best ever world cup result:  Quarter finals  (1987, 1991, 1995, 2003, 2011, 2015)
Current ranking: 3
Star player: Jonny Sexton
Pool A

What are their chances?  It's amazing how things can change in just a matter of months.  At the beginning of the year, the Irish were tipped as the world cup favourites, after their 2018 grand slam success and their famous win over New Zealand later that year.  However, things aren't looking as bright these days, after a disappointing Six Nations campaign which saw defeats to England and Wales.  

Have this Ireland team been found out?  We certainly can't discount them, because they've still got the players, a very shrewd coach, and a reasonably easy pool to negotiate through. If the Irish can get their confidence back, there's no reason why they can't go beyond the quarter finals for the first time in their history.

Our prediction: Semi finals.

Italy

Best ever world cup result:  Pool stage
Current ranking: 14
Star player: Sergio Parisse
Pool B

What are their chances?  Italy are going through a bit of a transitional stage at present, and they're trying to find their feet, somewhat.  They're not playing badly, a such, but they're just not getting the results they perhaps deserve.  

Unfortunately, this world cup may have come a little too soon for the Azzurri, and being pitted against New Zealand and South Africa certainly won't help matters.

Our prediction: Pool stage.

Japan

Best ever world cup result:  Pool stage
Current ranking: 11
Star player: Ayumu Goromaru
Pool A

What are their chances?  Japan gave us the most memorable performance at the last world cup with a shock victory against South Africa, but that will take some doing to replicate.  Being the hosts of the tournament, Japan will always have a punchers chance, and in a group containing under performing Ireland and Scotland teams, there is every chance the Cherry Blossoms will make the quarter finals.

Our prediction: Quarter finals.

 New Zealand

Best ever world cup result:  Champions  (1987, 2011, 2015)
Current ranking: 1
Star player: Beauden Barrett
Pool B

What are their chances?  The mighty All Blacks will head into the world cup as the holders and heavy favourites to lift their fourth title.  This should come as no surprise to anyone, because there is rarely a time when the All Blacks are not at the top of world rugby.  

However, to give some hope to the other teams involved, in recent months, this Kiwi team hasn't been as good as the usual high standard they always set themselves.  That's not to say they've been bad - they've just lacked that cutting edge.  However, with plenty of time to tweak things, we just get a sense this All Black team will be ready to roll come September.

Our prediction: Runners-up.

Scotland

Best ever world cup result:  Fourth place  (1991)
Current ranking: 7
Star player: Stuart Hogg
Pool A

What are their chances?  Despite an average Six Nations, Scotland are in a good place at the moment. Their style of play is positive, and they seem to have good quality in a number of positions. This Scottish team have become difficult to beat, with a counter-attacking flair about their play.  

Pool A may seem quite manageable on paper, but they'll be up against an Irish team on a mission, and a Japanese team with the backing of a whole nation. The Scots will have to dig in deep if they want to avoid an embarrassing first round exit.

Our prediction: Pool stage.


South Africa

Best ever world cup result:  Champions  (1995, 2007)
Current ranking: 5
Star player: Eben Etzebeth
Pool B

What are their chances?  The Springboks head into the 2019 world cup with a sense of uncertainty, which isn't anything new these days. With political unrest, and an unsettled team, not much is expected of the two-time-winners.  However, one would be a fool to write off this South Africa side, who are packed with world class talent all over the field.

You would fully expect South Africa to get through Pool B, just behind New Zealand, but their journey will likely end in the quarters against the Irish.

Our prediction: Quarter finals.

Wales

Best ever world cup result:  Third place  (1987)
Current ranking: 2
Star player: Alun-Wyn Jones
Pool D

What are their chances?  With a grand slam in the bag, and momentum firmly on their side, Wales have never been in a better position going into a world cup.  What this Welsh team has over the teams of the past is a strong, dogged mentality and a super tight defence. Wales have found a way to grind out results, even when they're playing badly, which is a very favourable trait to have.

If Wales can keep the momentum building, and stay strong-minded, there is absolutely no reason why they can't go all the way in this competition. And if they can nail their game-plan and get a slice of luck along the way, then who knows, the word cup might just be red for the very first time, come November!

Our prediction: Champions.

Do you agree with our predictions?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. 


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