Can anyone beat New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup?
The 2015 Rugby World Cup gets underway later this year and current holders New Zealand look well set to defend their crown. The All Blacks, who defeated France in the 2011 final, are arguably the strongest team in the world and possess talented players in every position. On home soil, England will fancy their chances of causing an upset while Ireland, who recently won their second consecutive Six Nations tournament, could perform well if Johnny Sexton can stay fit throughout the summer months. We take a look at the upcoming Rugby World Cup tournament and give our thoughts on whether New Zealand can retain the title or whether another side will step up and defy the odds.
The All Blacks have an incredibly strong squad and will be quietly confident of their chances in autumn’s event. With the experienced Dan Carter, New Zealand have a player that controls the tempo of a rugby match and, when he is kicking well, there is no better fly-half in the sport. Meanwhile, captain Richie McCaw is inspirational on and off the field and he will ensure that his side are fully prepared for every game throughout the competition. The 2011 winners won’t take any sides for granted and will look to make a huge statement of intent in their Pool C matches with Argentina, Tonga, Georgia and Namibia.
Stuart Lancaster’s England side, who finished a disappointing second in this year’s Six Nations tournament, will be tough to beat on home soil. They were plagued by injury earlier in 2015 and the 2003 winners will hope for the likes of David Wilson and Courtney Lawes to be fully fit ahead of their first match against Fiji. If they play to their full potential, England stand an excellent chance of defying the odds and claiming victory in front of their home fans at Twickenham on November 1st.
Ireland’s chances will lie firmly on the fitness of influential character Johnny Sexton. Although they possess a strong squad, they are never the same side without their master fly-half in the team and the 2015 Six Nations winners will be looking for Sexton to lead them to the latter stages of the tournament. If they can reach the semi-finals, Ireland could go on to lift the trophy in the showpiece event in November. However, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the All Blacks go on to lift the trophy at Twickenham.