With just over a month until the opening match of the Rugby World Cup, excitement is building ahead of the tournament. England will kick off the tournament against Fiji at Twickenham on September 18th and the hosts will be looking to start the competition with a victory as they bid to win their second World Cup title. However, the likes of Australia and New Zealand will sense an opportunity to take advantage of the added pressure on England’s shoulders and could challenge for the crown.
Stuart Lancaster’s side were incredibly disappointed to finish second to Ireland in the Six Nations earlier this year but England’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed by the general public. Lancaster was forced to select a depleted squad after a number of high-profile players were ruled out through injury yet they still earned victories away at Wales and Scotland, whilst beating Italy and France at Twickenham. England will be quietly confident ahead of the World Cup on home soil but will be without Manu Tuilagi, who was ruled out of the competition after his arrest for a confrontation with a female police officer earlier this year.
Paired up with England in Pool A are Australia. The Wallabies remain one of the best rugby union sides on the planet and, although many are dismissing their chances, will stand an outside shot of lifting the trophy on October 31st. They have a solid work ethic and boast some of the quickest players in the sport. Australia’s charismatic energy will ensure they could sneak through the tournament and, at the time of writing, Coral are offering 9/1 on Australia to win the competition.
The All Blacks are the most feared team in rugby union and will be looking to defend their Rugby World Cup title on October 31st. They should breeze through Pool C and will be incredibly tough to beat in the knockout stages too. Defensively, they are the best team on the planet but they are also devastating on the counter attack. This will be Richie McCaw and Dan Carter’s last World Cup and they will be looking to sign off their New Zealand careers with another major title. Meanwhile, Steve Hansen, who has been involved with the All Blacks since 2004, will be looking to claim victory in his first Rugby World Cup as head coach after he was promoted from assistant manager in 2012.