With just two weeks to go until the Rugby World Cup in Japan the excitement is starting to build ahead of the highly-anticipated tournament. Who will get their hands on the Webb Ellis trophy?
The games will be played between the 20th-2nd of September. This will be the first time the tournament has been held in Asia and outside the traditional heartland of the rugby union.
The twenty teams are divided into four pools of five teams. Each pool will be a single round-robin of ten games, in which each team plays one match against each of the other teams in the same pool.
Pool A contains the likes of Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Russia and Samoa. Ireland and Scotland are pre-tournament favorites to advance from this group and look like a cert to progress. However host-nations Japan will be in with a shout to advance so don’t write them off just yet!
Ireland have under-achieved in the tournament previously and will be looking to finally have a good run with coach Joe Schmidt bowing out after the tournament. They can use their 2018 victory over the All Blacks as motivation to defy the odds in Japan.
Scotland will be hopeful to qualify for the next round of the competition with influential winger Stuart Hogg back at his best. You don’t really know what Scotland team can show up on any given day.
Outright prices–Ireland-8/1, Scotland-40/1, Japan-150/1, Russia 1000/1 and Samoa 750/1.
Pool B contains New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia and Canada which should be a two horse race.
The All-Blacks will be favorites to advance as the pool winners and are considered the best team in the Southern Hemisphere. Possibly ever in international rugby!
South Africa are certainly in with a shout. After nearly a decade of inconsistency since their 2007 World Cup triumph, they have regained a good run of form and go in as the sleeper team in the tournament.
Outright prices–New Zealand-5/4, South Africa-9/2, Italy-750/1, Namibia-1000/1 and Canada-1000/1.
Pool C contains England, France, Argentina, USA and Tonga. This should be one of the most exciting pools in the tournament!
With only two places to progress in the groups, one of the big three between England, France and Argentina will not make it to the later stages.
The USA and Tonga aren’t expected to do much but carry an underdog tag to cause a seismic shock. I wouldn’t write either off.
Outright prices-England-17/4, France-33/1, Argentina-40/1, USA-1000/1 and Tonga-1000/1.
Pool D features Australia, Wales, Georgia, Fiji and Uruguay in an interesting group. Australia and Wales are the pre-tournament favorites to advance.
The Wallabies have appeared at every Rugby World Cup since the first tournament in 1987. Can Star Fly-half Bernard Foley lead his team to World Cup glory?
Wales go into this tournament off the back of winning the Six Nations. Warren Gatland will look to use his experience as former British and Irish Lions coach to set his side up for a successful World Cup run in Japan.
Fiji are an interesting one who have been playing well recently. If the Wallabies or Welsh are not careful, Fiji are more than capable of upsetting the odds!
Outright prices-Australia-12/1, Wales-9/1, Georgia-750/1, Fiji-500/1 and Uruguay-1000/1.
*PRICES VALID AT TIME OF WRITING*
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