The AFL and NRL finals are dominating the attention of Australia’s sporting public at the moment, so you can be forgiven for only just now realising the men’s Rugby World Cup kicks off in Japan this evening.
How will the Wallabies fare? Who is favorite to win? What about an underdog? And who could be the star of the show?
Read on, as we preview what may happen between now and the final in Yokohama on November 2 when the Webb Ellis Cup is lifted once more.
Wallabies’ pool matches
|Wallabies vs Fiji||Sapporo||September 21|
|Wallabies vs Wales||Tokyo||September 29|
|Wallabies vs Uruguay||Oita||October 5|
|Wallabies vs Georgia||Shizuoka||October 11|
The Wallabies scored victories over the All Blacks in domestic Tests in the lead-up to the 2007, 2011 and 2015 World Cups yet came up empty handed when the Webb Ellis Cup was up for grabs. But the self-belief the Wallabies would have gained from how they played in Perth will be pivotal should they reach the knock-out stages — as expected — in Japan.
England or All Blacks – who are favorites?
If you were to believe that the official World Rugby rankings dictate who is favourite to win in Japan, then the number one-ranked Ireland would be the team to beat but while the Irish are among the heavyweights, it is England and the All Blacks who should be topping the betting markets.
World Cup winners
England’s key weapon in Japan will not be taking the field; instead, Eddie Jones will be sitting in the grandstand as he looks to add a World Cup crown as head coach to his enviable track record at rugby union’s global showpiece.