O’Neill & Brennan’s Rugby World Cup 2019 Wallplanner is now available for all to download, ensuring you don’t miss out on any of the action and talent on display this September. If you want to have a copy on display in your office, or you’re keen to have one up at home, download our Rugby World Cup Wallplanner today and start plotting out the games you’re going to watch in advance.
We here at O&B have written a small preview on how the home nations of the UK and Ireland are looking ahead of what is shaping up to be one of the most open and exciting Rugby World Cups to date.
The Six Nations champions have had an extremely impressive year in the lead up to Japan, beating Ireland, England and Scotland comprehensively as well as solid performances in the Autumn Internationals with big wins against the springboks and Australia last November. Warren Gatland’s men will no doubt be the team to beat with options and depth all over the park.
Eddie Jones runs a tight ship in the England camp and has arguably the most talented side to pick from. In every position there is two or three players chomping at the bit, putting their bodies on the line to win a starting jersey. Their recent demolition of Ireland was ruthless from start to finish. England need to keep their key players in Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola fit in order to repeat the 2003 showcase. Their group is full of potential speedbumps in the shape of Argentina and France. They are more than capable of winning the tournament, however, England are their own worst enemy and their consistency comes and goes with basic errors costing them dearly in the past.
If the Rugby World Cup started in November of last year, Ireland would have been favorites with historic back-to-back wins over New Zealand in Chicago and Dublin, Johnathan Sexton being named World Rugby player of the year, as well as a flawless 2018 Grand Slam in the Six Nations. However, since then, it almost seems Irish rugby has peaked too early with Leinster throwing away a European Final to Saracens and Ireland having a miserable Six Nations campaign where they finished 3rd. Last week’s embarrassing loss to England will be one that Joe Schimdt will want to forget. Losing back row British and Irish Lions ace Sean O’Brian is a massive loss to Ireland. We can never write off Ireland, but they will need the luck of the Irish to impress in Japan come late September.
Any team who gets too complacent against Scotland will get punished. They have proven time and time again that they have truly outstanding individual players but have yet to mold together as a team. They had a mixed Six Nations campaign with glimpses of what they really are capable of. Stuart Hogg has continuously been outstanding for the last number of years with captain Greig Laidlaw driving them on as any great captain does. They will need big performances to get out of Pool A with Ireland and hosts Japan posing major threats as well as potential speed bumps in Russia and Samoa respectively. Scotland do pose a threat and are certainly capable of causing a few upsets of their own along the way.
It is hard to look past current World Champions New Zealand. They have been there on so many occasions and have the depth, talent and mentality that it takes to win it again. There were doubts about their preparations leading up to Japan up until recently with a 36-0 annihilation of Australia, which left doubters eating their words.
Another team who have peaked at the right time is South Africa. The physicality of the springboks is frightening and is rarely matched by any team. It will be a spectacle to behold when they face the All Blacks in Pool B.
Outright Prediction: New Zealand
Player to watch: Beaudan Barrett
Don’t forget, if you’d like to see how the tournament unfolds and want to keep on top of when all the matches are, download our Rugby World Cup wallplanner today! You can download the A2 version below