It is just under one more month until the Rugby World Cup kicks off in Japan. You can almost feel the tension building up before the biggest rugby spectacle takes place later next month.
We are in for an exciting time with the best teams in the world gearing up to take part in the first World Cup to take place in the Asian region of the world. All the teams should be starting or are well into their final preparations for the tournament with the last few international matches taking place in the next few weeks leading up to the global showpiece.
This year’s Rugby World Cup is looking like it might just be one of the most exciting and competitive ones in the history of the tournament. There seems to be no clear favourite and many teams are legitimate title contenders.
Results from international matches this year have shown that the competitive field at this year’s tournament will be very strong and for once, the All Blacks are not the outright favourites to win their third consecutive title. In this year’s watered down version of the Rugby Championships there were some very interesting results. The Springboks went on to win the title with two big wins over Australia and Argentina and a draw vs the All Blacks. This was most surprising and bodes well for a Springbok team that had one of the worst years in 2016. The All Blacks on the other hand have had a rocky start to the year. In the Rugby Championships they struggled to beat Argentina, drew to the Springboks and were thumped in their final match vs the Wallabies, this landed them in third place on the log in the Rugby Championships. They then went on to dominate the Wallabies in their final fixture, just to show the world that they should not be taken lightly in the World Cup.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the situation is just as tight with many teams putting in strong performances this year just before they head into the Rugby World Cup. Wales sit at the top of the World Rugby rankings having won the 6 Nations Championships being undefeated. England has also been in fine form dominating Wales in their recent fixtures, winning one before losing the follow up match by a narrow margin. They then went on to destroy Ireland in a match that ended 57 – 15, their largest score vs Ireland in an international match. Ireland on the other hand was looking like the best team in the Northern Hemisphere a few years ago when they beat the All Blacks. Recently they have slumped in form and look like they might have several key players that are injured.
We are now at the final stretch and I’m sure all the teams, supporters and the fans from across the world are just waiting patiently for the Rugby World Cup to begin! Once that first whistle blows, anything can happen!