After years of planning and 4 years of waiting since the last final, the Rugby World Cup is almost upon us. Twenty teams will battle it out to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy at Twickenham on the 31st October. With realistically 7 in with a chance of winning. (New Zealand, England, Australia, Ireland, Wales, France & South Africa)
Due to the vagaries of the rankings system and the fact that the groups were drawn 2+ years ago England, Wales & Australia have been drawn together (along with Fiji who are also ranked in the top 10 in the world- with only Uruguay deemed to be an easier match) in Pool A – only 2 will go though to the quarter finals so one of my “7” will not get out of the group.
I will of course be fully behind Ireland’s bid to actually perform in a World Cup – they have never made it past the quarter finals. A relatively easy start against Canada then Romania & Italy will hopefully leave the final game against France to decide the group winners. Winning this group should mean avoiding New Zealand until the Final.
Ireland have never beaten New Zealand so the final would be the time to do it.
Of course that means getting past France – who are not in great form have had lots of disruption in the build up to the tournament – and played poorly in the last couple of seasons – so probably will perform magnificently and make it all the way to the final.
I have been fortunate enough to get some match tickets via my rugby club (Chipstead RFC) and will be going along to Ireland V Romania, Ireland V Italy and New Zealand V Namibia. As ever I fully expect the British public to embrace these major sporting events as they have in the past (Olympics Tour de France etc etc)
With my rugby coaches hat on I also fully expect that there will be an increase in the numbers of kids who want to take up rugby – especially if England do well. Rugby clubs across the country have been gearing themselves up to meet the increased demands that are expected. More Coaches More pitch space and most importantly more of those lovely volunteers who make the Teas Coffees and Bacon rolls.
So I will be very happy for England to Win their group Win the Quarter final and then go out to a wonderful Irish display in the semi final who go on to finally beat New Zealand in the final – ( at which point I will probably wake up and realise that I have been dreaming again)