The eighth installment of the Rugby World Cup kicks off at Twickenham tomorrow when hosts England clash with Fiji, thus beginning six weeks of action-packed, exhilarating rugby union across the country as well as in Cardiff. The 20-team competition has northern and southern hemisphere heavyweights battling it out at 13 different venues throughout the country as following the Olympic Games in 2012, England once again prepares to welcome the world.
England will be looking to improve upon their performance four year’s ago in New Zealand when Martin Johnson’s side disappointingly bowed out at the quarter-finals stage.
The All Blacks, who are the reigning champions, remain the bookies favourite to retain their crown but Australia, England, Ireland and South Africa are all genuine contenders as fans prepare to enjoy the most competitive World Cup in history.
The toughest and most unpredictable Pool ever seen at a Rugby World Cup has three of the sport’s leading nations in Australia, England and Wales battling it out for two spots in the quarter-finals.Fiji might also pose a threat after winning the Pacific Nations Cup last month while Uruguay, who are making their World Cup final’s debut, complete the group.
Why not check out our Pool A preview
The Springboks have been lucky in their poor form to have been gifted a relatively easy pool, where they have been heavily backed to finish top. Samoa and Scotland will then battle it out for the second quarter-final spot.The other two sides in the group include Japan, who are under the guidance of former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones, and The USA who recently overcame the Cherry Blossoms during the Pacific Nations Cup last month.
You can get more info on Pool B with our Pool B preview
This Pool looks pretty straightforward in terms of who will be advancing to the quarter-finals. Defending champions and bookies favourite New Zealand have their only real challenge of the group stages in their opening match against Argentina on Sunday. The Pumas should then take the second place in the knockout rounds as Tonga, Georgia and Namibia are the other sides in the pool, and it is hard to see any of them causing an upset.
Check out our Pool C preview
Reigning Six Nations champions, Ireland will be the favourites to take Pool D as they have not lost to their primary opposition France in the team’s last four meetings. Italy is the only other side who could potentially threaten Les Bleus for that second spot while Canada and Romania will both fight to try and finish off the bottom of the Pool.
Read more about this pool with our Pool D preview