Let the Games Begin!
"I can`t believe that I am actually writing this column with only a few hours to go before the opening of the Rugby World Cup 2019."
I can`t believe that I am actually writing this column with only a few hours to go before the opening of the Rugby World Cup 2019. I can`t believe it for a number of reasons and I will elaborate on that shortly. I have to single out one particular reason and that’s the fact that for the first time ever The Rugby World Cup will be hosted in a non-traditional rugby playing country-that’s right the first time ever since the first Rugby World Cup was hosted in New Zealand in 1987.
I was very pessimistic about the host nation Japan and its ability, not to host an event but to host a Rugby World Cup. In 2015 I attended the Ruby World Cup in the country where rugby was born, England and it just felt right for obvious reasons. Now with the World Cup just around the corner I can hardly contain my excitement firstly about Japan the host nation but also about the most important part, the participating teams.
We have never and I repeat never before seen a Rugby World Cup with so many teams in with a real shout and chance of actually lifting the William Web Ellis Trophy. Usually going into this tournament and especially with The All Blacks dominance and reign as the number one team in the world for the last decade it was The All Blacks and whoever could get a decent draw, the bounce of the ball in the play-offs and some divine intervention along the way as to who would lose to The All Blacks in the final. This year it can end up and any one 7 maybe even 8 teams who could be facing one another come the 2nd of November in Yokohama.
Ireland is Number 1 in the world ,again a first time ever for the country where religion still divides many but not in rugby. Wales spent a few weeks at the top knocking the All Blacks off the top. The All Blacks, well they are the All Blacks and the 3 -time winners certainly knows how to play winning rugby. England is performing well at the right time under Eddie Jones after a very poor 6 Nations showing earlier this year. The Wallabies had their worst year in test rugby history since the 1950`s in 2018 but managed to secure and inflict the biggest ever test defeat of The All Blacks earlier this year during The Rugby Championship. France one can never say anything about and it`s impossible to predict who will arrive on the day and I have no doubt that not even The French can answer that. Argentina been improving constantly over the last few years and will once again cause an upset or 2 on the day at this year`s Rugby World Cup. Scotland can play some decent rugby but just don’t have enough depth to perform any further than just the quarter finals.
We now get to The Boks and what a year WE and I speak on behalf of all Bok Supporters when I say we and wow, what a year the boys and green and gold have had. I have hardly seen such depth, such aggression and urgency on defence and so many players finding form at the right time as what we are seeing right now.
To predict an outright winner right now is almost impossible but I will go with an England, All Blacks and South African flavour in Japan.
To make a prediction for the opening thriller Boks vs All Blacks is just as hard but I believe The Boks will take it by about 5-7 points!
Let the games begin.