With the calendar page now showing September, the 2019 Rugby World Cup is now clearly in sight. Soon Rugby World Cup news will be front and center for this, and many other rugby websites globally.
To consolidate our preparations, Last Word on Rugby brings you a full roundup of all the news, squad announcements, and analysis from our network of contributors and national union announcements.
Rugby World Cup 2019 kicks off THIS MONTH.
Current mood: pic.twitter.com/6G0ErKmmk8
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 1, 2019
From as far back as June, our team has been ready to forecast the latest news and views on those 20 teams qualified for this years’ tournament. Here is a breakdown by Pools, and then some Interesting Facts and one for the sports pundits.
Pool A – Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Rusia, and Samoa
There is a real open feel to Pool A. It contains the hosts Japan, who recently won the Pacific Nations Cup, to build on their 2015 Cup exploits.
They will be confident of qualifying for the quarterfinals, following in the footsteps of their footballing counterparts when they hosted the World Cup in 2002. They will also benefit from 24 rest days, something that contributed to their group stage exit in 2015.
Ireland will still be favourites to win the pool, as they seek to reverse their inconsistent form of 2019 to date. But they still have the Irish World Cup curse hanging over them; the men in green have still never made it past the quarter-final stage.
Surely this is their best chance to set that record straight?
Also in this pool is Scotland, Russia and Samoa. Scotland should fancy their chances of topping the pool, by not only overcoming their Six Nations rivals but several nations that have focused all their energies on this one tournament.
Samoa will be confident of taking on their more well-resourced opponents and are always capable of a victory on a given day.
Meanwhile, Russia will want to prove they are not just making up the numbers and make some real Rugby World Cup news stories themselves.
Pool B – New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Namibia, Canada
This pool is all [literally] all about the two top sides; who with five World Cup titles between them, open the campaign with a top-of-the-table match. New Zealand will look to use their speed and mobility, while South Africa have the form to produce a first-result that might shake the tournament from the start.
— Megapro (@Megapro_SA) August 26, 2019
While the two superpowers might dominate headlines, LWOR looks to cover all the squads. So that David Challis pointed a light onto Canada. The side who have learned much from experiences in Major League Rugby, the Premiership, and Super Rugby. If all that can boost the sides performance in Japan, then Canadian Rugby will benefit in the long term.
The Azzurri have not had the breakout victories that would make them contenders for the Six Nations, yet every time they step out, Italy demonstrates they are more comfortable when competing against the biggest and the best. All they need is one big win, to boost their self-confidence to new heights.
Pool C – England, France, Argentina, USA, and Tonga
All eyes will be on England in this pool, after their infamous failure in 2015 on their own turf. Most talk centres on Eddie Jones’ 31 man squad, the notable omissions, bolters such as Ruaridh McConnochie and Willi Heinz and quirky back up plans including emergency scrum half George Ford. Success will hinge on the contributions of the large Saracens contingent in the squad and star names like Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje delivering on their reputations.
The below team in red [not England, whose away kit is also red] is Tonga. Read more about their focus, in the all-important RWC year.
United States rugby development has boosted the sport, with huge improvements and a viable opportunity, to use their coaching and playing staff to the USA Rugby World Cup advantage.
Pool D – Australia, Wales, Georgia, Fiji, and Uruguay
With former two-time Champions Australia and the most consistent International side, Wales, it might appear to be a two-horse race. But don’t let that fool you. Georgia and Fiji had good experiences in 2015 – Fiji pushing England, and Georgia the MVP – so expect plenty from this group.
Uruguay are the second South American team, and can feel that they are in the best company. Australia is a team that can always peak for these occasions. They did it in 2015, so watch for Michael Hooper’s group to show they have the intent and unpredictability.
If Warren Gatland can mold his group while negotiating the knockout stages, he might very well make the Welsh Dragon roar loudest.
LWOR are still adding to this Pool, so look forward to additional pieces in the near future.
As the World Rugby pinnacle event draw was made, Last Word on Rugby reported on the confirmed pools and the already qualified teams. That lineup was soon confirmed, with Canada and Samoa two late additions.
2019 Rugby World Cup news and analysis
As the tournament moves ever closer and eventually gets underway, Last Word on Rugby will continue to bring you all the news, team news, and analysis from the 20 sides competing in Japan.
Which team will walk away from Japan with the Webb Ellis Cup? Who knows. Our team only know that bringing you the action and results is one of the most exciting times – join us, share your feedback and comments, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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