Author: Paul Reece
Published: 12:59 18/09/2014
England host the 2015 Rugby World Cup but it is New Zealand who are once again the fancied side heading into the competition. The All Blacks are the reigning champions and will head into the finals as the top ranked side in the world. And before you take advantage of Coral’s free £20 bet, read why the Kiwi’s are the big favourites.
In 2011, New Zealand topped their group with four wins from four games, before easing past Argentina and Australia on their way to the final. The Kiwis then edged past France 8-7 in the final, one-month after defeating the French 37-17 in Pool A.
Since then, the Southern-hemisphere side have gone from strength-to-strength, winning the inaugural Rugby Championship with six wins from six matches against Australia, South Africa and Argentina and repeating the achievement the following year, maintaining their 100% record.
And as if that wasn’t enough, the New Zealanders became the first side to go a calendar year unbeaten during the professional era. Steve Hansen, meanwhile has a superb record in charge of the national side winning 32 of his first 35 matches, losing one (against England at Twickenham), and with a win percentage of 91.43%.
Simply put, the Kiwis appear unbeatable right now. The 55-year-old has a 100% record against South Africa, France, Argentina and Ireland with his only defeat in his opening 35 matches coming against England.
Facing Argentina, Tonga, Georgia, Namibia in Pool C of the 2015 World Cup, Hansen’s men should ease through the group before a likely quarter-final encounter against Ireland or France. The All Blacks prevailed 3-0 against England during their recent tour down under and New Zealand have lost just once since winning the World Cup three-years-ago. That form shows no sign of ending with one-year to go until the 20-team tournament in England next September.
Australia, England and South Africa may be the three biggest challengers to New Zealand, who have never won the World Cup on foreign soil. The fact that the All Blacks have retained the Bledisloe Cup against Australia since 2003 and won nine of the last 10 Freedom Cup’s against South Africa will give them a boost they do not need. With England and Australia meeting in a Pool A, meanwhile, along with Wales and Fiji their place in last-eight is far from certain in comparison to New Zealand who should sail through their group. South Africa should have no trouble getting through their group but right now it is difficult to see anyone producing a serious challenge to the ruthless All Blacks.
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