New Zealand have arrived in England ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, looking to defend their trophy and create history in doing so.
The All Blacks have won the World Cup twice on native soil – winning the inaugural competition in 1987 by beating France, who they also saw of in a narrow 8-7 victory in the final four years ago – so a successful defensive of their trophy would not only see them win their first tournament outside of New Zealand, but would see them become the first side to win back-to-back World Cup as well.
Steve Hansen’s would also earn the title of the most successive country in Rugby Union history should they win a third Webb-Ellis Cup – as they would pull clear of Australia and South Africa who also currently have two titles each. New Zealand are best-priced 13/10 favourites to win the 2015 World Cup at Coral, who also offer 4/1 England to win the tournament on home soil, 9/2 South Africa to triumph and another industry-leading price of 8/1 for Australia to claim a third World Cup.
All Blacks Hoping To Spoil England’s Party
With England priced as second-favourites and only New Zealand ahead of them in the betting, many home nation fans will hope that the All Blacks crack under the pressure once again. However, the current holders looked anything but anxious as they arrived in front of a crowd of fans outside the Tower of London on Friday.
Home of the crown jewels and a symbol of Englishness, the all-conquering All Blacks could not have picked a more symbolic venue to signal their intentions ahead of the tournament.
In a sentiment surely shared by many England fans, Sky Sports presenter Alex Payne – MC for the event – had joked on Twitter beforehand that he was tempted to lock them in the Tower and “Pop the key in the Thames.”
McCaw Ready For Opener
New Zealand start with a tricky tie against Argentina on Sunday September 20 but, after arriving in London, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said his side are ready for the Pumas – after watching a video montage of the seven previous tournaments had got them in the mindset to play.
McCaw said: “As a player you don’t want to think about the World Cup until you have that ticket and you’re on the plane.
“Watching highlights of our previous tournaments certainly heightens expectation of what the tournament is all about.”