Following on from the ever-popular RBS Six Nations 2014 championship, fans of international Rugby now have a long wait ahead of them as they cast their gaze towards 2015’s impending Rugby World Cup, which will see England play the role as host nation for the first time since 1991.
The fact that this prestigious sporting extravaganza – which many regard as rugby’s premier showcase event - will be taking place on British soil will come as fantastic news for England and its neighbours, as the world’s best teams will be drawn from far and wide to do battle in local stadiums, so let's take a look at five of the hottest-tipped teams who look to have the best chance at the title…
As the team with the highest ratings in the IRB World Rankings, as well as the longest number one ranking there (more than all of the other squads…combined!) Few would dispute that the All Blacks are shaping up to strong favourites in the run-up to 2015.
Hot on the heels of the New Zealand side in the World Rankings, The 2nd position Springboks will not have an easy first round, given that World Cup Pool D includes Scotland, Samoa, USA and Japan, however, they are currently in fine form and looking ahead to these matches with the characteristic confidence that can only come from a world-class team.
The Wallabies are currently sitting pretty in an IRB World Rankings third place position, but their placement in pool C might worry a few fans over in Oz, as a supercharged Ireland, fresh from their six nations victory in 2014, will be hoping to bring about a few upsets going into the World Cup competition.
With an IRB world ranking of 4th place, England were always going to be a hot contender for 2015’s world cup competition: But more than this, the fact that they’ll be playing the competition on home soil is likely to give the team a massive boost: They’ll need it too – being placed in World Cup Pool B with Argentina and Wales is sure to present the boys in white with more than a few challenges.
Emerging victorious from 2014’s Six Nations Championship, Ireland’s biggest challenge will be maintaining their upwards momentum, especially given the fact that they’ll no longer have key player, Brian O’Driscoll on their side. With France and Italy on the offensive, Ireland will have to work hard in order to gain a favourable start, but nonetheless, fully deserve to be included in our top 5 list.