We make our predictions as to which eight teams will make the knock-out stages of the 2015 Rugby World Cup…
The pretty much goes without saying really. The world’s best team, drawn in a group where Los Pumas pose the biggest threat, you would definitely put money on the All Blacks topping this group.
The Springboks have a slightly trickier group than maybe people think, with potential stumbling blocks in the likes of Scotland, Samoa and Japan. Despite this, the South Africans should have enough to top the pool.
Ireland should comfortably make it through their group, most likely as winners, however a lot will depend on which French team turns up. Italy and Canada may also provide potential banana skins.
Pool A is by far the hardest to predict given the quality of the teams involved. Given the home advantage however, you would back England to make it through given their recent results against Australia and Wales.
Tonga and Georgia are likely to provide stiff tests of Los Pumas, however the powerful Argentinian pack should have enough to make it through the group stages as runners up behind the All Blacks.
The second qualifier from Pool A is particularly tough to predict, however given Wales’ struggles against Southern Hemisphere opposition, and a couple of their key players missing, the Wallabies are perhaps slight favourites.
It would be very easy to see France going out during the group stages such has been their lacklustre form since the last World Cup. Despite this, they should make it through given Italy are perhaps their biggest competition.
Pool B is easily the second toughest draw with Scotland, Samoa, Japan and USA all capable of making a mark on their day. That being said, the quality of the Samoan team could be just enough to see them through.
It’s been a tough draw this year meaning we could be seeing the end of the likes of Wales, Scotland and Italy before we even reach the knock-out rounds.