The All Blacks will head into the 2015 Rugby World Cup as tournament favourites and rightly so. Here’s eight reasons why they can win it all…
1.They’re the best team in the world
The All Blacks are undoubtedly the best team in the world right now as proven by their incredible run of form since the last World Cup. Although this doesn’t guarantee them success at the World Cup, it does mean that if they play to the best of their ability then other teams will struggle to keep up.
The likes of Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith are all unlikely to feature again for the All Blacks, so will be hoping to go out on the back of another World Cup success. The experience these players bring to the side is likely to be invaluable and could help them in the latter stages of the tournament.
3.They have the best player in the world
Although Brodie Retallick was voted the world player of the year, on current form Aaron Smith appears to be the best player in the world right now. He will be key to the All Blacks style of play at the World Cup and could prove to be a real game changer having just led the Highlanders to a maiden Super Rugby title.
4.The Highlanders effect
The Highlanders players will head into the World Cup on the back of a Super Rugby triumph that few could have predicted. This feel good factor in the camp, coupled with the Hurricanes near miss could prove a huge boost. The New Zealand teams dominance during the tournament this year must be a concern for other sides.
Although the vast majority of the current All Blacks squad looks pretty settled, the likes of young Nehe Milner-Skudder, combined with the incredible form of Waisake Naholo will ensure that nobody will be taking their shirt for granted. These are the kinds of players who could also inject a spark into the All Blacks backline.
6.They’ve done it before
As reigning World Cup champions, and with a large chunk of that 2011 side still involved, the All Blacks have proven they know how to win a World Cup. There will be very few other players involved in the tournament who have this kind of experience, and this could prove invaluable, particularly in the latter rounds.
One of the key points of difference for the All Blacks is their incredible skill levels. From one to fifteen, every player in the All Blacks team has incredible ball handling skills, meaning they aren’t restricted when players aren’t in position. This ability to distribute across the field is likely to open most teams up.
Almost everywhere you look, the All Blacks have players pushing through for a place in the starting line-up. This competition for places will ensure players don’t become complacent, whilst also ensuring the All Blacks are able to deal with any injuries during the tournament.