With the quarterfinals fast approaching, we take a look at three sides who could upset the odds by lifting the Webb Ellis trophy…
Les Bleus have been absolutely atrocious under Phillip St Andre with a less than 50% win ratio despite their vast resources. Even so, there is still a significant chance France could go on to defy the odds and claim their maiden World Cup title. We have already seen flashes of what they are capable of, but not in any kind of sustained way.
You only have to look back four years to see how a French team in disarray battled their way into the final only to lose by a handful of points to hosts New Zealand. There is no doubting this current side is better and more organised than that team, and with players like Wesley Fofana and Noa Nakaitaci at their disposal, who knows what they are capable of.
It’s a long shot, however Los Pumas have already shown they are capable of going toe-to-toe with the All Blacks during the World Cup having only lost their group game in the last 20 minutes. Their victory over the Springboks during the Rugby Championship will also have filled them with confidence heading into the quarters.
They have a fantastic blend of youth and experience throughout the squad, and are now starting to play a more expansive style of rugby to compliment their solid pack. It will take a little bit of luck, but they look capable of beating any side on their day and could well cause a huge upset by going all the way to the final.
Until an injury crisis hit the squad, we had Wales pegged as genuine contenders to this year’s World Cup. Having suffered a number of devastating injuries to their backline it is a feat in itself simply qualifying for the quarterfinals. They now face an uphill task to piece together a midfield of capable of taking them further.
There’s no doubting that under the stewardship of Warren Gatland, and with the experience of players like Sam Warburton, Jamie Roberts and Alun Wyn Jones that they have the potential though. They may even find opponents underestimating them given the injury crisis they have suffered.