Will Greenwood’s Guide to the most anticipated moments of the Rugby World Cup 2019

Canterbury ambassador Will Greenwood certainly knows a thing or two about Rugby World Cups – having been part of the victorious England side in 2003. Combine his World Cup success with commentating in recent years and you’ve got a pretty reliable source of knowledge to fill you in on everything you need to know ahead of Japan.

In the week that the Rugby World Cup 2019 kicks off, we caught up with Will to get his thoughts on the group stages of the tournament and beyond.

Don’t miss it

According to Will, it’s all about getting stuck in during the opening week. Watch as much as possible! While ‘we might not see the eventual winner’ playing in the opening match between Russia and Japan it’ll certainly give us ‘a little insight into how crazy this world cup is going to be and how keen Japan are to make it a complete success.’

That game might be slightly overshadowed by ‘two absolute hot favourites to win’ clashing on the opening weekend in Will’s most eagerly anticipated game. You’re going to want to tune in when New Zealand take on South Africa on Saturday 21st September.

Who’s going to make it through the group stages?

Unfortunately, Will thinks ‘people have over-egged how open this world cup is’. So, his predictions for group winners might not come as much of a surprise:

  • Pool A: Ireland and Scotland
  • Pool B: New Zealand and South Africa
  • Pool C: The only group that Will thinks is a little more tricky – it’ll be between England, France and Argentina.
  • Pool D: Australia and Wales

When it comes to the later stages, Will has ‘been sticking his neck out’ on New Zealand V England, and South Africa V Wales semi-finals, with a prediction that the tournament will culminate in a New Zealand V South Africa final (‘at the moment!’). Get your bets on!

Possible upsets and under-dogs

Japan – when asked about Japan’s possible advantage as the home nation, Will said – ‘You hope Japan can scrape out of the group stages and beat Ireland or Scotland after winning 3 games in 2015… but the reality is that in a straight shoot out one-off game between Scotland and Japan, Scotland should win it 9 times out of 10.’ Who knows though – with a home crowd behind them and the possibility of ‘Scotland on a complete knife edge’ if they lose to Ireland in round one, anything could happen.

Fiji – they might not be hotly tipped to take the trophy, but according to Will, ‘Fiji are often thought of as dark horses…They could put out a battle and absolutely terrify every team in the whole tournament.’ With Australia being perhaps ‘a little vulnerable on the back of the past two to three years’, could Fiji head through to the quarter finals with Wales?

Pool C – there’s going to be an inevitable upset in pool C between England, France and Argentina. Like Will says, ‘three doesn’t go in to two’.

So for now, all we can do is stay tuned to see if Will’s predictions are correct. We’ll be catching up with him again after the Pool games to get his thoughts so far, and updates on those important predictions.

Check out the fixtures and games in our Rugby World Cup 2019 hub.

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