With anticipation building as we get closer to the start of the world’s third largest sporting event next month, we can’t wait for the first game to kick off and so we’ve picked out our top 5 fixtures from the group stages of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
1. England vs. Fiji – 18th September
The opening game of any tournament is always hotly anticipated, and this fixture should be no different. All eyes will be on England to see how they perform on the big stage. England are the clear favourites to win this match up, and they will be hoping to get off to a strong start to silence any doubters they have early on.
2. New Zealand vs. Argentina – 20th September
As the reigning champions take centre stage at Wembley, the All Blacks will be expected to achieve a convincing win over Argentina in this match up. With record breaker McCaw set to play his last world cup for the All Blacks, they will no doubt want to put on a spectacular show for the Wembley crowd along with the millions tuning in around the world to watch on TV. Having lost only 2 games in the last 42 tests, not only are they clear favourites for this match, but they’re also the hot favourites to win the tournament altogether. In doing so they will become the first team ever to retain the Webb Ellis Cup.
3. England vs. Australia – 3rd October
With England being the host nation and one of the favourites, attention is likely to peak during the group stages for this clash between two heavyweights of international rugby union. Depending on how results go elsewhere, defeat for either side could confirm their exit from the tournament, so this is definitely not one to miss. Australia’s record at Twickenham isn’t great, and with the added element of the match being a world cup fixture, it has all the ingredients for a classic. We’re going for a closely fought England victory in this one.
4. Australia vs. Wales – 10th October
Scheduled for the 10th of October, this match up will no doubt attract the most interest during the final weekend. Depending on how the previous matches have gone, it could still be all to play for, with the winner progressing through to the knockout stages and the loser going home. The result of this match could also decide England’s fate in the tournament, with a victory for either team potentially signalling the end to England’s presence in their home world cup. As it’s been labelled the “pool of death” there is no guarantee England will be safe at this point and may therefore have to rely one of Australia or Wales doing them a favour.
5. Samoa vs. Scotland – 10th October
In pool B, South Africa will be the clear favourites to win the group, and it’s likely to be a battle between Samoa and Scotland for second place. Depending on how the results go earlier in the tournament, both teams progress could be decided in this fixture on the final weekend of the group stages. Scotland are likely to be slight favourites, but will have to rely on the like of Mark Bennett and No10 Finn Russell to shine in order to progress to the knockout stages. Whichever team does progress, will most likely to finish second and therefore face the winner of pool A (England, Australia or Wales) in the next round!
We hope that has whet your appetite! It’s certainly got us excited about the tournament and we can’t wait for it to start now. Whichever team you’re backing, make sure you’ve got the shirt to show your support when the tournament starts on the 18th of September. With all 20 teams stocked, we have something for everyone, shop the full range here today.
Do you agree with our predictions, let us know is in the comments below who you think will win the World Cup this year.