Can anybody stop the All Blacks in The Land of The Rising Sun?
September sees the Rugby World Cup head to Asia for the first time as Japan plays host to the ninth version of the sport’s most prestigious event.
Perennial favourites New Zealand will be aiming to win the tournament for a third successive time, but there are a host of other nations who’ll believe they can lift the trophy when the final is played in Yokohama on November 2nd.
Here we assess the chances of the main contenders for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Wales will arrive in Japan with perhaps the best recent form of all the major contenders. In 2019 they have already completed a Grand Slam and more recently, albeit briefly, climb to the top of the world rankings. Wales’ biggest strength may well be the man at the helm. In Warren Gatland they possess a head coach with an unparalleled record of success and a man with a knack of producing results when they matter most. The success he’s enjoyed with Ireland, Wasps, and most memorably Wales and The Lions has already cemented his legacy within the game, and a World Cup win would represent the final piece of the jigsaw on his CV, before he returns home to New Zealand after the tournament. Wales will hope a recent spate of injuries doesn’t have too damaging an effect on their chances. The loss of Taulupe Faletau is a huge blow, but the emergence of Ross Moriarty and Josh Navidi has given Wales a new found strength in depth and in Captain Alun Wyn Jones they have a modern day great in their ranks. A player who brings the sort of leadership and self belief vital to any team success.