Wed, Dec 7, 9:41am by Christopher Duffy
The 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan may seem like a distant thought but in reality qualification has already begun and the top ranked sides are in preparation. International rugby has become a continuing cycle of four-year plans to reach the pinnacle of the game. Following the conclusion of the 2016 international fixtures last weekend now is a great time to reassess the prices on who will lift the William Webb Ellis trophy in 2019.
The Front Runners
New Zealand are favourites to claim an unprecedented three World Cup wins in a row with Sportsbet. The All Blacks currently stand at $2.00 after a year which once again ends with them sitting atop the World Rugby rankings at the number one team. Despite an historic loss to Ireland in Chicago they remain the team to beat and have moved on from a number of key players retiring by bringing in a host of young stars who have fitted in seamlessly. None more so than player of the year Beauden Barrett. It is hard to see anyone taking away New Zealand’s crown.
Arguably, England are one of the only sides that could compete with the All Blacks by the time the World Cup rolls into Japan. Since Eddie Jones took over the role of head coach after their disastrous Pool Stage exit in 2015, the red rose side have gone from strength to strength. An undefeated 2016 with a 13-match winning streak including a Grand Slam, Tour Series whitewash in Australia and a perfect November Series, has seen their odds for 2019 significantly slashed. Sportsbet have them priced at $4.33.
The Chasing Pack
From the dizzy heights of a 2015 Rugby World Cup Final to a humiliating 3-0 whitewash at the hands of England, the last year has certainly been challenging for Australia. The Wallabies have struggled for consistency and composure. Two areas that they should improve upon if they are to go all the way in 2019. They are priced at $7.00.
Ireland finally managed to overcome the All Blacks for the first0time ever and showed the world a glimpse of what they are capable of. Fatigue ultimately set in as they were unable to repeat that feat two weeks later on home soil and struggled against a Wallabies side that has their own issues. Despite this they certainly have the potential to improve upon past World Cups priced at $11.00.
The Long Shots
South Africa may well have had a terrible 2016. Indeed it was one of their worst calendar years of international rugby. Yet by 2019 there is no reason the Springboks could not be challenging for the Rugby World Cup. They have twice held aloft the trophy and in a rugby mad nation there is sure to be changes in personnel that could improve their fortunes. They are priced at $19.00 but may well have a few surprises in store for the rest of the top nations.
2019 Rugby World Cup Odds – Sportsbet
New Zealand $2
South Africa $19
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