The World Cup is about to start and the Rugby Pod are speculating about the opening weekend of the tournament. There are a whole host of big matches in each of the pools, including Ireland versus Scotland, Australia versus Fiji and New Zealand versus South Africa.
Many are billing Saturday as the best day for rugby in the whole tournament with definitive pool games aplenty. Pod producer Tim made the comment that “no team has won a World Cup having lost a pool game”. South Africa take on New Zealand in Yokohama and the loser will have to break the set pattern if they are to take the title.
The Rugby Pod co-host Jim Hamilton added: “I’ve seen vulnerabilities in the New Zealand team and probably for the first time in any World Cup that I’ve taken interest in, we don’t know how they are going to go.
“Who’s going to be on the wing for them? Their star players are usually their wingers, Rieko Ioane on the wing hasn’t been in great form… but for me New Zealand for the first time ever going into a World Cup, I can’t say they’re going to win it.”
Andy Goode had similar doubts about the All Blacks, saying he thought they may very well have lost their aura of invisibility.
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Apart from the two southern hemisphere giants, Pool B has the likes of Namibia, Canada and Italy so the winner of this opening pool match will go on to win the group.
Tensions have ramped up ahead of the opener. New Zealand boss Steve Hansen has accused South Africa counterpart Rassie Erasmus of trying to pressure referees into preferential treatment towards the Springboks.
Springboks head coach Erasmus this week insisted New Zealand have for years received soft officiating as referees entered matches with the “preconceived idea” that the All Blacks would win.
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