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The Richie McCaw verdict on France and Ireland's World Cup chances

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Two-time World Cup-winning skipper Richie McCaw has given his verdict on the chances of host nation France and Grand Slam Guinness Six Nations champions Ireland at the upcoming finals in France. He also shared his thoughts on how Eddie Jones might do the Wallabies.


There are now just 100 days to go before the September 8 opening match between the French and the All Blacks and McCaw is very much a retired player with a voice of authority given that he is the only man to win two Rugby World Cups as captain.

It was 2011 and 2015 when he raised aloft the Webb Ellis Cup following two very different wins in the finals against France and Australia and speaking to World Rugby during his recent visit to London to attend King Charles III’s coronation, McCaw sized up the chances of either France or Ireland becoming the first northern hemisphere country to win the World Cup since Clive Woodward’s England in 2003.

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“From a northern hemisphere point of view, Ireland have set the pace in the Six Nations and the French aren’t that far behind, so it makes it pretty intriguing,” he said on

“There is no doubt that people consider the French and the Irish have got a pretty good chance of winning.


“As we have found out in years gone by, where you are ranked going into a World Cup actually doesn’t necessarily count for a whole lot. But just to put aside the rankings, I got to see the Irish in New Zealand last year for three Tests and there is quite a strong resolve about them, of knowing they are on a mission.

“The way they put together that series win (over New Zealand) was pretty impressive and they have backed it up again just recently, so it is going to make it interesting.


“Putting aside my allegiances for wanting the All Blacks to do well, it is pretty wide open as to who might win. You are not too sure what might happen.

“So there is that side of it and, I guess from a New Zealand point of view, you have sort of always known in the past that if they can put it together they can go and get the job done, whereas after the last year you sort of go, ‘Jeepers, there is going to have to be some improvements to put the team in the right spot’.”

If there is one lesson McCaw learned from his time in the game it is not to take the Wallabies lightly – even after a year when they only won five of their 14 Tests, including a first-ever loss to Italy, and changed coaches.

“Eddie Jones, whatever team he takes over, he usually causes some change pretty quick and they get a real bounce, and he will probably do the same with the Aussies,” he said.


“You might think they might not be where you would usually consider them to be, but they have a unique way of using what they have got to be right in the mix.”


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