Rugby union fans will be ready for six weeks of rugby with the latest edition of the Rugby World Cup about to start in Japan.
The Wallabies start their campaign on Saturday, against Fiji, as 20 of the world’s best teams meet to see who will win the Webb Ellis Trophy.
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The Wallabies play in Pool D where their opponents will be Fiji, Georgia, Wales and Uruguay. First up is Fiji, on Saturday, in the Sapporo Dome and Australia will not want to be on the receiving end of a shock result.
Fiji is renowned for their Sevens rugby, and Michael Cheika’s men can expect a hard and fast game. The crucial match in the group, which should decide who tops Pool D, is against Wales on September 29. Wales, coached by Warren Gatland, are currently one place above the Wallabies in the world rankings in fifth place.
New Zealand goes into the tournament as favourites. The All Blacks have won the last two Rugby World Cups and Wallabies fans will bitterly remember the 34-17 defeat their team suffered four years ago in the final at Twickenham.
Although the All Blacks retained the Bledisloe Cup, other nations’ fans will point to the Wallabies resounding 47-26 thumping handed out in Perth. England and South Africa will be at great pains to shatter the unbeatable aurora of the All Blacks. Both teams are reasonably placed to mount a serious charge for the Webb Ellis Trophy.
Pool A sees home team Japan paired with Ireland, Russia, Samoa and Scotland. Although Japan has home advantage, and a pedigree for shocking teams as they did to South Africa in 2015, it should be Ireland and Scotland who progress to the quarter-finals.
The Irish have displaced the All Blacks as the number one team in the world while Scotland will be looking to better their progress, a narrow quarter-final defeat to the Wallabies, the last time out.