Snack Media will be spending the next six months in the run-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup taking you through the tournament, the teams and even the terms of one of the world’s most popular sports. Our second blog looks at Pool A.
This week focuses on Pool A, which contains Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Samoa and Russia, and could be a pool full of upsets.
In 2018, Ireland were regarded by some as the best team in the world after beating the dominant All Blacks in November for the second time in their history. However, they have slumped a bit in 2019, and dropped to third in the world rankings behind New Zealand and Wales. However, with the highly respected Joe Schmidt at the helm, there is no denying Ireland will be a force at the World Cup.
Scotland look favourites to finish second in this group, although there is the danger that both the host nation Japan or Samoa could cause an upset. Japan recorded what is widely regarded as the greatest shock in World Cup history in 2015 by beating two-time Champions South Africa. Coached by former All Black Jamie Joseph, they could cause a surprise again.
Likewise, Samoa are very dangerous, and pose a physical threat to any team playing them.
However, Scotland will still expect to progress from this group, and it will probably go down to their match with Ireland to see who they play in the next round, which is likely to be the All Blacks or South Africa. Ireland and Scotland face each other in their first match of the tournament, and that could be crucial in defining their campaigns.