Now is your time to get involved with the Rugby World Cup 2011 which is happening in September and October in New Zealand. If you were thinking of heading over there to take in the party spirit then check out our guides to the destinations. We’ve got the best teams covered here so if you’re only going to be watching from home, why not join a sweepstake to up the ante a little?
photo by DanBrady
England are looking to be on top of their game as they share their group with fellow home nation side and arch rivals Scotland. They look to have a fairly easy group though so should both get through to the knock-out stages. Ireland face a stern test against Australia but with perennial Six Nations wooden spoon holders Italy as their next strongest competition they’ll fancy their chances too. Wales have the hardest task with South Africa and Fiji ahead of them, but if they are on their game then anything is possible.
photo by Celso Flores
The southern hemisphere teams of Australia, South Africa and the home nation of New Zealand are all being tipped for the top, with South Africa the defending champions. They can’t expect to have it all their own way though, as England and France will be snapping at their heels. New Zealand are in the same group as France and South Africa are preparing for a big opener against Wales. Expect some big matches!
World Cup Newbies
photo by tibchris
Dipping their toe in the water for the first time, Russia are the only team making their debut and it’s going to be tough to get past the group stages as they face off against Ireland, Italy and the USA. Georgia and Namibia also find themselves very much in the minnows category and their chances of qualification are slim. Georgia meet home nations England and Scotland as well as up-and-coming Argentina and untested Romania whilst Namibia find themselves paired with South Africa, Wales, Fiji and Samoa who all boast proud rugby traditions. But I do love an underdog so give them a cheer!
top image by Eamonn