New Zeland

Head coach: Steve Hansen

Captain: Kieran Read (121 caps)

Previous Rugby World Cup best: Rugby World Cup winners (1987, 2011, 2015)

Key competitor: Barrett Beauden. The guy drew the strings to the current masters. The focus will be on his goal-kicking, particularly as he passes into the final phases of the competition, but he’s supposed to succeed and bring his sport to the world-class stage that he often exceeds.

Current shape: not perfect from an all-black view. Since hosting the competition in 2015, New Zealand has struggled to lose eight Tests-a extremely uncommon number for them. They completed second in the 2019 Rugby Championship, attracted to South Africa and returned to Australia, while also losing to Ireland (twice), the Lions (and took another test), Australia (twice) and South Africa since the last World Cup. Still, who wouldn’t gamble on them to raise the fifth throne in succession?

31-man World Cup squad:

Forwards (17): Dane Coles, Liam Coltman, Codie Taylor, Nepo Laulala, Joe Moody, Atu Moli, Angus Ta’avao, Ofa Tuungafasi, Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu, Samuel Whitelock, Sam Cane, Luke Jacobson, Kieran Read (c), Ardie Savea, Matt Todd.

Backs (14): TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Brad Weber, Beauden Barrett, Richie Mo’unga, Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams, Jordie Barrett, George Bridge, Rieko Ioane, Sevu Reece, Ben Smith.

Fixtures:

  • New Zealand vs South Africa, Saturday September, 21
  • New Zealand vs Canada, Wednesday October,
  • New Zealand vs Namibia, Sunday October, 6
  • New Zealand vs Italy, Saturday October, 12

 

South Africa

Head coach: Rassie Erasmus

Captain: Siya Kolisi (42 caps)

Previous Rugby World Cup best: Rugby World Cup winners (1995, 2007)

Key Competitor: Faf de Klerk, please. The pocket missile that changes its pace and triggers resistance defenses to believe about all sorts of issues. The 27-year-old has blossomed over the previous few decades and mixes powerful playing field with passion and courage to ‘ go ‘ when it’s over.

Current shape: For many individuals, the Boks are the favorites to winit all in this World Cup. In 2016 and 2017, 2018 and 2019, Allister Coetzee’s floundering shape proved to be a redemptive era for South Africa, as they defeated England, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, France, Scotland and Japan. Their starting match against the All Blacks, and a prospective path to the bottom of the tank, leaving New Zealand until the end, put them in good shape.

31-man World Cup squad:

Forwards (17): Schalk Brits, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Siya Kolisi (c), Francois Louw, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Kwagga Smith, RG Snyman, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Duane Vermeulen.

Backs (14): Damian de Allende, Lukhanyo Am, Warrick Gelant, Elton Jantjies, Herschel Jantjies, Faf de Klerk, Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi, Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Willie le Roux, Frans Steyn.

Fixtures:

  • New Zealand vs South Africa, Saturday September, 21
  • South Africa vs Namibia, Saturday September, 28
  • South Africa vs Italy, Friday October, 4
  • South Africa vs Canada, Tuesday October, 8

 

Italy

Head coach: Conor O’Shea

Captain: Sergio Parisse (140 caps)

Previous Rugby World Cup best: Pool stage (1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015)

The key competitor is Sergio Parisse. Italy’s supreme talisman will be on the pitch at a record-breaking third Rugby World Cup in Japan and embodies the term ‘ determination.’ The No 8 still has the engine to blend it with the finest of them and will operate on the floor in what is probable to be his last Azzurri World Cup competition.

Current shape: the enduring conundrum of rugby in the northern hemisphere. While the house side performances of Benetton and Zebre have dramatically increased since Conor O’Shea arrived, the findings for the national team have stayed mainly the same. The Azzurri’s only successes over the last two years have arrived against Russia, Japan (who they defeated in another test) and Georgia. One has to go home to November 2016 for the last moment that Italy has beaten the Tier 1 country.

31-man World Cup squad:

Forwards (18): Luca Bigi, Dean Budd, Oliviero Fabiani, Simone Ferrari, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Andrea Lovotti, Maxime Mbanda, Sebastian Negri, Sergio Parisse (c), Tiziano Pasquali, Jake Polledri, Nicola Quaglio, Marco Riccioni, Federico Ruzza, David Sisi, Abraham Steyn, Federico Zani, Alessandro Zanni.

Backs (13): Tommaso Allan, Mattia Bellini, Tommaso Benvenuti, Giulio Bisegni, Callum Braley, Michele Campagnaro, Carlo Canna, Jayden Hayward, Matteo Minozzi, Luca Morisi, Edoardo Padovani, Guglielmo Palazzani, Tito Tebaldi.

Fixtures:

  • Italy vs Namibia, Sunday September, 22
  • Italy vs Canada, Thursday September, 26
  • South Africa vs Italy, Friday October, 4
  • New Zealand vs Italy, Saturday October, 12

 

Namibia

Head coach: Phil Davies

Captain: Johan Deysel (24 caps)

Previous Rugby World Cup best: Pool stage (1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015)

Key competitor: Eugene Jantjies. The professional scrum-half first took part in the World Cup home in 2007 and is the only remaining participant of the league 12 years earlier. Four players are holdovers from the 2011 World Cup: Darryl de la Harpe, Rohan Kitzhoff and PJ von Lill. This seasoned spine of their team will be essential to the first-ever victory of the Rugby World Cup contest.

Current shape: Still pursuing their first Rugby World Cup win, Namibia will discover it highly difficult to catch up in this tank. They defeated Uruguay in the build-up to the World Cup, but they also fell to Russia-whose own findings were very low.

31-man World Cup squad:

Forwards (18): Andre Rademeyer, Nelius Theron, Desiderius Sethie, AJ de Klerk, Johannes Coetzee, Obert Nortje, Louis van der Westhuizen, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Tjiuee Uanivi, Johan Retief, Thomasau Forbes, Rohan Kitshoff, Max Katjijeko, Prince Gaoseb, Wian Conradie, PJ van Lill, Adriaan Booysen, Janco Venter.

Backs (13): Cliven Loubser, Helarius Kisting, Damian Stevens, Eugene Jantjies, Darryl de la Harpe, Johan Deysel (c), Justin Newman, JC Greyling, Johann Tromp, Chad Plato, Lesley Klim, Janry du Toit, PJ Walters.

Fixtures:

  • Italy vs Namibia, Sunday September, 22
  • South Africa vs Namibia, Saturday September, 28
  • New Zealand vs Namibia, Sunday October, 6
  • Namibia vs Canada, Sunday October, 13

 

Canada

Head coach: Kingsley Jones

Captain: Tyler Ardron (33 caps)

Previous Rugby World Cup best: Quarter-finals (1991)

Key players: DTH von der Merwe. Keep an eye out for the hot-stepping midfielder who’s having his fourth outing at the Rugby World Cup. If you offer him an inch, he’s going to run mile with his superb footwork, and he’s going to have the speed to suit. Van der Merwe has hit-rate of 38 in 57 tests.

Current shape: very bad. In fact, their build-up to this World Cup saw a series of losses that would have led a significant embarrassment to the team. During the season, the USA (twice), Fiji and Tonga lost, while Uruguay and Brazil suffered further losses previously this year. They’ve earned seven World Cup games in reality, but they could only contribute one more to the sum in this tank at best.

31-man World Cup squad:

Forwards (17): Tyler Ardron (c), Kyle Baillie, Justin Blanchet, Hubert Buydens, Luke Campbell, Matt Heaton, Eric Howard, Jake Ilnicki, Cole Keith, Conor Keys, Evan Olmstead, Benoit Piffero, Andrew Quattrin, Lucas Rumball, Djustice Sears-Duru, Mike Sheppard, Matthew Tierney

Backs (14): Nick Blevins, Andrew Coe, Jeff Hassler, Ciaran Hearn, Ben LeSage, Phil Mack, Jamie Mackenzie, Gordon McRorie, Peter Nelson, Shane O’Leary, Patrick Parfrey, Taylor Paris, Conor Trainor, DTH van der Merwe.

Fixtures:

  • Italy vs Canada, Thursday September, 26
  • New Zealand vs Canada, Wednesday October, 2
  • South Africa vs Canada, Tuesday October, 8
  • Namibia vs Canada, Sunday October, 13

 

GROUP B Predictions

1). South Africa

2) New Zealand

3) Italy

4) Canada

5) Namibia