One other Christmas has handed by, and as we waddle in our homes between the fridge and the televisions, it’s time to get excited, as a result of 2019 guarantees to be the best yr in worldwide historical past.
As uninspiring because the Wallabies have been in 2018, different groups from across the globe stepped up their performances. From Eire placing a marker down towards the All Blacks to Fiji knocking off the French, worldwide rugby is in a golden period of competitiveness.
So as an alternative of pondering new yr resolutions that received’t be saved past Easter, let’s depend right down to 2019 and the delights the rugby calendar will convey us.
Six Nations Championship
1 February to 16 March
Proper across the time your intensive train program is dialling again to average, the Six Nations Championship might be right here. Rugby followers within the Southern Hemisphere could also be shaking their heads proper now – boring, drab, depressing, uninspiring, grinding, ugly, yawn-fest, whistle-happy and dropkick overload are phrases typically related to the Northern Hemisphere’s showcase match. Not this yr, although.
Eire will go in favourites as defending champions. The Irish kick off their marketing campaign with an enormous residence sport towards the English on 2 February, a match that might determine the championship on the game.
Below Joe Schmidt the Irish play an thrilling model of rugby. They’ll adapt their sport plan when wanted, and that features enjoying some superb operating rugby. They’ll additionally grind out victories when they should.
The match towards the All Blacks final yr was a high quality take a look at match. It was performed at tempo regardless of the low scoreline and confirmed what Eire can produce.
Aside from Eire, each England and Wales might be dissatisfied if they aren’t topped Six Nations champions in 2019. Wales had a superb undefeated autumn that includes a primary victory towards the Wallabies in a decade.
England look to be shifting ahead once more below Eddie Jones, with a slim loss towards the All Blacks and a commanding victory towards the Wallabies not too long ago. Even Scotland will fancy their probabilities of snaffling some wins. Throw within the unpredictability of the French and that’s one hell of a rugby match. Oh, plus there’s Italy.
20 July to 17 August
A shortened model of the common match will happen due to the timing of the Rugby World Cup. The shortened format will add additional significance to every match, and intrigue is added by the very fact the World Cup is just months away.
Probably the most fascinating a part of this match for a lot of observers would be the coaches and what worth they placed on successful the trophy. Do they present their fingers and do every part they will to win? Or do they maintain again a few of their techniques, buildings and programs for the World Cup and run the chance of shedding?
It is going to be fascinating to observe how the brand new Wallabies teaching construction works, how workforce choices look and, most significantly, whether or not the adjustments have had an influence on the nationwide facet.
Will the South Africans proceed to enhance below Rassie Erasmus after a strong 2018? What’s going to Steve Hansen do with the All Blacks techniques and workforce choices? Will or not it’s a Beauden Barrett at No.10 and Damian McKenzie at No.15 or the extra conventional Barrett and Ben Smith mixture? There are such a lot of inquiries to be answered in one other cracking match.
- South Africa
- New Zealand
Rugby World Cup
20 September to 2 November
The 2019 Rugby World Cup is shaping as much as be the tightest and best ever. The primary sport sees hosts Japan play Russia on Friday, 20 September. Nonetheless, the subsequent day is when the motion actually begins – the Wallabies tackle Fiji, France play Argentina and South Africa lock horns with the All Blacks with a day of pool video games not seen for a lot of editions of worldwide rugby’s premier competitors.
The competitors includes 4 swimming pools, every consisting of 5 groups. The highest two make it by means of to the quarter-finals.
This group ought to see Eire and Scotland qualify, although Japan and Samoa might be eying off the Scottish.
South Africa and New Zealand will qualify comfortably, however in what order?
England and France will attain the final eight, although Argentina might be hoping they will preserve their proud world cup report.
Wales and Australia ought to make it by means of, with solely Fiji a sensible probability of offering an upset.
As soon as the match reaches the quarter-finals every workforce will genuinely imagine they will make the massive dance. That is why 2019 is shaping to be the best in historical past.
To get to a world cup wherein any of the eight groups can beat any of the others on their day is improbable. There are not any certainties as soon as a workforce makes the quarter-final stage. A few upset outcomes are nearly a certainty.
Will the All Blacks make historical past and full their hat-trick? Will the Wallabies hit match mode and march to the ultimate? Will the Irish address the stress and expectation? Will South Africa get the job performed? There might be so many great video games and so many memorable moments from this world cup.
No bloody concept.
What a powerful yr of rugby to look ahead to. Absolutely 2019 be the most effective ever.