NEW Zealand, South Africa and England top the list of would-be Rugby World Cup winners according to Warriors chief Alan Solomons.
The All Blacks stand out as able to have “one last hurrah” with the Springboks and England possessing the power and pace to go all the way in Japan where the tournament kicks off tomorrow.
But Solomons also anticipates this being a close call with any slips in the pool stage likely to be punished and a range of other nations ready to pounce.
“You never know but for me it would be one of England, South Africa and New Zealand,” said Solomons.
“New Zealand’s quality speaks for itself, they have a really well-balanced team and go into the tournament with a lot of confidence.
“They have a lot of very good players and have pretty much been the number one side for a while.
“Rassie Erasmus (head coach) has done a great job with South Africa, I think he has got the selections right and prepared the side very well.
“They have some real power up front and good half-backs, they have Faf de Klerk and Cobus Reinach who we know from the Premiership and Herschel Jantjies as really good back-up and Handre Pollard as well.
“As well as having the nine and 10, they have reasonably dangerous outside-backs in Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Makazole Mapimpi, they have plenty of gas and the power.
“Similarly I think England have the power up front and the half-backs, particularly Owen Farrell or George Ford either of whom can control a game.
“Like South Africa, England have fantastic pace out wide. You look at guys like Anthony Watson, Joe Cokanasiga, Elliot Daly, Johnny May, there is plenty of speed there and there is a bit of power in the middle with Manu Tuilagi now back.
“I think those three have the power and ability to manage the game well as well as the strike power.
“If New Zealand’s experienced players are able to give it one last hurrah, and I am sure they will do that, they have a good side but it is very difficult to call.
“Once you get into a knockout situation they are one-off ties and there will be certain key matches in each pool that decide who you end up playing later on.
“The good thing about this World Cup is having so many good sides. I am not discounting Ireland, Wales and Australia are good sides, Argentina and France can do damage on their day so I think it is going to be one of the most competitive of tournaments.
“Particularly once you get into the play-offs there will be key moments and the sides with the staying power will relish it, they will absolutely love being involved.
“Like all big games they will turn on certain moments.”
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Publish date : 2019-09-19 04:17:00