The Land of the Rising Sun is set to host the most closely-contested Rugby World Cup in history, setting the stage for unrivalled drama and excitement when the competition kicks off on September 20, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.
Twenty teams will converge on Japan to vie for the most coveted prize in the game, the Webb Ellis Cup – a golden symbol of excellence reserved for only the truly great teams.
The ninth edition of the quadrennial global showpiece is set to be the most open yet, with defending champions New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Wales, Ireland and England all entering as legitimate title contenders.
It’s the world in union, and it’s bound to thrill as the tournament touches down in Asia for the first time ever. With anticipation mounting, we kick-off our tournament preview with a breakdown of Pool A.
Pool A: Ireland, Japan, Russia, Samoa, Scotland
Northern Hemisphere sides Ireland and Scotland look poised to top Pool A, however, Samoa and the hosts will be determined to upset the applecart, while Russia will want to give a good account of themselves.
With the top two teams on a collision course with the Springboks and All Blacks in the quarterfinals, South African supporters should keep a keen eye on the Pool A action.