Fitzpatrick tips All Blacks and Ireland as Rugby World Cup favourites
Former captain Sean Fitzpatrick says the All Blacks stiffest competition will come from reigning 6 Nations Champions Ireland during Rugby’s global showpiece.
JOHANNESBURG - Former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick has tipped New Zealand and Ireland as the favourites to lift the William Webb Ellis trophy at the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year.
Fitzpatrick who was a member of the New Zealand side that lifted their first World Cup title in 1987, captained the All Blacks between 1992 and when he retired in 1997. Speaking on the eve of the Laureus Sports Awards in Monaco, Fitzpatrick gave his predictions on who would be World Champions later this year in Japan.
“I think the team to beat is the All Blacks, even though they had an indifferent Autumn, I still think they are the team to beat in terms of their preparations. They know how to win a World Cup, they are back to back World Cup winners and they have made a public statement saying that they want to win three in a row.”
Fitzpatrick also added that the All Blacks stiffest competition will come from reigning 6 Nations Champions Ireland during Rugby’s global showpiece in September.
“I have always said that the major threat will come from the Northern Hemisphere, will there be a new name on the trophy? Maybe the Irish? Because they are a threat and what happened a few weeks ago in Dublin will not deter them.
“England are also peaking at the right time and have a really good coaching staff, but I still think that the All Blacks are the team to beat but they will have to work very very hard if they are going to win three World Cups in a row.”
The ninth edition of the Rugby World Cup will take place from 20 September until 2 November 2019.