For Rugby fans around the globe it’s been a long wait, but the World Cup is finally on our doorstep, with little over a month before the first match takes place.
The last tournament took place in New Zealand, with the hosts winning the World Cup that year.
England are hosting this year, as the nation gears up ready to welcome rugby fans from all over the globe to the sports biggest tournament.
This years hosts were winners back in 2003, when a legendary flick of Jonny Wilkinson’s boost sunk the hosts of that year, Australia, and send English fans wild.
England may have won it that year, but they were to dash the hopes of the host nation – This year, they will be hoping no nation can replicate that, and that they are luckier than the Aussie team they beat.
Sometimes the ‘off the field’ matters can dominate a teams chances on the field, and it’s safe to say England have had their fair share recently.
England’s Dylan Hartley was removed from the squad last month following a head-butt on Saracens’ Jamie George. Regretful of the incident, Hartley has admitted he is “gutted” to be missing the world cup this year, and said:
“Am I gutted about missing the World Cup? Stupid question – of course I am,” he said,
“There is no truth in the speculation I may quit international rugby. I’ve been unlucky with getting it wrong on the big stage a few times now. Maybe it’s down to emotions?
“I feel I can still contribute and as long as Stuart Lancaster thinks that too, that’s all that matters. I need to channel my hurt into training because, when the World Cup starts, I need to be in a good place fitness-wise in case of injuries.”
As has already been mentioned, the England team captivated the hearts of a nation in 2003 when they won the whole thing, but it’s safe to say they have failed to grip the general public as they did that year since then.
England’s head coach going into the tournament is Stuart Lancaster, and he is hoping to give the England fans something to celebrate about.
Despite having home advantage, England are not the bookies pre-tournament favourites.
The 2011 winners, New Zealand, are being tipped to regain the World Cup trophy, with bookies bringing them in as 11/8 favs.
If you wanted to back England, they can be found at a price of 7/2, and are the second favourites as things stand. South Africa at 4/1, and the Aussies are an outside bet at 9/1. Ireland are 8/1, with Wales quite a long shot at 14/1.