Irish eyes will be smiling as Joe Schmidt’s men pip France to top spot
The last pool in the 2015 Rugby World Cup is a tasty looking one. The Irish are in there along with their Six Nations rivals France and Italy, while Romania and Canada complete the line-up.
Ireland have won successive Six Nations titles and could make a real impact at this tournament. They are 4/6 to top this pool with bet365, a decent price for a team ranked at number three in the world. Only once have they failed to advance beyond the first stage, and that stat should remain the same. Ireland’s main aim will be to actually get past the quarters for the first time and they should have enough to win their pool.
France should be the main challengers to the Irish in Pool D. Les Bleus have been pretty dire in recent times, losing 10 of their previous 18 Tests. Their inconsistency could be there downfall, but they should have enough to qualify. They are 6/4 to win the pool with Ladbrokes but they haven’t beaten Ireland since 2011 and they may have to settle for second.
Italy may fancy their chances of upsetting the French and qualifying for the last-eight themselves, something they are 6/1 to do with Sportingbet. However, they won just one game in the Six Nations and a pair of losses to Scotland prior to this tournament does not bode well. They have only beaten France twice since 1997, while they have just one success in the same period against the Men in Green.
The Canadians have participated in every single World Cup and only once have they failed to register a victory. They are 275/1 with Paddy Power to qualify from this pool, which is fair, considering they lost every game they played in 2014. They are ranked one place above Romania at 17 but they have never got past this stage of the tournament.
Romania are no longer the kings of eastern Europe, that crown has now been taken by Georgia. However, they are still a real force up front and will pressure teams into making massive mistakes in the scrum. They are 500/1 with Sportingbet to qualify and, while that is unlikely, no one will enjoy a battle with the Romanians. They also beat Canada when they met in 2014.
Bookies.com’s betting tip – Italy qualify @ 6/1 with Sportingbet