The 2015 Rugby World Cup will officially get underway over the weekend; pegging the globe’s 20 best Rugby players against one-another for the sport’s most sought-after piece of silverware.
The All Blacks secured their second World Cup on home soil in 2011 and remain clear $2.25 favourites to life the trophy again in 2015, ahead of host nation England ($5), Australia ($8) and South Africa ($8) with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Wallabies have returned to international duties in good form this season and figure as a realistic chance of World Cup success should they continue to improve off the efforts that saw them claim their first trophy in nearly four years when taking out the recent Rugby Championship.
Having snuck past the Springboks with a last-gasp try in their Rugby Championship opener, Australia travelled to Mendoza and delivered Argentina a comfortable 34-9 defeat before completing the tournament with a gritty 27-19 win over the All Blacks in Sydney.
Flying high, the Wallabies received a reality check when completely played off the park by New Zealand in the reverse leg of their Sydney success, but carry winning form into the 2015 World Cup after comfortably seeing off a gallant USA Eagles 47-10 at Soldier Field in Chicago on September 5th.
Drawn in the Group of Death at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Australia is faced with a monumental task in host nation England, Wales, Fiji and Uruguay, and currently rate as $2.50 second-favourites to top the group.
There has been plenty made of some nations looking to employ ‘diving’ tactics at the 2015 World Cup, similar to those witnessed in a game of soccer to draw a penalty from the referee.
Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper was dragged through the judiciary process after taking exception to what he considered a ‘dive’ from Argentina’s Nicholas Sanchez during the recent Rugby Championship, and told The Sydney Morning Herald diving is not something the Wallabies will be employing in their World Cup campaign.
“It’s not in our culture at all, let’s just get on with the game,” Hooper said.
“There’s so many things going on that you need to be more focused on than that.
“You trust the referees to do their job. Who determines who’s faking an injury? You’d hate to call someone on it and then they’re seriously (injured). It’s a bit of a grey area and we can’t control it, so we’ll just let them worry about that.
“It’s not the way we’re looking to play the game. We ant 15 guys on their feet the entire game.
“It’s a good thing that’s going to be the competition, a genuine game where the best team wins and you can try to keep the ref out of it as much as possible.”
The 2015 Rugby World Cup will officially begin on Saturday morning Australian time with a fixture between England and Fiji, while the Wallabies will open their account also against Fiji next Thursday morning.