This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 10 °C Sunday 24 March, 2019
Advertisement

Ireland and England 'have New Zealand's number' at World Cup, says ex-All Blacks captain

The reigning champions are seeking a third successive crown at the World Cup later this year.

Ireland going into the World Cup after clinching their first-ever win over the All Blacks on home soil last November.
Ireland going into the World Cup after clinching their first-ever win over the All Blacks on home soil last November.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

FORMER ALL BLACKS captain Sean Fitzpatrick believes Ireland and England pose the biggest threat to New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup, indicating that Joe Schmidt’s side “have real depth” in the squad to win.

The reigning champions are seeking a third successive crown at the tournament in Japan, and are favourites to complete that feat when the action gets underway later this year.

Fitzpatrick, who won a World Cup with New Zealand in 1987, still backs his home country as “the team to beat”, but suspects that Ireland and England are the top contenders to steal their crown.

“I always thought that the major challenge would come from the northern hemisphere and I still think that after what happened in the autumn and what’s happening in the Six Nations,” Fitzpatrick was quoted by Sky Sports as saying in his role as the chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy.

Despite an opening-day wobble in the Six Nations, Ireland will go into the World Cup after recording their first victory over the All Blacks on home soil last year in a thrilling contest in Dublin.

That result came just one week after Eddie Jones’s charges gave them a real scare, only to narrowly lose out at the death.

“England have really gone to another level,” Fitzpatrick continues, “Ireland have real depth and to win World Cups, you need depth, and Ireland’s got that without question and so have England.

I just think that England and especially Ireland have got our number in terms of the way we play the game. They play the game similar to us.

“You throw those two in there along with Wales, who are on the most unbelievable winning streak at the moment, and then you’ve got South Africa and you can never write Australia off.

“It’s going to be hugely, hugely competitive.”

Subscribe to our new podcast, The42 Rugby Weekly, here:

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Read next:

COMMENTS (18)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel