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15 snap predictions with 100 days to go before the Rugby World Cup

Can we just fast forward there right now?

THE NEXT ONE hundred days can’t pass quickly enough. The Rugby World Cup is on the way, we can’t bloody wait, so here’s a full starting XV of snap judgement and wild predictions.

Roll on September.

1. New Zealand won’t defend their title

The All Blacks can be hard to love sometimes, but The42 has always been smitten with them. And yet, despite being the best team in world rugby just about all the time, they’ve only managed to lift the William Webb Ellis on home soil.

In Europe, somebody will dig deep and shock them again.

Richie McCaw Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

2. Ireland will finally make it to the promised land (of the semi-finals)

It’s never been done before, but with no southern hemisphere powerhouse in our pool, Joe Schmidt’s side have nothing to fear besides being favourites.

Conor Murray and Richardt Strauss celebrate Tommy Bowe's try Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

3. There’ll be novenas said for the health of some of our key players

With four tough warm-ups afoot, there’s sure to be some injury concerns before we cross the water.

The Ireland bench Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

4. ‘Shades of 2007’: There’ll be a bit of panic after our early performances against Romania and Canada

Paul O'Connell, Bratley Langerhoven and Jacques Burger Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

With the lesser lights of the pool first on our radar, Ireland probably won’t be peaking in the first 10 days.

5. But Schmidt’s side will grind out another vital win over France and Italy

Four years since Ireland lost to Les Bleus, that run can’t end at the World Cup (could it?) not the Millennium “practically our second home” Stadium.

Ireland players celebrate Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

6. Everyone will be feeling sorry for Fiji after a week

With their best players either out of the squad or playing for other nations, the most flamboyant Pacific island nation must face the hosts and two-time champs Australia in the first five days of the competition.

Fiji fans getting ready for the game 28/10/2013 Source: Richard Gould

7. As a nation, we’ll all have a collective hissy fit at least once

Whether it’s for a refereeing call that knocks us out, some bad sportsmanship, dirty play or at some overseas pundit calling us one-dimensional, we’re wound up and ready to blow at any perceived slight.

Warren Gatland with Paul O'Connell Gatty will be lucky to get on a collision course with Ireland, so someone else will have to step up and be the bad guy. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

8. Samoa will run Scotland close, but fall agonisingly short

The Samoa team form a huddle after the game Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

9. But their battle royale with USA will be the surprise highlight of the tournament’s first weekend

New Zealand WCUP Rugby World Cup Tonga Source: Rob Griffith

10. Overseas media just won’t let the Brian O’Driscoll question die.

We’re coping grand, lads. He retired AGES AGO.

BT Sports TV television Brian O'Driscoll

11. Fortunately, there’ll be other established stars to praise

Richie McCaw presents Dan Carter with his 100th cap Source: James Crombie/INPHO

12. The All Blacks will be brilliant, but won’t finish a game feeling tested until the quarter-final

This game is the third biggest winning margin in Rugby World Cup history. Can you (without Googling) name the top two?

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 99 - Pool B - New Zealand v Italy Source: EMPICS Sport

13. George Ford will light the tournament up

Source: Premiership Rugby/YouTube

14. By 3 October nothing will convince English commentators that they can’t win the whole bloody thing!

Sky Sports TV television Sir Clive Woodward   29/11//2014 Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

15. One of these teams will be celebrating Halloween night

Victor Matfield, Jan Serfontein, Pat Lambie and Jean de Villiers celebrate Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Hong Kong Rugby Bledisloe Cup Source: Vincent Yu

After another 6 Nations success, who would you like to see in Ireland’s World Cup squad?

‘I’ll get a few things wrong’ – Schmidt ponders Ireland’s World Cup squad

South Africa’s World Cup jersey is all style, science and very little Springbok

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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