Only four nations can win the Rugby World Cup
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All Blacks coach Graham Henry is sitting in the box seat with all the momentum and the stat running for him leading into the Rugby World Cup. Just as well. Talk to any Kiwi and it would be total devastation to lose the Rugby World Cup (RWC) on home soil.
The only RWC the men in black have won was the inaugural decider in 1987 at Eden Park, thumping France 29-9, and scoring three tries to one.
This seventh edition will be played in the Shaky Isles kicking off September 9, with the final on October 23 at Eden Park.
The Park is an acknowledged All Black fortress, unbeaten in their last 10 internationals there on the Henry watch.
More importantly, winning 39 of 42 home games under Henry, the only losses being:
* To the Boks 30-28 at Carisbrooke in June 2008.
* To France 27-22 at Carisbrooke in June 2009.
* And to the Boks 32-29 at Hamilton in September 2009.
That’s a whopping 92.9% success rate. That’s mighty impressive, and with every RWC game at home, that’s why the All Blacks are $1.84 with Betfair to win their second RWC, the Wallabies $4.90 to win their third, the Boks $8.00 to win their third, and England $14.00 to win their second.
Forget the rest.
Only four nations can win the Holy Grail.
And you can probably forget England as well. With three top administrators resigning in a World Cup year, that’s serious in-house damage, let alone the bone-headed decision to play some of their Pool games in black, which can only be regarded as an insult, and showing no respect, to their hosts.
Even though England coach Martin Johnson normally doesn’t take any prisoners, he hasn’t said anything publicly – yet. But he must be seething that his bosses are destabilising his team just 41 days out from the RWC.
My mail is that not one Englishman is prepared to wear black as against their traditional white. They will be collectively embarrassed, even more so when the Kiwi supporters give them a piece of their mind.
And they won’t miss.
So can the All Blacks and Wallabies miss making the RWC final?
Highly unlikely, unless there are a couple of Pool games that upset the seeds and the cross-overs to the quarters.
As it sits, the All Blacks and Boks to meet in one semi, the Wallabies and England in the other.
So tomorrow week at Eden Park looms as the only full-dress rehearsal before October 23.
Graham Henry has the fortress on his side – rock solid. Robbie Deans knows the Wallabies haven’t won at Eden Park since 1986, when Alan Jones’ side was successful 22-6 to regain the Bledisloe Cup.
It’s a mountain to climb for the men in gold, but that’s what is required to regain the William Webb Ellis Trophy.
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