From the keenest of fans, to those who want to know more, here at BassBuds HQ, we’ve got you covered when it comes to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
We’ll be bringing you the latest headlines and squad news as it comes, making sure you’re kept informed about rugby’s biggest competition.
To kick start our celebration of this year’s Rugby World Cup, we’ve compiled a list of players who we think will make sparks fly at this year’s tournament:
At 13, a young Julian Savea weighed 14 and a half stones – Rugby is clearly in this man’s DNA. With the best players in the world, playing at rugby’s biggest tournament, being the bookies favourite to be top try-scorer at a World Cup is no small feat. English fans will not have fond memories of Savea, with England’s defence being battered by Savea’s pace and power last summer. Having scored 8 tries in 4 games v England, it seems as though he saves his best for the boys in white and red. Being billed as the successor the great Jonah Lomu, Savea is approaching, if not already at, legendary status. With 30 tries in 35 test apps, and at a mere 25 years old, Savea looks sure to smash Lomu’s 37 tries in 63 apps. Alongside Ben Smith and Nehe Milner-Skudder in New Zealand’s formidable back three, if Savea sees enough of the rugby ball, the reigning champions will go far this World Cup.
Johnny Sexton – Ireland
On the back of a Six Nations triumph, Irish rugby has never looked better. On a personal note, amassing an impressive 58 points during that campaign, Johnny Sexton is clearly at the heart of Irish Rugby’s success.
Returning to Leinster, after his two-year stint playing for Racing Métro in France, Sexton’s international performance can only get better (if that is at all possible!), allowing him to gel with his young backs.
Ireland’s disappointed World Cup record cannot go unnoticed, but with Ireland looking the strongest they ever have – and ranked 2nd in the World behind the All Blacks – if ever, this is their year.
Sexton’s relationship with his No.9, Connor Murray, is impeccable, making them arguably the best 9 and 10 pairing in the world. This, along with his bond with coach Joe Schmidt, makes Sexton the cog that’ll turn Ireland to glory.
The youngest player ever to represent Australia in rugby league, at just 18 years and 194 days old, Israel Folau was born to play rugby. Six years later, as a 24-year-old, he made his debut for the Aussie Rugby Union tea, and currently has 33 caps for the Wallabies. Having recently said that he could play in the American sporting powerhouse that is the NFL, Folau is clearly not a man who is short on confidence.
A freakish athlete, boasting raw pace and agility, Folau has the ability to turn a game in Australia’s favour when they really need it the most. A playing style akin to a world class back, Folau’s ability to pierce the line with clever runs and reading of the game brings a real threat to Australia’s running game.
If Australia are to dominate at on the world stage again, their backs will need to perform (albeit behind a shaky scrum). Pitted against England and Wales in Pool A, aptly named the ‘Group of Death’, Australia will need to produce their best rugby to make it to the knockout stages.
Nemani Nadolo is a beast. The 6’4, 125kg winger exudes raw pace and physicality. His excellence was highlighted in his Super 15 campaign with the Crusaders where he produced an impressive 9 tries and 8 assists.
Blessed the ability to run around, as well as through, opposing players, and with great finishing potential and a deft offload, Nadolo is a constant threat. Being pipped to take up kicking duties for Fiji, Nadolo is clearly a multi-faceted talent.However, when playing with the Crusaders, Nadolo is surrounded by world-class talent which cannot be said when on international duty. Don’t get us wrong, Fiji are no walk in the park, but they do not boast the likes of Messrs. Carter and McCaw. And, being pitted against England, Australia and Wales, in Pool A, even with Nadolo, Fiji seem unlikely to progress.
Burgess, on the other hand, is an altogether different entity. Having only played his first game of rugby union in November last year, and made his England debut a few weeks ago, Lancaster clearly sees quality in Burgess. Having played as a flanker AND a centre for his domestic team Bath, Burgess blurs the lines between back and forward. Along with his physical game, Burgess exudes leadership, energy and a strong mentality, making him all the more suitable for the biggest stage in rugby – experience is no hindrance here.