England are out of Rugby World Cup – so who do we back now?
So for all the high hopes going into the tournament, England’s Rugby World Cup campaign has been – to put it charitably – a let-down. The alarm bells started ringing when Stuart Lancaster’s men went down to an injury-stricken Wales side, but it was the disappointing 13-33 defeat to Australia last weekend that really rubbed English noses into the dirt. There’s no time to mourn, though, because this Rugby World Cup still has plenty of thrills and spills to offer.
To celebrate the Rugby World Cup, Coral’s offering you the chance to watch the Rugby World Cup at selected Walkabout venues with a group of your best mates. If you want to win, then just enter the competition here and you could be in with a shout. But it’s never as much fun watching as a neutral – so the big question facing England fans is just who do we throw our weight behind now?
Who’s heading to the quarter-finals?
As England devotees already know from painful experience, Australia and Wales have already sealed their quarter-final places by qualifying from Pool A. South Africa will also be there as winners of Pool B, facing either Wales or Australia in the quarters depending on who out of those two finishes runner-up. Scotland also look firm favourites to qualify as Pool B runners up; they just need to beat Samoa on Saturday or hope that Japan fail to beat the United States on Sunday.
New Zealand are through from Pool C and will win their group if they pick up at least a point against Tonga. If Tonga fail to get a bonus-point win against the All Blacks, Argentina will be on their way to the quarter-finals. Even if Tonga do get that bonus-point win, Argentina only need a solitary point against Namibia to qualify. Ireland and France have already qualified from Pool D, and Joe Schmidt’s men will win the group if they avoid defeat against France on Sunday.
So who do we get behind?
With the quarter-finals almost upon us, England fans now face the dilemma of working out who to support. There are always the two remaining home nations, but it’s probably fair to say there’s no love lost there – and any Englishman who saw the (understandably) gleeful Welsh celebrations at Twickenham will probably be hoping Warren Gatland’s men are dumped out at the earliest opportunity. There was also much guffawing from north of the border just last week, so Scotland probably isn’t an option for most England fans either.
To give them their due, Australia have also impressed so far – not least against England – but can anyone really imagine patriotic Englishmen suddenly throwing their lot in with their old arch-rival from Down Under? Hardly. We do love them deep down, though, and not least because our friends at Walkabout are offering the chance to enjoy the rugby in VIP style.
But if you want to get an idea of who’s really likely to win outright, it’s always worth watching where the money goes. At the moment, the clear favourites are the defending champions, New Zealand. The All Blacks have certainly taken no prisoners so far, overcoming a tricky Argentinian side and demolishing both Namibia and Georgia. Few would bet against them repeating that against Tonga this weekend. New Zealand’s swashbuckling brand of rugby has won them admirers all over the world – and, let’s be honest, an All Blacks win would be much more pleasant for England fans than having to cope with a load of gloating Aussies.
So that’s that settled – the best bet for England fans now is surely a New Zealand win. But remember, to be in with a chance of watching Rugby World Cup with your mates at selected venues courtesy of Walkabout and Coral, you’ll need to enter the competition here.