Opinion: The Power of Australian Rugby Union and How They Still Have An Edge Over The Northern Hemisphere

A lot of talk ahead of next year’s World Cup has focused on England and their quest to knock New Zealand off their perch after a magnificent few years under Eddie Jones.

However, so far in 2018 we have seen some very indifferent performances from the Red Rose, giving a huge indicator that it is more than likely that we will once again see New Zealand and Australia competing for the Webb Ellis Cup when rugby’s powerhouses meet in Japan next year.

England’s collapse in the Six Nations, which saw them lose their final three fixtures of the tournament, stands out as a reason why Jones’ side simply can’t be considered as New Zealand’s main threat, but there are other factors. We constantly see Australia going up against the All Blacks on the international stage, with the two taking each other on three times throughout 2017 and the Wallabies coming out on top in one of their three meetings.

2017.06.17.14.51.58-Michael Cheika-0002

2017.06.17.14.51.58-Michael Cheika-0002” (CC BY 2.0) by www.davidmolloyphotography.com

Australia triumphed the last time they faced New Zealand, with the Wallabies winning 23-18 in Brisbane to remind everyone that they have what it takes to overturn their rivals in a one-off fixture. How regularly Michael Cheika’s side go up against New Zealand can only be seen as a positive, even when they are on the wrong end of results.

England haven’t faced the All Blacks for some time now, and although there is a clash on the horizon later in 2018, Jones hasn’t seen what his side can do against the world’s best. In that time, Australia will have gone up against New Zealand in every season.

As we tick into the final 12 months before the showpiece event in Japan, Ireland, Grand Slam winners in the Northern Hemisphere, are seen as New Zealand’s biggest threat. Australia, though, remain behind England in bet365’s rugby union betting market, at a price of 8.50, ranked as fourth favourites ahead of the World Cup.

It would be foolish to think that Australia, despite the odds, aren’t likely to challenge for the World Cup, particularly given their experience of facing the All Blacks compared to England or Ireland.

It is also worth remembering that Australia’s best is often going up against New Zealand’s best in the Super Rugby competition, which has to be considered as the greatest club rugby competition in the world. The intensity in the Southern Hemisphere’s club rugby competition is frightening when compared to the English Premiership or Pro14 competition, which is often represented when international colours are pulled on.

 

Australia haven’t looked the same side since their 2015 World Cup final defeat to New Zealand, but they are still the side that are most likely to overturn them in Japan next year. At times, in the last three years, England have amazed us under Eddie Jones, whilst Ireland’s 2018 Grand Slam at the Six Nations has to be noticed.

However, when the major competitions come around, history tells us that it is those competing in the Super Rugby competition that peak and end up challenging for the major trophy on the world stage.

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