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Rugby international teams tipped to win the 2011 World Cup

New Zealand

Nicknamed the “All Blacks”, New Zealand have a history of producing the most famous and respected rugby international teams in the world. They have winning records against every other side, and on paper, winning the cup should be a breeze for these boys. Except, since winning the inaugural tournament in 1987, New Zealand have spectacularly under performed at every tournament for the last two decades and time and time again have been labelled as ‘chokers.’ This year the pre-tournament favourites New Zealand are back on home turf, and led by veteran coach Graham Henry, who is determined to exorcise the ghosts of the past. No doubt he’ll have a little help from golden boys Dan Carter and Richie McCaw.

England

Coached by the rough and reliable Martin Johnson, who captained the England team to their 2003 World Cup win over Australia, England win a lot, but they nearly always win ugly. Not that this bothers the team of tenacious Anglo Saxons who were runners up in the 2007 World Cup. For the boys in white, it’s not about how you play the game, it’s how you win it. Out of all the rugby international teams, England are renowned for their forward and often brutal style of play. Failing that, they will just give the ball to the top point scorer in rugby World Cup history, Johnny Wilkinson, and boot their way to victory. Discount England at your peril.

France

France boast the unenviable record of losing more World Cup finals than any other rugby international team. Their free flowing and innovative style exudes their passion for the game, but their temperament has a hard time adapting to the “uber-professional” manner of the modern game. France are past masters of creating the big upsets at World Cups because you can never predict how the team are going to play. Their discipline and focus is often sacrificed in favour of their flamboyance and flair, but then, they are such entertaining artists with the oval shaped ball it barely matters.

South Africa

The “Sprinkboks” are defending their title so expect them to go a long way in the tournament.After beating England in 2007 they became only the second nation in history, the other being Australia, to win the World Cup twice. They’re all-rounders who are consistent and more than capable of winning the cup for the third time. They lack the spark of genius which can ignite a crowd but their discipline is second to none.

Australia

The “Wallabies” have a great defence and like to take risks. Australia are a tournament honed team who would more than any other international rugby team, will relish the opportunity to play in the land of the long white cloud and beat their “old enemy” New Zealand in the cup final.

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