A Look At A Few Of The Underdogs Heading Into The 2019 Rugby World Cup

Underdog.

We’re in for a treat at this year’s 2019 Rugby World Cup, with the best players and teams from the world of rugby battling it out in Japan for one of sport’s most prestigious prizes. It’s going to be one hell of a rugby feast, that’s for sure.

The likes of New Zealand, Wales, South Africa and England are the names that tend to be on every rugby fan’s lips regarding the potential victors of the ninth Rugby World Cup in history, but what about the lesser, perhaps well-known sides?

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Rugby can throw up the occasional shock but it can also be fairly predictable too. Still, though, there are sides heading to the Land of the Rising Sun who will have different and realistic objectives, be it to progress out of the group stages, win a game or even register a few tries. Not every nation can be a rugby powerhouse and challenge at the very top, but they can certainly use the experience to benefit their setup moving forward.

Put bluntly, win or lose, Rugby World Cup’s can be the making of some players with potential, a coach with an interesting philosophy or an overall setup that is perhaps looking to progress and grow with their rugby overall.

So, with that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at a few of the – shall we say – sides with nothing to really lose heading into the tournament in Japan, in what promises to be a must-watch competition, despite some of the slightly unusual requests from the Japanese authorities over there.

Who doesn’t love an underdog anyway?

Namibia

When you think of Namibia, you can’t help but recall their record-breaking 142-0 loss to Australia in 2013. An unwelcome record to have and one they’ve struggled to shake off, Namibia have progressed since then and are certainly showing signs of progress. After earning their place in this year’s World Cup with victories over Kenya, Uganda, Tunisia, Zimbabwe and Morocco in the Africa Gold Cup optimism rose, but they were dramatically brought back down to earth with a defeat to Russia in the World Nations Cup.

Italy

Italian fans are known for their passion, whether they’re watching a game of football or rugby, playing a game on their phone on the type of casino site that Irish players prefer with its great variety of games or cooking up a feast for the family, they can be full-blooded and passionate. Sadly, though, Italy’s chances aren’t looking great this year, especially with their limited experience. A top-12 finish in 2015 should provide some hope, but an abysmal showing in the Six Nations surely can’t be erased from the memory either. If Italy can replicate the form shown in their 85-15 win over Russia a few weeks back then maybe they can spring a surprise. It’s unlikely, though.

Canada

After relying on a repechage tournament to guarantee their place in this year’s World Cup, Canada haven’t instilled much confidence in themselves or their fans heading into the competition. Comfortable wins over Germany, Hong Kong and Kenya got them over the line, but they’ll be facing much stiffer competition in Japan. Losses to USA, Tonga and Fiji at the Pacific Nations Cup, before also being defeated by Leinster in a warm-up match, have certainly lowered expectations heading into the tournament. With the shackles off and clearly little pressure on what is a settled Canadian side, they could possibly surpass expectations, but a battle for third place in their group is probably a more realistic aim.