Ireland Odds-On Favourites To Crash Out Of World Cup At Quarter Final Stages
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The bookmakers have made Ireland odds-on favourites to crash out at the quarter-final stage of the upcoming World Cup in Japan. Joe Schmidt’s men have wound up in Pool A along with Scotland, Japan, Russia and Samoa, and they should breeze through that. However, they would then have to face the runner-up of Pool B in the quarter-finals and the bookies think that is as far as Ireland will go. Pool B contains both New Zealand and South Africa, and the best online betting sites around expect the Irish to be clear underdogs against either team.
The likes of Paddy Power, Boyle Sports and Betfred all make Ireland odds-on to go out at the quarter-finals, with Paddy Power offering just 4/6 on that outcome. You can then find 9/2 on Ireland finishing runners-up and also 9/2 on them being eliminated in the semi-finals. Then they are priced at around 7/1 to win the tournament, while they are out at 40/1 to crash out in the group stage.
It is likely that Ireland will face South Africa in the quarters and they have a pretty good record against the Springboks recently, having won their last encounter 31-3 in November 2017. They also picked up their first ever win on South African soil in 2016, and they should not fear the Springboks at this tournament. Ireland are now third in the world rankings, but they are not far behind New Zealand and Wales. They have pulled off plenty of fine results in recent years, including a first ever triumph over the All-Blacks, so they should approach the tournament with quiet confidence.
If they manage to reach the semi-finals, they would probably find themselves up against either Wales or Australia. The Aussies have been in the doldrums for years, but they may be galvanised by last week’s surprise win over New Zealand. Wales are emboldened by their Six Nations Grand Slam victory, which included a big win over Ireland, but they do not travel particularly well and Ireland would probably be narrow favourites against them in Japan. They would also expect to beat an Australian side with plenty of holes in it.
New Zealand would probably await them in the final, unless England can pull off a surprise victory over the All-Blacks. Ireland beat both teams in 2018 and they could repeat the feat in Japan if they can get back to the formula that served them so well last year. Rory Best has called on the team to use the pre-tournament warm-up matches to gain momentum, and fans will hope to see the team stride into the World Cup full of confidence.
The squad is teeming with world-class talent, and supporters will just pray that we do not see a repeat of the 2015 World Cup, in which a number of big players were crocked by the time they slumped to a shock defeat at the hands of Argentina. They went into that match without Paul O’Connell, Johnny Sexton, Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien and Jared Payne, and they simply ran out of steam.
Fans are already fearing the worst after Joey Carbery picked up an ankle injury that will keep him out for four to six weeks. Schmidt is likely to take a punt and include him in the final 31-man squad, but nobody knows if he will be fit. O’Brien and Dan Leavy are already out, leaving Josh van der Flier and probably CJ Stander in the back row, and Ireland cannot afford any more big players being injured.
They will be keen to build up momentum in upcoming matches against England and Wales, but they will also be desperate to preserve the health of their key men, so Schmidt faces a delicate balancing act over the next few week, while also trimming his squad down. Yet if there are no more major injuries, Ireland have an excellent chance of making a mockery of the bookmakers’ odds and going deep into this tournament.