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2023 Rugby World Cup preview: Ireland, New Zealand, France headline the favorites | NBC Sports

Sep 09, 2023
Hello and welcome to the Rugby World Cup



here with NBC Sports Alex Corbisser joined by USA Rugby Hall of Famer Dan Lyle and Dan this is the 10th Rugby World Cup, a big momentous moment in France looming across the NBC Sports platform for the next two months Alex quoted, are you for all of this? Yeah, excited, excited about your uh, about all of our natural background there in San Diego. I know you are sitting on a plane to the UK and will also be in France for part of it. I'll see you in France too, but I'm very excited.
2023 rugby world cup preview ireland new zealand france headline the favorites nbc sports
This is the second version of France 2007. It was the last one, but yes, all these pools are juicy. Alex, absolutely mate, and yes, the advantages are living in San Diego, you can film outside especially. A busy day, but we're putting this all together, but let's get into the groups and if you look at Group A, this one has two of the tournament


sitting in the same opening match of the competition with France and New Zealand. There is also Uruguay. Namibia in Italy, but Dan, everyone is focusing on those two big teams in this group, really yes, absolutely yes.
2023 rugby world cup preview ireland new zealand france headline the favorites nbc sports

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2023 rugby world cup preview ireland new zealand france headline the favorites nbc sports...

Antoine Dupont, the leading team in France, being the home team, you know, look in 2007, they lost a house, they didn't get off the field, they lost that. first game against Argentina, but having said that you know, South Africa also lost in 2019 their first game and they went all the way to beat England in the final, so it doesn't really matter and Antoine Dupont talks about keeping the fans alive. the team is alive really playing with joy and playing with that Junior Sequoia that they have become so accustomed to, so France is definitely the big favorite and deservedly so, but you know, in New Zealand equally Alex, you know they want it three times at home. one of the only two teams that wanted to be at home and has talent throughout their team, yes, and if it seems like it would be a surprise if one of those two great teams did not come out ahead, you know that Uruguay is a team that you know that the last World Cup defeated Fiji, they have had their moments, in fact they beat the United States to secure their place in this competition.
2023 rugby world cup preview ireland new zealand france headline the favorites nbc sports
Namibia always plays but again, maybe looking for that big moment, Italy will have something to say about that because they have had their moments in the Six Nations stand, we have seen them the expansive


they try to play, who knows if they could play a Spoiler, but really for me it's how these two teams play off on the first day and the form. For this group to align with the other poll in the quarterfinals is huge. France also comes with some injuries. I think there are four or five not available for the opening game. There is a lot of pressure on them at home.
2023 rugby world cup preview ireland new zealand france headline the favorites nbc sports
Do you think they will be? able to cope with that or do you think some of these great players are missing. Could you tilt it towards New Zealand? Yes, on the technical side of things, you know France has all the parts of the game you want and you certainly know Fabian Galtier. their head coach is certainly one of the magic wizards, you know an old Frenchman and Sean Edwards, you know, he has brought that flavor, you know that detail, that defensive nuance for them, so you certainly know, I think they are ready, You know Italy like you do. they said they almost beat France in Rome in the Six Nations last year, you know, Five Points, right at the end, you and I were on the edges, we're seats and we called that game for NBC, so Serbia, with Ange Caputo , Garbisi and Lamaro, their captain. and the back row and they certainly have class throughout and they've been, you know, surging, they beat the whales and the year before in sixth nation, so they've been right on the edge, so they could cause a surprise in Namibia.
I know they are over 22 years old. I don't see them, five or six guys in the mlr, so some American fans, you know? Pay attention to them and of course in your own way you know beating Fiji might upset, but I think this is. France and New Zealand, by far, I agree, I agree, I think New Zealand are a team that, you know, had that little stumble at Twickenham against South Africa, which maybe made them fly a little bit under people's radar. , but I felt that they were coming with momentum and enthusiasm if you look at the team that played in the


championship significantly different to the team that was there that year before, I think they are on the upward curve, but for me, France, as long as they don't they do it. succumb to pressure are my


of the tournament, yes, absolutely, and 2011 2015, New Zealand, those New Zealand times, maybe they were a little better than this, they're not as deep, but they're well gelled this year, right ?
You know that 10 15 dual threat you know Bowden Barrett is playing alongside the other two brothers of his starting with Sam Kane, maybe a little bit shorter than New Zealand in those two previous wins, but they could certainly beat anyone in Your day? It's the All Blacks, for God's sake, you absolutely know that and I think that's what people had pretty much written off a year ago. I think they're being written off this year, the All Blacks found their mojo back to where they should be when they come to these big tournaments, but that concludes group A and I think now is the time, Dan, to look forward to bringing out B, okay Dan, it's time to look at Paul B and this is another spicy one with two giants.
People, uh, you know the tournament favorites and probably one of the teams from the last two years, Ireland has defending champion South Africa in that group just to make it a little bit more difficult. You also have a team from Scotland that has beaten teams of this nature. you have Tonga, then you have Romania, these two groups A and B, you know some people have been talking? You know, if they make the boxes closer to the tournament, where the


ranking would maybe prevent some of this, but from a viewer's point of view, it's a pretty successful group stage to try and, in fact, we know that South Africa versus Scotland on Sunday this weekend on the 10th on CNBC, what are you doing in a group?
Yes, certainly, you know five. of the top five in the


, Ireland, number one in the world. Scotland, number five and, of course, South Africa, number two in the world. Look, this Ireland team, Ireland, has never made it out of the quarterfinals. Expectations are number one in the world. Iration 35 million at least on St. Patrick's Day in the United States will preside over this Irish side, you have a bit of Irish in you, I think through your mother, yes, all that kind of stuff, so sir, yes , everyone is looking forward to Ireland. Scotland is doing well, you know this, you know this belief, this internal belief, they have been playing so well with Gregor Townsend, the loss of Stuart Hogg, you know withdrawing will be a loss, but do it, the provider mayor, Finn Russell, they have to Stardust in all his equipment. uh and certainly uh Tonga, you know, of course, the smallest population, 100 thousand people on that island alone, but they have been able to recruit because of the change in laws, all these Axel, all black, Charles biital and others, so they have a chance, but in Romania, you know, their fifth for a reason, they were beaten by the United States, they were beaten by Italy in the last warm-up match, so certainly the top three p, all about this bull, yeah, and South Africa comes with a lot of momentum, you know, maybe he didn't have the best start in the rugby championship, but he founded his fee and then came the annihilation of the All Blacks at Twickenham.
I think his physicality and skill will probably be the X factor in that group. Ken Allen and Scotland play their games or find a way to manage them. They did quite well against them in the autumn, but I always think the World Cups are on another level. The teams have more time, more depth, more preparation. This is the ultimate test for Ireland. I've been calling on and off for two years, some people occasionally see France as the best team in the world, they need to prove themselves in this group and it's going to be really the first time they have so many expectations and pressure on them. that they're coming not just to the team that's hoping to make it to the quarterfinals, but to a team that you're hoping to make it all the way to the end and then the other thing is that there's a lot riding on this group depending on how the spots actually line up. prepare your semi-final, I mean your quarter-final match-ups, how the tournament and everything is going well, so it's a lot of pressure coming into this group with some exciting match-ups and then, you know, Scotland is just this team that I I don't think anyone could continue sleeping.
I think they have the forwards to handle all the teams. I think they have the bottom line. They have the kicking game. They have the defense. They have the transition attack game of The X Factor. They just have to get out. and actually doing it, we've always been saying, you know, could this be Scotland's year? Are they where we want them to be? Are they this team or something? But they've never gotten to the point where they can back it up consistently and If you win a World Cup, you might lose one in the group, but you have to win.
You know that six of your seven games are really the minimum standard for winning a World Cup, with perhaps the odd exception: Does Scotland have that? Yes, certainly. the inspiration of South Africa coming back from four months, you know, after an ACL Saya Kelosi, you know, the harpy, came back to that side, it was just remarkable in that all black victory that they certainly had and Ireland is right. I have never been out of the quarterfinals. They have the most complex game plan. They play faster than everyone else. You know you could certainly put pressure on them because South Africa is the simplest game plan.
If you said they want to beat you physically. and unlock Stardust too and Scotland, like you said, they have all the game they need, but they need to have some kind of spark Alex, I think it's about absorbing the pressure, these best teams in the world are going to put pressure on you. You can do that, you can stay disciplined, you know, you know, keep your own goal line in mind and come out ahead when you get past them without taking penalties. can you do that and then attack each of these teams and the top three?
This group can certainly do that and it will be incredible to watch and like you said, once the crossover is between group A and group B and the quarterfinals, you know five teenagers or three of those five teams are going to be there. At that time, as you said with the draw, it was almost three years ago, in December 2020, they did that draw and as you also said, I think they're going to fix that in the future, so it's more in line with the rankings. today, but having said that, you know for a fact that some of these teams will be eliminated, but appreciate a lot, you know the group must be seen on television in this Rugby World Cup and I think that sums up Paul B very well, so Dan , let's get into Paul.
C and another very tasty one here, a lot of good teams in this one, you've got whales that have been struggling to stay fit, you've got a Fijian team that seems to be emerging and settling into their stride, an Australian team. under Eddie Jones, who has a lot of question marks, Georgia is very physical and then really a bit of an unknown dark horse in this world cup in Portugal. I haven't seen them for a while, but you and I will get to know them as if they were the ones who qualified over the United States in the rugby world championship, the representation for this competition shows what they are capable of.
What are you doing with this group? Well, Fiji are the highest ranked team at the moment, above Wales and Australia, so they are certainly playing. a backroom staff, they have a system in place, they are disciplined now, it's Sky High, Fijian Drew, they're playing Super Rugby Pacific or we, week in and week out, give Europe the talent, the organization and the structure to do what they want. That was probably what the old Fiji had in that you couldn't combine that team and really play with a system and a structure that you and I know and at the highest level of testing you have to play Not just a physical, not just a flare game, but also a discipline game, so they have all these things going for them, you know, coming to Australia, Eddie Jones, what else are you going to say to that?, he's a spokesperson, It's a cartoon character, it's all things. but he can win well and he can build a team, so he picked some guys, he left some guys at home that you know, uh, team and Gatlin, you know, they have those four, five, six guys that play three or four Cups of the World and a new co-captains, you know, in his team who were young, so he is trying to form a team and, of course, as you said, Georgia, they are knocking on the door of the Six Nations and they want to play in the Six Nations.
They've beaten some teams. They have a young talent. The entire Georgian population is behind this. And Portugal, do they have a defensive line. Yeah, I don't know if they have the Fords to back up that defensive line, but they have some. talent and they're going to score some tries against the team in these retreats, it's really packed and you know, for me, you know, I think Wales I don't think they're ready yet to really excel in this similar world cup. I think England is in a period of transition, new coach, change of time, identityunclear and real, you know how you want to play and enough years to be rooted in that journey towards a World Cup.
I think Australia could simmer down, but I think. I think they have better players than Wales, so you know they could get their act together when the pressure of the tournament comes. I think Fiji has a good chance of winning this group. You know they rank high, they just beat England, they beat England. up in the set piece that is youI know one of the areas that you would think could undo them in a Rugby World Cup and then looking at the size of the group, the backline, the physicality, their depth now, just as I'm going To say now, I think Fiji will win.
This group and I probably think Australia are in second place and that gets Bombshells into the quarter-finals, what do you think? Dad, yes, absolutely, this is the tightest or tightest juggling group there can be. I agree with you on whales, I think with crazy Liam Williams, you know, Lee, happy, Penny, you know, those guys can bring Dan Baker, can bring them some consistency, you know, but they have to step up, They are not yellow, they are not. I've been playing well and certainly Australia played against France even though the score was 33-17 or something, they played very well, they had their moments and I think some of these Young Guns and them, you know, will be skeletons.
As you know, 280 to 90, and those guys have had some injuries, they haven't had any picks, so the two-time champions may feel like they can't go that far, but don't sleep on any of these teams. and look it's not a Bolter for you to say that Fiji won in this group, they are very talented, not much more organization than they have had before, agreed friend, well I want to write a summary, look and let's get into group d and now the final pull on Paul D, this one again very congested and difficult to handle, call your clear favourites, you have England, obviously struggling in the Borthwick era to find their true form, you have Samoa, you have Japan, you have Argentina and you have chili, Dan, who is it, you know, a little spicy, no pun intended, but maybe, but actually, for me, I'm not sure where England is and that's one of the big questions : Could you get going and keep going?
I absolutely believe that Steve Borthwick is saying that the players feel that they have been written off too soon and I think there is a lot of justice to Merit in that statement because I think that sometimes it is too soon, but there are clear warning signs and frustrations and it has not been that way. It hasn't clicked at all yet and I don't think people are seeing much to tell them this will be Surge's moment for England. He hasn't had the best type of games in this run-up. in the summer and in the warm-up games, but a lot of people are potentially comparing this to a moment in 07 where they came in, you know, with my coaches in disarray and found their way to a final and kept it close.
Who knows, but I'm still not 100 sure about that. Japan, for me, has been a superior performer in the last two World Cups. I don't know if everything is lined up the same way it was previously for them in the World Cup, like last year. the World Cup at home, the super team, the preparation, but I still hope they perform very well. Argentina is a bit unknown, then the rugby championship has had so many ups and downs at the moment they are in, I think they could win this group and then. Samoa is another Dark Horse because honestly, I think you know this is the best Samoan team we'll ever see.
They've built up all their best players, they've brought back a lot of guys from the new world rugby and the Captain's rules. I have salala map Tana ubanga bringing Mana to the coaching team. I'm from everything I hear, it's a very happy camp and they quietly feel like they could take on some of these teams and find their way onto the finals court. and then Chile, you know another team that managed to keep the United States from making the World Cup, they could potentially play a spoiler on someone, but you probably know the least favorite team of the group for me, yeah, I expected you to be. you are going to bring this group with the England team, you certainly did there Alex, I can't say much more about England, the inconsistencies of the last two or three years of selection, you and I set up teams that end up in World Cup teams that They know who their teams are.
Identity is what you know and what they do doesn't mean you pointed out that they can't run away, they can't find a way, because in this tournament they have all these talented players, but in 07 they have World Cup winners. I know on that team they're still right, they had the Delilios, they had the Tyndalls, they had those guys, so who were the guys that were going to step up? You know they certainly have several guys you know in the unlikely race. They went to the final of the 19 World Cup, so they have several of those guys.
I think in your heart of hearts you know it's hard to see them getting out of the quarter-finals, Australia or, depending on you, they could play Fiji. In that sense, if they are in good form and then of course they will face Poulet and group B, so it is difficult to see them getting there, but having said that in 2015 they had all this hype, you know. other expectations and they didn't get out of the quarterfinals too, so Jekyll and Hyde, all about England, they didn't get out of the group, they didn't get out of the group, I don't even remember that, yeah, yeah, exactly, so you know, in Argentina They're exactly right, they play, you know, they're like a minor France, um, in the sense that you know their consistency is a little bit less than that, but do they have the skills?
Capabilities you know, from Ford to getting back to game plans. Michael Checker has taken teams to the World Cup finals, uh sem uh, you know, so he and his coaching staff and the structure of him have the ability. Chili, you know they're the ones who are right. one or two players, Fernandez, the flying house of him, you know one in that run against the United States in Chile and you know, he stole that game or he won that game correctly and he was really impressive. Japan. I agree with you, you know, they just don't have firepower, but they can increase, they have a uh, you know, Mike, you know, the Captain is amazing, you know that across the board, so look, and Samoa, he I played again, these teams are very correct and Samoa or you know probably the more physical side. in the world, right, but they have more arrows, they have more, you know, threads in their bones, now they have consistency and, like you said, you know, they are the best in the press, they are, uh, their camp is really square, they are I'm happy they're going to Samoa in France.
You know it tends to yield. Many of those players play there. You know constantly, like Fiji, so they know the country very, very well, so they like the politics, but you know, I like you. I think England will come out of this, but yeah, you never know, you never know, and I think it's fair play that Paul, I think you know, to be determined. I think it's definitely Argentina, England and Samoa, for me, I don't know which one. The way those three are going to be placed in the order, so I think that's what we want when we get to the World Cups, you know, some uncertainty, some competitive games can be frustrating for some teams, but they have statistical groups, but about us as Spectators, what? a result where we can see some of the best teams playing against each other in the group stage, not just in the quarter-finals and knockout rounds, it really sets up a fantastic World Cup where on all our platforms here we have games. games available live on peacock TV we have several broadcasts on CNBC and NBC we really have a lot of options to choose from here you know the last words on this world cup before we get ready yeah I can't wait for you do you know France or are you ready they will have crowds record, you know all the places in the whole country to the north, southeast and west from the north to Toulouse, you know, from Bordeaux to Paris, you know, quarterfinals and Marseille, the velodrome, you know, this is a cultural phenomenon. you just watch, tune in to the players' rivals, you know, 12,000 people in Ireland training, Fiji singing, you know, Bigger Dan and Wales, you know, speaking in French, it's a cultural phenomenon.
I think we have about 1 to 12, give or take. that can upset each other, you know, across the board in each of these groups, so it's going to be a great World Cup, it should be fun, like you said, we've got you covered on NBC, all the things, all the games are in live, John peacock and us I'm bringing you some of these special games on the weekend between you and me, some rebroadcasts on NBC and of course the semi-finals and exclusively on peacock so get it now and the final on NBC in studio , believe. It was with Lee Diffie, you and me so it's going to be amazing so I can't wait on a personal level and as a fan you know it's really exciting.
Maybe so, and that will make me a little bit wise across the board versus uh. you know, you know, pecking at the American side, so I can't wait. Alex, same thing dude, you summed it up well. Everyone watching this, don't miss it, see you very soon.

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