Rugby Championship Winners
The last few months have been testing ones for New Zealand coach Steve Hansen as he has had to deal with the loss of a number of his key players.
Skipper Richie McCaw and fly-half Dan Carter have both spent large chunks of time on the sidelines with injuries that would previously have massively damaged the All Blacks.
However, the three test victories over France and the ease in which they have remained unbeaten in the Rugby Championship have once again showed why New Zealand are once again the massive favourites to win the 2015 World Cup in the betting.
When the Kiwis won the Webb Ellis trophy for the second time in 2011, Carter’s injury caused chaos and there seemed to have been a curse put on Kiwi number 10s as both Colin Slade and Aaron Cruden succumbed to injury in his absence, before fourth-choice Stephen Donald kicked the winning goal in Auckland.
It’s been an entirely different story in 2013 though, with Cruden playing magnificently while in his absence both Beauden Barrett and Tom Taylor have guided the side with aplomb.
On Saturday Hansen’s men meet South Africa at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, a ground where they have traditionally struggled in big games, having lost the 1995 World Cup final there.
They do have a huge advantage in that the Boks need to score four or more tries and win by over seven points to stop New Zealand winning the Rugby Championship.
This looks extremely unlikely though and the All Blacks are understandably the huge favourites to win the title in the online betting.
The emergence of the likes of Cruden, Barrett and Taylor, as well as flanker Sam Cane in the pack is exactly why the Kiwis are expected to retain their world title in England in two years’ time.
At the moment South Africa and Wales also look to be building nicely ahead of 2015 but the sheer class that New Zealand can call on means they are by far the favourites for the title.