MX23RW : Sunday, July 21 11:15:55| >> :600:13188373:13188373:

Fitzpatrick feels England and Ireland are genuine World Cup threat to All Blacks

Fitzpatrick feels England and Ireland are genuine World Cup threat to All Blacks
© Reuters
The former All Blacks star feels the biggest threat will come from the Northern Hemisphere sides.

Former New Zealand captain Sean Fitzpatrick believes England and Ireland possess the greatest threat to ending the All Blacks' hegemony at the World Cup.

New Zealand are overwhelming favourites to clinch a third successive crown in Japan later this year but the natural order was disturbed by Ireland clinching a famous win over the Kiwis in Dublin last November.

Defeat for New Zealand came just a week after they were pushed all the way by England, who have beaten Ireland and France in the Guinness Six Nations recently.

Ireland beat the All Blacks in Dublin during the autumn internationals
Ireland beat the All Blacks in Dublin during the autumn internationals (Brian Lawless/PA)

Fitzpatrick expects both northern hemisphere sides as well as Wales – currently on an 11-match winning sequence – to shine on the global stage.

But he thinks no top-tier nation can be ruled out of contention at a tournament where none of them can boast home advantage.

The 1987 World Cup winner told Press Association Sport: "No disrespect to Japan because they can beat the big boys as we saw in 2015 (when they defeated South Africa) but it's the first neutral World Cup in terms of the home advantage.

Former New Zealand star Fitzpatrick believes the All Blacks remain the team to beat
Former New Zealand star Fitzpatrick believes the All Blacks remain the team to beat (Andrew Matthews/PA)

"The All Blacks are the defending champions, they probably are still the team to beat and I say that every World Cup.

"I always thought that the major challenge would come from the northern hemisphere and I still think that after what happened in the autumn and what's happening in the Six Nations.

"England have really gone to another level, Ireland have real depth and to win World Cups, you need depth, and Ireland's got that without question and so have England.

"I just think that England and especially Ireland have got our number in terms of the way we play the game. They play the game similar to us.

Fitzpatrick has been impressed by England's performances in the Six Nations
Fitzpatrick has been impressed by England's performances in the Six Nations (Gareth Fuller/PA)

"You throw those two in there along with Wales, who are on the most unbelievable winning streak at the moment, and then you've got South Africa and you can never write Australia off. It's going to be hugely, hugely competitive."

Fitzpatrick was speaking in Monaco in his role as the chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, a collection of sporting talent who volunteer to support the organisation's Sport for Good message.

Indian sport for development programme Yuwa, which uses football to empower young girls in rural Jharkhand, was announced as the Sport for Good winners, with four of its participants among those to collect the honour.

Fitzpatrick added: "That really brings it home, they're in awe of being here.

"It's probably more inspirational for us because they do things that, in terms of sport as a power for change, that is one of the best examples that you can see.

"Football has given those girls a dream. You and I dream every day, they never, ever thought they would do anything else than be a child bride, be illiterate, so they never dreamt."

– The Laureus World Sports Awards celebrate the most remarkable men and women from the world of sport along with their achievements from the previous calendar year. The Awards also showcase the work of Laureus Sport for Good, a charity which uses the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage.

ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'});
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin);
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By David Charlesworth, Press Association Sport, Monaco');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '586b5715-9770-4fec-847b-94e88f26ce40');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null);
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:rugby-union');
ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Fitzpatrick feels England and Ireland are genuine World Cup threat to All Blacks'});

body check tags ::

Click here for more stories about Sean Fitzpatrick

Click here for more stories about England

Share this article now:
Sports Mole Instagram banner
Chris Ashton during an England training session on February 6, 2019
Read Next:
Chris Ashton ruled out of England's crunch Six Nations clash with Wales
>

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Click here to log in with Facebook and add your favourite team's news and scores to this panel

6

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
/esi/758/0/index.html - esi:0:site:0:-p-: {0}: - :T758:-: {0}: < ! - - T  758 {0} - - >  : 

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account