As is often the case, the All Blacks and Azzurri are drawn to play each other in their opening match of this Rugby World Cup tournament. This could be both a good omen - think 1987 and John Kirwan’s spectacular try which will remain forever famous in the YouTube archives. Or alternatively not so good - 2003 where the Italians were thrashed by a ruthless All Black outfit with a peerless All Black backline inspired through the likes of Carlos Spencer and Joe Rokocoko. Unfortunately, this was the match that Tana Umaga was injured. And from here the wheels started to slowly come off the 2003 All Black campaign; letting the likes of Jonny Wilkinson’s boot and Stirling Mortlock’s cunning in.
My pick is New Zealand to win by at least 25. I could be hopeful. I could be misguided. In fact, I have my eyepatch on for sure now. Let’s just hope history does and doesn’t repeat itself (if you’re an All Black fan that is).