After taking an in-depth look at England and Wales last time out, here UCFB Multimedia Sports Journalism graduate Myles McDevitt focuses on Scotland and Ireland, whilst also analysing the best of the rest from this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.


At the last World Cup, Scotland were cruelly dumped out at the Quarter-Final stage against Australia, following a controversial late penalty decision. Scotland have the habit of being inconsistent at times, but when they are on form, they are capable of playing some excellent attacking Rugby. Their pool includes Ireland, Japan, Samoa and Russia. After Ireland proved too hot to handle during Sunday’s clash, Gregor Townsend’s men will pit their hopes on their final pool game against the hosts Japan on the 13th October.

Players to watch

Stuart McInally has breathed new life into Scotland as Captain and will want to lead from the front as Scotland go through the pool stages. He is relatively quick for a hooker, and is an integral part of the Scottish front-row.

Darcy Graham only made his debut less than a year ago, but the Edinburgh back-rower has performed impeccably for the national side. With frightening pace, and a capability of finding his way to the try line, it will be hard to stop the 22-year-old from having an influence.



Ireland Head into the World Cup as the number one ranked team in the world. Following their 27-3 victory over Scotland, they are now the hot favourites to the top Pool A. However, the Men in Green could face tough competition when the knockout stages start where they will look to overcome their Quarter-Final Hoodoo. Captain Rory Best and coach Joe Schmidt will both depart the international stage, following the conclusion of this year’s tournament.

Players to watch

Iain Henderson is widely regarded as one of the best locks in the Northern hemisphere, Henderson has been key for Ireland in the second row and will be vital for them in their pool matches, just as he was in the last World Cup. 

Jacob Stockdale has been one of the highlights in a strong Irish backline, who have the tendency to cause teams massive problems. Stockdale demonstrated this with a superb try against New Zealand in the Autumn internationals last year, and was instrumental in helping the Irish securing the 2018 Grand Slam.

Dark Horse

Georgia could well be the dark horse of the World Cup; despite losing 22-0 at the hands of Wales last Sunday, they will push sides all the way and have a strong presence in the forwards. There have been calls to include them in the Six Nations - a solid World Cup showing could further intensify these calls. Their chances are boosted by the return of legend, Mamuka Gorgodze, who enters his fourth World Cup.

And The Rest…


New Zealand will look to become the first side to win four World Cups but have been inconsistent for the last few years. They haven’t lost a World Cup fixture since the 2007 Quarter Final, and after overcoming a spirited South Africa side in their opening pool match, there isn’t any signs that this will change anytime soon.

Australia have shown glimpses of brilliance, but have been dogged by problems on and off the pitch which could be a factor after reaching the final in 2015. Japan will want to entertain their home fans in a ground-breaking World Cup, after setting the World Cup alight with a Buster Douglas like win against South Africa back in 2015.

Who will win?

I personally rate South Africa chances of winning their third World Cup. Well-coached by former Springbok, Rassie Erasmus, they have improved exceptionally well with a Rugby Championship title win and strong showings against some exceptional sides.

Siya Kolisi will look to join Francois Pienaar and John Smit as the third Springbok Captain to lift the William Webb Ellis cup.

The 2019 Rugby World Cup final will take place on the 2nd November at the International Stadium Yokohama in Kanagawa.