Regardless of the sport, World Cup tournaments have a habit of serving up an upset or two and this year's Rugby World Cup doesn't look like it will be any different. Here are five fixtures that have all the potential for an upset.
South Africa (4) v New Zealand (2)
Seeing this fixture in a list of possible upsets should not come as a surprise to anyone. Ever since their 57-0 trashing in Albany in 2017, the Springboks have been up to the test. While they've won just one of their four matches against the All Blacks since that 2017 date, the sides played out a draw in July this year and their two losses since the 57-0 loss were by a combined three points. The Springboks have been steadily building and improving over the past couple of years, and their rush defence has caused the All Blacks all sorts of problems. Anything less than a title-winning campaign will surely be a disappointment for both these sides and this opening match could be a big confidence booster moving forward in the tournament.
TAB Odds: South Africa $3.05 New Zealand $1.34
Argentina (11) v France (8)
Yes you've read that right – Argentina are ranked outside of the top 10 in World Rugby's rankings system. But with a team composed almost exclusively of Jaguares players, they're familiar with one another and have shown in the past few years that Argentinian rugby continues to rise. Usually France find a way to peak for the World Cup; Les Bleus have been runners-up three times, third once and fourth twice. However, France have been less than impressive in 2019 while Argentina have tested both the All Blacks and Australia. With a strong, powerful pack and plenty of ball-playing in the backs line, Argentina have every chance of tipping up the French.
TAB Odds: Argentina $2 France $1.75
Georgia (12) v Fiji (9)
Can Georgia slow down the running game of the Fijians? The answer to that likely decides this game. The Georgians are known for their scrummaging prowess and will most likely dominate the set piece and in around the ruck. However, should Fiji be able to find room to move with ball in hand, it could be a tough game for Georgia. Fiji have shown they have plenty of attacking flair, but defensively they can be caught out, so if Georgia can dominate in the gritty areas and provide a solid platform for the backs to attack from, they'll test Fiji.
TAB Odds: Georgia $4.05 Fiji $1.21
Japan (10) v Scotland (7)
Never underestimate the impact of home field advantage – especially on the biggest stage in the sport. Japan are not a team to be taken lightly, with coach Jamie Joseph declaring they're hoping to crack the top eight. If they want to hit that target, this might just be the game that gets them there. Japan and Scotland are expected to fight for the second qualifying spot in pool A, with Ireland expected to secure the other one. Heat is expected to play a factor throughout the tournament, but for a Japan squad full of players who toil away in the local competition it shouldn't be too much of an issue. They have a strong squad and will be up to the test against a Scotland side which has put together some decent performances of their own in the lead up to the tournament.
TAB Odds: Japan $3.05 Scotland $1.34
United States of America (13) v Tonga (15)
Don't sleep on the Eagles. Well, at least don't sleep on them in this match. With Argentina, England and France in the same group, this will likely be the only opportunity both these teams have to notch up a win. The USA might be the higher ranked team, but they'll still go into this match as the underdogs in what should be a very even fixture. The Eagles have been one of the steady improvers in world rugby over the past few years and have won six of eight matches in 2019, which included a win over No 7 ranked Scotland. They come to the World Cup with a squad that is a mix of experience and excitement, with the likes of Harlequins centre Paul Lasike and Melbourne Rebels loose forward Tony Lamborn expected to play big roles for the side. Tonga have a decent side, but have shown very little to be excited about in the buildup to the tournament.
TAB Odds: USA $2.30 Tonga $1.55