And then there were three.

The closer the Rugby World Cup gets, the further away an upset result feels. It will come down to New Zealand, South Africa and England – all previous winners - surely.

Wales? Ireland? Australia? No, the stars aren't aligned that way.


And despite the surge of positivity around the All Blacks after Bledisloe Two and the inevitably up-beat squad announcement, look again and the holes reappear.

But the champions are in better shape than the northern pretenders.

Ireland should have gone into this tournament on a high, following a great couple of seasons, but