MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 16: Michael Hooper and the Wallabies stand for the national anthem during the International test match between the Australian Wallabies and Ireland at AAMI Park on June 16, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

With just over a year until the 2019 World Cup gets underway, the strongest rugby union nations in the business are starting to build momentum ahead of the sport’s showpiece competition. Australia, beaten finalists back in 2015, will be quietly confident of going one better next year and it would be foolish to write Michael Cheika’s side off on current form.

That 18-9 victory over Ireland sent shockwaves across the world. While many expected the Wallabies to emerge victorious on home soil, most assumed that it would be a much closer game. Cheika’s men were better in almost every department and fans were overjoyed at how Australia performed. All signs point towards a successful World Cup campaign next year…

 

Bernard Foley, Michael Hooper and David Pocock are just three of Australia’s most gifted players and these men could be pivotal in Japan. Pool D is there for the taking and Australia will be confident of dispatching their rivals; Wales will qualify alongside the Wallabies. The likes of Foley, Hooper and Pocock can step up and make the difference in that vital Pool D clash with Wales – topping the group is an absolute must to avoid a tougher route to the final.

The latest rugby union betting odds show Australia at 15/2 to secure a third Webb Ellis Cup in 2019 and plenty of punters will be piling on the Wallabies at that price. Australia are one of the most consistent nations in world rugby; they’ve not fallen out of the top six in rugby union’s rankings since 2003. Another run deep into the competition looks like an absolute certainty ahead of the trip to Tokyo.

For the time being, securing a series victory over Ireland will be Australia’s top priority. The Wallabies were a class above in the opening fixture but all of their hard work will be undone with a lazy performance in the second Test. Cheika will be demanding another huge effort in Melbourne; another victory over the second-best team in rugby will see Australia move closer to leapfrogging their opponents.

 

Defeating New Zealand next year will be no easy feat though. The All Blacks are on another level and it is their title to lose. A sub-par effort in one of the knockout matches may cost New Zealand dearly but they will take some stopping in their pursuit of glory. Australia’s recent record against the All Blacks leaves a lot to be desired too, so Cheika and co will be relying on their closest rivals falling short.

The Webb Ellis Cup has eluded Australia’s grasp for far too long. The Wallabies are too good to fall short in 2019 and we could see Cheika’s men end New Zealand’s monopoly at the top of world rugby. Australia are building momentum and more success in the coming months will have supporters dreaming of World Cup glory. Watch this space; Australia will be there or thereabouts at the business end of next year’s competition.