Rugby World Cup Preview with the S4C team

The S4C Rugby World Cup team (L to R): Catrin Heledd, Nicky Robinson, Gareth Rhys Owen, Wyn Gruffydd a Deiniol Jones.

18 September 2019

After three months of brutal preparations, the time for the Wales rugby team to reap their rewards will begin on Monday 23 September, when they begin their 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign against Georgia.

It has already been a momentous year for Warren Gatland's side, having clinched the Grand Slam, set a new record of 14 consecutive victories and briefly climbed to become the number one ranked team in the world. As the squad aims to deliver on its outstanding promise in the 2019 Rugby World Cup, you can follow them along every step of their journey with S4C.

The Cwpan Rygbi'r Byd team will be at the heart of things in Japan to bring the latest developments from the Wales squad, exclusive interviews and sharp analysis.

On the eve of the competition, we caught up with five members of S4C's Cwpan Rygbi'r Byd team - Gareth Rhys Owen, Catrin Heledd, Wyn Gruffydd and former Wales internationals Deiniol Jones and Nicky Robinson - to get their predictions.

What are the realistic expectations of Wales?

Catrin Heledd: Reaching the last eight. There's a chance we'll face England at that stage. Beat them, and who knows.

Deiniol Jones: I expect Wales to come through the group and reach the quarter finals. From there, they are capable of beating any team on their day.

Gareth Rhys Owen: Warren Gatland's team are capable of taking the trophy, without doubt – but in order to do it, they will probably need to beat the All Blacks.

Wyn Gruffydd: Certainly the quarter finals, and if we believe Warren Gatland, then they could win the whole competition.

Nicky Robinson: We have beaten every team in the world over the last 12 months, except for one. So the team is confident and they believe they can accomplish something special.

Who will be the unsung hero for Wales?

CH: Justin Tipuric – he may be quiet off the pitch but he's a leader on it.

DJ: The two props, Nicky Smith and Tomas Francis. If Wales are to win the World Cup, it will be based on their work in the scrum.

GRO: He's not the flashiest player but Tomas Francis could be vital to anchor the Wales scrum.

WG: Wyn Jones. He's a loose head prop who can cover tight head if needed.

NR: James Davies. He's a big character on the pitch and if he gets his chance, I think he's a player who can stand up when the pressure's on.

Which team could spring a surprise?

CH: Argentina. They always turn it on for the Rugby World Cup.

DJ: They've been hopeless in recent years, but France are looking very dangerous now.

GRO: We know that Japan have the ability to create a shock. They're home and in their group, Ireland aren't on top form and Scotland are inconsistent, so the home team have a chance.

WG: Japan. The Japanese rugby philosophy is to get the ball wide and that will be fantastic to watch.

NR: In the same group as England are France and Argentina. They face each other in the first game, and I think the team who wins could be very dangerous.

Who will be the tournament's top try-scorer?

CH: Jonathan Davies

DJ: Sevu Reece.

GRO: Rieko Ioane

WG: Sbu Nkosi.

NR: Sevu Reece. Or maybe New Zealand hooker, Dane Coles.

The 2019 Rugby World Cup winners will be...?

CH: New Zealand

DJ: The Welsh dream is truly alive, but I think New Zealand have another gear.

GRO: The final will be Wales v New Zealand. Who will win? New Zealand.

WG: South Africa

NR: South Africa.

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